Fitting Birkenstock

Use the chart to convert US sizes to approximate Birkenstock sizes.


Between sizes?

Most people are between sizes. You can consider arch length, personal preference and width to choose yours.

Arch length

If you have a relatively long arch length, it makes sense to lean toward the larger of two possible sizes. If you have a relatively short arch arch length, you might like the smaller of two possibilities.

How can you tell your arch length? Here's a good trick. If you have relatively long toes, your arch length is probably relatively short. If you have relatively short toes, your arch length is probably relatively long. So in general, if you're trying to decide between two sizes, long toes take a smaller size, short toes take a larger size.

Personal preference

Some people like a little trimmer fit. If you like a shorter fit with your toes touching the toe rim a little at the end of each step, the rim will gradually conform, pushing out a bit for toes that touch.

If you prefer a longer fit, the extra area at the heel and toe will tend to curl up with time, like the bottom of a rocking chair, and gradually the sandals will feel shorter.

That said, too short is too short and too long is too long. If you stand in a new pair of sandals and your toes are pressed into the cork toe rim, or landing on top of the rim, they are probably too short. On the other hand, if there is more than a quarter-inch of space at the heel and toe, they are probably too long.

Width

Average to wide feet take Regular width, average to narrow feet take Narrow.

Test

When your sandals arrive, note that shoes marked with wear cannot be returned. You'll want to try them on a clean floor or carpet, wearing a thin pair of socks.

A good test starts with placing one foot at the back of a sandal, with your heel against the back of the sandal's heel cup. Starting with the strap closest to your toes, adjust the buckle so the fit is secure but not tight. Adjust other buckles going from front to back, then repeat with the other foot and sandal.

Now stand and wriggle your feet forward a little in the sandals, to a comfortable position. If you have to move your foot so far forward in the sandal to be comfortable that there's a large space behind your heel, say more than a quarter of an inch, the sandals might be too long.

Now slowly take a good-size step. When your weight on the trailing foot is on your toes, with the sandal bent at the ball of the foot, freeze and observe. Your toes on the trailing foot should ideally approach the toe rim at the front of the sandal, or touch it gently. If your toes are crawling out over the rim at that point, or pushing hard against it, the sandals are probably too short. 

Tip: All shoes feel shorter as you break them in because they develop a curl, like the bottom of a rocking chair. That's why we like to see a little space at the heel and toe when a sandal is new, so it will feel comfortable after it's broken in, with room for your toes to reach out and help you balance when your weight is on them. 

Confirm

If you're in any doubt after you've tried them on, you can email us a photo looking down at your toes in your new sandals so we can be sure they look right.

We're also glad to consult with you by phone between noon and 4 pm, Monday through Saturday.

Thank you,

Paul & Claire

Fourth Ave Birkenstock

p.s. Birkenstock shoes and sandals have more arch support than other shoes. When new, those arch supports rarely line up just right with anyone's feet. With time, however, the warmth and pressure of your feet let the arches conform more and more perfectly. It might take  a couple of weeks, so break them in gradually. Maybe start with an hour the first day, then longer periods until they're so comfortable you'll want to wear them all the time. Tip: If your sandals don't break in before your patience wears out, call us. We know some tricks. :)