Birkenstocks Soft Footbed vs Regular Footbed 2023

For the infamous German brand of footwear called Birkenstock, comfort has always been its brand philosophy since its beginning. They are known throughout the world for their contoured footbed which has had so many imitations all over the world. The original or classic Birkenstock shoes are made of jute, latex, cork, and suede.

The design of this brand’s footwear is designed on the basis of providing the utmost comfort even if they are worn all day long. It is due to these reasons they still seem to be trendy and the brand has been using advanced technology and new designs to keep up with the trend.

Birkenstocks Soft Footbed vs Regular

Birkenstocks Soft Footbed vs Regular:

Birkenstock Footbed Features:

The legacy and age of this German footwear brand, Birkenstock can be well understood by the fact that the literal term ‘footbed’ i.e. anatomically shaped insoles was first used by them.

Back then unlike other inserts which were recommended by orthopedics to provide comfort to ailing feet, Birkenstock’s goal was to keep the feet healthy. For generations, they have been dedicating themselves to the foot health of their customers all over the world. Their design enables the body weight to be distributed all over the sole instead of being concentrated on one part. This is all thanks to the unique features Birkenstock has designed its footwear with.

The back of a Birkenstock footbed is equipped with a deep heel cup that corrects the natural heel position besides giving stability while walking. The area between the heel and the midfoot is provided with additional support by raised side. It is followed by the longitudinal arch support for the inner arch and the traverse arch support for the midfoot. Last but not least comes the raised toe grip for allowing the rolling motion of the toes in the front. The footbed has a raised edge to provide extra protection and grip to the toe bar and foot. All these features of the footbed help the body weight to be evenly distributed throughout the feet.

Birkenstock Footbed Design Materials:

Despite the initial discomfort Birkenstock shoes give, it is all worth it in the end. From teenagers to adults, fashion designers to celebrities, everyone seems to be in love with this brand. Such popularity is all thanks to the high quality material used to make these shoes. The four chief materials used for making the multiple layers of the footbeds of Birkenstock are latex, cork, leather, and jute. Classic Birkenstock with regular footbeds is made of four layers.

The new Birkenstock footwear with the soft footbed is provided with an extra layer of foam insert making them have a total of five layers. The layers are as follows:

  • The upper layer is of the high quality suede lining that keeps the feet fresh by absorbing all the moisture and sweat. 
  • Next comes a layer of jute that is placed on the sides to make the footbed flexible and last for years. It is also responsible for controlling moisture due to its absorbent nature.
  • It is followed by the layer of cork and latex which can also be said to be the core of the brand. They are not only good insulators of heat and cold but also highly shock absorbent and flexible that allows feet to feel comfortable even when the shoes are worn all day.
  • Finally comes another layer of jute that helps bond the cork to the latex.
  • In the case of a soft footbed, there is an extra layer of foam inserted just below the first layer of the suede leather lining.

Also, have you wondered why your Birkenstocks turn black? Check out why:

Birkenstock Regular Footbed:

When Karl Birkenstocks created the first prototype of the footbed with latex and cork in his oven, he probably had no idea of how great a purpose his invention would serve in the future. Birkenstock sandals almost give a feeling of being barefoot on a beach and all the credit for it goes to the footbed materials and design. Over the year they have created a name for themselves in the footwear industry.

Their shoes have been imitated by so many brands all over the world, but there remains something special in the original footbed that cannot be replicated by others no matter how hard they try. The break in period might take a few days since the cork needs to shape itself according to the feet. Once the feet are molded into the footbed the weight of the body is distributed all over the footbed. They aim to provide foot support to maintain the health of the feet and there have been instances where customers have claimed their feet changed shape and improve their gait. So there might be a bit of discomfort in the initial break in period but in the long run, it is all worth it.

Birkenstock Regular Footbed Pros:

The advantages of having a Birkenstock with a regular footbed are as follows:

  • They provide great arch support not only to people with high arches but to low arches as well.
  • The shoes are customizable to the particular feet after the break-in period when the footbed molds into its shape.
  • They are excellent for long time use due to their comfort and sustainability. 
  • They are recommended to those who otherwise feel pain and discomfort using other flat shoes.
  • Their shape does not change over time and will remain comfortable even after years of use.

Birkenstock Regular Footbed Cons:

The disadvantages of having Birkenstock with a regular footbed are as follows:

  • The shoes cannot be used all day right after being purchased.
  • The break in period of a regular footbed is about a few days to weeks.
  • The duration for wearing the shoes should be increased gradually from half an hour to an hour to more.
  • The shoes take time to mold according to the foot shape and until then they have to be worn a few times with intervals in between.

Birkenstock Soft Footbed:

Despite the numerous praises about the Birkenstock shoes there are bound to be a few negative reviews. Most of them are regarding the discomfort one faces due to the footbed when they first start wearing the shoes.

Before the footbeds mold into the shape of one’s feet, the shoes can be a little bit bothersome as they need to be worn at regular intervals. To satisfy these customer demands Birkenstock came up with a new footbed that is much softer than the original or regular version. The time taken to break into these soft footbeds is also considerably less than the regular footbed. The regular footbed was made with four layers of jute, leather, cork, and latex. But the soft footbed has an extra layer of foam cushioning.

This foam padding is placed between the layers of leather lining and cork and latex mixture. The outsole is made of elastic EVA making the shoe shock proof, durable, and scuff resistant.

Birkenstock Soft Footbed Pros:

The advantages of having Birkenstock with a soft footbed are as follows:

  • The shoes can be worn right after unboxing them.
  • They are suitable for those who have sensitive and flat feet.
  • The break in period is less in comparison to Birkenstock shoes with regular footbeds.
  • Despite being soft, the footbed provides necessary support to the feet unlike many misconceptions of them being unsupportive. 
  • They have an extra layer of foam cushioning in the footbed consisting of air bubbles that help relax the feet and provide them comfort.

Birkenstock Soft Footbed Cons:

The disadvantages of having Birkenstocks with soft footbeds are as follows:

  • Due to the soft memory foam in the footbed, the shoes might be comfortable right from the start but it takes them time to mold to the feet.
  • They might be uncomfortable for those who dislike soft footbeds.
  • There have been a few customer reviews that state that the regular footbed provides more arch support than the soft footbed.

Who is the Soft Footbed Good for?

Birkenstock has always been a brand that prioritized the customers’ demands and comfort above all else. Their legacy of producing footwear with specialized features and material that customizes itself according to the customer’s feet has been for centuries.

After hearing about the complaints regarding the initial discomfort due to the footbed they developed a softer footbed. This new footbed allows the wearer to use the shoes right after unboxing them and without worrying about the break in period.

They are good for those who wear different kinds and styles of shoes and would go back and forth between Birkenstocks and other shoes. This cannot be done in the case of the Birkenstocks with a regular footbed.

They can be used by everyone without any kind of foot issues. Customers with extremely low arch are recommended to try the Birks with a soft footbed. But it is not recommended for people with foot issues unless prescribed.

The customers who usually buy soft footbeds are also from the younger generations who do so for style and comfort. But the loyal and old customers still prefer the regular version of footbed over the soft ones. 

Birkenstock Soft Footbed vs Regular – What’s the Difference

Birkenstocks produces two types of footbeds for their footwear i.e. regular or original and soft. The original footbed has been around for a long time but the new one was made recently to fulfill the demands of the customers.

The reason was mainly due to reducing the break in period than the regular footbed. While the regular footbed is made of mainly four layers of jute, latex, leather, and cork, the soft footbed has another layer along with those.

This is a layer of foam padding that is rubber-like and is placed between the suede leather lining and the cork-latex layer. Birkenstock shoes with soft footbeds can be used right after they are bought but in the case of the regular footbed, they can be a little uncomfortable at first.

But according to customer reviews in the long run the regular footbed has proved to be the more comfortable. It is also due to the extra layer that the shoes with soft footbeds take time to mold to the feet. The Birkenstock logo is imprinted in yellow for older Birkenstock regular footbeds, black for newer Birkenstock regular footbeds, and blue for Birkenstock soft footbeds.

Soft Footbed vs Regular Footbed – Sizing

Modern footwear is designed with a pointed toe that tends to force all the toes together. Birkenstock footwear on the other hand is quite the opposite. They would allow the toes to be splayed out and gradually change the shape of the feet.

One would have their feet change to the natural shape of how feet should be with their heels a bit narrower and forefoot a bit wider. They allow the bones in the feet to settle into a neutral position. It is because of such characteristics that they are suggested to people with foot problems. Over time the foot shape gets imprinted on the footbed. But in the initial stages, the regular footbed is said to be a bit uncomfortable. It was due to this reason that Birkenstock developed the soft footbed that would reduce the break-in period and also can be comfortable right after being unpacked.

But there have been some complaints regarding soft footbeds taking too long to break in as well. The only difference in the soft footbed is an additional layer of memory foam. It does make the shoes more comfortable from the first use but on the other hand, it takes more time to mold to the feet.

It might also make the shoes with soft footbeds have slightly lesser room than the regular ones. A shoe with a regular footbed might be fit while another in the same size but with a soft footbed might be a bit tight. But that will be alright after a while of using them when the foam is packed down and the feet get imprinted on the shoes.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Is soft footbed better than regular?

    The soft footbed is comfortable from the first use while the regular footbed needs to be broken in. But in the long run, both of them are the same. 

  2. Which Birkenstock footbed is best for plantar fasciitis?

    The regular or original footbed of the Birkenstock with a deep heel cup, good arch support, and roomy toe box with a raised toe bar is recommended for people with plantar fasciitis.  

  3. Do soft footbed Birkenstocks last as long?

    The memory foam in the soft footbed provides long lasting cushioning. All the other features are the same as the regular footbed which is known to last decades or at least several years.

  4. Is Arizona soft footbed worth it?

    Birkenstock Arizona is a timeless classic that has been praised to be one of the best Birkenstock shoes by Birk fans all over the world.

  5. How do I know if my Birkenstocks are soft footbed?

    On first look, if the logo is imprinted in blue one will know it is a Birkenstock soft footbed. On wearing they would also feel softer than the regular ones.

  6. Did Birkenstock change their footbed?

    Besides the classic footbed, Birkenstock came up with the soft footbed due to customer demands which consists of an additional layer of foam padding beside the four layers from the original footbed.


Just like how every human is different, their feet are also created differently with so many sizes and widths. All these feet need different sizes of shoes but often there are a set number of sizes of shoes available.

This makes it harder for people with foot problems. Birkenstock came up with the revolutionary invention of their footbed that would customize to everyone’s feet over time. This was to cater to the needs of everyone with different arches, toes, heels, etc.

While other brands make shoes to provide comfort to foot problems, Birkenstock reshapes the foot to its natural shape maintaining foot health. Regarding the two different footbeds, i.e. regular and soft different customers have different opinions. While some claim that the soft footbeds are more comfortable and can be worn by switching with other shoes, others claim that the classic version is better suited for feet in the long run. So to decide between the “Birkenstock soft footbed vs regular” is completely up to the individual and their foot shape.The ones who have tried the classic footbeds and those new to Birks should try both the footbeds and then decide on the one that feels the best, before concluding.

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