Convert Birkenstock Footwear from American Sizes to European Sizes
Birkenstock Footwear is manufactured using European size measurements. For those of us used to US sizing, the quickest way to figure out your matching Birkenstock European size is to add:
- +30 to your American size for women
- +33 to your American size for men
- +17 to your American size for kids
Example: If you wear a ladies 8, add 30. Your Birkenstock size should be no lower than 38. This system uses whole sizes because the increments, from one size to the next, are only about 1/4 inch.
Many Birkenstock Styles Run Shorter
Styles, like the Barbados, Memphis, Oklahoma, Kentucky run a little short. We have more styles that run short listed at the bottom of the page. 90% of the time you’re going to need to go up a size.
Step by Step Birkenstock Sizing Guide
We have been selling Birkenstocks for over 25 years and a lot of the time it just isn’t that easy. The adding 30, 33, or 17 method mentioned above is a good starting point but we have spent a lot of time preparing the information below so that once you start surfing Birkenstock Beach or get your Birkenstocks in the mail we can work with you step by step to ensure that you get the right fit/size.
Lets go for a walk together down these next few pages to get you in the right size.
The most important things that a shoe must do are:
- Let your feet assume their natural position, and…
- Help to distribute your total body weight evenly across your feet.
Unlike most shoe manufacturers, Birkenstocks are made with these two basic principles applied. Remember that Birkenstocks have a loose fit and can take some getting used too. They will start out stiff, but as you wear them, they will become molded to your feet and become very flexible. Just take your time. Birkenstocks are very correct footwear and if your body or feet are off just a little from the normal/correct position, the muscles, ligaments, bones, etc. in your feet, may need some hours to get adjusted. This adjustment period is normal.
Because all brands vary slightly in length, there can be no exact conversion or chart. The following information provides very helpful guidelines to determine a good fit. You can always trace your feet on paper and fax it to (805) 541-1496. Be sure to keep the pen perpendicular to the sheet of paper when tracing your foot.
You can call us TOLL FREE at 1-877-SLO-BIRK for assistance anytime!!!
Most of the Birkenstock styles are available in two widths: regular or narrow. These logos are inside of the shoe or sandal printed on the suede liner under your foot. Each shoe box is also printed with a regular, medium, or narrow logo in the upper left corner.
Normal & Regular Widths
This is our widest width in the U.S.A.. We call it Regular because it is really just the Regular shape of most feet. You may call it wide if you like, but salespeople in Birkenstock specialty stores use the term “Regular.” We find that about 70-80% of our customers wear Regulars. A Regular will always have a 1 on the end of the style number. If you look down at your foot as it rests barefoot on the floor and see that your foot “fans out” (is widest just behind the little toe) even a little, you should probably buy the Regular width. This is the best way to really let your foot assume its natural position. Many people put a Regular on and say’ “oh, this is to big.” When it really is not. Its just that people are not used to having this type of freedom in their shoes and it can feel awkward. That, or they do not have the buckles adjusted tight enough to hold the shoe on. We can & often do punch extra holes in the straps.
Although more Regular width shoes and sandals are sold, we do offer and sell a great selection of Narrow widths. The classification of Narrow includes not only the width of your foot, but also the shape of your feet. Narrow feet are often the same width up & down the entire length of the foot. Feet are also often narrow when measurement across the toes and across the instep (the instep is the top of your foot just in front of your ankle where shoe laces tie together) are close to the same. In other words, a narrow foot does not change in width much from front to back. A Narrow style number will always have a 3 on the end. Some women who tell us that they have narrow feet are actually better off in a Regular once they decide to go with function over fashion.
A few of the Birkenstock Shoes and Sandals come in a Medium width and have this logo marked on the box. Medium comes in between Regular & Narrow & will use a 2 on the end of the style number. Sometimes the Medium width shoe comes with a Narrow looking logo inside the shoe and uses a 3 on the end of the style number but is actually a Medium width. An example would be the Footprints Outdoor and Metro series. Some of the “Birki Kids” styles use a medium width & have this logo marked on the box.
If you like to wear socks a lot and you’re in between sizes, you may want the larger of the two, especially if you live in a cold climate that calls for thick socks!
If you need assistance, please call us TOLL FREE at 1-877-756-2475. We are open Monday through Friday to serve you.
Determining the length is rather easy. First, you need to figure out your length in our classic footbed (like the Arizona style). Then when trying on some of the other styles with slightly different cork footbeds or polyurethane footbeds, we would recommend going up one size from your classic footbed size. At the bottom of this page we have listed some of these styles.
To determine your length, put your heel all the way back in the heel cup and tighten the straps so your heel is held back there. You may need more holes punched in the straps in order to do this. We punch holes all the time. In order for you to get the benefits of the heel cup, your heels must be in it, in the first place. Then, feel where your toes land on the toe grip. When your heel is all the way back in the heel cup, your toes should naturally grab the toe grip.
If you need to slide your foot forward to grab the toe grip with your toes, the size may be too long. You do not want a big space behind your heel. If there is, then you are not getting the support out of the heel cup. Look at the photos below. There is an exception for people with really really wide feet. In order to accommodate a really really wide foot, you might need to go up a size or two from your true Birkenstock length & this will lead to a space behind the heel. In this case, some amount of space is acceptable.
Once the classic footbed style is determined, you can choose other non-classic styles and get a great fit. For example, if you wear a 38 Regular in the classic styles like the Arizona, Florida, Milano, etc., then you would most likely wear a 39 Regular in styles like the Nebraska, Kansas, Derby, Memphis, etc. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see more of these types of styles.
Around 15-25% of our customers have what is often called Morton’s Toe. This occurs when your big toe is not your longest toe. The longer toe/toes can sometimes rub on the toe ridge in front of the toes.
This does not necessarily mean you should go with a larger size. At this point, there are two options:
Buy the size that fits with the rest of your foot and make an adjustment to the toe ridge in front of your toes.
Buy the longer size, which accommodates the long toes, and make an adjustment to the toe grip under the big toe because the big toe is probably going to land on the toe grip and not go over it like it should.
Overall, its best to accommodate the body of the foot. Which includes all of your arches. Get them in the right place and then make an alteration to the front toe ridge in front of your toes, where your toe hits.
Reshaping the Birkenstock Sandal Footbed
One of a few simple adjustments that are made quite often at Birkenstock stores may be needed. All Birkenstock stores carry a regular hammer. You can use a hammer to soften the cork footbed in a particular area that feels pressure. Using a hammer may sound funny, but it is very effective. It will not hurt the footbed at all, it will just make the cork softer and take the pressure off. Another simple alteration that can be done, is to remove a little bit of the cork. Like when needing to remove a little bit of cork on the front toe ridge for people with long toes or next to the ball of the foot in case of a bunion. A “Birki Tech” in our shoe repair service center can assist you with this over the phone anytime.
These instructions for fitting are guidelines. Overall, you should go with what size feels the best after wearing it around a little bit.
Remember, Birkenstock Footwear feels okay when first worn, but feels great when worn for 3 or 4 weeks. As you wear Birkenstock Footwear, the cork footbed molds to your foot to provide ultimate comfort. Before you know it, you will not want to wear anything else.
Birkenstock Small Shoe Sizing
For women with really small feet – Most adult styles start at size 35, but for you they have taken some color/style combinations down to sizes 32, 33, or 34. They are leather adults, sized extra small so they are still adult prices. Kids sizes run 24 – 34. So you see they have overlapped the adults and kids during these special sizes. An example would be a 33 Regular taupe suede Arizona, or a 34 regular cocoa nubuck Milano.
If you need assistance, please call us toll free at 1-877-756-2475. We are open Monday through Saturday to serve you.
Go Up A Size In These Birkenstock Styles
For years, when Birkenstock started making sandals, all of the cork and latex footbeds were the same. Today there are many different types of footbeds relating to sizing. Assuming that you know your Classic/Heritage/Basic Birkenstock size, you can simply figure out what size you need in other styles. The following list below shows some of the styles you will most likely need to go up one size higher in:
Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ottawa, Ohio, Rio Bravo, Rio Grande, Savannah, Sonoma, Colorado, Shasta, Barbados, Oregon, Tobago, Trinidad, Aruba, Sansibar, Pacific, Bridget, Jardine, Morgan, Alice, Scarlet, Georgia, Arcadia, and Katharine.
Oklahoma, Tahoe, Teton, Almanor, Napa, Cooper, Duna, Birki, Super Birki, Sport, Professional, Helfort, Mendocino, Madison, Sausalito, Redmond, Ashby, and Kyoto.
Derby, Tacoma, Bodega, Madera, Memphis, Trent, Kent, Annapolis, Andria, Claremont, Lindsey, Natoma, Cambria, Darien, Saratoga, Sedona, Sanibel, Wichita, Stanford, Bristol, Bangor, Lawrence, Richmond, Glendale, Carson, Manhattan, Cambridge, Fremont, Valencia, Napoli, Chicago, Aberdeen, Willington, Kensington, Lisbon, Sonora, Auborn, Ontario, Austin, Jasper, Calgary, and Rockford.
Occasionally people need to go up a size when going into a totally enclosed shoe from their sandal. For example, someone who wears a 38 regular Arizona sandal may need a 39 regular in a Boston clog, even though it uses the same type cork/latex footbed. However, this is definitely not the norm.