1. The footbed with the heel cup, arch support, metatarsal support and toe grippers is just plain excellent. Made of cork which 'settles' after about 2 weeks to allow some variance for each person's feet. I have several pairs and each one feels like I'm barefoot (most of the time).
Toe gripper - if shoes are worn loosely - with no back strap - it allows you some slide back & forth - with a slight grabbing motion of the toes to keep the shoes on - sort of an all day massage. Good for circulation... alittle like the towel grabbing exercises some people mention doing in the evenings.
Heel is lower, yes, but it is formed so the 'fat pad' is pushed inward and under the heel bone. This gives you protection on the heel spur area.
2. The footbed area is designed so you do not pronate. (feet leaning inward as you walk) ...at least I am unable to do so in these shoes. This makes the gait better and the weight distritution more atonamically correct.
3. Worn loosely, the Arizona style, makes you slow down and move with more of a glide (best word I could think of) rather than a pounding stride. I know I have to walk differently in them and it does help - As proof of a different walking style, you even get sore front calf muscles when you first wear the shoes.
4. Lastly, I have come to doubt the 'wisdom' of the higher heel theory as I think this just has a tendency to shorten up the PF area - then you have to restretch it all the time... like in the mornings when it hurt so bad! With the Birks the arch (facia area) is slowly stretched all the time you wear them. Think that's why the first pain to go was that morning pain upon rising.