Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

What makes the Birkenstock shoe better?

Posted by Barb Zimmer on 6/11/98 at 00:37 (000742)

I purchased a pair of Birks tonight and wonder why with the heel looking so low is it better than a shoe with the inserts to make the heel higher than the ball of the foot.

Re: What makes the Birkenstock shoe better?

Diane R. on 6/12/98 at 21:19 (000755)

I have developed some theories as to why the Birks work so well for my PF (and apparantly many others) I have worn them 100% for over a year and am now just occasionally wearing other shoes. It took about 3 mths of 100% wearing to get to pain free! (After 4 bad yrs)

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.

Re: What makes the Birkenstock shoe better?

lisa chakan on 6/13/98 at 21:18 (000757)

I think the negative heel helps in stretching the tendons out
slowly and deliberately. All I know is that I've gone a very long time
with PF and Birkenstocks changed my life. Without Birkenstocks I cannot
rise in the morning to my feet with anything other than PAIN. My Birks
are right beside my bed and they go onto my feet before my glasses go
on my face....they've become a part of me. Now, having worn my sandals
and having found them a lifesaver, I am planning future purchases. If
you had told me a year ago that I would one day be found perusing
a shoe catalog and find myself pining for a pair of $200 walking
shoes, I'd have called you nuts. Today, I say, 'YES