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Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

Posted by Ted on 5/14/05 at 13:01 (175004)

I work where I stand a lot. My feet tend to get tired, sore, and this seems to hurt my PF. I really want to keep this job and I'm thinking of ways of staying 'on my feet.'

Right now I'm looking at both Birkenstocks and Z-Coil. One of my concerns is I have small feet for a guy. I hope they have my size.

After examing comments on this site and looking at other sites I'm thinking of trying the z-coil. I'm not sure of the cost. However, it cannot be more than an orthotic custom made. Moreover, I'm not sure if I can put an orthotic in the z-coil and/or if an orthotic is needed in the zcoil.

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

Suzanne D. on 5/14/05 at 15:33 (175011)

Ted, having read and posted here for almost four years, I can tell you that many more people have written about wearing and having success with Birkenstocks than Z-Coils. Of course that does not mean Birkenstocks will be right for you, but I thought I would let you know that Birkenstocks have been helpful to many here. Basically, Birkenstocks have an orthotic-type footbed, and if it matches your feet well enough, it can help decrease strain and help with healing.

As far as having small feet for a guy, many Birkenstocks are unisex, so in those styles, there is a very big range of sizes, and you shouldn't have trouble finding them small enough.

If at all possible, go to a Birkenstock store and try on different styles and sizes. I can't stress enough how much difference there can be between the various models. And there are many different ones, seemingly more new ones with each season.

If you can't get to a store that has a large selection of Birkenstocks to choose from, I would suggest that you go to one of these sites and read as much as you can about them so you will be informed as best as possible as to the different features available.

http://www.birkenstockexpress.com

http://www.birkenstockcentral.com

Good luck!
Suzanne :)

Re: Both?

Ted on 5/14/05 at 16:09 (175018)

Thanks Suzanne for your comments.

I'm actually thinking of both. Not sure yet. The zcoil would be something for work and then the Berkinstocks would be for any other time. Thats a lot of money for shoes, but if it works it is worth it. I'm afraid the Berk's won't cut it for the amount of time I spend on my feet at work. A lot of nurses seem to use them with success.

Re: Both?

Ted on 5/14/05 at 16:11 (175021)

Thanks Suzanne for your comments.

I'm actually thinking of both. Not sure yet. The zcoil would be something for work and then the Berkinstocks would be for any other time. Thats a lot of money for shoes, but if it works it is worth it. I'm afraid the Berk's won't cut it for the amount of time I spend on my feet at work. A lot of nurses seem to use them with success.

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

Kris on 5/15/05 at 00:43 (175056)

Birkenstocks hurt my feet. The best shoes I've found are SAS moccasins.

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

Suzanne D. on 5/15/05 at 06:43 (175064)

SAS makes wonderful, well-made shoes. I wore the SAS moccasins for years before my PF began. I found that after that, they did not have enough arch support for my feet. I do at times wear the SAS lace-up shoes called 'Free Time' with the removeable insole pulled out and a SuperFeet insert in its place.

Each person's feet and case of PF seems to be so unique - which is one reason why it is often hard to treat, I think.

I'm glad the SAS moccasins work for you! I miss wearing them.
Suzanne :)

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

S. B. on 5/15/05 at 17:03 (175097)

My husband tried Z-Coil and they hurt his feet. Had a hard time returning them to the store. They cost over $200 with tax, and then they charged us a $40 're-stocking' fee to return them. Left a bad taste that's for sure.

Re: Tried on ZCoils & Question on Berks

Ted on 5/16/05 at 20:47 (175155)

Well today I went to my Pod and he did an interesting tape job. It is similar to the one on here except with a large bandage that goes on the bottom of the foot. I worked on it today pretty well.

I went today and tried the Zcoils. They felt ok, but they seemed to dig into my heel. Especially on one foot. I'm not sure why. My feet seem not to do to well with a heel on a shoe. So all in all I didn't buy them as they didn't feel that great. I had no heel pain today except when I tried these on.

So now I'm thinking of the Berks again. I went in to look at them but didn't get a chance to try them on. My concern with the Berks is that if I get an orthotic do I have to take the soft insert out of the Berks? It seems useless to get berks if the soft insert is gone and I don't think the insert in those things are going to help me.

I need a shoe that is soft padding for the heel and is able to take my orthotic. Any suggestions?

Re: Tried on ZCoils & Question on Berks

Kat C. on 5/19/05 at 13:19 (175324)

I LOVE BIRKENSTOCKS!! I had fasciotomy on my right foot about 5 weeks ago (April 11th). I do have tenderness on the bottom of my heel, and my incision is still healing up, so I have only been wearing my Birkenstock 'Arizona' sandals, which are a little granola-girl looking for me but they're the most comfy and supportive.

Although I am not on my feet too much for work, my office has a very conservative professional dress code, so shoes are an issue for me (not to mention my imelda marcos tendencies and shoe fetishes!!). I just went to a local Birkenstock store and bought 3 pair. I tried on every variation/line they make - Tatami, Papillio, etc. Each one is a bit different in style and support. I found that the true Birkenstock line is the best fit for my feet, although one of the Tatami styles (which is a little 'cuter' for us girly girls) fit nicely and would get me through a work day no problem.

Good luck. Keep trying everything. My feet still love to be iced down nice and cold and that seems to help a lot, even after my surgery. Aleve also helps, but I try not to take it too much - I'd like to have a stomach for the rest of my years!!

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

Nell P on 5/22/05 at 22:00 (175513)

I have just been diagnoised with the Plantar Fascitis. I read to wear Birkenstocks sandels instead of shoes. any comments. Nell

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

John M on 5/24/05 at 14:30 (175636)

As a board certified pedorthist that is able to supply both Z-CoiL shoes and Birkenstock sandals/clogs to my customers and patients, I can hopefully be unbiased about both brands. Z-CoiL offers a high level of shock absorption of ground impact forces at heel strike, some arch support (depending a person's arch shape and height), and a rocker sole on the forefoot of the shoe to ease ground impact forces during toe off. The new return policy allows customers to try out a pair at limited risk ($25.00 restocking fee). Use should be done gradually as the amount of travel of the coil can give your Achilles tendon a workout, which is good, but any new workout of anatomy should be done progressively until the body can tolerate it. Make sure the Z-CoiL store staff is checking your gait for pronation or supination and making any adjustments needed to manage excessive rolling in or out and adjusting fit properly. These steps are important for any shoes but more so with Z-CoiL shoes due to the amount of travel of the coil. Z-CoiL heel pad/coils are replaceable so initial cost of shoes is offset by longer use than standard walking or athletic shoes that after the heel wears down and the sole gets out of alignment, one has to toss the shoes and rebuy.

Birkenstock are basically an arch support with straps and soling attached, which is to say a healthy footbed to correct or to prevent foot problems like heel pain, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis (all 3 are same basic biomechanical conditions) and forefoot pain, like metatarsalgia, Morton's neuroma. The support of the foot by the Birkenstock footbed hopefully helps foot pain over a period of 4-6 weeks to resolve. Break in should be done gradually too and may take several weeks for the natural cork footbed to shape to the unique anatomy of your foot. Straps should not be too tight. Support of one's arches means that foot is aligned better so knees are aligned to pelvis and back are aligned better so hopefully less back pain. Many Birkenstock styles can be resoled so look after the cork footbed and check the wear on the heel soling so you do not damage the cork layer before resoling.

Both brands offer a person healthy shoes for many of the similar conditions. The choice depends on whether one needs a lot of shock absorption or a lot of foot support to help their needs.

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

susan o on 5/29/05 at 18:51 (175884)

John, any thoughts on why I was never able to comfortably wear Birkenstocks? I tried to do it very, very gradually. Even after several months of this they would make my shins hurt when I wore them for any period of time. I was wearing the Arizona type and have wondered if maybe the problem was either a lack of a back strap on the things....do seem to have trouble keeping anything without a back strap on (I have a very thin foot). Thought maybe the arch in the Arizona is just too high. Seems like I've read a couple other comments along these lines over time on here. Are those of us who have been unsuccessful with Birks just getting the wrong kind or something?

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

susan o on 5/29/05 at 18:55 (175885)

My podiatrist said that he didn't like SAS shoes because the soles were too flexible. (I was wearing a pair of sandals at the time.....the only thing I could find that was semi-comfortable at that point.....and just possibly they were what gave me the PF problem....at any rate I noticed later that you could bend the things in the middle...a big no-no). Are other SAS shoes more supportive?

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

Suzanne D. on 5/30/05 at 07:59 (175890)

Yes, Susan, the SAS Free Time lace-up shoes, while certainly not as 'cute' as most of the other designs, are much more supportive. They only bend where the foot bends - not in the middle. They have removeable insoles which can accomodate orthotics (at least mine).

Good luck!
Suzanne :)

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

susan o on 5/30/05 at 08:54 (175891)

thanks, I'll take alook.

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

Marie S on 5/30/05 at 19:03 (175908)

I have worn Z-CoiL's for about 5 years. They have been instrumental in me walking without pain in my hips caused by arthristis. Many doctors in my area prescribe them for their patients. I guess it's the quality of life that makes me able to have, so the strange look of the shoe doesn't bother me. Between the two I don't know which has the better orthotic as I have never worn birkenstock shoes. The ones I have seen do not have any arch support and are mostly flat. Z-CoiL were custome fitted to my foot and has a built in orthotic. I can't say they are the best footwear but it sure has beat out everything else I have ever had on my feet.

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

Tim M. on 7/10/05 at 12:22 (178128)

I've worn Z-Coils for almost two years. They work very well for me, I have no pain from my PF anymore.

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

Nicole on 11/01/05 at 19:47 (186472)

I have a pair of Arizona Birkenstocks and they are fabulous. I love Birkenstocks and own three pairs. I have also sold them at my job. One thing that I noticed from my experience and talking to others who own them is that buying Birkenstocks is that it is sort of hit and miss. Some pairs you fall in love with and others never break in right. I have one pair that I just hate to wear but two that I can't wear enough. They are so comfortable that I am willing to try until I find a good pair. You may be able to return them saying that they never broke in right. I don't know if it is different types of cork used or what, but you are not alone in your problem. I hope that you try again and find a pair that you love.

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

Cathey D on 7/01/06 at 08:39 (202622)

John, I have had several surgeries on my feet (bunion surgery, neuroma, MIS on the plantar fascitis where the tendon is cut. I now have a big problem. I have a stress fracture, left heel. I have been in a cast, cam walker, and slowly progressing to a regular shoe. My custom orthotics kill my foot. I also had surgery on my L4 and have a lot of nerve pain. My husband saw an associate of his at work with the ZCoil shoe. I have been doing some reserch on it. I am lucky enough to live close to a dealer and I am planning on going there today to have a look. I have never tried Birkenstocks, just at the store, and I do not feel I have enough support. I just need something so that I can walk my dogs daily, and just do general walking and I want to walk some distance (2 miles) a couple of times a week. What do you think?

Re: Birkenstocks or Z-Coil?

Mike on 7/14/06 at 15:25 (204133)

Definitely go get some Z-Coils. They custom fit them and it may take a while 'cause you seem to have a lot of issues, but my wife wears them now - used to wear Birks. Now she won't even wear the Birks any more. She says that there is a HUGE difference with the reduced impact effect. I wear them too - although I don't have any foot problems - they are just the most comfortable shoes I have ever had on (albeit a bit strange looking-but I don't care).