If you’re looking for a sandal that you can wear casually but that will still support your feet enough for you to spend hours wearing the shoe, then your best debate is Birkenstocks vs. Crocs.
They’re both big names in the sandal world and are known for their comfort and unique styles. If you’re struggling to choose between the two, we’ve compared them in detail so you can understand which would be better for your feet.
They’re both great shoes, to be clear. But you may find that one suits you better because they have quite different applications. Learn the differences in this article.
Main Difference Between the Two Brands
These two sandals are quite different by sight. You know them when you see them! Both have a distinctive style, with Crocs being made from a single material in bright colors and Birkenstocks featuring a more classy leather and cork style.
Crocs are lightweight and waterproof. They come in multiple styles and colors and have a mostly casual vibe. They’re also APMA-approved.
Birkenstocks are a little heavier, and their special footbed should avoid getting wet. You also get multiple styles of Birkenstocks, but they all feature the same materials. They’re also more adjustable than Crocs.
Most Birkenstocks’ uppers are made of leather. Some are oiled leather, while others are made of suede. But they’re all made from leather, which is durable and good-looking. And while they’re hardy and stylish, the leather may be prone to damage in high heat or when wet.
One of the features of Birkenstocks that Crocs don’t have is adjustability. Two strong buckles on the straps allow you to fit the upper to your foot to a degree.
They have one shoe similar to Crocs—the Super-Birki, an all-EVA clog in a similar style to the Crocs. They do differ from Crocs in that they also have adjustable straps.
Crocs are made of soft resin. Their proprietary material is called Croslite, which makes up the entire shoe, from upper to outsole. It can be damaged in high heat, but it’s completely waterproof.
The Crocs upper features a thick layer of Croslite material with numerous holes on the top of the forefoot to allow for good airflow. There are also holes along the side to allow water to drain easily.
They’re known to have wide toe boxes, allowing your forefoot plenty of room with less chance of chafing or pressure on the feet.
Although the upper isn’t adjustable, there is a heel strap. If you want a slip-on style of sandal, you can flip this strap to the top, so it’s out of your way. But if you need extra support behind the heel, flip it down, which helps hold your foot in position.
You can choose from a huge range of colors and personalize your Crocs by adding Jibbitz charms, small trinkets you pop into the holes. Take note that this may make your Crocs less breathable.
Birkenstock’s footbeds are expertly designed in a layered fashion. This helps to provide the best cushioning and shock absorption while supporting the arch simultaneously. If the original footbed is too firm for you, they also come in a “soft footbed” version, which features an extra layer of cushioning foam.
It’s worth noting that the footbed is made of cork—which is sustainable—and latex, which may be problematic for those who have a sensitivity to latex. Although it’s topped with soft suede, and your feet aren’t likely to touch the cork and latex, it’s worth considering.
The footbeds provide support for the longitudinal and transverse arches, plus it has a toe ridge that encourages your toes to spread naturally and grip the footbed. There’s also a raised wall around the footbed to protect it from bumps.
It’s also interesting to note that the EVA clog features a removable footbed that’s exactly the same as the classic Birkenstock footbed.
The midsole of the Crocs sandals is made of the Croslite material, just like the upper. Crocs are known to have good arch support for a sandal, with a firmness underfoot that provides light cushion.
The Croslite material offers excellent shock absorption, so your joints should be safer in these sandals, especially when walking on hard, unforgiving ground.
Unlike the Birkenstocks, the Crocs have no toe ridge. But the footbed has a texture meant to provide some grip for your feet.
Birkenstocks have a thick EVA rubber layer underneath their footbed. It’s durable and provides a good grip, as it has a wave-like pattern in the tread. It also adds some more shock absorption to the sandals.
The non-slip outsole can handle oil and grease as well as water. However, the rubber layer can be stiff and inflexible when walking.
High heat levels can damage the soles, so be careful where you walk with them. But one thing that gets Birkenstocks a thumbs up is that they can be resoled if the rubber wears away. That means they’re extremely durable as long as the leather is still in good condition.
Crocs are non-slip and have tread that runs in multiple directions to provide a better grip for you on both wet and dry surfaces. The outsoles are made of the same material the rest of the shoe is, so it’s waterproof.
There is a light rocker effect in the sole, which helps reduce the strain on the muscles of your feet as you walk. Thanks to the wide surface area of the outsole, the shoe is quite stable.
You should also note that Croslite material can be damaged if it comes into contact with high heat. Standing on hot surfaces could damage the sole, so be careful where you walk and how long you spend on hot surfaces.
Birkenstocks are known to be quite lightweight, with an average-sized men’s shoe weighing around 9 ounces. The equivalent Croc weighs about 7 ounces, although this shouldn’t be noticeable unless weight is very important to you.
Crocs clogs go for $50, no matter which color you choose. If you want to add Jibbitz charms, which go for $5 each and come either by themselves or in packs of up to $50, it can get a little more pricey.
Birkenstocks can sell for anything from $100 to $170, depending on the style, the upper material, and what kind of lining is in them.
Crocs come in a large range of different colors. You can get a pair in every color you like if you want to. They also have other shoe styles, including slides, slip-on, and different kinds of sandals. All styles feature Croslite foam and the classic Crocs footbed.
The leather of Birkenstock comes in a variety of shades. You can find them in black, brown, dark blue, mocha, tobacco, and stone. Their EVA sandals also come in a wide range of colors, although only a few as Crocs.
The comparison between Birkenstocks vs. Crocs shows some stark differences but some near similarities.
Crocs are great for casual wear, especially if you’re planning on spending time in watery areas like the beach, the lake, or on a boat. They may be a better choice for your feet if you want serious arch support.
It’s also worth noting that they’re APMA-approved, so they’ve got the backing of professionals in terms of being good for foot health.
Birkenstocks are the more fashionable of the two sandals. They’re adjustable, which may suit people who need a tighter fit. These sandals also have good arch support, but you should steer clear of them if you are sensitive to latex.
If you choose the right pair, you can even get away with wearing them as smart-casual footwear, depending on the environment.
In the end, it’s up to you which one you choose. Consider all features first, but this comparison should give you a good idea of which shoe will be right for you.