10 Ways to Quickly Break in Birkenstock Sandals

Looking for ways to quickly break in Birkenstock sandals or a Birkenstock alternative? They’re known as some of the most comfortable and supportive shoes, but they seem to take a while to break in properly before they get to that point.

We’ve put together a few tricks that can help you get your Birkenstocks comfortable as quickly as possible. Some of these methods may cause permanent changes to the structure of your shoes, so consider them carefully before choosing what to do!

What Are Birkenstocks?

Birkenstocks are a well-known brand of sandals that have a unique footbed. It’s made from cork and latex—so it may not be suitable for those with a latex allergy—and it contours to your foot the more you wear it.

Why Do I Need to Break in Birkenstock Sandals?

Birkenstock sandals tend not to be ready to wear right out of the box. When you put them on your feet for the first few times, they will most likely cause pain and discomfort.

This doesn’t mean that they are the wrong shoes for you. It means that the footbed has not yet molded to your foot shape. You will need to take some time to break in your Birkenstock sandals, but it’s worth it when they contour perfectly to your feet!

How Long Does It Take To Break in Birkenstocks?

It can take up to 3 weeks to break in a pair of Birkenstock sandals. You will need to give the footbed time to soften up and contour to the curves in your foot, which will happen through consistent exposure to your body weight as your feet sink into the footbed.

The longer you wear your Birkenstocks, the more comfortable they will become as the footbed continues to fit itself to your feet.

But you will need to be patient in the beginning and don’t expect them to be broken in within a few days.

Steps to Break in a New Pair of Birkenstocks

1. Buy the Right Size

If you choose the wrong size Birkenstocks, they may never break in properly as the footbed won’t mold to your foot correctly.

Birkenstock has a useful fitting guide on their website, which helps you choose the right size shoe.

Your foot should fit comfortably into the sandal’s footbed with space around the edges and no part of your foot going over the edge.

2. Wear Them Longer Each Day

You should wear your Birkenstocks for around 30 to 45 minutes for the first few days. If they start to hurt, you should take them off sooner.

Every day, you can add 10 or 15 minutes to the time you wear them, as long as your feet don’t hurt.

Continue to wear them for longer every day until you can wear them continuously and you don’t notice any pain.

3. Use a Thick Pair of Socks

You can wear a thick pair of socks for the first few times you wear your Birkenstocks. This will help cushion the feet and make the shoes slightly more comfortable.

However, you should remove the socks after a few days to get a proper feel for wearing the Birkenstock sandals with your bare feet on the footbed.

4. Try Soaking in Water

If you don’t mind getting your shoes wet, you can try this trick. Soak your Birkenstock sandals in water for about 30 minutes. Then, wear a pair of thick socks with your Birkenstock sandals for several hours.

As the water softens the latex rubber in the shoe, the footbed will mold more easily to your foot and dry in that shape.

You should repeat this for several days until the footbed of the Birkenstocks feel like it’s more molded to your foot.

You should also only do this if you will be wearing the shoes outdoors. Don’t try to wear soaking wet sandals indoors, and be careful of slipping on smooth surfaces!

5. Use a Mallet on the Toe Bar

If the toe bar of the sandal is where your shoes feel stiffer, you can use a hammer or a mallet to loosen up the cork and reduce the stiffness in the toe bar.

This can help to create a better fit on your foot. However, be cautious when using this method as you don’t want to damage your shoes too much.

6. Add Extra Holes to the Straps

If you have Birkenstocks that don’t strap down tightly enough or can’t loosen enough, you can create your own holes on the straps in the right places to tighten the right amount for you.

You can use a knife to make a small hole in the right place and then use something like a screwdriver to create a round hole. Be very careful when doing this, as one slip of the knife or screwdriver could have you in the ER!

Also, you should make sure the position of the hole you’re making is exact before you make it to avoid mistakes and unnecessary holes in your uppers.

7. Sand Down the Straps

If your Birkenstocks’ straps are rubbing against the top of your foot and causing discomfort or pain, you can fix the problem by sanding down the strap to a smooth surface.

Use fine grit sandpaper, not a very rough one. Sand the underside of the strap lightly. Try it on again and see if it feels better.

You should sand very lightly and try the sandal repeatedly before settling on it. Don’t sand too hard on your first go, or you might sand it down too much and cause irreparable damage.

8. Wear Moleskin

Moleskin is a soft material that can help to reduce chafing. You can buy moleskin padding and cut it to the right size and shape for your feet. Then place it on the parts of your feet where the sandals are chafing, and it should provide some relief.

You should place it in areas where you are prone to blisters to be less at risk of developing them.

9. Soft Footbed Birkenstocks

You can get Birkenstock sandals with softer footbeds than the regular footbeds. If you have struggled to break in Birkenstock sandals quickly, you may want to try a softer footbed, which may help you feel more comfortable.

You may still have to do some of these tricks for breaking in the shoes, but they should be easier to break in and not take as long.

10. Use Rubbing Alcohol

Like the water soaking trick, you can try spraying rubbing alcohol on the upper of the shoe until it’s soaked and then wearing the sandals with thick socks for a few hours.

This will allow the upper to mold more precisely to your feet and can help to create a better fit.

You should continue to do this for 5 to 10 days for the best results. However, you should note that repeated use of rubbing alcohol may cause the leather to deteriorate and cause discoloration of your skin.

You should only try this if nothing else has worked!