Birkenstock vs Teva – Which is More Comfortable, More Durable, Cheaper, More Versatile?

birkenstock-vs-teva

In today’s article, I’m going to be comparing Birkenstock vs Teva.

Teva and Birkenstocks are very popular shoe brands right now and have been for a while.

To start off, I just want to say that I own both of these sandals. I’ve owned Birkenstocks for about five or six years and I have a couple of pairs.

I recently just got a pair of Tevas a couple of months ago and I’ve been wearing and trying them out.

So, from my own perspective, I’m going to be sharing the pros and cons, price, and all that type of stuff to hopefully give you a bit more insight into what you might want to purchase.

Without further ado, let’s dive right into it…

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Birkenstock vs Teva

birkenstock-arizona

Birkenstocks have been around for a really long time since 1774 to be exact. And the name Birkenstock comes from the original creator’s family name.

Starting in 1984, Teva is a brand that makes sandals as well, and right now, they’re pretty popular as well.

Birkenstock make a lot of sandal-type shoes. They have sandals that are thick straps, thin straps, ones that go around your toe, and styles that have kind of a thong imprint that goes between your toes.

They also do make loafers, slippers, clogs, mules, etc.

teva-vs-birkenstock

Teva also make a lot of different styles. They make shoes, flip-flops, boots, hiking shoes, etc.

So, if you’re interested in this brand and you like one pair of their shoes, you actually may like a lot more of their shoes.

Let’s talk about the most important part of both shoes, the footbed…

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Footbed

Birkenstock

birkenstocks-heel

The reason that Birkenstock is so popular is because of the specific footbed that they have in their shoes.

Their footbed is made out of natural cork and latex and will actually mold around your foot. Then the top and lower layer is actually jute and suede.

birkenstock-arizona-footbed-explanied

So, when you’re wearing it and you kind of sweat in it, the footbed is going to specifically mimic the contours and shape of your own foot, which allows more support and flexibility with the shoe.

It is a shock-absorbing material that relieves pressure on your foot when you’re walking around and wearing the shoe.

This means that your feet are going to take less impact from the ground and the shoe is absorbing all that impact, again, instead of your feet.

The footbed is also lined with suede which is going to absorb moisture to keep your foot from kind of sliding around like it would on a regular plastic sandal or flip-flop.

One last note about Birkenstocks footbeds is that they offer soft footbeds and regular footbeds.

Teva

teva-upper

The Teva’s footbed is very simple but it’s soft and cushiony. It’s totally okay to walk in them, get them wet, and move around in them. Unlike Birkenstock, Teva are great outdoor shoes.

Both Birkenstock and Teva’s footbeds offer great arch support for people with fallen arches or people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis or other foot issues.

Teva soles are made of something called spider rubber which is made from recycled plastics and remnants of fabric that would have ended up in the landfill anyway.

So, Teva is really sustainable, which is really great for guys who like to reduce their carbon print.

The rubber that Tevas are made from is non-marking rubber that’s made for high friction and durability. These shoes can easily be worn in wet or dry scenarios.

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Upper

birkenstocks-straps

To make their uppers, Birkenstock use a lot of materials from genuine leather like in the Arizona leather.

And for those of you looking for animal-free materials, Birkenstocks offer styles made with Birko-Flor which is their synthetic material and even EVA like the Eva Arizona

teva-soles

Teva also use recycled, renewable (bio-based), and regenerated (plant-based) materials. In fact, 100% of all Teva iconic straps are now made from recycled polyester.

Then their leathers are sourced from Leather Working Group (‘LWG’) certified tanneries.

Sizing & Fit

Just like Birkenstocks, a lot of Teva styles are quite unisex. This means it’s no issue if you’re wearing something that’s made for a guy or made for a girl.

Birkenstock

When it comes to the fit of Birkenstocks, they are in European sizes. The sandals are quite unisex as the men’s and women’s and there is very little differentiation.

It seems that the women’s shoe is more of the narrow fit and the men’s fit is more of the wide fit, but you can still get both and you cannot tell which gender they’re for.

Birkenstocks are designed to be a little bit roomy and when you first try them on, they may fit a little bit big or you may think they fit a little bit big.

The shoes have a tiny bit of extra room if you want to wear socks.

Birkenstocks also have some great adjustable straps. So, if you find that you’re trying out the wide shoe and you adjust the straps to the tightest setting and your foot is still sliding around, you might be more suited for the narrow one.

I have wider feet and so sometimes my feet don’t fit into the sandals. But once I found Birkenstocks, I found that they really fit my foot.

Again, there’s two separate Birkenstocks in terms of widths. You can get the narrow or the wide and I tend to get the wide because I have wide feet.

That means that when the shoe forms more to my foot, nothing’s going to rub against my toes or against the side of my feet and my whole foot actually sits on the sandal properly.

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Teva

Even with my wide feet, I don’t have an issue with Tevas like overhanging or anything of that nature.

I have found that Teva now offers their Hurricane XLT 2 in two different strap widths with the 22mm straps for women and the 26mm straps for men.

Tevas also fit wide feet with no issues. You just have to tighten the straps until your foot sits securely in the shoe.

But make sure the straps are not too tight to cause any circulation issues. If you tighten the forefoot strap too tightly, then your foot might start rubbing on the buckle.

teva-heel

Overall, secure the back strap nice and tight, and then maybe just a little bit more relaxed around the toes and you should be fine. 

The strap design on Tevas is really solid because the straps are actually connected underneath your foot. So, in order to pull the straps out, you really need to rip all the way through the midsole and pull through the foam.

teva-straps

Also, the plastic buckles on the strap are really solid and I had no idea that plastic buckles could be this durable.

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Weight

Tevas are lighter than Birkenstocks. So, when you’re wearing Tevas, it doesn’t feel heavy on your foot and you get lots of breeze through.

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Break-in Period

birkenstocks-upper

Unfortunately, you really need to break your Birkenstock in before you get all the benefits of that magic Birkenstock footbed.

Out of the box, Birkenstock leathers are pretty hard and they do take a little while to break in. Then, the cork footbed is going to be flat and a pain to break in.

But once you fully break the leathers and the footbed, they’re very comfortable shoes once they have molded to your feet completely.

With Tevas, you don’t really have to break them. Some people say the straps take a couple of wears before they get really comfortable on your foot, but I personally find they were comfortable right out of the box.

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How to clean Birkenstocks & Tevas

Birkenstock

Birkenstock actually make their own cleaning kit, but I personally just take a cloth and I just wipe down the inside.

I personally don’t put soap or anything on it, but if your shoes are starting to smell, you can use baking soda or an orange peel to take the smell out, and that’s worked for me tons of times.

I really try my best not to get my Birkis wet or super dirty, but sometimes it just happens. You can get the Birkenstocks wet, but I would never recommend getting them soaking wet though.

I wouldn’t walk through a river in my Birkenstocks because I think it would ruin them and so I would just be more careful when choosing where you’re wearing your Birkenstocks.

It’s not the end of the world if they do get wet, but just let them naturally dry.

Teva

This is how I deep clean my Teva sandals.

Unfortunately, wearing your Teva in the shower or a river is not really enough to get them super clean.

You might want to do this a couple of times a year depending on how often you wear your sandals and how dirty they get.

You’ll need:

  • A bucket of soapy water with some fabric softener.
  • Baking soda.
  • Scrubbing tools.
  • Toothpicks
  • Gloves if you want.

First, identify any sand or dirt that could be trapped under the footbed and shake that out.

Next, soak your sandals face down in the bucket for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

After that, use a toothpick to get all the grime out of the footbed.

Baking soda and an old toothbrush also work really well to get that grime.

teva-outsole

Next, scrub the outsole with some soap and a scrubbing tool, and really make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies on that outsole.

I personally don’t recommend cleaning your Tevas in your dishwasher as the heat could melt the glue and separate your outsole.

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Price

Birkenstocks are quite expensive and I found they don’t often have sales that really take much off.

Compared to Birkenstocks, Tevas are far more affordable.

They do have a range of shoes on their website, and the lowest shoe that I was able to find was $20 up to about $150.

So, if you’re looking for different types of shoes, there’s giant price ranges, and they also offer 10% off when you sign up for emails. Not only that but there are sales at lots of the stores that they’re sold in.

You can check current prices here:

Birkenstock

Teva

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Firecamp Test

A lot of people wear Tevas as hiking or camp sandals and then at the end of the day, you’re sitting by the campfire to warm your toes.

The next thing you know you feel the heat penetrating through your shoe and you realize the bottom of your shoes has melted.

We took our propane torch, set it 6″ away from the outsole, and lit it up until the sandals started melting at 835°, which is quite impressive.

To summarize what we talked about, let me give you some pros and cons of Birkenstock and Teva shoes… 

Pros

For the pros, Birkenstocks are very comfortable. Like I’ve stated many times, they’re intended to mold around your foot and they will continue to do so the more you wear them.

The second thing is that they do have lots of styles and color variations although the styles are similar.

They do have a lot of colors and prints.

The other thing I love about Birkenstocks is that they’re very easy to slide on and go, and you can also wear socks with them if that’s a look that you enjoy.

Tevas are inexpensive and offer discounts and a very nice range and price depending on what you’re looking for.

The second thing is that they are waterproof and water durable.

The other thing is that they come in a ton of different colors and patterns and there’s lots of varieties.

The fourth positive is that the rubber is very soft and very cushiony, which makes them really comfortable to wear around.

That being said, it’s not all unicorn dreams and malt shakes. There are a couple of things that I don’t care much about Birkenstocks and Tevas…

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Cons

For Birkenstocks, the cons begin with the fact that they are quite expensive and that they really don’t have that many sales on their shoes at any stores.

The other thing is that Birkenstock shoes are not comfortable until you do fully break them in.

So, to get to that comfort level, you do have to wear them for quite a long time. I would say mine took at least a couple of weeks to a month to break them in and make me feel like they’re really comfortable and some people don’t have time for that.

So, I would never say to go buy these right before a trip and try to wear them because they’re probably going to cause you blisters.

While Tevas are more comfortable and less expensive than Birkenstocks, sometimes they don’t last as long.

I personally haven’t experienced that because I haven’t had my Tevas for very long, but some people say that if you are using them pretty hard in the water and outside, they don’t last as long as different shoes that are a little bit more expensive.

The second thing is that because it is a Velcro strap, sometimes that means your foot can slide around a little bit in the shoe because there’s nothing holding the sides of your feet, especially when the shoe is wet.

Verdict

Now in this Birkenstock vs Teva shoe battle, which one wins?

It’s hard to say which is best for somebody, but hopefully, some of the things I’ve spoken about have shown you what you may be a little bit more or less interested in.

teva-upper

But if I had to do any recommendations, I would say go with the Teva if you want something a little bit more inexpensive, lighter, and more durable in the fact that they are waterproof.

Tevas are also really versatile and you can actually wear them around town, hiking, or doing some water activities. Plus, their footbeds are really easy to break in.

birkenstocks-upper

Go with Birkenstocks if you are looking for something that’s a little bit more trendy and you can dress it up a little bit more.

Although they are a bit more expensive, if you take care of your Birkis, they’re going to last.

Overall, I think that both Tevas and Birkenstocks are great sandals and they both have their pros and cons, which is why I personally own them both.

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in either shoe.

If you’re going to get them online, I’d still recommend you try them on or make sure to follow the sizing guidelines. Then, make sure that you can return or exchange your shoes easily from wherever you buy them.

Again, hopefully, this Birkenstock vs Teva has given you a little bit of insight on both of the sandals and you learned something.

I hope that you try either of them out and you find a new pair of sandals that you love. Or, if you already own one or the other, make sure to comment down below as to why you love them and which one you own.

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