Birkenstock vs. Teva – The Great Sandal Debate! – Which One Walks the Talk?


In this updated comparison, I’m going to be comparing Birkenstock vs Teva in 2023.

When it comes to comfortable and versatile footwear, Birkenstock and Teva are two prominent brands that often come to mind. Both have carved out their unique niches in the world of sandals, offering distinctive styles and features.

To help you make an informed decision, I’m going to be talking about:

  • Comfort
  • Style
  • Durability
  • Price
  • Use case
  • Pros
  • Cons

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


Birkenstock vs Teva

Let’s start talking about the most important part of both shoes, comfort…

Which brand is more comfortable?


Birkenstock is renowned for its contoured cork footbed with arch support, designed to mold to your foot shape over time. This provides excellent comfort, especially for those looking for sandals for their plantar fasciitis.


Teva sandals typically feature cushioned insoles and EVA midsoles, which offer a comfortable and cushioned walking experience. While they may not have the same foot-conforming properties as Birkenstock, they are still comfortable for extended wear.

Comfort is subjective and can vary from person to person. Both Birkenstock and Teva offer comfortable footwear, but the level of comfort depends on individual preferences, foot shape, and the specific model of each brand.

Some people may find Birkenstock’s contoured footbed and arch support more comfortable, while others may prefer Teva’s cushioning and adjustable straps. It’s recommended to try on both brands and styles to determine which one feels more comfortable for your unique needs.

But here’s a factor that determines which brand is more comfortable right out of the box – the break-in period…


Break-in Period


The break-in period for Birkenstock and Teva sandals significantly impacts comfort…

Birkenstocks typically require a longer break-in period as the cork footbed gradually molds to the shape of your feet, which can take a few days to a couple of weeks of wear to achieve optimal comfort.

So unfortunately, you really need to break your Birkenstock in before you get all the benefits of that magic Birkenstock footbed. During the break-in period, you may experience initial discomfort due to the firmness of the footbed.

Also, Birkenstock leathers are pretty hard and they do take a little while 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.

On the other hand, Teva sandals, particularly those with cushioned insoles and adjustable straps, often require a very short to no break-in period. They tend to offer immediate comfort and flexibility right out of the box.

Some straps might 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.

So, if you prefer the customized support of Birkenstocks, you have to be patient until your sandals break in. If, on the other hand, want to enjoy the quicker comfort of your sandals, then Teva sandals are your go-to option.

Let’s dissect the footbeds even more…





The footbed is a hallmark of Birkenstock’s popularity, comfort, and support.


It consists of several layers, each designed with specific purposes in mind. Let’s start from the ground up…

At the base is the shock-absorbing EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) sole, which provides cushioning and stability.

Above this is a jute layer, which is natural and flexible, helping to maintain the shape of the footbed and provide additional support.

Next comes the cork-latex footbed, which is the heart of Birkenstock’s comfort. It’s made from a blend of sustainable cork and natural latex, forming a contoured shape that conforms to your feet over time. This contouring is key to the customized support Birkenstocks are known for.

Finally, the footbed is lined with a layer of soft suede or leather for comfort against the skin. The suede 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.

So, when you’re wearing it and you kind of sweat in it, the footbed will specifically mimic the contours and shape of your foot, allowing 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.

All in all, this multi-layered construction, along with the careful selection of materials, contributes to the exceptional comfort and durability of Birkenstock’s iconic footbed.

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



Teva’s footbeds are designed for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers, emphasizing durability and versatility. Their footbeds are very simple yet soft and cushiony.

While they offer various styles, their classic footbed is often made of EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate), a lightweight and cushioning material known for its shock-absorbing properties.

Teva’s footbeds are usually contoured to provide arch support, and some models feature additional cushioning in the heel and forefoot for added comfort during long walks or hikes.

The footbeds are typically treated to resist water and are quick-drying, making them suitable for water-based activities.

One of Teva’s standout features is its adjustable straps, which allow for a personalized fit and secure hold on the foot.

While not as customized as Birkenstock’s cork-latex footbeds, Teva’s footbeds are designed to deliver reliable comfort and support in various outdoor environments, making them a popular choice for active individuals.

So unlike Birkenstock, Tevas are great outdoor shoes.

Again, both Birkenstock and Teva’s footbeds offer great arch support for people with fallen arches or plantar fasciitis.

Next up, who are these shoes intended for?

Use Case

Birkenstock sandals are renowned for their comfort and support, making them an excellent choice for casual everyday wear and activities that involve a lot of walking or standing.

Their contoured cork-latex footbed provides arch support and molds to the shape of your feet over time, which is especially beneficial for people with foot conditions or those who prioritize comfort.

Birkenstocks are often chosen as a stylish yet comfortable option for urban settings, such as walking around the city, running errands, or even for casual office wear, depending on the workplace’s dress code.

Teva is designed with adventure and outdoor activities in mind. Their sandals are built to withstand rugged conditions and provide the necessary support and grip for activities like hiking, camping, water sports, and trail walking.

Teva’s focus on durability, adjustable straps for secure fit, and quick-drying materials make them an excellent choice for those who lead an active lifestyle and need footwear that can handle the challenges of various terrains and conditions.

While Teva sandals can certainly be worn casually, their primary use case is geared towards outdoor and recreational pursuits where stability and durability are paramount.

What about the uppers?


Birkenstock and Teva utilize different upper materials in their footwear designs, catering to distinct preferences and use cases.



They typically employ natural materials such as suede and leather for their upper straps and uppers, along with synthetic options for some models.

These materials offer a premium and timeless look, providing comfort and breathability.

However, it’s essential to note that some synthetic Birkenstock models, like the Arizona EVA sandals, use lightweight and waterproof animal-free materials that are more suitable for water activities.



For the upper and the straps, Teva uses recycled, renewable (bio-based), and regenerated (plant-based) materials. In fact, 100% of all Teva iconic straps are now made from recycled polyester. Their leathers are sourced from Leather Working Group (‘LWG’) certified tanneries.

These materials are chosen for their quick-drying properties.

While not as luxurious as leather or suede, Teva’s synthetic uppers are highly functional, providing excellent durability and flexibility, and are often adjustable for a secure and personalized fit.

Ultimately, the choice between Birkenstock and Teva upper materials depends on your intended use and style preferences, with Birkenstock offering a more classic and natural aesthetic and Teva focusing on performance and outdoor readiness.



Birkenstock is renowned for its classic, timeless designs. They have sandals that are thick straps, thin straps, and styles that have kind of a thong imprint that goes between your toes. They also do make loafers, slippers, clogs, mules, etc.

Their iconic Arizona and Gizeh models feature two adjustable straps and a simple, unembellished appearance.

These sandals are popular for their minimalist aesthetic, making them versatile for both casual and more formal occasions.

Birkenstock also offers a variety of materials and colors, from traditional leather to more contemporary synthetic options, allowing wearers to choose a style that suits their personal preferences.

Teva is known for its sportier and adventure-ready styles. Their sandals come in a range of vibrant colors and patterns, appealing to those who appreciate a more active and vibrant look.

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

While Teva’s designs may not be as sleek or formal as Birkenstock’s, they excel in providing the comfort and functionality needed for those who prioritize outdoor adventures and versatility in their footwear.



While Teva may not offer the same level of footbed contour customization as Birkenstock, its adjustability factor is a significant advantage for those who prioritize a personalized fit.

Birkenstock offers a certain level of customization through its adjustable straps on select models. While the cork-latex footbed itself will conform to the shape of your feet over time, some Birkenstock sandals come with adjustable straps or buckles that allow you to fine-tune the fit to your liking.

This feature enables wearers to secure the sandals firmly and comfortably, accommodating a range of foot shapes and sizes. However, the extent of customization in terms of foot support is limited to the natural molding process of the cork-latex footbed, which adjusts to your individual foot contours.

Teva sandals are known for their extensive customization options, particularly in terms of fit. Many Teva models feature hook-and-loop straps or buckles that allow wearers to adjust the fit at multiple points, providing a high level of adaptability for different foot shapes and sizes.

This customization is especially valuable for those who require precise adjustments for optimal comfort and security during outdoor activities.

Teva’s primary focus is on performance and functionality, so their sandals often come with features that allow wearers to adapt the fit to their specific needs.

Overall, while Teva may not offer the same level of footbed contour customization as Birkenstock, their adjustability factor is a significant advantage for those who prioritize a personalized fit.

Sizing & Fit

Birkenstocks and Teva sandals typically come in a range of sizes to accommodate various foot shapes and lengths. Plus, a lot of Teva styles are quite unisex, which means it’s no issue if you’re wearing something that’s made for a guy or made for a girl.


When it comes to finding the ideal fit with Birkenstocks, you’re in for a treat. They offer an extensive range of sizes, catering to both regular and narrow widths, ensuring that everyone can enjoy a personalized fit.

One thing to keep in mind is that Birkenstock uses European sizing. This means you might need to do a quick conversion from your usual US or UK size. But don’t worry; it’s a small step toward absolute comfort.

The key to achieving the perfect fit with Birkenstocks is often allowing some time for the cork footbed to mold to the contours of your feet through wear. It’s this molding process that promises maximum comfort down the road.


In terms of width, if you find yourself adjusting the straps to their tightest setting and your foot is still swimming inside, you might want to consider the narrow width option.

Here’s a curious tidbit: Gender doesn’t necessarily dictate the width of your Birkenstocks. But in my experience, women’s sizes tend to lean towards the narrow fit, while men’s sizes gravitate towards wider options. But, guess what? You can rock either, and the best part is, no one can tell which gender they’re designed for.

To sum it up, Birkenstocks typically come with a roomy feel, and during your initial try-on, they might seem a tad big. But that’s by design. This extra room comes in handy if you’re thinking of wearing socks with your Birkenstocks.

So, whether you have narrow or wide feet, Birkenstock has got you covered with their separate width options. Personally, I opt for the wide fit due to my wider feet, and the comfort is unbeatable.”



Teva sandals, like Birkenstocks, come in various sizes to accommodate a wide range of wearers. Their sizing typically adheres to standard US or UK conventions, simplifying the process of identifying your correct size.

One of Teva’s standout features is its commitment to adjustability. They offer sandals equipped with hook-and-loop straps and buckles, putting you in the driver’s seat when it comes to customizing your fit. Even if, like me, you have wider feet, rest assured – Tevas are designed to ensure that there’s no overhang or discomfort.

Teva has taken it a step further by offering the Hurricane XLT 2 with two distinct strap widths: 22mm for women and 26mm for men. This thoughtful approach ensures that you can find the perfect fit that suits your individual needs.

Speaking of accommodating different foot shapes and widths, Teva’s strap system is nothing short of impressive. These straps are ingeniously connected underneath your foot, providing unparalleled adjustability. The plastic buckles, too, surprised me with their durability. They’re sturdy and can withstand wear and tear exceptionally well.

While Teva’s sizing and strap system offer great flexibility, it’s always a good idea to consult their sizing guides or try on the sandals if possible. After all, individual preferences and foot sizes can vary, so taking that extra step to ensure a comfortable fit is well worth it.





Birkenstock sandals are renowned for their longevity, primarily due to the high-quality materials used in their construction. The cork-latex footbed, which molds to the shape of the wearer’s feet over time, not only enhances comfort but also contributes to the overall durability of the sandals.

Additionally, Birkenstock often uses premium leather or synthetic materials for their uppers, which are well-crafted and can withstand regular wear.

With proper care and occasional resoling, Birkenstock sandals can last for many years, making them a sustainable and cost-effective choice for consumers.

Teva sandals are also designed with durability in mind, especially for outdoor enthusiasts. They use rugged materials like nylon webbing, polyester, and rubber for their uppers and outsoles, which are built to withstand the demands of various outdoor activities, from hiking to water sports.

Teva’s focus on adventure-ready footwear means that their sandals are often subjected to tough conditions, and they are engineered to hold up well over time.

However, like any footwear, the lifespan of Teva sandals depends on the level of wear and tear they endure, so proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure their durability.

Overall, both Birkenstock and Teva offer durable options, but the durability crown goes to Birkenstock.

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.

What if you’re going to wear your sandals while sitting by the campfire? That’s next…



Generally, Birkenstock sandals tend to be at a higher price point compared to Teva sandals.

Birkenstock is often associated with premium quality, craftsmanship, and the use of natural materials like cork and leather, which can drive up the cost of their footwear.

While Birkenstock offers a range of models at different price levels, their classic and most popular styles are typically more expensive.

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.

On the other hand, Teva focuses on offering durable, versatile, and adventure-ready sandals at a more affordable price range.

They use synthetic materials like nylon webbing, which can be less costly than the natural materials favored by Birkenstock.

Overall, the price difference reflects the varying materials, construction, and target markets of the two brands, allowing consumers to choose between them based on their budget and specific needs.

You can check current prices here:


How to clean Birkenstocks & Tevas

When it comes to keeping your Birkenstocks and Tevas looking pristine, you’ve got a few options…


While Birkenstock offers its own cleaning kit, I’ve found that a simple cloth can work wonders for a quick wipe-down. I personally steer clear of using soap or harsh chemicals, but if your sandals start to carry an unwelcome odor, there are some natural remedies to the rescue.

Baking soda or even the zest of an orange peel can help eliminate any unwanted smells – a trick that’s saved my sandals more times than I can count.

Now, let’s talk about water. While I make every effort to keep my Birkis dry and dirt-free, sometimes life has other plans. While Birkenstocks can handle some moisture, I wouldn’t recommend subjecting them to a full-on soaking.

If you’re planning a river expedition, it’s best to leave your Birkenstocks at home and grab your Tevas instead.

However, if your sandals do happen to get wet, don’t fret. Simply let them air dry naturally, and they should bounce back. After all, a little adventure is part of what makes these sandals so special.


While your Tevas are built for adventure, sometimes a simple rinse in the shower or river just won’t cut it when it comes to keeping them squeaky clean. So, let’s dive into a deep cleaning routine that’ll have your Tevas looking and feeling their best.

The frequency of this deep clean depends on how often you wear your Tevas and the level of dirt they encounter, but a good rule of thumb is to aim for a couple of times a year.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A bucket of soapy water with a dash of fabric softener.
  • Baking soda.
  • Scrubbing tools.
  • Toothpicks.
  • Optional: Gloves for added protection.

Start by shaking out any trapped sand or dirt from under the footbed. Then, immerse your sandals face down in the soapy water bath, leaving them to soak for about 30 minutes to an hour.

Once they’ve had their bath, use a toothpick to meticulously remove any stubborn grime from the footbed. Baking soda and an old toothbrush can also be your allies in this battle against dirt.

Moving on to the outsole, scrub it thoroughly with soap and a suitable scrubbing tool, ensuring you get into all those nooks and crannies.


A quick note of caution: I’d advise against cleaning your Tevas in the dishwasher, as the heat could potentially damage the glue and lead to separation of the outsole. Keep it manual for the best results and longevity of your beloved Tevas.”



Let’s uncover the highlights of both Birkenstocks and Tevas, starting with Birkenstocks:

First and foremost, Birkenstocks are all about comfort. As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, they’re designed to adapt to your unique foot shape and become even comfier the more you wear them.

What’s more, the range of styles and color options in the Birkenstock lineup is pretty impressive. Although the designs might share some similarities, you’ll find a plethora of colors and prints to suit your style.

Another aspect I adore about Birkenstocks is their sheer convenience. They’re a breeze to slip on and off, and if you’re into the sock-and-sandal combo, Birkenstocks are here for that too.

Now, onto the Tevas:

One of the most enticing aspects of Tevas is their affordability. They won’t break the bank, and you can often find discounts and a diverse price range to match your budget.

Secondly, Tevas are champions in the water. They’re waterproof and built to withstand all kinds of aquatic adventures, making them a top pick for water lovers.

When it comes to style, Tevas don’t disappoint either. They offer an extensive array of colors, patterns, and styles, ensuring there’s a perfect pair to match your personal taste.

Lastly, Tevas boast a plush, cushiony feel thanks to their soft rubber soles. This makes them a delight to wear, whether you’re tackling trails or just strolling around town.

However, before we get lost in the world of sandal bliss, there are a few aspects of both Birkenstocks and Tevas that don’t quite make it to the fairy tale ending…



When it comes to Birkenstocks, one of the initial drawbacks is the price point. These sandals tend to be on the higher end of the cost spectrum, and sales on them are somewhat rare.

Another thing to consider is that they might not feel like clouds on your feet right out of the box. Breaking them in is key to achieving that coveted comfort level.

It took me a couple of weeks to a month of regular wear to make them feel like a dream, and let’s face it, not everyone has that kind of time. So, I’d advise against grabbing a fresh pair right before a big trip – they might just end up giving you blisters.

Now, on to Tevas. While they do offer a more budget-friendly and comfy alternative to Birkenstocks, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Some folks have mentioned that Tevas may not hold up as long, especially if you’re really putting them through the paces with water activities and outdoor adventures.

Additionally, because of the Velcro straps, your foot might shift a bit in the shoe, especially when they get wet. So, be prepared for a slightly different feel compared to the secure fit of Birkenstocks.


Now, as we delve into this Birkenstock vs. Teva shoe showdown, it’s important to remember that there’s no definitive winner here. Your choice should align with your preferences and needs, which we’ve discussed in detail.

If budget-friendliness, lightweight design, and waterproof capabilities are your priorities, Teva is the way to go. Teva sandals offer versatility, making them suitable for everything from urban strolls to hiking and water-based activities. Plus, they break in comfortably.



On the other hand, if you’re aiming for a more fashionable option that can be dressed up, Birkenstock is the top pick. While they come with a slightly higher price tag, Birkenstock sandals are known for their longevity when cared for properly.

In conclusion, both Tevas and Birkenstocks have their merits and drawbacks, which is why many folks, like myself, own both. You’re unlikely to be disappointed with either choice.

If you’re purchasing online, be sure to follow sizing guidelines and confirm easy return or exchange options.

And before we wrap things up, let’s explore a brief history of both of these iconic companies…


Birkenstock: A Legacy of Comfort and Craftsmanship

Birkenstock, founded in 1774 in Germany by Johann Adam Birkenstock, has a storied history deeply rooted in the pursuit of comfort and orthopedic innovation.

Initially, the company gained recognition for crafting flexible and contoured insoles designed to alleviate foot discomfort. However, it was in 1964 that Birkenstock revolutionized the footwear industry with the introduction of the Arizona sandal, featuring a distinctive anatomically shaped cork-latex footbed that cradled the foot’s natural arches.

This innovation not only marked the birth of the iconic Birkenstock design but also set the standard for comfort in the world of sandals.

Over the centuries, Birkenstock’s commitment to quality materials and craftsmanship has made it a symbol of timeless, minimalist style and enduring comfort, adored by fashion enthusiasts and individuals seeking relief from foot-related ailments alike.

Teva: Embracing Adventure and Outdoor Exploration

Teva, a comparatively younger brand, was founded in 1984 by a Colorado River guide named Mark Thatcher. Inspired by the need for a practical and secure sandal suitable for water sports, Teva introduced the first-ever sport sandal with adjustable Velcro straps.

This innovation allowed wearers to confidently navigate water and rough terrain, making Teva sandals a hit among outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and adventurers.

Over the years, Teva expanded its product line to include various styles, from the classic Hurricane XLT to hybrid hiking sandals, all maintaining a sporty and functional aesthetic.

The brand’s enduring appeal lies in its dedication to durability, traction, and versatility, making Teva a symbol of rugged outdoor footwear trusted by those who crave both comfort and adventure.



Birkenstock sandals are celebrated for their enduring, classic designs, exuding a timeless and minimalist charm with a touch of natural earthiness.

Their lineup boasts a range of styles, including the ever-popular Arizona and Gizeh models, frequently adorned with neutral hues and leather straps for a versatile and understated appeal.

In contrast, Teva sandals offer a sportier and outdoorsy aesthetic. You can easily spot them by their adjustable nylon webbing straps, which are not only practical but also come in vibrant, eye-catching color options.

Teva’s distinctive look caters to adventure seekers and those who relish outdoor escapades, making them the go-to choice for active enthusiasts.


Birkenstock has gained fame for its unique contoured cork footbed, which provides essential arch support and gradually molds to your feet over time.

This remarkable feature translates into outstanding comfort, making Birkenstocks an excellent choice, particularly for individuals dealing with foot issues such as plantar fasciitis.

Teva sandals often come equipped with cushioned insoles and EVA midsoles, offering a plush and comfortable walking experience. While they may not match the precise foot-conforming qualities of Birkenstock, they still provide superb comfort for those extended hours of wear, ensuring your feet remain content throughout your adventures.


In terms of durability, Birkenstock sandals have earned their reputation. Their cork footbed, given the right care, can stand the test of time, lasting for years. Additionally, the leather straps are crafted to endure regular wear and tear gracefully.

Teva sandals share a similar commitment to longevity. With robust materials and well-engineered soles, they’re tailored for demanding outdoor adventures. If you’re seeking dependable and rugged footwear, Teva is a trusty choice designed to withstand the rigors of various activities.


In the world of sandals, Birkenstocks typically come with a higher price tag, reflecting the use of top-notch materials and expert craftsmanship in their construction.

On the other hand, Teva sandals offer a more wallet-friendly option. They deliver quality and style without straining your budget, making them an excellent choice for those seeking affordability without compromising on quality.

Use Case

Birkenstock sandals are perfect for casual wear and everyday wear and can make a fashion statement. They’re super comfy for long walks.

Teva sandals are made for outdoor fun like water sports and hiking. They’ve got great traction and are awesome for active adventures.


While Birkenstock sandals come in various styles, their customization options are somewhat limited compared to Teva.

Teva allows for more customization with adjustable straps, allowing wearers to achieve a more personalized fit.

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

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, leave a comment down below as to why you love them.

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

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