Haflinger vs Birkenstock – Clash of Two Giants

haflinger-vs-birkenstock

In today’s comparison, we’re going to put Haflinger vs Birkenstock. 

Birkenstock and Haflinger are both well-known footwear brands, each with its unique features and characteristics.

Let’s delve into a super detailed comparison of these two brands and help you determine which one’s better for you.

Here’s two interesting comparisons: Birkenstock vs Teva and Birkenstock vs Mephisto. Make sure you check them out as well.

And if you have heel pain, the Birkenstock Arizona is one of these great sandals for plantar fasciitis.

Now, let’s dive right into it…

Haflinger vs Birkenstock

 BirkenstockHaflinger
FootbedCork and latex (firm)Cork and latex (soft) 
WeightHeavyweightLightweight
Arch SupportHighModerate to High
MaterialsLeather, Birko-Flor,
Birko-Flor Patent, Canvas,
Wool Felt, Synthetic,
Cork, Latex, EVA
Wool Felt, Leather, Synthetic,
Cork, Latex
PriceVaries ($60 – $160+)Varies ($50 – $150+)
OutsoleEVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate)Rubber or Latex
DurabilityHighAverage
Shock AbsorptionGoodAverage
StylesSandals, things, clogs, sneakers,
boots
Slippers, sandals, thongs
clogs, sneakers, felt boots
ComfortHighGood

If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick comparison and which shoe company is better for you…

Both Birkenstock and Haflinger are well-known brands that offer high-quality footwear.

The better choice between the two depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the purpose for which you’ll be using the shoes.

But I can provide you with some information to help you make a decision between Birkenstock and Haflinger shoes…

Why choose Birkenstock

In short, if you’re looking for excellent arch support and durability, Birkenstock could be the better choice.

Here’s why people choose Birkenstock shoes…

Handmade Craftsmanship. Birkenstock sandals are renowned for their exceptional handmade craftsmanship. Each pair is meticulously crafted by skilled artisans who pay meticulous attention to detail, ensuring the utmost quality and comfort.

Support. Birkenstock’s signature contoured footbed, made of cork and latex, is designed to provide excellent arch support. This feature is particularly appealing to individuals who suffer from foot conditions like Plantar Fasciitis or who seek added comfort during prolonged standing or walking.

Repair. The ability to have your Birkenstocks resoled is practical and eco-friendly. So, once the outsole starts to show significant wear and tear, take them to an authorized cobbler and bring your favorite Birkis back to life.

Resoling is less expensive than buying a brand-new pair of Birkenstocks, making it a cost-effective option for those who wish to prolong the life of their sandals.

Style and Fashion. Birkenstock offers a wide range of stylish designs, including their classic two-strap Arizona, which has become iconic and fashionable footwear. They have also expanded their product line to include various trendy and modern styles suitable for different occasions.

Popularity. Birkenstock has been a well-established and popular brand for decades, known for its high-quality materials and craftsmanship. Many people trust the brand due to its long-standing reputation in the footwear industry.

Availability. Depending on the region, Birkenstock may be more widely available in stores or online, making it easier for people to find and purchase their desired style.

Related:

Why choose Haflinger

In short, if you prefer cozy, breathable, and woolen shoes, Haflinger might be the brand for you.

Here’s why people choose Haflinger shoes…

Coziness. Haflinger is well-known for its boiled wool slippers and clogs, which offer a cozy and comfortable feel on the feet. The natural wool material provides warmth and breathability, making their shoes ideal for cooler weather or indoor wear.

Support. While Birkenstock is famous for its contoured footbed, Haflinger also incorporates anatomical footbed designs with good arch support. Some people might find Haflinger’s footbed more suitable for their feet.

Unique Style. Haflinger offers a distinctive style with its woolen slippers and clogs that stand out from the typical sandal designs associated with Birkenstock. The traditional and natural look of Haflinger shoes appeals to individuals who prefer a more rustic or classic aesthetic.

Indoor Wear. Haflinger’s wool slippers and clogs are primarily designed for indoor use, providing comfort and warmth when walking around the house. People who prioritize cozy and practical indoor footwear might prefer Haflinger for this purpose.

Limited Editions. Haflinger occasionally offers limited edition slippers with unique designs and patterns. For people interested in art-inspired or artistic footwear, these limited editions can be a significant draw.

Handmade Craftsmanship. Haflinger shoes are often handmade, which can be appealing to those who appreciate artisanal craftsmanship and the attention to detail that comes with it.

Ultimately, the choice between Haflinger and Birkenstock depends on individual preferences, comfort needs, and style preferences. Both brands have their unique features and strengths, so it’s essential to consider what matters most to you in a pair of shoes.

Let’s talk about their footbeds…

Footbeds

Birkenstock

birkenstock-arizona-footbed-explanied

Birkenstock‘s contoured footbed is a hallmark of the brand and a key reason for its popularity. Made primarily from cork and latex, the footbed mimics the shape of your foot and provides a balance of firmness, cushioning, and natural shock absorption.

It features an anatomically shaped design, with a pronounced arch support, deep heel cup, and spacious toe box for better weight distribution and natural foot alignment, which helps reduce strain on the feet, legs, and back during walking and standing.

The footbed is covered with suede leather, offering a soft and comfortable surface against the skin. Over time, the cork footbed molds to your foot, creating a personalized fit that enhances comfort and support.

But how is the Birkenstock footbed constructed?

The base layer is made of natural cork, providing firmness, durability, and flexibility. Then, there’s a thin layer of jute (natural plant fiber) placed between the cork and the footbed’s suede lining, adding extra strength and flexibility. The top layer of the footbed is covered with soft suede, which adds a comfortable and cozy feel against your skin.

Here’s our comparison of the Birkenstock Soft Footbed vs. Regular.

Haflinger

Haflinger is also known for its contoured footbed design, which primarily incorporates wool felt to create a supportive and comfortable environment for your feet.

While it may not have the same anatomical design as Birkenstock, it still offers good arch support and cushioning.

How is the Haflinger footbed constructed?

Haflinger typically uses a latex foam footbed as the base. Latex foam offers cushioning, contouring to the foot’s shape, and good shock absorption.

Their footbed often includes a layer of natural materials such as wool or cork, providing additional comfort and moisture-wicking properties.

Overall, this latex foam footbed delivers a soft cushioning effect while still offering adequate arch support and stability.

So which one is better?

Again, the Birkenstock footbed takes some time to fully break in. But once it’s fully broken in, the comfort and support it provides is far better than what the Haflinger footbed provides. 

Comfort

Birkenstock sandals are renowned for their exceptional comfort, especially after the break-in period. This footbed is designed to conform to the contours of your foot, distributing body weight evenly and promoting natural foot alignment.

This construction also provides natural shock absorption, reducing the impact on joints and muscles during walking and standing, which enhances comfort, especially for people who spend long hours on their feet.

The problem with Birkenstock’s footbeds is that the break-in periods might take some time and the process is often uncomfortable.  

Haflinger’s comfort primarily comes from boiled wool. Boiled wool is soft, lightweight, and has natural temperature-regulating properties, keeping your feet warm in cold weather and cool in warmer climates.

Boiled wool is highly breathable, wicking away moisture from the feet, which helps prevent discomfort caused by sweat and odors.

Haflinger’s boiled wool slippers are particularly favored for indoor use, offering a cozy and comfortable experience at home.

Related:

Arch Support

Birkenstock and Haflinger both offer arch support in their footwear, but the level and design of support differ between the two brands.

Birkenstock shoes are renowned for their exceptional arch support, which is a central aspect of their footwear design. The footbed features a pronounced arch support that helps in maintaining proper foot alignment and distributing body weight evenly.

birkenstock-footbed-and-arch-support

birkenstock-footbed-characteristics birkenstock-footbed-features

Again, 

  • Birkenstock’s pronounced and well-defined arch support helps relieve stress on the plantar fascia and reduces foot fatigue
  • The deep heel cup provides stability and enhances natural foot positioning
  • The footbed’s design aims to promote overall comfort

However, the footbed needs to be fully broken in before it mimics the shape of your foot and provide you with that personalized fit.

Haflinger shoes, particularly their boiled wool styles, offer a decent level of arch support, although it may not be as pronounced or anatomically contoured as Birkenstock’s design.

haflinger-footbed-design

The arch support in Haflinger footwear is typically more subtle and suits those who prefer a more moderate level of support.

So,

  • The arch support in Haflinger shoes provides moderate stability
  • Boiled wool material molds to the contours of the feet, offering a somewhat personalized fit

However, for individuals requiring significant arch support, Haflinger’s design might not be sufficient.

So in terms of support, Birkenstock shoes definitely offer better arch support than Haflinger shoes.

Style

Birkenstock

Birkenstock typically offers a more extensive range of styles compared to Haflinger.

They offer a wide variety of styles, ranging from sandals with different strap configurations to closed-toe shoes, clogs, and even boots. They also experiment with various materials, colors, and patterns, catering to various fashion preferences and occasions.

Birkenstock are widely recognized for their iconic and classic designs including the two-strap Arizona, the single-strap Madrid, and the thong-style Gizeh. These timeless styles have gained immense popularity and have become fashion staples for many people.

Also, they have collaborated with renowned fashion designers and brands, creating limited edition collections that generate significant interest and attract fashion-forward individuals seeking unique and exclusive designs.

Some of the best Birkenstock collabs include:

  • Dior by Birkenstock Milano & Tokio
  • Manolo Blahnik x Birkenstock
  • Jil Sander x Birkenstock Arizona
  • Valentino Garavani x Birkenstock Arizona

They have gained a considerable following, being spotted on the feet of numerous celebrities and influencers, further boosting their popularity and attracting a diverse audience.

celebrities-wearing-birkenstock-sandals

Haflinger

Haflinger, on the other hand, is known more for its cozy and comfortable boiled wool slippers, which have been its signature product for years.

While Haflinger has started to diversify its lineup, offering clogs, sandals, and other outdoor shoes, their style options are relatively more limited compared to Birkenstock’s extensive range.

Overall, in terms of styles and attracting a broader audience, Birkenstock has an edge over Haflinger.

Birkenstock’s vast array of styles, including their classic designs and trendy collaborations, caters to a more diverse customer base, from fashion-conscious individuals to outdoor enthusiasts seeking comfortable and supportive footwear.

Haflinger, on the other hand, has built a strong reputation for providing high-quality and comfortable indoor slippers, attracting customers who prioritize cozy and reliable footwear for home use.

Sizing

Remember that individual foot shapes and sizes can vary. So what works for one person may not be the best fit for another.

Both Haflinger and Birkenstock are German brands and so they use European sizing. Have a look at their size charts, find your US size, and get the European equivalent size.

Similar to Birkenstock, Haflinger does not offer half sizes. If you are between sizes, it is often recommended to size up for a more comfortable fit.

Birkenstock

In general, Birkenstock shoes are known to run true to size for some users and a bit bigger for others. Measure your feet in centimeters, find your US or UK size, and convert that to EU sizing.

Now that you’ve got your EU size, measure your foot width. Birkenstock offers two width options:

  • Regular (also known as “Medium” or “M”)
  • Narrow (also known as “Narrow” or “N”).

If you have narrow to moderate feet, always go for the narrow, and if your feet are on the wider side, get the regular width.

And if you find that your shoes are a bit wider and you don’t want to send them back, you have a great strap design to help you get a better fit if your feet are sliding around.

Here’s a detailed comparison of the Birkenstock regular vs narrow fits.

Haflinger

Again, as shown in this Haflinger size chart, they use European sizes for their footwear, and their sizing is also unisex. However, Haflinger sizing tends to be more consistent with true European sizes.

haflinger-sizing-chart

They generally offer shoes in a regular width, which should fit most wearers comfortably.

Overall, getting the right fit for both Birkenstock and Haflinger shoes involves understanding your foot measurements and comparing them with the brand’s sizing charts. It’s also essential to consider the type of sock or no sock you plan to wear with the shoes, as this can influence the fit.

If you’re uncertain about the size, it’s a good idea to try on the shoes in-store or order from retailers with flexible return policies.

Related:

Intended Use of Birkenstock & Haflinger

Birkenstock

Birkenstock sandals are synonymous with casual wear. They are popular choices for warm weather and leisure activities like:

  • strolling on the beach
  • Running errands
  • Spending time outdoors

Their open-toe design keeps feet cool and their comfortable footbed makes them suitable for extended periods of wear.

Their anatomically shaped footbed provides:

  • Excellent arch support
  • Proper heel cushioning
  • Optimal weight distribution

… making them suitable for people with foot conditions or those seeking comfortable footwear for daily use.

Many travelers appreciate Birkenstock sandals for their comfort and versatility. They are easy to slip on and off, making them convenient for airport security checks and long flights. The supportive footbed can help alleviate foot fatigue during extended periods of walking or sightseeing.

Besides their outdoor use, Birkenstock also offers closed-toe shoes and slippers designed for indoor comfort. These models provide the same anatomically shaped footbed as their sandals, offering cozy and supportive options for wearing around the house.

Related:

Haflinger

Haflinger is well-known for its cozy slippers and indoor shoes. These are ideal for wearing at home, providing warmth and comfort during colder months. The use of natural materials like boiled wool contributes to their breathability and moisture-wicking properties, keeping feet dry and comfortable.

Haflinger’s clogs and indoor shoes are often used as comfortable house shoes. Their slip-on design and soft footbed make them easy to wear around the house, offering support for everyday tasks or relaxing at home.

Like Birkenstock, Haflinger shoes are designed with ergonomics in mind. The latex foam footbed, often covered with wool lining, offers cushioning and support, making them suitable for people seeking comfort and foot support while going about their daily activities.

While Haflinger shoes are primarily designed for indoor use, some of their models are also suitable for brief outdoor excursions. However, they may not offer the same durability and ruggedness as more traditional outdoor footwear.

Price Range

Being a more established and widely recognized brand, Birkenstock sandals tend to be at a higher price point compared to Haflinger shoes.

Depending on the style and model, Birkenstock sandals can range from approximately $60 to $150 or more.

Haflinger shoes generally fall into a more affordable price range compared to Birkenstock, making them an attractive option for those seeking comfort without breaking the bank.

Haflinger slippers are generally priced in the range of $50 to $120 or more, depending on the style and materials used.

Related

Eco-Friendly Practices

Both Birkenstock and Haflinger are conscious of their environmental impact. Birkenstock uses sustainable and renewable materials like cork, latex, and jute in their footbeds.

Haflinger’s use of boiled wool is a natural and eco-friendly choice, and they have also taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint in the manufacturing process.

Durability

Birkenstock

Birkenstock shoes proved to be long-lasting, and their attention to detail contributes to the overall durability of their sandals.

They use quality leathers, sturdy seams, well-attached straps, robust cork and latex footbeds, and reliable soles. Cork is known for its durability and ability to maintain its shape and support over time.

Many users report that their Birkenstock sandals last for several years with proper care. Just make sure you seal the cork with glue and regularly clean the footbed and the leather.

What’s great about Birkenstocks is you won’t have to part with your shoes if you don’t want to. So when the outsole wears down and becomes uncomfortable, you can always take your Birki to an authorized cobbler and get them resoled. You can resole the full sole or just the heel. That’s amazing!

Haflinger

Haflinger shoes are designed with a focus on comfort and craftsmanship and their boiled wool styles often have reinforced stitching and supportive structures. Boiled wool is known for its durability and ability to withstand wear and tear.

While Haflinger’s boiled wool slippers are durable for indoor use, they may not be as suitable for extensive outdoor activities compared to Birkenstock sandals.

So in terms of durability, Birkenstock may have a slight advantage due to its reputation for using long-lasting materials and the option for resoling.

Keep in mind that the durability of any shoe depends on:

  • How it is used
  • How often it is used
  • The surfaces you walk on
  • Maintenance and care

Regularly cleaning and protecting the materials, avoiding exposure to extreme conditions, and following the manufacturer’s care instructions can extend the lifespan of both Birkenstock and Haflinger shoes.

Pros & Cons

Birkenstock

Pros:

  • Excellent arch support
  • Superior comfort
  • Wide style variety
  • Durable materials
  • Eco-friendly practices
  • Versatile for casual and dressier occasions

Cons:

  • Require a break-in period
  • Higher price point
  • Some styles may not suit all fashion preferences

Haflinger

Pros:

  • Cozy boiled wool material
  • Contoured footbeds
  • Natural temperature regulation
  • Sustainable sourcing
  • Good durability
  • Suitable for year-round wear

Cons:

  • Limited style options compared to Birkenstock
  • Fewer advanced technologies
  • May not provide as much arch support for certain foot types

Let’s finish things off by talking about the history of the two brands…

History & Origin

Birkenstock

Birkenstock is a German footwear brand with a long and storied history that dates back to the late 18th century. The brand’s foundation can be traced to Johann Adam Birkenstock, a master cobbler and shoemaker, who was born in 1684 in the small village of Langen-Bergheim, Hesse, Germany.

The breakthrough for Birkenstock came in 1896 when Konrad Birkenstock, a descendant of Johann Adam Birkenstock, developed the first contoured insole with arch support.

This innovation was designed to provide better support and comfort to the foot, revolutionizing the concept of orthopedic footwear. The footbed’s design aimed to mimic the natural contours of the foot, promoting proper alignment and weight distribution.

In 1964, Birkenstock introduced the Madrid model, which was their first-ever sandal featuring the anatomically shaped footbed. This sandal, with its minimalist design and focus on comfort, became highly popular and laid the groundwork for Birkenstock’s future success.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Birkenstock sandals gained popularity among various subcultures and outdoor enthusiasts. However, it was in the 1990s that Birkenstock truly achieved international fame and widespread recognition. The brand’s focus on comfort, coupled with the rise of the “normcore” fashion trend, made Birkenstock sandals a fashion statement among many people worldwide.

Today, Birkenstock remains a leading global brand known for its high-quality footwear, especially its iconic sandals, which are favored for their orthopedic support, durability, and timeless design.

Haflinger

Haflinger is a relatively newer brand compared to Birkenstock. This is another well-established German footwear brand that has its roots in the early 20th century. The brand is renowned for its comfortable and cozy slippers made from boiled wool slippers.

Haflinger was founded in 1898 in Goslar, Germany, by Franz Schuhwerk, who established the company as a manufacturer of cork, wool, and leather products. Initially, the company produced cork products like footbeds and shoe components.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that Haflinger began to focus on crafting comfortable slippers and clogs. The brand’s signature material became boiled wool, which was known for its insulating and moisture-wicking properties, making it ideal for keeping feet warm and dry. The use of natural materials and ergonomic design became Haflinger’s hallmark.

Over the years, Haflinger expanded its product range to include a variety of footwear options, all designed to offer comfort and support. Their footwear often features latex foam footbeds covered with soft wool lining, creating a plush and supportive environment for the feet.

Haflinger slippers and clogs gained popularity for their cozy feel and became sought-after choices for people seeking indoor footwear with comfort benefits. While Haflinger may not have achieved the same level of mainstream recognition as Birkenstock, the brand has earned a loyal following, especially among those valuing eco-friendly and sustainable footwear choices.

Thanks for making it to the end of this hefty Haflinger vs Birkenstock comparison. Which brand better serves your needs?

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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