Though neither of these types of footwear is renowned for its looks, there’s one good reason why many people are still wearing them: they’re super comfortable. But between Crocs vs Birkenstocks, which one is the more superior type to wear?
In this guide, we’ll explore the history and design of both kinds. See and decide for yourself which one is going to be the ultimate slipper for you!
- Overview of Crocs Shoes
- Overview of Birkenstocks
- Crocs & Birkenstocks: Similarities
- Crocs vs Birkenstocks: Key Differences
- What Makes Crocs Better than Birkenstocks?
- What Makes Birkenstocks Better than Crocs?
- So, Should You Get Birkenstocks or Crocs?
Overview of Crocs Shoes
The name “crocs” is reminiscent of crocodiles. And indeed, this ugly footwear’s design looks very similar to a crocodile. But there’s another reason why it’s called so.
“Crocs” is the brand name for foam clogs made in Colorado. They were initially designed to be shoes for sailors and fishers to wear while they were over the water. The material that they’re made from is a type of closed-cell resin known as Croslite.
Croslite is still used to make Crocs shoes nowadays, and it’s the thing behind the many magics of Crocs. It’s lightweight, slip-resistant, and can withstand bad odors. Most notably, the foam softens and conforms to the shape of the wearer’s feet, which is the reason why Crocs are famed for being supremely comfortable!
Overview of Birkenstocks
Birkenstocks are a cultural staple of Germany. It’s been around as far back as 1774. Ever since then, the general construction of the Birkenstocks has been pretty much unchanged.
They still have the same classic, sandal-like shape, and most pairs you will find on the market are still made from traditional materials like leather, cork, suede, and jute.
But don’t think that these materials are less durable than Croslite foam. Under the hands of a good cobbler, a pair of Birkenstocks are more or less indestructible.
Unlike Crocs which are made from memory foam, a pair of Birkenstocks are fitted to the shape of your feet. A good pair is supremely comfortable and on par with Crocs. This is why many people have compared these two shoes to one another!
Crocs & Birkenstocks: Similarities
Though their appearances are completely different, Crocs and Birkenstocks share a great many similarities.
Both are made with comfort for the wearer in mind. They put function before form, which is why both of these kinds of shoes are often derided as being ugly. You can quickly slip your feet into them and go immediately.
Additionally, both kinds of shoes can gradually mold themselves to the shape of your feet over time. Thus, the more you wear them, the more comfortable they become.
Because they aren’t harsh on your feet, both Crocs and Birkenstocks can be worn by people recovering from surgeries or have feet injuries.
Last but not least, both of these shoes can develop bad odors very quickly. Yes, that’s not great, but they make it up by being very easy to clean. Just a few sprinkles of baking soda and they will smell fresh again.
Crocs vs Birkenstocks: Key Differences
But the list of similarities they share is nowhere as long as the differences between them. And since this is what you’re probably here for, let’s dive in!
Crocs are made from Croslite foam. Nobody knows the specific formulation of this type of foam. All we know is that it’s an ideal type of material to make comfy footwear out of.
As for Birkenstocks, the footbed is made from a combination of four materials. At the top are a layer of suede for comfort, a layer of jute underneath to provide comfort, and a core of natural cork. Binding all of the materials together is an agent made from natural latex. Strappings for the shoes are made from leather.
The included insoles are different depending on the variant of the Crocs you buy. The latest kind of insole featured is called Crocs RX Silver. Other than providing your feet with extra arch support, these removable insoles come with Crocs’ patented Croslite Ag+ technology. The insoles are treated to be odor-resistant, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal.
Meanwhile, Birkenstocks usually come with their traditional footbed designs, made from suede, jute, natural cork, and natural latex. But you can replace it with other types of footbeds, too.
Currently, Birkenstock (the company) sells three kinds of insoles. Soft support insoles for maximum comfort, active support for playing sports and other rigorous activities, and everyday classic support insoles for everyday wear.
Crocs were initially made to be worn by sailors and fishers who regularly had to work on slippery surfaces. As a result, their outsole patterns are super grippy. Combined with the natural traction that Croslite foam provides, you can confidently wear a pair of Crocs in the rain, the snow, or on a moving boat.
On the other hand, Birkenstocks are more for everyday wearing. So, their outsoles are less grippy. Nonetheless, they will still be able to protect you from falls or slips when you walk on slippery surfaces like wet tiles.
Today, the outsoles of Birkenstocks are made from EVA foam stuck to the bottom of the footbed by a special kind of heat-activated adhesive, which can last for a long time.
Crocs are very diverse in terms of design. If you browse their page, you’ll find several models with lifted heels. You can snap them up if that’s what you’re after. According to reviews, the thick, Croslite heels are padded and provide a lot of support for the feet and boost your height a couple of inches.
You’ll also find many pairs of heeled Birkenstocks. They have solid heels and are usually made for women. In contrast, heeled Crocs are unisex.
Both have open designs, so they have excellent breathability. Crocs have several ventilation holes punched to their uppers. The “whack-a-mole” pattern gives the Crocs such a distinct appearance. These holes don’t just ventilate your feet; they also vent out water and effectively make Crocs waterproof.
As a result, if you’re going to walk in the rain or go somewhere close to water (like fishing), Crocs is the better choice.
The sandal-like design of Birkenstocks already makes them a lot more breathable than sneakers or closed shoes. But the company made a few more innovations to make the shoes even more comfortable. The suede, for example, is open-pored, providing greater breathability to the wearer’s feet.
Design for Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis is the name for a medical condition wherein the plantar fascia ligament in the foot becomes inflamed. Both of these shoes have been reviewed by patients and doctors alike to be very good for your feet. They have excellent support for the feet, they absorb impacts from footfalls well, and the materials are lightweight, so they don’t stress out the feet.
But in this scenario, the Birkenstocks seem like a far better choice. Performance-wise, both Crocs and Birkenstocks will be able to give you a comfortable wearing experience. However, Birkenstocks are orthopedic shoes that can keep your feet aligned and take pressure off of your feet. Crocs, on the other hand, aren’t.
So, although both shoes are good for plantar fasciitis, pick Birks.
Design for Long Treks
Both shoes are great for short excursions. But for longer treks, we recommend getting the Birks, which provide more support for your feet and can absorb impacts better. There’s one caveat here, though: the trek has to be on relatively even, unchallenging terrains.
If you’re going to make a long trek on treacherous terrain, then neither is suitable. They don’t provide sufficient support or shock absorbent capability for high-intensity, long-distance trekking. So, in no time at all, your feet will feel achy. They don’t offer the same level of protection for your feet against stray rocks or branches as specialized trekking shoes or hiking boots, either.
If you know you’re going on a long trek or adventure, buying specialized shoes is better than getting Crocs or Birkenstocks. But for short trips or easy treks, Birks will do.
What Makes Crocs Better than Birkenstocks?
The first and probably the greatest advantage that Crocs have over Birkenstocks are their prices.
Particularly, compared to a pair of Birkenstocks, Crocs are a lot cheaper. You can get a decent pair for around $30 to $40. And considering how long they last on average (a couple of years), that’s not a bad investment at all!
Crocs also have more personalization options and models. They come in a wide range of colors and patterns. There are also various models for you to pick, too.
They’re waterproof and highly durable, so you can bring them along to adventures without having to worry about them falling apart along the way. Crocs are a common sight on camping trips and short hikes. And between Crocs vs Birkenstocks in the rain, you’ll feel far better wearing Crocs while it’s pouring than Birks.
Check more: 10 Best Croc Alternatives
What Makes Birkenstocks Better than Crocs?
While Birks can’t compare against Crocs in terms of pricing, they certainly make up for having a higher build quality and a more appealing look overall.
Some people say that Birkenstocks are ugly. But comparatively speaking, they look a whole lot better than Crocs. Plus, their designs are on the neutral side. So young and older people alike can rock a pair of Birks without looking too out of place.
There’s no denying that Birks has better build quality than Crocs. Many details of a pair of Birks are hand-made, while Crocs are mass-produced. So, if you take care of them well, a pair of Birks can last far longer than Crocs.
And last but not least, Birks are orthopedic shoes. So, if you have foot injuries or recently had surgery, they’re a great pair of shoes to wear while you’re recuperating.
So, Should You Get Birkenstocks or Crocs?
That will depend on a lot of factors. If you need a cheap pair of comfy shoes to walk around the house in, then Crocs are better. But if money isn’t an object and you want something a bit more stylish, Birks will be the superior choice.
Take into consideration some special use cases, too. For people with medical conditions like plantar fasciitis, Birks are orthopedic shoes, while Crocs are not.
And if you’re going on a short trek, bring your Birks with you rather than Crocs. If you switch them up, your feet will be achy before long. However, if you’re going on a boating trip, the waterproofing ability of Crocs can be a god-sent.
The final winner in the Crocs vs Birkenstocks competition is yours to choose from!