Birkenstock Soft Footbed vs Original: which one is better for you?

Birkenstock Soft Footbed vs Original: 5 important things to consider


You probably already know that Birkenstock is one of the most popular shoe brands on the market at the moment. The most important feature people choose Birkenstocks for is the footbed.

The idea behind the shoes was for the footbed to follow the anatomical shape of the foot, providing support and comfort to everyone.

Birkenstock footbed features a deep heel cup, and exceptional arch support and ensures the grip to keep your foot in place. Birkenstock sandals also feature great shock absorption, ensuring you place your foot correctly, eliminating the pain.

There are two types of footbed. Knowing the main characteristics, and all the pros and cons of each type of footbed, will help you to decide on the pair that will suit your feet best.

The main features of the soft footbed

The soft footbed was created for those who were searching for shoes that could be comfortable upon purchase. There is no difference in the soft footbed structure, but it has an additional soft layer on top of the footbed.

Many people don’t really realize what is a soft footbed. Most of the time, they imagine a very soft shoe that has almost no support. This is different with Birkenstock soft footbed.

The soft footbed provides enough support during the walk, but the shoes do feel a bit softer than Birkenstocks with the original footbed.

Those who suffer from bunions, plantar fasciitis, and other health conditions will appreciate all the comfort Birkenstocks with soft footbed offers.

Below are the main features of the shoes with soft footbeds.

1. Cork footbed

The cork footbed provides excellent arch support for any type of foot. The shoe molds according to your foot structure and helps to distribute your weight evenly. That results in walks without pain. Birkenstock footbeds are ideal for long strolls in the parks and to the beaches.

2. Memory foam with an additional layer

Birkenstock soft footbed vs the original one has an additional foam layer, resulting in extra cushioning and shock absorption. For those who walk a lot daily, shoes with a soft footbed will be the best choice, as they offer more comfort.

3. Suede inlining

Suede lining is a soft material that also offers a good grip on your foot. You will not slip out of your shoes while walking. Soft suede lining also doesn’t cause any skin irritation and you won’t develop blisters from wearing Birkenstocks.

4. Exceptional arch support

The soft footbed provides great arch support. That results in exceptional comfort and support. You won’t feel any discomfort wearing shoes the whole day.

5. Foam insole that follows the shape of your foot

Anatomically shaped foam inlay adds extra stability as it helps to position your foot correctly. The weight gets evenly distributed, which also removes discomfort and pain during walking.

The advantages of the soft-footbed

So, what are the benefits of wearing a Birkenstock soft footbed vs regular footbed?

Great arch support All Birkenstock with soft footbed are designed to provide extra support for people with flat arches. They position the foot at the right angle and support it the entire time while you are wearing Birkenstock shoes.
Superior comfort Soft footbed style shoes come with an additional foam layer providing natural cushioning. It cushions the heel bone and offers comfort without having to break in shoes first. Shoes have anatomically shaped foam inlay and foam cushioning.
Shock absorptionThe cork layer along with a memory foam layer increases the shock absorption, reducing the force of impact during walking. That affects your joints in a way of reducing pressure applied onto them when you walk.
Short break-in timeSoft footbed either doesn’t require any break-in time or is substantially short compared to regular Birkenstock footbed. You can wear shoes comfortably straight out of the shoe box.

The disadvantages of the soft-footbed

Doesn’t suit people with high arches Most of the time shoes with soft footbed fits almost any type of foot, some people might find it uncomfortable to wear them daily.
Not suitable for wearing in the rainIf you are planning to wear shoes somewhere where they can get wet, a soft footbed isn’t the best to select. They soak faster than other type of Birkenstock, and it will take a while to dry them.

The main features of the regular footbed

Classic Birkenstock footbed is one of the most preferred types of shoes people purchase in stores. They are known for providing great support following the shape of your foot.

A regular footbed has high quality ensuring the shoes will last a long time. Supportive footwear is suitable for walking on any type of surface. It is anatomically shaped and made out of natural materials.

Even though the regular footbed doesn’t have an additional soft foam layer, it still offers a deep cup heel along with soft suede lining which is suitable for high or low arches.

The variety of Birkenstock styles is large, you will be able to find a pair that will be perfect for you. Birkenstocks are ideal for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis pain or bunions.

1. Contoured arch support

The regular footbed is a contoured footbed that makes sure the weight of your body spreads evenly, helping to relieve pressure while walking. You start placing your sensitive feet correctly. Proper foot alignment eliminates any pain.

2. Deep heel cups

A deep heel cup ensures the heel bone has cushioning underneath. It helps with shock absorption, which is critical when you have foot pain.

3. Suede inlining

The Suede liner offers exceptional comfort along with preventing your feet from sliding off due to the toe grip. Comfortable and supportive footwear is what traditional Birkenstock footbed is about. Such lining also takes care of your foot health. It soaks all the moisture, keeping your feet dry during the walks.

4. Cork structure

Regular footbed consists of natural materials such as cork and latex. Combining two different materials gives shoes flexibility. As you break in your shoes they will be molded to your foot providing comfort.

5. Wide Toe bar

The toe bar of the Birkenstock regular footbed is elevated and quite wide to accommodate any foot shape. It helps to position your foot correctly when you walk. The correct posture removes any sort of pain you might experience.

6. EVA outsole

Birkenstock regular footbed usually features an EVA lightweight outsole. It provides great shock absorption and extra cushioning.

The advantages of the regular footbed

Lots of designs and widthsYou can select the style that will suit the occasion best. The variety of shoes with cork-latex footbed is quite impressive. If you have wide feet, that won’t be a problem. Just pick the model with a wider toe box.
Follows the shape of your foot in timeA combination of cork and latex materials makes Birkenstock with a regular footbed very flexible and yet lightweight. As you wear the shoes they will be molding to your foot, becoming more comfortable.
Extra durableCork and latex footbed is long-lasting as the materials are known for being durable.
Ideal for those who suffer from painIf you have foot issues and suffer from pain, Birkenstocks are the best shoes to purchase. They ensure a comfortable position and excellent arch support.

The disadvantages of the regular footbed

Long break-in timeUnlike soft footbed styles, regular footbed takes a while to break in and mold to your foot. It can be anything from a couple of days up to two weeks before Birkenstocks with a regular footbed will become comfortable.
Maintenance will be requiredIf you want your shoes to last longer, you will have to take care of them. That includes cleaning the shoes frequently and following the main rules. Taking care of a cork sole will be required as well.

Soft footbed vs regular footbed: how to decide which one you need?

Now you have found out about the main parameters of each type of footbed. Let’s sum up the main differences between regular and soft footbed.

1. The level of cushioning

Soft footbed Birkenstock has an extra layer of foam. This results in exceptional comfort during walking.

2. Break in time

Soft-footbed Birkenstocks don’t require to be broken in. You can wear them straight out of the box and nothing will have to be adjusted.

3. Arch support

Comparing soft footbed vs regular footbed, the first one offers more support due to the extra foam layer.

4. Weight of the shoes

Be prepared for the soft-footbed shoes to be a bit heavier because they have an extra layer of foam.

5. The cost

Soft footbed shoes are priced a bit higher than regular footbed Birkenstocks. It is all due to the extra cushioning and comfort they come with.


Is Birkenstock soft footbed better than regular?

Considering all the differences between soft footbed vs regular footbed, the first option offers more comfort due to an additional layer of foam placed underneath the insole.

Soft footbeded Birkenstock shoe doesn’t require time for molding to your foot. The materials are soft and you will be able to experience comfort from the first try.

What is the difference between hard and soft-footbed Birkenstocks?

Traditional footbed shoes have a slightly elevated footbed edge at the front. It helps to position the foot correctly. It also protects your toes when you walk.

Birkenstock footbeds that are soft, offer natural gripping motion and extra comfort. Such shoes are suitable for different foot shapes and arches. You will be able to experience maximum comfort.

Which Birkenstock are most comfortable?

Soft footbeded Birkenstock USA shoes will be the most comfortable because of the extra foam inserted in the middle. These shoes will be perfect for long-distance walks.

They help to get rid of pain that you might have experienced wearing other types of shoes. The weight of your body will be evenly distributed, which will relieve pressure from your joints.

Is Birkenstock soft footbed good for flat feet?

They are perfectly suitable for any type of feet including flat feet. They will support your foot in the correct position. That doesn’t mean that a classic footbed will not provide comfort. They actually have more styles for you to choose from.


Now you know the main differences between regular and soft footbed. Birkenstock shoes with soft footbeds offer more comfort due to the additional layer of foam placed between the cork outsole and suede lining.

They provide more foot support and eliminate pain if you have plantar fasciitis or bunions. Such footwear is suitable for both low arch and high arches.

At the same time, Birkenstocks with a regular footbed come in many styles, so you can choose the ones that will be perfect for you. Deciding between regular or soft footbed, consider the points highlighted above and make your final decision upon them.

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  • Paula Mareen

    Paula Maureen has collaborated with famous shoe brands and designed popular women’s sandals. As a proofreader, she contributes to foot wisdom.

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