Men’s Birkenstocks: A Guide To The Best Birkenstock Sandals For Men & How To Wear Them

Men’s Birkenstocks: A Guide To The Best Birkenstock Sandals For Men & How To Wear Them 2018-02-28T10:57:26+00:00

Top And Side View Of Birkenstock SandalYou may be surprised to see that we’re writing about Birkenstocks. They typically get no love on menswear blogs, as the sandal has some unstylish baggage that comes with it.

Well, we’re different…

While we don’t necessarily recommend that everyone get a pair of Birkenstocks, they’re a popular name and they deserve to be talked about.

The following guide covers everything you need to know about Birkenstocks including:

You can click on one of the links above to jump ahead to a particular section, or continue below to read the entire article from start to finish.

What Are Birkenstocks?

Birkenstock is actually a footwear brand, not a style of shoe. While the company has expanded its offerings and now sells all types of casual shoes for men, women, and kids, they’re a household name for sandals. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on their “Arizona” model, which is pictured above and in the infographic below.

Here are some of our top picks for when it comes to the best Birkenstocks for men:

From a high level, it’s a flat shoe with two buckled straps.

We’ll be honest: they’re not exactly the most handsome pair of sandals ever made, so why are they so well-known?

History & Focus On Comfort

If you go back far enough, you’ll learn that the Birkenstock name dates back to a man named Johann Adam Birkenstock. He was listed as a “subject and cobbler” in the archives of his local church in 1774. Over 100 years later in 1896, Konrad Birkenstock (a master cobbler) began to manufacture and sell flexible insoles. Unfortunately, the company offers no history of the 122 years between these events.

It would still be many years before Birkenstock became a full-blown company, but Johann’s legacy set those wheels in motion. In 1932, after many years and family members focusing on developing ergonomically correct shoes, Carl Birkenstock’s “Carl Birkenstock System,” a series of Birkenstock training courses, was endorsed by top podiatrists at the time.

This was the culmination of many years of focusing on ergonomically correct footwear, and the medical community took notice. They were, in a way, the first orthopedic shoes that became popular with us regular folk.

In the mid-1960’s, the shoes were brought to market in the United States, and they’re currently sold in specialty shoe stores.

What Is A Birkenstock

Download A PDF Of The Above Infographic

The Best Birkenstocks For Men & Where To Buy Them

Only one company makes the best and that’s Birkenstock.

Here are some of the best men’s Birkenstock sandals available to buy online:

How To Wear Birkenstocks

Damn judiciously.

Grey And Green Birkenstock Sandal

It would behoove us to mention that Birkenstock sandals have been popular with two sets of people who aren’t known for being stylish:

  • Dads. Not DILF’s, but guys with Dadbod who wear Dad jeans and do so non-ironically. If you see a guy wearing shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, socks and sandals, he’s probably a Dad and those are probably Birkenstocks.
  • Hippies, tree-huggers, flower children, et al.

The company was on the receiving end of a high fashion rebranding a few years ago, and you can still see that on their website (their collaboration with HighSnobiety further cements this). Tragically, they also photographed models wearing their sandals with socks.

Birkenstock Sandals With Socks

How NOT to wear Birkenstocks

If, after all this, you’re still curious about Birkenstocks, this is how to wear them:

Formality

These are sandals and they are therefore very casual. They can be worn with:

  • Shorts (without socks)
  • Jeans (without socks)
  • Casual cotton or linen trousers (again, without socks)

It cannot be stressed enough that you mustn’t wear Birkenstocks with socks.

For these sandals to work at all, you must wear clothes that fit extraordinarily well. No cargo shorts that hang past the knee. No jeans with ripped hems. No oversized khakis, and definitely not if they’re pleated.

Birkenstocks won’t look right with tailored clothing like suits or odd jackets and trousers. Even if you’re a super stylish man who could make a clown suit look good in public, don’t wear Birkenstocks with a suit. However, if you do this and somehow it works, we would be very curious to see pictures.

In 90% of cases, this is a daytime shoe. Though they’re sandals, they’re known for being extremely comfortable, so you’ll probably be inclined to do a lot of walking in them.

If you’re going out for dinner or something of that nature, we see Birkenstocks as acceptable under the following conditions:

  • The venue or restaurant has a casual atmosphere
  • You’re in a resort or beach town where everyone is wearing sandals all the time anyway
  • The weather is warm enough to justify wearing sandals at night, and
  • Your feet are objectively not gross
Black Birkenstock Sandal With Tan Pants

A better way to wear Birkenstocks

Then, and only then, can you wear Birkenstocks.

Seasonality

Being a sandal, these have limited wear. In temperate climates they can be worn roughly three months out of the year, but if you live somewhere tropical, you can wear them all year round.

  • Spring: Basic Earth tones like beige, brown, and olive, only on particularly warm days (after Memorial Day in the U.S.)
  • Summer: Whatever color tickles your fancy
  • Autumn: N/A
  • Winter: N/A

Do We Recommend Buying These?

This is a thorny question. Generally, we would say no. These sandals are chunky and heavy-looking, and as a result they they don’t present well compared to sleeker flip-flops or slides. A man of style would avoid these like the plague.

Not all men are created equal, however. Some of us have foot issues, back problems, or poor circulation in the legs. These guys, stylish as they may be otherwise, need an option for sandals that don’t hurt. With as many colors and styles that Birkenstock offers, this gentleman can find something that minimizes his discomfort while looking at least halfway decent.

We should also remember that it’s not Birkenstocks’ fault that poorly-dressed dads ruined co-opted the brand. As easy as it is do to, we shouldn’t let that taint our view of a brand that has built itself around the literal physical well-being of its customers.

In summation: if you suffer from certain physical ailments that Birkenstocks can remedy or minimize, we support your decision to buy these.

Just please, for the love of God, don’t wear them with socks.

Men's Birkenstocks Guide
Reviewed by Trevor Guilday, on .
"A complete guide to Birkenstocks for men! Learn about the best options and how to wear them."
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★

6 Comments

  1. HG March 11, 2018 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Socks are your choice and 100% optional. Plenty wear the shoes for its comfort and weather dependent, some year around. Socks will always assist in keeping your toenails and feet cleaner and feet warmer in cooler temperatures. The author of this article obviously has his/her prejudices against socks, but in the end, they are your feet, your sandals so wear them as you see fit. Millions of others do.

    • Charles-Philippe March 12, 2018 at 6:03 am - Reply

      Hi HG,

      We agree that it’s a question of personal preference. If you like to wear socks with your sandals, by all means go for it! The author here believes otherwise but it’s one of those age-old debates, which probably has no right answer.

      All the best,

      CP

  2. Reznil March 25, 2018 at 7:31 am - Reply

    Even the most dapper among us should have a pair of Arizonas and wear them year-round with socks as their slippers, even if they never leave the house with them. Far superior to slippers in comfort and they last forever. I agree the Arizona style is the best choice. A back strap is not needed and just gets in the way. If you like leather straps go for it, but I have the Birki-Flors and they look great and last forever in addition to being slightly cheaper. Not a fan of the soft footbed myself, I prefer the classic.

    • Charles-Philippe March 26, 2018 at 4:20 am - Reply

      Hi Reznil,

      Thanks for your comment – what you have to say is very interesting!

      All the best,

      CP

  3. Dave April 16, 2018 at 1:48 am - Reply

    I wear socks with Birkie’s, and have for many years. All in all, I believe this article missed the mark completely, as it relates to socks/no socks, sandal snobbery, and seasonal/non-seasonal wear. We agree it is a casual only piece!

    Dave Dahlin
    Madtown, WI

    • Charles-Philippe April 17, 2018 at 1:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Dave,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, given that you’re not alone in preferring Birkenstocks with socks, I see that this page needs a little tweaking!

      All the best,

      CP

Leave A Comment