When it comes to durable and supportive sandals, you’re either team Teva or team Birkenstock and, according to podiatrists, rightfully so. These popular sandal brands are known for their high-quality and long-lasting construction— which recently earned both of them spots on Reddit’s Buy It for Life list—but they also boast some of the most comfortable sandal styles around, thanks to certain footbed features and design details that podiatrists swear by.
Whether you’re looking for the best sandals that will literally last you a lifetime or are wondering what to look for in a supportive sandal, we share the inside scoop on why podiatrists love Teva and Birkenstock, ahead.
Do Birkenstocks provide good support?
“Generally speaking, Birkenstocks are comfortable and supportive,” says Dr. Bruce Pinker, a board-certified podiatrist. Compared to other sandals, Dr. Pinker says that Birkenstocks have a more unique footbed with a ridge under the toes, which some find incredibly comfortable. In addition to this support feature, Dr. Nelya Lobkova, a board-certified podiatrist, says that Birkenstock’s iconic firm cork footbed and deep heel cup deliver medial and lateral arch support and add ankle stability, too.
With that said, Dr. Lobkova notes that the distinct footbed can feel uncomfortable for some. “The arch support features an additional metatarsal support that is great but some people find it to be uncomfortable because they feel the ‘bump’ in the wrong place,” she explains. For this reason, she recommends trying on different styles to find one that is most comfortable for your foot shape.
You can also check out these Birkenstock dupes.
Which type of sandal is good for your feet?
Birkenstock and Teva sandals are considered supportive and comfortable, making them both excellent choices for a summer shoe. “Tevas have a relatively soft footbed with arch support built in, which can be comfortable for people that need additional support,” says Dr. Alissa Kuizinas, a board-certified podiatrist. Birkenstocks have a more molded and firm footbed that some find ultra-comfy and supportive, too.
“This can be helpful for people who need extra support and cannot tolerate shoes that are more flat or flexible [such as Tevas],” says Dr. Kuizinas. She notes that Birkenstock sandals also feature a wide toe box, which is helpful for proper foot function when walking.
When it comes to shopping for the most supportive sandal styles, Dr. Pinker says to look for a sandal with ankle straps to provide added support and stability. “Straps are very beneficial as they allow for a better fit and can therefore make for more comfortable walking.” While not all of their styles feature an ankle strap, Birkenstock and Teva both have sandal styles with ankle straps for proper support, stability, and comfort. In addition to straps, Dr. Pinker also says to look at the outsole and ensure that there is enough traction to prevent slipping (which is especially important if wearing them around the pool).
Up ahead, we share podiatrist-approved Birkenstock and Teva sandals to rock this summer.
Podiatrist-approved Birkenstock sandals
When we think of Birkenstocks, we immediately picture the classic Arizona style, which comes in a variety of different materials and designs, including the super lightweight and comfortable EVA sandals. With that said, Dr. Lobkova says the Arizona Platform sandal is actually one of her favorite Birkenstock styles because it has “maxiumum cushioning for summer that has an arch support as a bonus, since you can’t put your orthotics into your sandals.”
Sizes available: 5-11.5 (in half sizes)
When shopping for sandals, podiatrists recommend going for options with ankle straps, especially since some sandal styles—like flip flops—can easily slip off. The Birkenstock Gizeh sandal is an excellent choice for warm-weather footwear because it has the same supportive cork footbed as the beloved Arizona styles, with some extra support in the straps for those who want a sandal without an ankle strap. “The sandal strap placement is superior to a standard thong flip flop for stabilizing the ankle and heel,” says Dr. Lobkova.
Sizes available: 4-14.5 (in half sizes)
According to Dr. Kuizinas, the Milano is another one of the best Birkenstock sandal styles because “they have a secure strap around the top of the foot and around the heel to keep the shoe in place while walking.” These straps will also help prevent gripping of the toes and foot muscles, which Dr. Kuizinas says allows for a more natural walking pattern and better foot function overall. In addition to its straps, the Milano sandal also has a comfortable EVA outsole with lots of traction for added grip and support while walking.
Sizes available: 5-11.5 (in half sizes)
Podiatrist-approved Tevas sandals
As far as Tevas are concerned, Dr. Kuizinas says you can’t go wrong with a pair of the Original Universal sandals. “The Original Universal is a great style to choose because the sole is not overly thick, and there are multiple straps which hold the shoe onto the foot, meaning the foot will not have to grip or slide to keep the shoe in place while walking,” she explains. In addition to its design, the sandals are also constructed from lightweight materials for added comfort, plus they feature a natural arch shape on the footbed for added arch support. The sandals also have adjustable straps so you can get that perfect fit, which is essential for foot comfort and support.
Sizes available: 5-12
According to Dr. Pinker, two of the most important aspects of a summer sandal are ankle straps and good outsole traction—and the Teva Hurricane XLT2 has both. These sandals are designed for hiking, so they have some of the best traction you can find, plus they’re super comfy thanks to the EVA footbed. On top of that, the sandals are treated with Life Naturals, which is a natural antimicrobial that keeps odor-causing bacteria at bay and, therefore, promotes overall foot health.
Sizes available: 5-14
Another one of the best Teva sandals is the Zymic, which has plenty of traction and ankle strap support, per Dr. Pinker’s recommendation. We love these sandals because they don’t just provide lots of support and stability, but they’re also super comfortable and lightweight, despite their trendy chunky design. This is thanks to the EVA midsole and EVA molded outsole, which boasts lots of flexibility and barely weighs anything (it’s like walking on clouds). The sandals are also made from a cushioned webbing material, so you don’t have to fret over them rubbing your feet and ankles the wrong way.
Sizes available: 5-11
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