Perfect fit

Room to move


A shoe should fit well. It should surround the foot, providing it with protection and stability, without constricting it. This is particularly important for children's shoes. As their feet are still growing the bone, muscle and tissue structures are still very soft and malleable. Not only do tight shoes that pinch not feel good – over the long term they can also lead to the development of foot problems.

In addition to the size, width and cut of the shoe as well as the height of the heel, the shape of the foot is also important. The most critical factor for the right fit is shoe size. Feet need enough room in front of the toes. This is because as the foot rolls, the toes slide forward. If the shoe is too tight in the front, the toes will be crushed with every step. So shoes that are too short are bad for your feet. That's why shoes should always be one thumb width longer in the toe area than your foot.

But the shoe should not be too big either. A shoe that is too big will prevent your foot from rolling correctly and can, in some cases, affect the way you walk. If your toes have too much room, your foot will lose control of the shoe. Your foot will then push against the tip of the shoe during the rolling motion. This impact can damage your joints.

There is a similar effect when shoes are too wide. In this case, too, the feet do not have sufficient stability and slide from side to side in the shoe. Your toes are crushed just as much as they are in shoes that are too small. Your foot can also slide back and forth in the heel area. This poses a risk to ligaments and muscles.

So a good fit is extraordinarily important for foot health. That's why the original BIRKENSTOCK footbed is available in two widths (normal and narrow). The anatomical moldings in the bed support the natural tissue in your feet and provide them with stability and support. Our models are also adjustable. So BIRKENSTOCK sandals and shoes can be adapted to fit to your individual feet. This ensures a high level of comfort.

Size and width are closely linked. When models are developed, the lasts used for manufacturing are designed for certain pattern sizes – typically size 38 (EU) for women and size 42 (EU) for men. The lasts for all other sizes are made on the basis of these prototypes. The shoes are then scaled up and down. The technical term for this process is called "gradation".

During this process, the ratio of the size to width follows certain rules that vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. As a result, a shoe model with a particular length and width may be wider and shorter at one manufacturer, and narrower and taller at another. BIRKENSTOCK only uses a small number of different lasts; this makes it much easier to select a model. The main function of the footbed is the same in all models.