Birkenstock Soft Footbed Vs. Birko-Flor: Which Is Better?

Birkenstock sandals are known for their contoured cork footbeds that mold to your feet, providing exceptional arch support and comfort. But within the Birkenstock line, there are variations when it comes to the footbed cushioning and upper materials.

Two of the most popular options are the soft footbed and Birko-Flor uppers. But what exactly are the differences, and which is better? Here’s a detailed comparison of Birkenstock soft footbed Vs. Birko-Flor to help you decide.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureSoft FootbedBirko-Flor
CushioningExtra cushioning from EVA foam layerStandard contoured cork footbed
MaterialsEVA foam insert + regular cork footbedSynthetic felt + polyurethane upper
DurabilityEVA foam compresses over timeMaintains structure well for years
Water ResistanceCork footbed absorbs waterPolyurethane coating repels water
Styles AvailableOffered in classic sandal stylesMore diverse style options
Price$15 more than standard footbedSame as leather/suede uppers
Best ForExtra cushioning and supportDurable, water resistant uppers

What Is The Birkenstock Soft Footbed?

The soft footbed is Birkenstock’s plush EVA foam footbed. It provides extra cushioning on top of the standard contoured cork footbed that Birkenstocks are known for. The foam layer creates a pillow-like feeling underfoot, absorbing impact and reducing foot fatigue.

The soft footbed was first introduced in 2013 to offer an even more comfortable footbed option. It’s now available across various classic Birkenstock sandal styles including the Arizona, Gizeh, and Madrid.

Birkenstock Soft Footbed
Birkenstock Soft Footbed

Benefits of the Soft Footbed

  • Ultra-cushioned feeling underfoot
  • Increased shock absorption
  • Reduces pressure on feet, knees, and back
  • Contours to your foot
  • Accommodates orthotics well
  • Durable EVA foam maintains cushioning
  • Odor-resistant
  • Provides insulation in colder temps

The soft footbed is ideal for those wanting extra cushioning for comfort or those needing more support due to high arches, plantar fasciitis, or being on their feet frequently. The plush foam makes long days of walking or standing easier on feet.

Also Read: Differences Between Aerothotic And Oofos.

What Is Birko-Flor?

Birko-Flor is a material used for the upper straps and footbed lining of Birkenstock sandals. It’s a soft, synthetic material made of acrylic and polyamide felt fibers combined with a polyurethane coating.

The felt-like fibers make it smooth and comfortable against the skin. The polyurethane coating gives it durability and makes it water resistant. It was developed specifically by Birkenstock as a leather alternative.

Birko-Flor has been used by Birkenstock since the 1960s. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns and is featured across different sandal styles including Arizona, Gizeh, and Mayari.

Birkenstock Birko-Flor
Birkenstock Birko-Flor

Benefits of Birko-Flor

  • Soft, smooth feel
  • Molds to foot shape
  • Durable and water resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Stylish color and pattern options
  • Retains shape well over time

Birko-Flor is appreciated for its stylish look and ability to withstand frequent wear. It retains its shape well over years of use. The water resistance also makes it versatile for beach or pool wear. It provides a vegan upper option too.

Soft Footbed Vs. Birko-Flor: Key Differences

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s compare and contrast these two Birkenstock technologies:


  • The soft footbed offers additional cushioning from the EVA foam layer.
  • Birko-Flor does not provide extra cushioning. The standard contoured cork footbed is present.


  • The soft footbed contains an EVA foam insert with the regular cork footbed.
  • Birko-Flor is a synthetic felt and polyurethane upper material.


  • The EVA foam cushioning on the soft footbed retains its padding but can compress over time.
  • Birko-Flor is very durable and maintains its structure well even after years of wear.

Water Resistance

  • The soft footbed cork will absorb water like the regular footbed.
  • Birko-Flor has a polyurethane coating that repels water and allows the shoes to be worn in wet settings.

Styles Available

  • The soft footbed is offered in various classic sandal styles like Arizona, Gizeh, and Madrid.
  • Birko-Flor can be found across an array of sandal styles, including strappy silhouettes. More style options available.


  • The soft footbed costs $15 more on average than the standard footbed.
  • Birko-Flor costs the same as leather/suede uppers. But it’s more affordable than Nubuck options.

Also Read: Is Wally Funk Better Than Wally Sox?

When To Choose Soft Footbed Vs. Birko-Flor

Deciding between these two Birkenstock technologies largely depends on your priorities:

Go for the soft footbed if you want:

  • Extra cushioning and shock absorption
  • More support for foot pain or orthotics
  • A little more warmth in cold weather

Go for Birko-Flor if you want:

  • A durable upper that retains shape
  • Water resistant and easy to clean sandals
  • A vegan upper material
  • Fun colors and prints
  • More affordable option than suede/nubuck

Both can provide comfort and support. The soft footbed offers more plushness, while the Birko-Flor focuses on durable, low-maintenance uppers.

Consider your individual needs and style preferences to choose which technology is right for you. Try them on in person when possible to see how they feel.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are BIRKENSTOCK soft footbeds worth it?

For those wanting extra cushioning, the soft footbed is very worth it. The plush EVA foam makes a noticeable difference in shock absorption and gives continuous comfort even during long days on your feet. If you have foot pain issues that require more supportive cushioning, the soft footbed can provide helpful relief.

Is BIRKENSTOCK soft footbed more comfortable?

Overall, the soft footbed does provide more padded comfort than the standard footbed. The EVA foam gives a pillow-like feeling that helps reduce pressure on feet, knees, and back compared to the regular contoured cork. Those prone to foot fatigue may find the soft footbed more comfortable for long-term wear.

What are the benefits of the soft footbed Birkenstocks?

Key benefits of the soft footbed include extra cushioning for shock absorption, reduced foot and joint pain, accommodation of orthotics, durable EVA foam, odor resistance, and insulation in cold weather. It provides comfort and support making it ideal for those on their feet all day or with high arches.

What does birko flor mean in BIRKENSTOCK?

Birko-Flor is a synthetic material exclusive to Birkenstock that consists of soft acrylic and polyamide felt fibers coated in polyurethane. This makes it smooth, comfortable, durable, and water resistant. It was developed by Birkenstock as a leather alternative for the sandal uppers and footbed lining. Birko-Flor expands the styles and colors available beyond just leather.

Also Read: Differences Between Oofos Original And Oolala.

The Bottom Line

Birkenstock offers two great options for enhanced comfort with the soft footbed and long-lasting wearability with Birko-Flor. The soft footbed is ideal for plush cushioning and support, while the Birko-Flor offers a stylish, durable upper.

Consider where you’ll wear them and your personal needs to decide which is better for you. Or get the best of both worlds and choose a style that combines these two signature Birkenstock technologies! Both options deliver the quality comfort that Birkenstocks are famous for.

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