Can You Hike In Birkenstocks?

When you think of brands that are synonymous with outdoorsy people, Birkenstock is definitely one of those brands.

But are Birkenstocks something that you should wear out on the trail?

No, most Birkenstocks are not good for hiking and should be avoided. However, Birkenstock has recently started making a few sandal models that you can wear on easier hiking trails.

Below I’ll cover why traditional Birkenstocks should never be used for hiking, as well as pointing out the newer Birkenstock sandals that you can use on some hiking trails.

This page contains some affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

Why Most Birkenstocks Are Bad For Hiking

When you’re hiking, you never know what you’re going to encounter out on the trail.

The path may be steep in area, there may be loose gravel, there may be some water you need to cross, there may be brambles or other nature bits poking their way into the path, and you may encounter some insects that can bite or sting your little toes.

What does this mean for people who basically live in their Birkenstocks?

Well, I think most people who love Birkenstocks are wearing that old school style of sandal that you just slide your foot into, like in the image below.

Birkenstock

Please don’t wear a pair of these, or another similar brand of sandal, on the hiking trail.

The tread is not good enough for trails where you encounter loose gravel and other challenging terrain.

Your foot is very exposed, which means you could end up getting bitten, stung, poked, or otherwise bloodied and hurt.

The lack of strap on the back of the sandal means that you can easily step right out of your Birkenstocks while hiking, or worse, get a wicked ankle injury due to the lack of ankle support.

Sure, no hiking sandals offer good ankle support for hiking, but this one is especially terrible.

ALSO READ: Hiking Sandals: Should You Wear Them & How To Choose The Right Pair

muddy feet in birkenstocks
image: NatalieMaynor/Flickr, CC 2.0

The Only Birkenstocks Sandals That Might Be Okay For Hikes

As I mentioned above, Birkenstock has recently started making a few new sandals that are more in line with traditional hiking sandals.

And while hiking sandals in general are never the best option for the trail, if you are dead set on wearing a pair of Birkenstocks on your hike, then these are the only ones to consider.

The rugged Outdoor CE collection by Birkenstock is for trekking through water, rocks, dirt, mud and anything else you can get into.

Birkenstock Tatacoa Sandals – Men’s

Birkenstock Tatacoa Sandals
best price at REI

As you can see in the image above, these Birkenstock Tatacoa Sandals have a nice grippy bottom and a back strap to secure the sandals on your feet.

And, they are designed to stay comfortable when they get which, which is a bonus for those trails where you encounter a small water source that you need to cross.

Features
  •  Direct-injected polyurethane and TPU construction means durable longevity, supportive cushion and shock protection
  •  Legendary Birkenstock contoured footbeds deliver signature all-day support, plus added texture for grip when wet
  •  3 hook-and-loop adjustable straps provide a custom fit and quick on/off
  •  Protective lip surrounding the entire foot adds protection from rocks and trail debris

Birkenstock Kalahari Sandals – Women’s

Birkenstock Kalahari Sandals
best price at REI

As you can see in the image above, these Birkenstock Kalahari Sandals have a nice grippy bottom and a back strap to secure the sandals on your feet.

And, they are designed to stay comfortable when they get which, which is a bonus for those trails where you encounter a small water source that you need to cross.

Features
  •  Direct-injected polyurethane and TPU construction means durable longevity, supportive cushion and shock protection
  •  Legendary Birkenstock contoured footbeds deliver signature all-day support, plus added texture for grip when wet
  •  3 hook-and-loop adjustable straps provide a custom fit and quick on/off
  •  Protective lip surrounding the entire foot adds protection from rocks and trail debris 

Final Word

While you may wear your Birkenstocks pretty much every single day in your day-to-day life, they are not an ideal choice for the hiking trail.

In addition to not offering the type of support your foot needs for a hike, wearing Birkenstocks on the hiking trail increases your risk of foot injury.

But if you simply insist on wearing Birkenstocks for a hike, then at least upgrade to one of the more hiking friendly options listed above.

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