Another day, another hard question. Never in a million years have I thought I would have to help someone choose between two amazing footwear options. Mephisto vs. Birkenstock? Which should you pick?
Just in case you have missed it: spring and summer are almost here. Soon enough, we’ll all be getting rid of our coats, boots, and sweaters and switching them for summer shorts, dresses, and sandals.
If your last year’s sandals aren’t doing so much for you and are not hitting the spot, or you simply want something better (both stylish and comfy) then these two brands could definitely be for you.
With a long tradition of hard work, dedication, and attention to detail, both Mephisto and Birkenstock took it upon themselves to create something that could potentially be beneficial to all. Their noble idea is embedded in their footwear, and they are truly among the few who prioritize quality over fast fashion.
“But, which one to choose, Aria? I cannot get them both! Although that wouldn’t be so bad, really.”
I know, I know. I was impatient as well to find out everything there was to know. So, let’s not waste a second more of your precious time and jump right into our today’s topic.
A short introduction to the brands
Almost 60 years ago, in 1965, Martin Michaeli had an idea to create the world’s most comfortable shoes. With some money he saved from working in America, he opened his own company called Mephisto in France and started distributing to Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and the rest of Europe.
The first shoes this brand produced were the Mephisto moccasins, a classic that is loved and worn by many to this day. This brand had a huge success that by the mid-70s it gained worldwide recognition and started distributing its shoes to the USA.
Mephisto’s success never seemed to subside. Today, this brand is producing a wide range of walking shoes, boots, and sandals and sells over 100 million pairs each year.
When it comes to their sandals, they are handcrafted by professional shoemakers from France and Portugal whose skill is based on an age-old tradition. Thanks to the layered cork footbed and high-quality materials such as nubuck leather, these sandals are extremely durable and comfortable.
One of their best features and the secret behind that walking comfort is the SOFT AIR technology which is embedded in the midsoles of these sandals. This feature reduces the shock, protects the feet, relieves joint tension, and helps with the correct alignment of the back.
Mephisto might be a bit pricey, but all in all, you can be sure you’ll get your money’s worth with them.
Birkenstock is of the most famous brands in the world today. With a centuries-long history in shoe design and more than 3,000 employees today, it is Germany’s biggest employer and benefactor. This brand is proud of its tradition and long-term family business, which today is run by the sixth generation.
Founded in 1774 by John Birkenstock, this footwear brand’s initial intention was to move away from the standard brands that designed shoes with flat soles. Instead, they wanted to create shoes that will support and perfectly follow the contour of the foot.
This intention has remained til today, and many will agree that this brand produces one of the most comfortable shoes ever.
Birkenstock takes pride in its design and the fine art of crafting high-quality shoes. Their main invention is the anatomically shaped footbed, for which the whole world should be grateful, really.
In the making of their sandals and slides, Birkenstock uses only high-quality materials from sustainable sources. For the most part, they are made out of leather, suede, or jute. They come with soft and firm footbeds, which both provide excellent arch support and overall comfort.
Their slides literally promote well-being. They are amazing for common foot problems, like plantar fasciitis. They might be a tad bit too expensive, but they are definitely worth breaking the bank.
All in all, no one can argue that these are timeless footwear that will continue to amaze everyone who wears them.
Mephisto Vs. Birkenstock: Where do these differ?
1. Rigid vs. flexible
Many people will argue that Birkenstock shoes are more rigid than the Mephisto ones. This might be due to the materials they are made out of and the firm footbed that they feature. Over time, as proved by many, they do become softer and easier on the foot, but some people don’t like the initial rigidness.
Which is totally fine.
In that case, it’s best to choose Mephisto sandals since they are extremely flexible and soft. Walking on them will feel as though you are walking on clouds. So, if that is something you would like then go for these ones.
Both of these brands come from Europe, so they have European shoe sizes. When converted to US sizes, many people claim that the sizing is not quite right.
For example, it is said that Mephistos run a bit small. Many people said that on their website it says that a size 38 is 8 in US sizing, while in reality, it’s actually 7.5. A half-size difference might not mean much to some, but to others, it’s a whole new ballgame.
A size 38 in Mephisto sandals is the same size as 39 Birkenstock when it comes to length. So, keep this in mind if you decide to purchase these, especially via online shopping. If you decide to go for Mephisto sandals, always go at least half a size up.
3. The width
Another thing you should pay attention to is the width. If you’re someone who has wider feet then Mephistos might not be the right choice for you.
Apart from running a bit small, these sandals are also on the narrow side. They are perfect for people who find Birkenstocks to be too wide and bulky.
If you’re not sure, you can easily measure the width of your feet by simply placing a sheet of paper on a flat surface, tracing the outline of your foot on it, and measuring the widest points of your foot (from the small toe joint to the big toe joint).
Both of these brands produce amazing shoes with great and beneficial qualities. It’s just a matter of certain personal preferences and needs.
4. Cork pros and cons
Both of these brands use cork footbeds which have both positive and negative sides.
The advantage of the cork is that it’s a very porous material. When you stand on it, your weight and body temperature will mold the cork footbed to fit the shape of your foot.
Because of this, it’s not advisable to let other people wear your cork sandals. They might leave their imprint on it and ruin the custom fit you’ve created.
The disadvantage is in the seal. Both brands put it on the sides of their shoes with the intention to lock in the moisture. Due to constant wear and walking on concrete sidewalks and kicking the curbs, that seal can crack over time or even chip off.
Because of this, you’ll have to buy some kind of cork sealer and use it every once in a while. The application is very easy: all you have to remember is to apply a thin layer of the cork sealer, so it can dry faster and look neater.
For Birkenstock, you can even professionally replace the cork, but I would not advise it. It costs around $85 just for the cork replacement, which is more than half the price of new sandals.
Cork sealers are usually around $10, so if I were you, I would stick to this method.
5. The cleaning process
Anyone who has ever worn either Birkenstock or Mephisto sandals is probably familiar with the annoying black footprint.
It occurs because the material of the footbed (usually natural leather or suede) absorbs all the oils and dirt that our skin is filtering out. Over time, they sink into the footbed and result in a black stain.
However, it can easily be cleaned. If there is no specific odor, you can purchase any suede eraser kit to easily clean the footbeds of your sandals and bring the natural color back. Those suede erasers usually contain some sand in them which can serve as an exfoliant for your sandals.
And if do notice an unpleasant odor or simply want to refresh your sandals, you can go for some shoe cleaners which contain certain cleaning solutions or shoe deodorants.
All in all, both of these shoes are easy to get dirty, and even easier to clean!
The final verdict: Which one to choose?
Now that we have come to an end, it’s time to conclude which ones are a better option. Mephisto vs. Birkenstock; who’s the winner?
Unfortunately, I really cannot tell you what to buy. Both of these brands produce incredible shoes with a lot of health benefits, and I’m sure you won’t regret buying either of them.
I tried to lay out some of their main features and point out where these two differ, so you could easily decide what you want, according to your preferences and personal style.
I hope this article helped you make a decision and that you have an option in mind. Good luck with your purchase and enjoy the shopping!