I cannot tell you how hard it is for me to write these reviews. To research two equally amazing footwear brands and come up with the answer to which one is better – it’s a true nightmare. Regardless, let’s see, Naot vs. Birkenstock: which ones should you go for?
Honestly, if you are in the middle of deciding which brand to opt for (which I am sure you are since why else would you be here?) I would definitely not want to be in your skin.
Both Naot and Birkenstock are powerful giants in the footwear industry and throughout the years of their extensive work experience, they have crafted some truly incredible shoe options. Their quality is undoubtedly unmatched, so whatever brand you go for in the end – you won’t regret your decision.
But, let’s cut to the chase and see where these two brands differ, and is it even possible to determine which one is better?
A brief introduction to these two brands
Naot is a famous family-owned Israeli brand of footwear that started back in 1942 as a small manufacturer of working boots. Today, this brand employs more than 160 workers and comes out with a new line of footwear in order to keep up with the current fashion trends.
Naot shoes are known for their craftsmanship and design. They are very stylish and made out of high-quality materials, like leather and suede. They offer a wide variety of styles and color options, which means they have something for everyone.
When it comes to comfort Naot shoes do not skip a beat. These shoes come with a contoured footbed and an amazing arch support, and they feel very comfy on the feet.
This brand also does not disappoint in terms of the style and design options. From sandals to boots, Naot covers every footwear option you need, while at the same time offering many different sizes and width options, which makes finding the right fit much easier.
Naot is not exactly an affordable brand, especially if you are on a tight budget. But with everything this brand offers, I think they are worth breaking the bank.
Birkenstock is another famous footwear brand that originated in Germany back in 1774. The founder of this brand, John Birkenstock, started his business with the idea to create shoes that would follow the natural contours of the foot and offer support, instead of just being flat.
Today, this brand has more than 3,000 employees and is Germany’s largest family-owned business.
Birkenstock is above all known for the production of high-quality shoes that are made out of quality materials like leather, suede, or jute, which all have been sustainably sourced.
The brand’s biggest invention is by far their anatomically shaped footbed, which is soft and firm at the same time, providing great arch support and overall great comfort. It is a great option for people with various food conditions, like plantar fasciitis.
Birkenstock shoes might be a tad bit too expensive, but trust me – they are definitely worth breaking the bank.
Naot vs. Birkenstock: What are their differences?
Now that we have gone through a brief introduction of both brands, it’s time to finally compare them and see what are some of their major differences.
For the purposes of this article, we have compared only their sandal options.
1. The upper material
When it comes to the material that is used in the production of the upper of their sandals, Naot uses many different things. Some of their sandals are made out of 100% leather, while others are made out of softer leather like nubuck or suede.
Each material goes through the tanning process where it is treated with a protective layer against stains, water, and bacteria.
Birkenstock is very similar in this matter. In the production of its sandals, this brand uses only high-quality materials like oiled leather, suede, or nubuck. This brand also uses special materials like canvas, wool, Birkibuc, and Birko-Flor.
It is important to note that both brands produce sandals that are ethically made using sustainable methods and that they also offer vegan options for their plant-based customers.
2. Midsoles and outsoles
Both Naot and Birkenstock feature cork and latex footbeds which are great at shock absorption and creating a soft and bouncing rebound on your feet.
Birkenstock features footbeds that come with 4 to 5 layers, and well-grooved and oil-resistant rubber outsoles which ensure you do not slip and slide over challenging surfaces.
Because of the surface moisture-wicking suede layer, Naot’s footbeds are extremely soft, and they feel as though you are walking on clouds. Their outsoles are made out of well-threaded rubber which provides you with enough traction to walk safely over slippery terrain.
3. Arch support
Naot’s footbeds are extremely flexible and offer great arch support to your feet. The center of the footbed is elevated, so the middle foot joints can be freed from the pressure.
Because of a deep heel cup and hallux support at the toe box, Naot’s sandals are incredibly supportive and made for stability and proper distribution of your body weight.
When it comes to Birkenstock, well, the whole brand was created with arch support in mind. So, there’s no doubt that after all those years of successful footwear production, they have failed to incorporate their original idea into their product.
As mentioned in the introduction, Birkenstock footbeds follow the natural contours of your feet, which offers all-day support and comfort.
4. General comfort
There’s no question about it – both brands offer out-of-this-world comfort.
The main difference here is in their break-in period. Naot sandals need only a couple of days to break in, but Birkenstocks can take a week of consistent wear until they feel completely nice on the feet.
However, in terms of comfort, we also have to mention that Birkenstock as a brand offers two types of footbeds: regular and soft. The soft footbeds feature some extra foam which ensures greater comfort and relaxed wear. So, if you ask me, the long break-in period is totally worth it.
When it comes to durability, these two famous brands did not come to disappoint. Both Naot and Birkenstock offer some very durable and high-quality options which once purchased will last you for a long, long time.
However, we do have to note that Birkenstock sandals might be a tad bit more durable than Naot ones. But honestly, the difference is so small it is not even worth going into too much detail. Both sandals will inevitably withstand all the challenges you put them through.
6. Style and design
In terms of style and design, both Naot and Birkenstock are pretty stylish. Naot, however, offers a wider variety of fashionable pairs of sandals, while Birkenstock sticks to more minimalistic, classic, and timeless options.
So, if you are looking for something more fun and daring, I would say to go for Naot since this brand will offer you more options and designs.
7. Size and fit
Naot sandals are unfortunately not that suitable for people with wider feet. Their fit is a bit narrow, and they do not fit true to size. So, it is best to order a whole size up or to go to the store and try these sandals in person, just so you can be sure you have opted for the right pair.
Birkenstock sandals, however, are nothing alike. They fit both narrow and wide feet, and most importantly, they run true to size. So, you can order them online without any stress.
It is safe to say that both sandals weigh around the same and that they are both extremely lightweight. Naot can feel lighter on the feet in comparison to Birkenstock sandals with soft footbeds. But other than that, they are more or less the same weight.
In terms of the price, both brands are more or less the same.
I have compared the classic Birkenstock Arizona model, to the Naot Santa Barbara one since they are visually very similar. Arizona sandals on their official site retail for $130, while Santa Barbara sandals retail for $139.95.
We can see that Naot sandals in this example are more expensive, but only around $10, which is not the biggest difference in my opinion.
But hey, I understand that when you are on a tight budget, every dollar counts.
Naot vs. Birkenstock: the final verdict
Now, when all is said and done, it is finally time to determine which sandals are better. Naot or Birkenstock? Which brand will take the win?
Well, if you have paid extremely close attention, you probably noticed that Birkenstock sandals are an overall better option. Sure they need a longer time to break in, and they do offer more minimalistic options, but other than that – they could easily be declared the winner.
In terms of comfort and support, which are the most important features after all, these sandals are unmatched! They are definitely everything you (and your feet) could wish for the summer!
Now, this does not mean that Naot sandals are bad. Not at all! If you have found a pair that you like, I advise you to go for it! This brand is still extremely good, and you will not be disappointed.
At the end of the day, everything boils down to your personal preference. So, listen to your heart and opt for the sandals you like the most!