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I have meant to write this Birkenstock Bend sneaker review for a while. I have been a fan of Birkenstock sandals for decades for comfort, support, and how happy they make my feet. However, it took me until this year to try a pair of closed-shoe Birkenstock shoes. I now wonder why I waited so long; spoiler alert this review is a RAVE!
Birkenstock Bend Sneaker Review
Why I Desire Comfort Sneakers
As a child, I walked on my toes. This caused the balls of my feet to be extra padded, making my feet wider than normal. As a young adult, I found my years of toewalking a benefit as I could rock a pair of high heels for hours without discomfort. But after having my child, I began experiencing many foot issues that had me reaching for low-heeled or flat shoes for relief.
While still on maternity leave, I went to a podiatrist for extreme pain in the top of my feet. Thinking I had broken something, I was surprised to find that the pain was from plantar fasciitis and relief could be found from wearing shoes with arch support. Shuffling around the house half-awake dealing with an infant, Birkenstocks made the most sense and I bought my first pair since my grunge/boho days in the '90s. Almost immediately I experienced relief.
In 2020, spending so much time at home, I again wore Birkenstocks around the house in place of slippers or stockinged feet. My feet were happy, so happy that when I tried to put them back into heels and pointed-toe shoes they protested. While I can still wear a low heel, I now seek out comfort brands and wider styles that look stylish but also keep my feet comfortable.
What Made Me Buy the Birkenstock Bend Sneaker
I felt the Birkenstock Bend sneakers looked dorky. Photos of them online made them appear very bulbous at the toe, and the visible strip of cork was distracting. I was used to such issues with comfort sneakers; they always have some extra unnecessary detail to ruin any style. But then one day at a coffee shop, I saw a woman in a pair of these sneakers and she changed my mind.
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The woman was standing in line, wearing the Birkenstock sneakers with no-show socks, cropped wide-leg jeans, a black Chanel-inspired cardigan with gold buttons, and a tucked-in white Isabel Marant graphic t-shirt. She had a brown woven leather bag over one shoulder, small but sculptural gold hoops in her ears, and aviator-style glasses. She looked to be around my age, Gen X. She looked effortlessly cool as she placed her coffee order.
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I recognized the sneakers by the cork strip, otherwise, I would have thought the sneakers were by a brand like Vince or Tory Burch. They didn't look bulbous or dorky, they looked expensive and refined. Knowing they were comfort sneakers made the whole look even cooler. That evening I went to my computer and ordered a pair in white leather. The influencer was influenced!
Where to Buy the Birkenstock Bend Sneaker
The Birkenstock Bend sneaker is sold at a range of retailers, including the Birkenstock website. I found them to be the same price at Birkenstock, Nordstrom, Zappos, Bloomingdale's, and Dillard's. DSW had them for one penny less than these retailers. They are all authorized sellers of Birkenstock; please know that Amazon is not an authorized Birkenstock retailer (link to Footwear News) and Birks you buy on there very well may be counterfeit.
I usually purchase my shoes through Zappos or Nordstrom because both offer free shipping at any dollar amount and easy free returns with an extensive return window. I bought my Birkenstock sneakers from Zappos, knowing they would arrive quickly and I would have time to try them on and style them at home before deciding whether I would keep them. However, I find Nordstrom replenishes sizes more quickly.
How Are The Birkenstock Bend Sneakers Sized?
The Birkenstock Bend sneaker is a unisex shoe. Some retailers like Zappos have the men's and women's sizing at the same link; other retailers like Nordstrom have different links for men's versus women's. In general, a man's shoe size is 1.5 smaller than a woman's. If you are a size 8 in women's shoes, you would wear a 6.5 in men's shoes.
I am a woman's size 8; I usually buy 8 Medium sneakers and boots and 8 wide sandals and dress shoes. With Birkenstock sandals, I have luck with their medium/regular sizing but have found their narrow styles to not work. I purchased size EU 39 (US Men's 6-6.5, Women's 8-8.5) in these sneakers. I later realized I purchased the medium/narrow width. However, I found this to be the perfect size and width for my feet.
Does the Birkenstock Bend Sneaker Fit Wide Feet?
As someone with wide feet, I was concerned that a closed shoe wouldn't be as roomy as a Birkenstock sandal. I need not worry, I found this shoe comfortable right out of the box. In fact, it is so roomy that those with narrow feet may wish to choose a different leather sneaker with arch support (check out the Vionic “Winny” or the Taos “Plim Sole Lux”).
Some stores offered a wide version of the Birkenstock Bend, and some only offered one version not sharing the width they carry. I didn't realize at the time, but I purchased the medium/narrow version. Reader Kristin was looking for the regular/wide version and reached out to Birkenstock. She was notified me that Birkenstock is no longer offering the two different widths and that the Bend will only be available in one width, which is plenty roomy for my wide feet.
What Does The Birkenstock Bend Sneaker Look Like?
The white Birkenstock Bend sneaker has a smooth leather upper, with a microfiber interior lining. The sneaker has a removable, anatomically shaped cork-latex footbed that supports the arches of the feet and cradles the heel. The sneaker has a midsole made of PU and cork; you can see this in that strip of visible cork. The cork helps with shock absorption. With a rubber outsole, the bottom of these sneakers has the same iconic pattern as the Birkenstock sandals.
The shoe is free of hardware, embellishment, or visible logos. Beyond the cork stripe in the sole, the top holes for the laces have silver grommets, there is tonal stitching to separate the padded area around the ankle, and “BIRKENSTOCK” is embossed on the top of the tongue and on the side of the heel.
If you are looking to buy these leather Birkenstock sneakers in white, you may be confused by the different ways they appear on different sites. Depending on the retailer's photography, these shoes may look blindingly white, white with beige soles, beige with beige soles, beige with tan soles, off-white with beige soles, or off-white with matching soles.
They are all the same shoe, and as an owner, I can tell you they are winter white (not bright white but not cream or ivory) with matching soles and laces. I find this off-white color to look more luxe while being just as versatile. However, do know with wear and sun exposure, the soles may yellow slightly. In my opinion, this does not affect the style of the shoe.
My Birkenstock Bend Sneaker Review: Three Months Later
I am not one to buy an item and immediately write a review. I need to LIVE with a product, give it weeks or months to see how it truly performs. And after three months of wearing these sneakers walking miles on gravel, concrete, asphalt, and cobblestone, and standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time, I believe I can provide an honest and valuable Birkenstock Bend sneaker review.
I'm including pictures of my well-worn and well-loved Birkenstock Bend sneakers. I haven't polished them and besides cleaning off the soles after a muddy or dirty day, I haven't cleaned them. However, doing this sneaker review has inspired me to take a Magic Eraser to the soles, condition the leather, and wash the laces to keep them looking and performing great for a long time.
The Birkenstock Bend is a high-quality shoe. Well crafted, quality materials, and a classic design. This is the kind of shoe that if you care for it, you can still be rocking the same lovely shoe for many years. I am all about quality over quantity, and when you find quality AND comfort, it's worth putting in some effort to keep such items in good condition.
In my list of the 6 best white sneakers for grown women, I share tips on how to keep white shoes looking great; those tips would work great for Birkenstock Bends. And since these shoes are a smooth and flexible leather, an occasional treatment with leather conditioner will keep the leather soft and protect it from the elements.
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I highly recommend the Birkenstock Bend sneaker for travel and sightseeing. Like the brand's iconic sandals, the Bend sneaker provides arch support and cradles the foot to prevent pronation. The shoe is flexible where you want it and sturdy where it should be to be comfortable yet keep your foot in its best position.
The cork midsole really does seem to prevent shock absorption, as I find these shoes a great choice when you are spending a lot of time on your feet. In fact, I find these sneakers more comfortable than my Birkenstock Arizona sandals for days where I will be standing for lengths of time.
The insole is removable, so if you require custom orthotics, you will have the room to accommodate them. While this is a low-top shoe that isn't too chunky, there is still room so your heel will have proper placement without slippage. I tried removing the Birkenstock insoles and adding a pair of Walk Hero insoles and the shoe was still comfortable and secure. This also means that if you properly care for your sneaker, if your insoles wear out before the outsole, you can replace them and keep having years of stylish wear.
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While not super sleek and low profile, the Birkenstock Bend is no more chunky or bulbous than leather sneakers from popular designers like Cole Haan, Tory Burch, Vince, or Rag & Bone. The smooth leather finish and minimal decoration make the Birkenstock Bend look expensive and elevated. These are sneakers you can wear with leggings or jeans, but also with nice trousers and skirts for office environments that accept more casual of footwear.
I have worn my Birkenstock Bend sneakers with cropped wide-leg trousers and jeans, full-length wide leg trousers and jeans, straight-leg jeans, midi-length dresses and skirts, casual jumpsuits and overalls, and t-shirt style dresses that hit around knee-length.
Issues with the Birkenstock Bend Sneaker
No shoe is perfect, though this one is pretty close to it. I do find some issues with the Birkenstock Bend and wanted to share in case you have experienced similar or these factors matter a lot to you:
Smooth Leather Shows Scuffs and Creases
If you are one who likes pristine-looking sneakers, the Birkenstock Bend may not be for you. The leather is soft, which means creases and wrinkles have happened at the places where the shoes bend. I've also ended up with visible scuffs on the toeboxes since there is no toecap to protect the front of the shoes.
The Soles Yellow with Wear
This photo shows my Birkenstock Bend sneakers, the top shoe never cleaned, the bottom with the soles cleaned with Magic Eraser. While Magic Eraser does clean and brighten the soles, you can see they have yellowed a bit more than the weather with exposure and wear. I've read you can use a mix of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to whiten soles; I haven't tried that because I personally don't find the contrast to be a problem.
It's Hard to Wear Other Shoes
If you regularly wear Birkenstock sandals, you know this issue. Your feet spread and get all relaxed and happy in Birkenstocks and it is a struggle to wear any other kind of shoe. I find that with the Birkenstock Bend sneakers, I don't even want to wear my cushy athletic sneakers because the comfort and support doesn't compare.
This past week I worked on a community service project where I was on my feet on concrete for long periods of time, and I didn't want to wear any kind of shoes that would get damaged by paint or dirt. I wore a pair of Danner boots I've owned for many years and find extremely comfortable… that is until I spent the past three months primarily in my Birkenstock Bend sneakers. These Birkenstock sneakers made me realize you don't have to come home with hot and sore feet at the end of the day.
I have been a fan of HOKA sneakers for years; I wore them for a 12-day road trip a couple of summers ago. But now, my HOKA sneakers pale in comparison to the Birkenstock Bends. There's no question, when we go on our family road trip this summer, my wardrobe will be created around my Birkenstock Bend sneakers. I've found Birkenstock sandals to be a poor choice for a lot of walking but these Birkenstock sneakers provide the best of both worlds while having a more polished exterior!
I Want to Hear from You!
I had the Birkenstock Bend sneakers on my mind for a long while because you, the members of the Wardrobe Oxygen community have recommended them. I regret not listening to you sooner! Do share in the comments your thoughts on this sneaker, as well as any other shoes you recommend for great support with great style!
I am loving mine! A friend has the same pair and the soul separated from the shoe where the cork part is… has anyone else had this issue?
Oops! I mean sole, lol
I just purchased this White Leather Bend Low sneaker. Love everything about it except my left big toe at the joint hurts when I am walking and the shoe bends and hits my toe. Do you know if this will get less irritating the more I wear it and the leather loosens? Or will this be a problem? I really just want to be done shopping for a white sneaker. I’ve tried other brands already. My right toe isn’t as bothered. Any thoughts?
Alison Gary says
Ugh, I hate this has happened to you with these shoes! I haven’t experienced that, I don’t know if it’s a bum pair or if another will do the same. The leather does loosen but I don’t want to steer you the wrong way and say this will stop. I’m not sure what to suggest.
I took them back to the store I purchased them from as I had only worn them a little in the house and could tell it was going to be painful. And they are ordering me the Ecco 7 soft. So I am going to try that now. Fingers crossed!
Do you know if these would be good for those with Morton Neuroma?
Thank you so much for this review! My family is going to Disneyland for vacation. Do you think these will still be comfortable after walking in them for multiple 12+ hour days in the parks? I’m desperate to find something that’s cute & comfortable!
Alison Gary says
If I were going to Disney, I’d no question wear these!
That is so great to hear! Thank you so much!!
What a great review!
I ordered the 37 (narrow) but my right foot (bunion) was touching the end of the shoe. Do you suggest trying 37 regular width or 38 narrow. I wear both the 37 narrow and regular in Arizonas.
Alison Gary says
I’d go with the wider version of 37.
Thank you. I will try that. I wasn’t sure, since although I have an issue with a bunion on just one foot, I do have narrow heels which isn’t an issue with the Arizona sandals.
Thank you for sharing this review! Years of walking barefoot around the house has pretty much destroyed my feet – and Birkenstock sandals are the shoes that provide the most relief. I’d love something more durable like this, and I see a visit to the Birkenstock store in my future!
Please try the Altra brand of athletic shoes. They have a very wide toe box, allowing your foot to spread naturally. I find them at my local running shoe store. They are a zero drop shoe, so very good for your gait and overall foot health. Anyone with bunions or wide feet will love them!
Linda LM says
Allison, I want to order these shoes through a link of yours. Dillards is the only retailer you have listed that has my size, but it’s a women’s 8, whereas I have the 39 in Arizonas (slightly big on me). I assume I have the universal sizing and the Dillards would be the narrow? The Birkenstock website has them in 39, but I don’t see a link to them from you. Do you have a link?p to Birkenstock?
Alison Gary says
Birkenstock doesn’t have an affiliate program, you can shop directly their site. https://www.birkenstock.com/us/bend-natural-leather/bendlow-smoothleather-naturalleather-0-rubber-u_2.html
It’s hella confusing. I ordered the “B” version from Nordstrom, but previously I ordered the “regular” option from Zappos and they fit the same. And Dillard’s doesn’t even mention width, just saying M, which is what, the narrow? (for those reading and not Linda, the Birkenstock site has Medium/Narrow and Regular/Wide options and Zappos has Regular and Narrow and everywhere else has only one width).
I am wearing a 39 in the Bends, and my Arizonas are also 39, B to be specific for my latest big-buckle red Arizonas. And on the Birk site the Arizonas only come in Medium/Narrow which must be B on Nordstrom. I have worn 38 Arizonas in wider options but found them juuuust too short and the arch hitting in the wrong place. My SuperBirki clogs I ordered directly from Birkenstock and they are 39 regular/wide aznd TBH I can’t tell any difference between them and my Arizonas.
Why can’t sizing me more consistent? I hope this info helps and doesn’t confuse further!
Hi – thanks for the great review! My question is do the shoes actually bend when you walk? I can’t wear any thick-soles or lug sole shoes that don’t bend at least a little due to a knee issue.
I’ve never been a huge Birk sandal fan, but do like the appearance of this and getting ready for a trip to Italy!
Alison Gary says
Yes, they do bend. I just took them off and was able to bend the sole at the ball of the foot area. They aren’t as flexible as an athletic sneaker but compare to other similar fashion/casual sneakers I’ve tried for flexibility.
Wendy Dunn says
I patiently wait for Birkenstock to come out with a leather-free version, which I will buy INSTANTLY!
Alison Gary says
I’m surprised they haven’t, even the canvas has suede trim! What a missed opportunity as the leather doesn’t offer any practical purpose on the canvas version!
Sarah H. says
Just a quick question – do they squeak when you walk?
Alison Gary says
No squeaking, and I have experienced that with other sneakers!
I so wanted to love these, but I must be the only person in the world for whom Birkenstocks don’t work. I had the same issue with these sneakers that I’ve had with all the sandals. My foot just doesn’t like the shaping of the sole. Now I’m wondering whether it would be different it I took out the insole. Thoughts, anyone?
Alison Gary says
I think you should try a different brand. Check out the Vionic Winny which is another great supportive sneaker but I find a different shape than my foot https://bit.ly/418oqu3
Alison, Do the soles bend? I read some reviews saying they do not (despite the name). I’m interested but they have to bend for me to wear them. Thanks!
I totally know the problem about your feet only wanting Birks! They make my feet so happy. I think you have me sold on the sneakers! I was wondering if you find this shoes hot- I find with leather sneakers that sometimes they make my feet too hot even if it isn’t super hot outside.
Also, do any of the links provided offer you, Alison, better affiliated rates/compensation?
Alison Gary says
Aww thanks for asking, I say use whatever link is best for you! And I don’t find them hot, I just wore them today for about 6 hours straight and my feet got a bit sweaty but not overheated.
Susan L says
I have a low arch and the Birk sandals arch is too high. Is the arch in the sneakers as high? I would really like to wear these shoes. Thanks for the review.
Alison Gary says
It’s not quite as high, maybe like the EVA Arizonas, but it may still be too high for you.
Another narrow foot option I would recommend is the Naturalizer Morrison. I have had several pairs of the black leather but recently bought a pair of white leather and love the change.
Alison Gary says
Great suggestion, I’ve tried the Morrison and think they look great and are great quality too. Right now the Morrisons come in white with a metallic accent https://bit.ly/41hdgDs or white with a pastel accent https://bit.ly/3zQVOKd thank you for sharing this!
Mary Beth says
Thanks for the review! I love my classic Adidas but they don’t have enough arch support. I’ll have to check these out.
The problem I have with these shoes is the bulky seam over the big toe joint. It hurts when I walk. A lot of shoes have this — it’s a deal breaker for me. Anyone else struggling with this issue might like the Ecco Soft 7 line — the slip-on and zip versions are completely smooth over all the toe joints. Like this one:
Alison Gary says
thanks for this suggestion!
I would also recommend the Ecco Soft 7 lace up sneaker – a similar look to these Birkenstocks, and my finicky feet love them. Thank you for the thorough review, Alison – going to give these a try too.
Alison Gary says
Agree the Ecco Soft 7 is a great choice. I wish Ecco fit my feet better, but they are the perfect option for those who say Birks don’t work for them! Thank you for the reminder! Link to those who want to see these Ecco sneakers: https://bit.ly/40UdJM5
I have slightly wide feet and since developing arthritis in one big toe joint after an injury I can’t wear anything that puts pressure on that joint without being in pain. I was a lifelong flip flop wearer until I tried Birk sandals 5-6 years ago and now wear them daily. I tried for several years to find a stylish sneaker that looked current, cute and didn’t hurt and was ready to give up when I found this sneaker! I second your review and say this sneaker is close to perfect! I am going into my third year on my pair and they still look great despite wearing them several times a week. Highly recommend! My other go to shoes are Merrel hiking shoes that rate high in comfort and looks. I rarely wear my athletic shoes for walking anymore because these two choices are much more supportive, comfortable and durable.
These look great. As a long time Birk fan I may now make the leap. Do you wear socks with them?
Alison Gary says
I do! With pants I have no problem wearing a white quarter-crew or crew sock and cover my ankle. I also will wear ankle socks with the little piece that sticks out and let it show. I have pretty much given up on no-show socks and learned a hack from a friend: take out the insole and cover it with your no-show socks that always slide down. Then you get the protection and absorption without dealing with the sock slipping down!
Thanks for the hack idea. I want to be able to wear no-show socks, but every single brand I’ve tried slips down. I ordered the Bend; I can’t wait to get them. Great review!
Birkenstocks don’t work for me, but this review did….this line alone, The influencer was influenced, totally made me love this review.
Alison Gary says
They aren’t for all feet, but I am glad you still liked the review!