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Are Birkenstocks Good for Elderly People? (What A Therapist Says)

Are Birkenstocks Good for Elderly People? (What A Therapist Says)

Birkenstocks can provide comfort and support for elderly people with foot pain and balance issues, but closed-toe styles with adjustable straps are best for ease of use and to avoid tripping hazards.
Birkenstocks Good For Elderly
Birkenstocks Good For Elderly
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Dealing with foot pain and wanting stable, comfortable shoes?

Should Older Adults Consider Birkenstocks?

  • Birkenstocks®* can help if chosen carefully. With the right style, Birkenstocks can be a stylish yet sensible choice for your achy feet.
  • Their contoured footbeds provide cushioning and support which ease arthritis and plantar fasciitis.
  • The thick soles also give you stability for balance issues.
  • But some styles may be tricky to get on if you have mobility challenges.

Your best bets are closed-toe options with adjustable straps that easily slide onto your feet without bending over.

Look for foot coverage to protect sensitive areas prone to sores. While Birkenstocks aren’t technically orthopedic shoes, their moldable cushioning brings relief.

Talk to your doctor, then try them on in-store to find the right pair for your needs.

Pros of Birkenstocks

If you google “Birkenstock,” you’ll easily get flooded with nothing but good things to say about the product. Birkenstock is a fashion investment that comes with many perks, including:

  • Thick, firm, and long-lasting soles
  • Moldable foot inserts for enhanced comfort
  • Comes in multiple colors, patterns, makes, and models
  • Provides good shock absorption and arch support
  • Features are built to last so that customers can get many miles out of their kicks

Cons/Dangers of Birkenstocks

Although thick shoes with extra cushion may sound appealing for the ailing foot or for seniors who are on their feet nearly all day, there are a few downsides. Additionally, there are a few other things to consider before buying Birkenstock shoes:

  • As we’ve said, Birkenstock shoes are an investment, meaning most makes are expensive.
  • Too much arch and foot support may cause unnecessary back and hip pain.
  • Birkenstock sandals provide no heel and toe coverage, which is dangerous for elderly folks with diabetic foot neuropathy or other medical conditions where they should protect their feet.
  • Birkenstock sandals (or any sandals) can cause a tripping hazard since part of the sole is not secured to the foot. 
  • Many Birkenstock shoes are not waterproof, so bathroom use may be out of the question. 
Birkenstocks good for elderly wearPin
Depending on your elderly’s podiatric needs, Birkenstocks® may or may not be suitable for them.

Should Seniors/Elderly People Wear Birkenstocks?

This highly depends on the wearer and their unique podiatric needs. They say no “one size fits all” for many things in life, especially for seniors/elderly people and their shoes.

If you try out Birkenstocks and fall absolutely in love with them, then good for you! Here are some important features to consider to keep your feet comfortable and to keep yourself off the ground and standing upright:

  • Select a shoe that protects your toes and heel.
  • Avoid a shoe with an excessive heel, as this can increase back and hip pain and increase your risk for bunions and falls.
  • Although foot support is good, try to find a shoe that doesn’t provide too much arch and foot support. A shoe that locks your foot into one position may contribute to additional joint back throughout your back, legs, and hips. 
  • DON’T BUY SANDALS. If you want to stay off the floor and enjoy your regular walks, invest in a shoe that will adhere well to your foot.
  • Select a shoe that fits your foot well in width and length. 

Look closely into Birkenstock shoe return policies before purchasing your shoes, especially shoes that are on-sale or retail priced. That way, if you get shoes you don’t like or don’t feel comfortable in, you can return them or switch them for something different. 

Are Birkenstocks Considered Orthopedic Shoes?

Although Birkenstock shoes are advertised as having “orthopedic” insoles, these shoes are not officially considered orthopedic shoes.

Birkenstocks are fashion designer shoes with orthopedic-like qualities. Any orthopedic footwear must be prefabricated, custom-fit, and approved by an actual orthopedic specialist. 

Summary and Final Recommendations

Birkenstock is a trendy, fashionable shoe that comes with many benefits relevant to seniors’ and elderly adults’ needs. The firm sole and solid material provide long-lasting support and excellent bang for your buck.

However, like any shoe, Birkenstock is not for everyone. These particular shoes are expensive, may be too supportive for feet, and can be a major tripping hazard in sandal form.

If you decide to go with Birkenstock, make sure it’s something you love and a shoe that provides you with all-day comfort.

Elderly people who may need to avoid fashion designer shoes include those with any medical conditions of the feet, including but not limited to:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Bunions
  • Fractures
  • Lymphedema
  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • Neuropathy

Consult with your physician or podiatrist to see if you could benefit from Birkenstock ® shoes or if a custom-fit orthopedic shoe would be a better option for your mobility needs.

* Birkenstock® is a registered trademark of Birkenstock USA and has no affiliation with Graying With Grace

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Meredith Chandler, OTR/L

Meredith Chandler, OTR/L

Meredith has worked as an occupational therapist for 9 years and as a content writer for 6 years. She primarily works with the geriatric population, focusing on their rehabilitative needs and instructing caregivers and family members for home care. Her specialties include ADL training, neurological re-education, functional mobility training, adaptive equipment education, and wheelchair assessment and mobility training. She is a painter, a musician, and a mother of 4 who loves spending time with her family,

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