Birkenstock: | History | Footbed | Buying Dupes | Best Knockoffs |

Ask any of Birkenstock’s many adoring fans for the explanation behind their enduring popularity, and they’ll give you plenty of reasons: They’re ridiculously comfortable (once you’ve broken them in), they’re eco-friendly and pretty darn cute — in a clunky, awkward kind of way. 

A Brief History of Birkenstock Sandals

Birkenstock sandals trace their origins back to 1774, when a cobbler named Johann Adam Birkenstock registered as a shoemaker in the tiny town of Langen-Bergheim, Germany. Birkenstock’s offspring would follow in his footprints, so to speak, and in 1896 his great-great-grandson, Konrad Birkenstock, came up with the innovative footbed that ultimately led to the lasting popularity of Birkenstock shoes.

What’s With the Birkenstock Footbed?

The Birkenstock footbed is the secret to the sandal’s comfiness and posture-improving capabilities. To promote healthy walking habits, the contoured cork footbed lifts your arches as the deep heel cradles and steadies your foot. By supporting your natural curves, Birkenstock’s anatomically designed footbed distributes your weight evenly over your entire foot. Besides being posture-regulating, the Birkenstock footbed softens and molds to your feet, helping them become more comfortable the more you wear them.

In 1964, Karl Birkenstock, the grandson of Konrad Birkenstock, took the family’s signature footbed and made it into a complete, ready-to-wear “fitness sandal”: The Madrid

Image: @jeanneyangstyle / Instagram

In the decades to follow, Birkenstock shoes would skyrocket in popularity, spreading to the U.S. where hippies and academics embraced them before reaching a mass market in the ‘90s. Now, with over two centuries of history cradling feet, Birkenstock reins as a beloved name in the footwear world with a range of products and over 300 styles and colors, and celebrity devotees like Yara Shahidi, the Olsen sisters and Jason Momoa.

Why Buy Birkenstock Dupes?

But we aren’t here to talk about genuine Birkenstocks. Effortlessly incredible as they are, authentic Birks are expensive: a pair of classic embossed leather Arizona sandals will set you back around $160.

Happily, for us bargain-hunters, there are a lot of sandals designed to look, feel and deliver the same benefits as a real-deal pair. Not all knockoffs are created equal, however, so we took it upon ourselves to go hunting down the very best Birkenstock alternatives on the market today. Our picks are fun and unfussily fashionable as bona fide Birks, and — perhaps most important of all — they’re all under $50. 

The 10 Best Birkenstock Knockoffs to Shop Right Now

1. Target Mad Love Selema Footbed Sandals

Image: Target

This pair of newly released lookalikes are a dead ringer for the Arizona Big Buckle Shearling Sandals that sell for $180. I know this because I bought the Birkenstocks and it’s really hard to tell these two apart. The only downside is that Target’s version only comes in two colors: black (almost sold out) and tan.

Customer Review: “GREAT dupe for the Birkenstocks version. Cozy and warm. Perfect for CA fall. I bought both colors.” – KT

Price: $27.99 at Target

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2. Amazon Birkenstock Dupe

Image: Amazon

One of the most raved about Birkenstock knockoffs on Amazon, these Cushionaire sandals share a lot in common with the classic Arizona model: the flexible cork footbed, the lightweight EVA sole that cushions and absorbs shocks, the iconic two-strap design. 

There is, however, one noteworthy difference between the two models: While the traditional Arizona shoe has a natural leather (though the company debuted an animal-product-free model in 2017), the Cushionaire is 100% vegan and comes in 20+ colors and styles. 

Customer Review: “I’ve been searching for a pair of knock off birks. They are so comfy….I wear them almost every day and have even worn them on the boat on several occasions. I would highly recommend. I did have to break them in, but it honestly only took a couple to four days of wearing them daily.” – Michele  

Price: $24.99 and up on Amazon

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3. Target Birkenstock Knockoff

Image: Target

These Mad Love Keava Footbed Sandals are a dead ringer for the Arizona and come equipped with adjustable buckle closures and a cork footbed reminiscent of the original Birkenstock’s famous footbed. 

Customer Review: “These sandals are VERY comfortable and stylish. I love that they are birk dupes without the heavy price tag too. I will be buying these in other colors as well!” – MamaV

Price: $22.99 at Target 

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4. Birkenstock Boston Dupe  

Image: Amazon

Similar to the Birkenstock Boston Clog, these TF Star suede clogs feature a suede upper and insole lining and cork-EVA sole. And like the original, these knockoff Birkenstock clogs feature a deep heel and arch support and adjustable strap to boot. 

Customer Review: “I love these! Wore them for only half the day and they’re already forming to my foot! I really like how there’s suede inside the shoes, so you don’t have to scrunch your toes when you walk to keep the shoes on. They stay on by themselves with the grip of the suede to your foot!!.” – Lisa M. Brodsky 

Price: $39.99 on Amazon 

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5. Amazon Birkenstock Shearling Dupe

Image: Amazon

Another Birkenstock Shearling dupe, these Earth Origins Slide Sandals are real leather with a faux-fur lining and buckle detail that looks almost exactly like the original. Like the original Arizona Shearlings, the budget-friendly Birk alternates combine a contoured cork footbed with a light EVA outsole and are available in black and a camel hue. 

Customer Review: “I would say these are a cute variation of an ugly style. It also helps that they have a faux fur lining now that it’s getting a little chilly in the mornings and evenings. I did have to remove the labels from the inside because they were rubbing the tops of my super sensitive feet. Great purchase, if a little ugly. I may go back for another color! *I did! I went back for the Alpaca, LOVE them!” – Leffty13 

Price: $19.98 and up on Amazon 

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6. Walmart Birkenstock Sandal Dupe

Image: Walmart

Looking kind of like a lovechild of Arizona shearling sandals and Ugg’s Disco Slide Slippers, these Walmart Birkenstock dupes are ridiculously fluffy with a two-band design and cushioned flexible footbed with arch support. Unlike classic Birkenstocks, these fuzzy slippers don’t require a break-in period. They’re currently available in black, ivory and leopard. 

Customer Review: “I love these shoes. Everyone wants them. My granddaughters keep trying to get them away from me. 1 love them and so does everyone else.” – helen

Price: $19.99 at Walmart 

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7. Amazon Birkenstock Dupe

Image: Amazon

Tel Aviv-based brand Freedom Moses outfits feet with eco-conscious slides in a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns—from metallic silver to tie-dye to splattered paint. Sandals feature a molded, textured footbed and decorative (not adjustable) buckle made from sturdy, waterproof recycled rubber. And here’s something cool: Every pair comes scented with their signature milk and honey fragrance. 

Customer Review: “They are perfect for the beach and every day during the summer. You can rinse them off so they are easy to clean and look good with sundresses, shorts or cropped pants!! The perfect summer sandal!” – Denise 

Price: $15 and up on Amazon

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8. Birkenstock Mayari Sandal Dupe

Image: Amazon

Not all dupes will save you as much high-end knockoffs, but saving any amount is usually worth it, right? The Birkenstock Mayari is $99.95. If paying that isn’t something you want to do, then the Cushionaire Luna Sandal might be right up your alley. This pair features 100% genuine suede insoles, a premium vegan upper and dozens of colors. It racks up over 49,000 reviews and boats 4.6 stars.

Customer Review: (Summary) “As someone who owns multiple pairs of Birks, these sandals are absolutely up to expectations of real Birks! As far as sizing goes, I agree they run a little small.” UPDATE: “They are holding up fantastic! I wasn’t sure about the longevity of these, but they have proven to be quality shoes! I now ordered another color in these sandals and also another style from this brand! I highly recommend.” – Lee

Price: $25 and up on Amazon

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9. Birkenstock Lugano Dupe

Image: Target

Similar to the Birkenstock Lugano, this cheaper option by MUK LUKS offers a wear-anywhere slip-on style that will cradle your foot in comfort. The dual straps have adjustable buckles that ensures a secure, supported fit.

Customer Review: “I absolutely love these shoes I just got them in the mail today and I just treated them with suede cleaner and protection tried them on and they fit like a dream and they’re very comfortable they’re all suede and I love it it’s gonna be hard to pick which shoes to take to the beach.” – CPTJET

Price: $27 (reg. $44.99) at Target

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10. Birkenstock Platform Sandal Dupe

Image: Belk

The Wonderly Zuri Footbed Sandals are propped up on a chunky platform with a buckle-embellished two-strap design. Costing substantially less than a pair of Birkenstocks, they come in three colors to match your ever-changing mood.

Customer Review: “Glad I bought all colors cuz they are super cute comfortable & the compliments keep going.” – Jazzy

Price: $10 (reg. $50) at Belk

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