Birkenstock Arizona High Arch Sandal Review: Cavus Foot Solution

by Purposeful Footwear - Last Updated: April 10, 2018

The Birkenstock Arizona High Arch has gotten a lot of praise as one of the best everyday sandals for people with cavus foot. Now, because lots of brands attempt to design everyday footwear options for people with high arches and often fail, I decided to take a closer look at the Arizona to find out whether it truly delivered the comfort and support that the special foot condition requires.

I spent a few days digging up the dirt on this design, and after everything I’ve learned, I can easily say high arched people, rejoice! The Airzona High Arch Sandal from Birkenstock is definitely an investment you’d want to make if you’re looking for an everyday footwear companion that will take away those high arch-related aches and pains.

Aside from providing optimal support for high arches, the Arizona also has a few other design features up its sleeve that make it a great choice in general. So if you’re interested in copping a pair for yourself, check out my complete guide on the Arizona Sandals from Birkenstock to see why you should definitely jump on the chance to buy them.

The Ultimate Classic Birkenstock Look

The Arizona is probably one of the most popular Birkenstock designs to date because it looks a lot like the first ever sandal the brand released into the market. Plus, the Arizona is also one of the most affordable designs they have, so it’s easy to see why this comfortable, lightweight choice sells like hotcakes.

The design features two straps that connect to either side of the midsole. Unlike other Birkenstock sandals, the buckles are not simply decorative and actually work to adjust the fit of the footwear.

In true Birkenstock fashion, the uppers also come in a variety of colors and materials. This makes the otherwise simple sandal more stylish, appealing to different senses of style and fashion. The standard material used for the straps is Birko-Flor, but the brand does offer a number of others including suede, oiled leather, and the most affordable of all, EVA.

There are also a few other options that switch out the cork footbed for other materials like EVA. This doesn’t only significantly lower the price, but also offers a completely different comfort experience in the unlikely case that you don’t find the cork design to fit your fancy.

Unbelievable Support Like No Other

Now, for people with high arches, this has to be the biggest consideration. The reason why high arches tend to get so painful after wearing unsuitable footwear for extended periods is because most designs don’t accommodate the difference in foot contour.

Without the enough stability under the arch, the foot overworks its muscles. It does this in order to support shifting weight. Ultimately, this results to pain and in some cases, even contractures.

The Arizona High Arch sandal features a footbed topography that takes cues from the original Birkenstock cork footbed, but it incorporates a few changes that help make it more suitable for high arches.

Firstly, the heel cup is a lot deeper to help accommodate the rise for the arches. Along the side of the mid-foot region is a pronounced contour that fits snugly against high arches to help support weight bearing. After the transverse arch support rise, the contour dips significantly yet again to give clearance to the ball of the foot.

Along the toe area is a raised toe bar that helps keep the foot in proper positioning all throughout the walking cycle. Finally, around the entire footbed is a raised ridge that cradles the foot and its borders to promote a natural barefoot feel that optimizes comfort and support.

Needless to say, Birkenstock really outdid themselves with this high arch design. The contours are near perfect, giving the best support compared to many other sandals for high arches that I’ve seen in the past.

Incredible Comfort Perfect for the Daily Grind

The superb footbed construction – aside from giving ample support – also works wonders in terms of comfort. By properly cradling all the different parts of your feet, the sandal makes it very easy to walk naturally effortlessly.

Other features of the sandal that make it ideal when it comes to comfort is its weight. Using ultra lightweight materials like Birko-Flor and EVA, the sandal weighs very little. This reduces the energy you would need during toe off. The materials are also very pliable, moving with your feet as you walk. The design offers very little resistance, paving the way for a natural step.

I have to say though that the EVA strap variety can offer a slightly less comfortable experience. Mostly, this is because they lack the fleece lining that the Birko-Flor use. The Arizona sandals that use EVA exclusively are also more prone to sweat accumulation. All in all, this makes them slightly less pleasurable to walk in.

With the classic Birko-Flor and cork combination though, there really isn’t anything bad I can say. It’s breathable, comfortable, lightweight, and pliable straight out of the box allowing you to walk confidently and naturally minus the break-in period.

Impressive Overall Build and Durability

The thing about Birkenstocks is that they’re practically impervious to damage. The sandals boast premium European craftsmanship that makes them highly resistant to wear and tear. In fact, most users would assert that their Arizona’s look a lot better after having been used for a few months.

On the overall, the Arizonas definitely take to wear and tear much better than any other sandal I’ve seen. The cork footbed – despite being pliable and lightweight – is impressively hardy. Even after long term use, they don’t lose their contour. So you can enjoy the same support and comfort for years.

The Birko-Flor uppers are also pretty hard-wearing, requiring very little maintenance. Still, they are capable of surviving several years of use without showing any signs of wear and tear. Personally, I prefer the classic Birko-Flor and cork combination in terms of durability compared to the all-EVA construction.

Nonetheless, the pure EVA variations are reasonably durable without comparison. The only issue that buyers really have with them is that they may lose some of their density over time. Sure, it’s not always that noticeable, but more sensitive users can definitely pick up on the difference.

Sole Treads Need Regular Repairs

As much as I’d like to say that Birkenstock sandals are flawless, their soles deserve a little extra attention. Traction and sole design after all, have never really been a strong suit for Birkenstock. After using your Arizonas for a while, it’s possible that you might experience a bad case of worn out treads. This can significantly impact the traction you get out of the sandal. It also makes them something of a hazard to walk in over flat, smooth, or wet surfaces.

Because they seem to be aware of the issue, Birkenstock offers repairs and replacements for worn out or damaged soles. The after-sales service is fast, reliable, and much more affordable than buying a brand new pair all together. So all things considered, it may be more practical for some.

In my opinion though, the most practical solution would have been to use more durable materials in the first place. However, as the brand didn’t want to lose the lightweight quality, they chose to go with the EVA outsoles. So durability just had to take the backseat.

Pros of the Birkenstock Airzona High Arch Sandal

  • Classic Birkenstock appearance for a versatile casual wear companion.
  • Optimal footbed design gives great support for high arches.
  • Pliable materials allow natural and effortless gait patterns.
  • Durable construction stands the test of time without showing signs of wear and tear.
  • Adjustable straps make it possible to achieve a more customized fit.
  • Lots of variations so you can find the perfect aesthetic to fit your sense of style.

Cons of the Birkenstock Arizona High Arch Sandal

  • Treads aren’t the most durable, requiring regular repairs and replacements.

The Verdict

I can say is that the Birkenstock Arizona High Arch Sandal is something you shouldn’t be without if you’ve got a case of high arches. This comfy casual footwear design delivers what it promises, giving you unrivalled support through and through.

Comfort wise, style wise, and durability wise, it’s also a sure investment. Of course, the traction flaw can be an issue for some. But with the trusty Birkenstock after-sales service easily accessible, it’s definitely a forgivable issue. This is especially true when you consider the other features that the sandal brings to the table.

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