Birkenstock is renowned for their contoured and supportive footbeds. But the German company also produces several lines of clog-style shoes perfect for workplace safety and all-day comfort.
Two of their most popular options are the Profi-Birki and Super-Birki. While these two models share the same Birkenstock DNA, there are also key differences between them.
This comprehensive guide will analyze every aspect of the Profi-Birki and Super-Birki clogs. We’ll scrutinize the materials, construction, features, and ideal uses of each pair.
By the end, you’ll understand the main similarities and differences between the two Birkis. With this in-depth comparison, you’ll be able to decide which model is the best choice for your needs.
A Brief Comparison Table
|Contoured cork and latex
|Contoured cork and latex
|PU with tread
|PU with tread
|Easy to clean
|Oil & fat resistance
|Food service, healthcare
|Food service, janitorial, industrial
Detailed Comparison of Birkenstock Profi-Birki And Super-Birki
One significant difference between the Profi and Super Birki lies in the upper material. Let’s take a closer look at how leather vs synthetic leather affects durability, breathability, comfort and care.
- Profi-Birki Leather Upper
The Profi-Birki features an upper made from natural leather that’s been treated with oils to add water resistance.
The leather is 2.8mm thick, making it extremely durable and supportive.
Over time, the supple leather forms perfectly to your foot for a custom fit.
The oiled leather also develops a personal patina as it ages.
For optimal comfort, the interior is lined with a cushioned microfiber layer that wicks away moisture. Breathability is moderately good for a closed-back clog thanks to strategic perforations across the upper.
Caring for leather does require more effort than synthetic materials. The Profi-Birki upper must be regularly cleaned and conditioned to prevent cracking. But the high-quality oiled leather will last for years with proper maintenance.
For those who prefer the look and feel of natural leather, the extra care is worth it.
- Super-Birki Synthetic Upper
In contrast to natural leather, the Super-Birki boasts an upper made from synthetic leather. The material is completely vegan-friendly. It’s also waterproof, resisting liquids far better than real leather. Stains have a hard time clinging to the finish.
The lightweight synthetic upper won’t mold perfectly to your foot. However, it offers a shorter break-in period out of the box. Perspiration also won’t absorb into synthetic as readily as leather. The antimicrobial treatment inhibits odors.
While not as breathable as the perforated leather upper, the open back provides much better airflow. Less care is required for the Super-Birki upper. Just wipe it clean as needed without any conditioning.
For vegans and those wanting a clog that’s impervious to water and mess, the Super-Birki’s synthetic leather is a smart choice. It does sacrifice some of the custom molded fit of real leather though.
Footbed And Insole Differences
Another major point of distinction is the footbed design. Both Birkis use the same contoured shape for arch support, but the construction differs.
- Profi-Birki Footbed
The Profi-Birki features a classic Birkenstock footbed with deep heel cups and ample arch support.
It consists of a base layer of cork molded into the signature contoured shape.
On top is a middle layer of latex to add cushioning and absorb shock.
The most unique aspect is that the entire footbed is removable in the Profi-Birki.
A microfiber insole layer sits on top for moisture-wicking and additional softness underfoot.
Being able to remove and wash the footbed makes it easier to keep the Profi-Birki fresh. The removable layers also make it simple to add your own orthopedic inserts if needed.
- Super-Birki Footbed
The Super-Birki contains the same contoured cork and latex layers. However, the footbed is permanently integrated into the clog. You cannot remove it for washing or to insert custom orthotics.
Without the microfiber top layer, the Super-Birki footbed is a bit firmer. On the plus side, the snug fit helps keep your foot stable with the open back design. The integrated bed also eliminates seams that could let in moisture.
Deciding between the two footbeds comes down to whether you want the ability to remove and insert orthotics vs. preferring a permanently bonded structure.
Outsole and Grip Comparison
Slip-resistance is paramount for workplace safety clogs. Both the Profi-Birki and Super-Birki deliver excellent traction, but there are slight differences in their outsoles.
- Profi-Birki Outsole
The Profi-Birki outsole uses a PU compound that remains grippy on wet and oily surfaces. The tread pattern features staggered blocks in contrasting colors for visual indicator of wear. The sole provides outstanding shock absorption and wear resistance even during long hours on your feet.
Rating as occupational safety footwear, the Profi-Birki outsole is resistant to oil, fat, many chemicals, and heat up to approximately 140°F. The tread design makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
- Super-Birki Outsole
Super-Birki utilizes the same slip-resistant PU material in its outsole. The tread pattern varies slightly with more prominent lugs under the toe and heel for traction. Like the Profi, it carries an EN ISO 20347 certification for occupational footwear.
In addition to the oil, chemical, and heat resistance, the Super-Birki outsole has anti-static properties. This makes it suitable for electronics manufacturing and other roles that demand antistatic footwear to avoid equipment damage. The Profi-Birki sole lacks this electrical resistance.
Both models perform equally well on slippery floors. Choosing between them depends on whether you need electrical resistance from your footwear.
Closed Back Vs. Open Back Design
Moving up from the sole, another obvious difference is the back section. The Profi-Birki has a completely closed heel while the Super-Birki remains open.
- Profi-Birki Closed Back
The Profi-Birki’s leather upper extends into a closed heel piece that tightly cups the back and sides of your foot. This provides exceptional stability, preventing your heel from slipping out as you walk or move. The snug fit also minimizes rubbing that can lead to blisters.
On the downside, the closed construction traps heat. It allows minimal airflow to reach your foot compared to an open-back clog. This can lead to sweaty feet during long shifts, especially in hot environments.
- Super Birki Open Back
In contrast, the Super-Birki has a completely open back section. Two wide buckled straps extend over the instep for a secure but adjustable fit. The open design allows air to freely circulate around your entire foot for cooler comfort.
The roomier fit is also handy if you have high arches or other fit issues. However, the open back provides less stability than the Profi-Birki’s closed heel. Your foot may slide forward without the extra heel support.
Weighing airflow vs. stability will determine whether the Profi or Super Birki back design is right for you.
Ideal Uses For Each Clog
The Profi and Super Birkis share similarities that make both models suitable for demanding jobs and workplace safety. However, their differing features and construction make each one better suited for certain roles.
Where the Profi-Birki Excels
The Profi-Birki’s leather upper and closed-back design offer benefits ideal for these environments:
- Healthcare – The secure fit and shock-absorbing sole make the Profi-Birki perfect for nurses, doctors, and other medical staff who spend long hours on their feet.
- Food service – The oil-resistant sole provides traction in busy kitchens, and leather withstands spills. The removable footbed makes this clog easy to deodorize after long shifts.
- Hospitality – For servers, chefs, and other roles that require extensive time walking on hard floors, the Profi-Birki prevents fatigue.
- Light industrial work – Durable leather, grippy sole, and stabilizing heel provide safety and comfort for manufacturing and warehousing jobs that demand stands and mobility.
Where the Super-Birki Excels
With its synthetic upper and open back, the Super-Birki is optimized for these types of work:
- Custodial/janitorial – The waterproof synthetic leather and electrical resistance make Super-Birki ideal for cleaning staff, handling both wetness and cleaning chemicals.
- Manufacturing – The anti-static sole prevents equipment damage in electronics and tech factories. Open back allows better airflow in hot industrial settings.
- Agriculture/horticulture – Super-Birki withstands messy outdoor work and won’t harbor bacteria like leather might. Drainage ports help shed dirt and debris.
- Wet environments – Synthetic upper and drainage system allow the Super-Birki to be worn where leather would struggle with continual moisture exposure.
Cost Comparison of Profi-Birki And Super-Birki
You generally get what you pay for with clogs, so higher quality comes at a price. Both the Profi and Super Birki are premium-priced products, but there is a difference in cost.
- Profi-Birki Cost
Made with genuine leather and loaded with features, the Profi-Birki sits at the higher end of the price spectrum. Retailing around $149 – $169, it costs roughly 1.5 to 2 times more than a basic synthetic clog.
Considering the real leather will mold perfectly to your feet and last for years, the higher price reflects the quality construction. While not cheap, the Profi-Birki delivers excellent value that translates to pennies per day over its lifespan.
- Super-Birki Cost
The Super-Birki has a retail price ranging from $99 – $139. That’s around 25% less than the Profi-Birki.
The lower price mainly reflects the synthetic leather upper rather than real leather. But the Super-Birki still contains premium components like contoured cork, latex footbed, and slip-resistant outsole.
While more budget-friendly, the Super-Birki doesn’t feel or look cheap. You still get fantastic comfort along with occupational safety certifications.
Both models are undoubtedly expensive compared to generic clogs. But the quality ensures your investment will last over years of steady wear.
On your feet all day, ounces feel like pounds. So weight is an important consideration for occupational footwear. Here is how the Profi and Super Birki compare:
- Profi-Birki Weight
A men’s size 42 Profi-Birki weighs approximately 1 pound 5 ounces per shoe. The women’s 8.5-9 Profi weighs 1 pound 2 ounces.
The ooiled leather accounts for the majority of that weight. Internal components like the latex footbed also have some heft. But the clog still feels reasonably lightweight on the foot thanks to the ergonomic design.
- Super-Birki Weight
In comparison, the Super-Birki in the same sizes weighs around 1 pound per shoe.
The lighter synthetic leather upper accounts for much of the weight reduction compared to the Profi-Birki. Though only a few ounces, the difference can feel significant during 10+ hour shifts.
Those wanting the absolute lightest clog may favor the Super-Birki. But a few extra ounces of leather offers benefits for some as well.
Care and Maintenance Comparison
Clogs built for demanding work also need care to look and perform their best. Here’s the cleaning and care required for each model:
- Caring for the Profi-Birki
The Profi-Birki’s leather upper needs the most attention. Regular cleaning followed by conditioning is essential to prevent drying and cracking over time.
Birkenstock recommends cleaning footbeds with warm water and gentle soap when they show wear. Periodically removing and airing out the footbed will reduce odors.
With consistent care, the Profi-Birki’s leather and construction will remain serviceable for years of daily use. But the required maintenance is more involved than with a synthetic clog.
- Caring for the Super-Birki
The Super-Birki has fewer care demands thanks to its synthetic upper and permanently integrated footbed.
A wipe down with a damp cloth easily removes most marks on the faux leather finish. Only occasional mild detergent is required. Letting them fully air dry prevents the insides from becoming musty.
The Super-Birki’s easy-clean nature appeals to those wanting lower maintenance footwear. But the inability to machine wash parts may allow odors to build up over time.
Sizing and Fit Comparison
Fit can make or break clog comfort. Here’s how sizing and fit differ across the two Birki models:
- Profi-Birki Sizing and Fit
The Profi-Birki runs slightly large to account for the leather molding to your foot. Most wearers recommend sizing down a half or full size from your regular shoe size if possible.
The width is medium, accommodating average to slightly wider feet. High-arched individuals may need an insert for proper arch support until the footbed breaks in.
Overall, the Profi provides a customized, sock-like fit thanks to the supple oiled leather and adjustable heel strap. The snug heel cup also enhances stability. Just beware the break-in period with leather can involve blisters at first.
- Super-Birki Sizing and Fit
The Super-Birki runs quite large with significant wiggle room through the heel. Sizing down 1 to 1.5 sizes is suggested for the best fit.
Width-wise, the Super-Birki fits average to narrower feet best. There’s less stretch in the synthetic material compared to real leather.
With its roomier silhouette, the Super-Birki accommodates swelling or orthotics better than the sleek Profi. But the open back doesn’t hold the heel as securely. Wearers with narrow or loose heels may want to tighten the back strap firmly.
For those with wider feet, fit issues, or discomfort, try both models on in person before deciding. An authorized Birkenstock retailer can provide guidance on sizing as well.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The main differences between the Profi-Birki and Super-Birki are:
1. Upper material – The Profi-Birki has a leather upper while the Super-Birki has synthetic leather.
2. Back panel – The Profi-Birki has a closed back for stability while the Super-Birki has an open back for airflow.
3. Removable footbed – The Profi-Birki has a removable footbed but the Super-Birki’s is permanent.
4. Electrical resistance – Only the Super-Birki is anti-static and electrically resistant.
Super Birkis generally run slightly large. Many wearers recommend ordering a size down from your normal shoe size for the best fit.
Birkis and Birkenstocks are made by the same company, Birkenstock. But Birkenstock offers several different shoe lines. Birkis are a type of occupational clog made for workplace safety and function. Birkenstocks are the more casual, lifestyle sandals the brand is known for. While Birkis share design elements like contoured footbeds, they use more durable, slip-resistant materials with safety certifications that Birkenstocks lack. So Birkis are optimized for demanding jobs, while Birkenstocks are designed for comfort and style rather than occupational safety.
Yes, Super Birkis are fully waterproof due to their synthetic leather upper. The materials are resistant to water as well as stains, oils, and many chemicals. This makes them ideal for wet or messy working conditions. The Profi-Birkis, with their leather upper, are less waterproof and require more care when exposed to moisture.
The best Birkenstock clog comes down to your specific needs and preferences. But by understanding all the nitty-gritty differences uncovered in this guide, you can confidently choose the Profi or Super Birki that’s right for you.
Whichever model you select, your feet will thank you for providing such comfort and support during long days on the job.