Birkenstock and Betula are two brands commonly associated with comfort footwear. While the appearance of the shoes in these German brands is similar, they differ concerning quality and especially price. Betula is a company within the Birkenstock family, explaining the overall similarities between the two brands.
Because Birkenstock is a parent company to Betula, age is a significant difference between the two brands. The shoemaker Johann Adam Birkenstock started the Birkenstock brand in 1774 in a small German village. Christian Birkenstock created Betula, a branch from the parent company, in 1994.
Almost all of the classic Birkenstock style shoes have a Betula counterpart. Even the bottom, black-rubber sole is embossed with the same geometric pattern of both brands.
The original Birkenstock brand carries a wide variety of sandals in addition to clogs and shoes. The overall aesthetic is classic and minimal, and relies on the traditional nature of the brand.
Betula shoes are featured in traditional styles reminiscent of its parent company, but in trendy and modern styles as well. New Betula style shoes are released monthly, and often showcase flashy embellishments, beading, studs and prints. In addition to a new style, the Betula brand also introduced new models of insoles for the supportive footwear brand.
Because one of the main distinctions between the two brands is price, quality is also a differing factor. The original Birkenstock brand provides the option for customization of a shoe, and offers the choice between three therapeutic insoles. Betula does not have this option because it is very costly.
Also, the materials used in the construction of the shoes are different. As an example, one of the most recognizable styles is the "Arizona," which features two straps with buckle detailing across the top of the foot and a cork insole. The Birkenstock model of this shoe has straps made of authentic suede, and the Betula version uses cheaper faux-suede materials to ensure affordability.
Between Birkenstock and Betula, the later is undoubtedly more accessible. Betula footwear debuted on the Home Shopping Network and is also sold on the network's website HSN.com. The Betula brand can be found in various retail stores such as Sam's Club and Sears.
The Birkenstock brand is more limited, but available in licensed Birkenstock stores, independent shoe stores and select department stores.
Both Birkenstock and Betula are featured in many online stores, including Overstock.com and Beso.com.
Birkenstock brand shoes are generally more expensive than Betula shoes. As of May 2010, the cost of Birkenstock shoes ranges from $40 to $210 depending on the style. The more affordable Betula brand shoes range from $30 to $80 per pair according to the model of shoe.