Birkenstock sandals with SPD cleats

Since my search for new bicycle sandals was not very successfull, I had a pair of Birkenstocks, model “Athen”, get modified by a shoemaker.

The history: During the months in sommer i liked to drive with sandals by Shimano, SH-SD60 to be precise. After many years a new pair was neccessary in spring 2012. Unfortunately Shimano stopped the production of the SH-SD60 :-(. The successor did not get better but worse and according to reports by some people also more prone to wear. Also the general problem remains that it is impossible to do any repairs.

Motivated by an article on the net I eventually had a pair of Birkenstock sandals, model “Athen” get modified by Amann Orthopädie-Schuhtechnik so they can be used as bicycle sandals. The result is quite impressive:

The soles are thick enough so the cleats don’t scratch on the ground when walking. The irregular carrying out of the openings is generally just a “cosmetic” problem – the shoes work fine anyway. Also the adjustment of the cleats is possible in the same way as in the “original”.

The impression on the first test drives was very good – especially when considering that the shoes are also very comfortable when walking. The big adavantage to “plastic sandals”: If neccessary the things can be repaired.

6 thoughts on “Birkenstock sandals with SPD cleats”

  1. I’m looking to have a similar modification done (finding fitting bike shoes for my wife is hopeless). Do you have any idea how your shoemaker mounted the cleats? I’m trying to get a sense of what parts are involved.

    1. Arno Welzel

      I think it was a kind of “sandwich” of plastic and sheet metal. I don’t know how this material is called, but I think he used that to keep a certain flexibility but also providing enough stability for the cleats.

  2. Cool article. Nice to see other folks attempting this modifcation.

    Mountain Soles & Outdoor Threads also built up a pair of SPD Milano Birks for Birkenstock USA.

    Check them out:

  3. Andreas

    Are you still satisfied, five years later? :-)

    1. Arno Welzel

      Yes, I’m still happy with the sandals :-). However there are a number of SPD sandals on the market now, so there is no need for custom made shoes any longer.

      1. P

        Got my Shimano SPD sandals about the same time you modified the Birkenstocks. Still use them almost every day for biking and also found them comfortable for 10-mile hikes.

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