Sandal Comparison: Tread Labs Covelo vs. Birkenstock Gizeh

Sandal Comparison: Tread Labs Covelo vs. Birkenstock Gizeh

by Mark Paigen 6 minute read

When shopping for supportive footwear, it can be challenging to find sandals that meet your needs and your sense of style. We’ll compare 2 excellent choices for supportive footwear: Tread Labs’ Covelo sandals and Birkenstock’s Gizeh sandals. Both are premium offerings from strong brands. Let’s dive in.

The Basics –

  • The Tread Labs Covelo sandal and the Birkenstock Gizeh sandal are both supportive slip-on sandals with a toe-post (think flip-flops).
  • Birks are more casual and less water friendly. Tread Labs are sportier and less traditional.
  • Birks are firmer initially but will conform to your feet. Tread Labs may be more comfortable to start but will retain their shape.
  • Both appeal to a similar customer – someone looking for the comfort that arch support brings - in a look that fits their style.

Shop Women's Covelo

Shop Men's Covelo

What are the differences between Tread Labs Covelo and Birkenstock Gizeh?

Tread Labs Covelo v. Birkenstock Gizeh

This chart shows Birkenstock Gizeh (left) head-to-head with Tread Labs Covelo (right). It’s based on information taken from each company’s website and our own direct observation.

  Birkenstock Gizeh
Tread Labs Covelo
Company History Founded in 1774, Birkenstock originally sold arch support insoles. A German company, Birkenstock now sells sandals and closed footwear in addition to insoles. They are known for their contoured cork footbeds (soles). The footbeds are made with layers of jute, ground cork and latex and topped with a leather cover. Tread Labs was started in 2015 by Mark Paigen, founder of Chaco sandals. Building on the biomechanical concepts that made Chaco customers raving brand advocates, Tread Labs created an innovative 2-part insole in 2015 and launched supportive sandals in 2022.
Product Description (from website) “The modern thong sandal from Birkenstock - the Gizeh. This style is an iconic classic with signature support and a refined, minimalist style. The upper is made from the skin-friendly, hard-wearing synthetic material Birko-Flor®.” “Slip on convenience with insanely comfortable arch support. Soft and lightweight, these sandals are supportive enough to take you to Europe and back. Cute, water-friendly and excellent for those with plantar fasciitis. Soft, knit uppers are instantly comfortable and are made of 100% recycled materials. Comfort never looked this good.”
Best Use Casual Casual, Recovery, Light Trail
Style/Adjustment Thong with single buckle Thong with single buckle

Arch Support

1 = Flat

5 = High Arch Support


Anatomically shaped with arch support, toe bar, and a deep heel cup


Contoured arch support with a moderate heel cup

Footbed Surface

Suede Leather

Microfiber suede



Ultra-lightweight Polyurethane


EVA. Prioritizes cushion over durability. All Birk sandals are resoleable.

Durable rubber, 13% recycled. Rubber generally outlasts EVA. All Tread Labs sandals are resoleable.


Birko-Flor® (synthetic leather)

3D Knit (Made from 100% recycled polyester)


Single metal pin Buckle

Single Aluminum Buckle



Cork and EVA are lightweight and on-trend.


Polyurethane and rubber are durable and long lasting.


18.6 oz/pair

19 oz/pair

Break-in Time

2-3 Weeks

Nearly none


The Gizeh should not be immersed in water as over-saturation can compromise the integrity of the footbed materials.

Covelo sandals are made with water friendly materials that dry quickly. They are also machine washable.


Euro Unisex Sizing

Whole Sizes

Women 4-4.5 – 12-12.5

Men 6-6.5 – 13-13.5


US Gender Specific Sizing

Whole Sizes

Women 6-11

Men 8-13

Fit Guarantee

Items may be returned in original purchase condition and packaging within 30 days of delivery. Shipping charges are not refunded.

Sandals can be returned for free within 30 days in new condition. Tread Labs pays return shipping.





UPS Ground Shipping $4.95

USPS First Class Shipping (2-3 days) = Free



 Women's Covelo


Tread Labs Covelo v. Birkenstock Gizeh

Should I buy Birkenstock Gizeh or Tread Labs Covelo?

Tread Labs and Birkenstock both offer a contoured footbed designed to support the arch and provide lasting comfort. The primary differences between the sandals come down to the materials used and the aesthetics. The one you choose just might come down to how you plan to use your sandals.


The Gizeh is solidly in the casual sandal category. It’s a very popular style that is comfortable anywhere around town. You could wear them to the beach, but it wouldn’t be a good idea to get them wet. The EVA outsoles contribute cushioning and are fine for town use. They do not offer much traction or slip resistance.

The Covelo straddles the line between a casual sandal and a sport sandal. Its design is based on the midsole of a running shoe, which comes across clearly in the contours of the sandal. The quick-drying, water-friendly materials don’t mind a dunking, and the outsole provides good traction. Meanwhile, the minimalist design makes them infinitely versatile. You could easily dress these sandals up or down.


Both sandals offer good arch support, but they feel quite different. The Gizeh’s footbed is initially stiff, but softens up and conforms to the foot over time. This creates a break-in period, but also allows some customization of the fit. The arch on the Gizeh is not quite as high as the Covelo, but it comes farther forward. Birkenstock footbeds also feature ‘toe bars,’ raised areas that fit between the balls of your feet and the pads of your toes. They are very comfortable for many but can be a problem for people with long or short toes.

Tread Labs Covelo sandals feature arch contours derived from Tread Labs’ innovative insoles. The arch is pronounced and there is significant toe and heel spring. (This is the distance from the ground to the contact point of the sole at the very front and back of the sandal.) This contributes to a natural stride, as it allows the foot to roll forward into the next step. Look at any running shoe and you will see similar toe and heel spring. The ultralight polyurethane footbeds are comfortable from the start and soften just a bit.


The cork midsole of the Birkenstock is firm but will eventually mold to your foot. The natural suede top surface is very durable. The polyurethane of the Covelo is higher tech and will last much longer, especially with harder use. Cork can also dry out over time, necessitating a new coating of sealant to preserve the material.

The ultra-lightweight polyurethane midsole of Tread Labs offers firm resilient support and long-term durability. EVA is a good cushioning material but can wear out quickly—this is a drawback of the Gizeh’s EVA outsole. The Covelo has a durable rubber outsole for long-lasting grip.

Tread Labs Covelo and Birkenstock Gizeh


The suede leather of the Gizeh and the microfiber suede of the Covelo are both nice and soft underfoot. Both will feel better than a sandal where your foot rests directly on EVA or some other plastic. The Gizeh has the advantage of being a natural material, while the Covelo is water friendly and machine washable. It comes down to how versatile your sandals need to be.


Both sandals use premium materials and are backed by strong companies. The Gizeh is $10 less expensive, especially significant if you buy them in a store. The Covelo is slightly more expensive, but if bought on-line has the advantage of free shipping and returns. Also keep in mind the durability factor. The materials used by Tread Labs offer a longer-lasting outsole that you can put through the wringer. Both sandals are resoleable, a big advantage over cheaper alternatives.


You must be the judge on this one. Birkenstock has been around for many years and has seen a resurgence in the last 10 years. Birks are very popular, have weathered more than a couple style trends and have many brand advocates. Their styles are iconic and while many of their models feature muted hues, they often break out of the box with trendy colors and finishes.

Tread Labs has a minimalist, Scandinavian look with simple lines and saturated colors. They look faster and sportier. The new kid on the block, they do not have decades of history and tradition.

The Bottom Line

While we are biased towards the versatility of the Tread Labs Covelo, we tip our hat to Birkenstock and the iconic products they make. Whether you go with the Gizeh or the Covelo, or another supportive sandal, your feet will thank you for giving them the support they need to thrive. Ultimately the final choice is best made by trying on both styles and seeing what your feet have to say.

Tread Labs Covelo v. Birkenstock Gizeh

Shop Women's Covelo

Shop Men's Covelo

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