Can Birkenstocks Get Wet?

If you already own a pair of Birkenstock sandals or if you are planning to purchase a pair, it’s really important to understand what you can and can’t do with them.  You want your Birks to last a long time, so one question you might ask is... can Birkenstocks get wet?

Birkenstocks can get wet, but most Birkenstocks styles should not be immersed in water for an extended period of time. Extended periods in water can damage the leather, change the look and feel of the leather and affect the sealant material protecting the cork. If wet, allow your Birks to dry slowly away from a direct heat source.

Extended exposure to moisture can tear up the soles and break the straps. As I mentioned before, Birkenstock sandals don't tolerate too much moisture immersion or direct sunlight.

Do Not leave your Birks to dry under the sun. The sun can bleach and dry out the leather straps and can cause deterioration of the cork cole, reducing the life of your Birks dramatically.

Prolong the years of service of your Birkenstocks sandals by keeping them dry and clean. Let’s take a look at what Birks are made of a discuss proper maintenance.

Arizona Birkenstocks

Madrid Birkenstock

What materials comprise Birkenstocks?

What makes this footwear durable and withstand rain and moisture exposure (occasionally)? Customers are satisfied with Birkenstocks' line of quality materials. The upper soles are made up of 4 materials. Each pair has layers of:

1. Jute

The footbed lays between 2 layers of jute. The first layer on the bottom stabilizes the natural cork and latext, keeping it intact. It adds extra reinforcement to protect the bondage between granules of cork. The second layer covers the top of the cork footbed.

This thick layer of jute supports the structure making it more flexible and durable. It reinforces the cork to avoid fractures. This layer of jute is absorbent, which helps the topmost layer to absorb moisture.

Zurich Birkenstocks

2. Natural cork and latex footbed

The cork and latext footbed is the most important layer of the structure. Highly elastic latex milk binds the cork granules making a stable footbed.

Natural cork is lightweight and cushions well. It holds and soothes the foot from pressure. The springy cork is breathable and insulates the foot from heat, cold, and even moisture.

Granada Soft Footbed Birkenstocks

3. Foam Insert

The shaped foam insert comprises the soft footbed giving a more comfortable feel for wearers. This layer has tiny air bubbles providing extra comfort to relax your feet.

It provides a good mold of the feet for a snug fit.

Kairo Birkenstocks

4. Suede

Birkenstocks uses suede because it absorbs moisture and it won't smell compared to fabric footbed. It is highly usable in any climate condition.

The leather has pores allowing your foot to breathe, and it also won't wear out that easily.

Milano Birkenstocks - Oiled Leather

The outsoles are made of EVA foam. This foam is again lightweight and comfortable. PVA foam has millions of tiny air bubbles. That is why it is lightweight, but it is sturdy.

Brand new Birkenstocks have a thin layer of waterproof sealant on the cork sole. As time pass by, this layer will soon wear off. When it happens, the sandals aren't that good at repelling water anymore. So, before it happens, give extra effort to protecting the soles from overexposure to water and heat. Or yet, learn the maintenance of your soles below.

You see, the materials for these sandals are finely chosen to give comfort to your feet. The craftsmanship is obvious excellence. Yet, all things are subjected to breakage. We cannot avoid it, but we can extend its life. Maintain it and do precautionary measures in using your Birkenstocks.

OK, now that you know what Birks are made from, how should you take care of them?

Birkenstock Papillio Women's Lola Leather Sandals

What will you do when your Birks get wet?

Continued or extended usage of Birkenstocks when wet will deform the footbed and can stretch the leather. Getting your Birks wet too often will shorten their lifespan.

When you get your Birks wet, wipe them off before using them again. Let them fully dry by themselves in a well-ventilated area. Never use direct heat, and DO NOT expose your Birks to direct sunlight.

Too much exposure to water and heat will affect the composition of the granulated cork. Thus, making them weak and soon tear off.

Gizeh Birkenstocks

Yara Birkenstocks

What are the preventions and maintenance for Birkenstocks?

Factory new Birks comes in a shiny waterproof coating on cork soles and footbed. As the compound wears off, you will want to replace it to maintain its protection. Replace it with sealant intended for corks.

Unprotected cork soles let moisture creep down inside. Most especially if it's too often, we all don't want to look at what will happen next.

Steps in applying Cork Sealant

  1. Before you apply the sealant, make sure that it's fully dried.
  2. Next, clean the edge surface of the cork soles with a cloth.
  3. Use a soft to medium brush to remove excess dirt and dust. Don't leave any dirt behind. We don't like to create tiny lumps.
  4. Apply cork sealant using a paintbrush. Carefully cover the entire edge of cork soles with sealant.
  5. Leave them at a room temperature to dry.
  • Sealant application may vary depending on how bad your Birkenstocks need it. Regular application of protection lengthens its life.

Steps in cleaning suede leather footbed

  1. Choose a mild leather cleaner appropriate for the type of leather.
  2. Deep clean using a brush to remove stubborn stains on the footbed.
  3. Using a cloth, wipe the dirt foam created during the brushing session—repeat steps to clean further.
  4. Let it dry for 24 hours.
  5. Brush it again with a soft brush.
  6. Then, use a waterproof spray suited for leather.

Birkenstock Regular Maintenance Tips

  • Regularly apply water repellant spray to protect from moisture and dirt.
  • Apply when necessary, and you feel needing it.
  • Do the same cleaning steps with the leather straps.
  • Never use water when cleaning.
  • Do not use ordinary detergent to clean the soles.
  • Use a specific cleaning agent for each part.

Here is a Great YouTube video showing a Cobbler repairing and maintaining a pair of Birks.  I love the before and after image!

  • Most Birkenstocks sandals aren't designed to be immersed in water. Doing such may risk its sturdiness and making it fragile. Prevent them from getting saturated in moisture.
  • Leaving it to dry under the sun is also a bad habit. Unless you will stand by and wait for it to dry just enough, but if not, try to think first and hold back
  • Do not leave them in a closed car in summer. It goes the same as leaving it beside fireplaces, campfires, or radiators. Doing such things will dehydrate the natural moisture of the cork soles.

Birkenstocks' selection of best quality materials formed an excellent set of support for our feet, which are now loved by many customers. The privilege of having durable shoes attracts most users. It is not about the name. It's about the experience that Birkenstocks give to each wearer that many hunts.

When it comes to quality, each shoe is carefully crafted to sustain the demand of users.

Birkenstocks are constantly delivering the finest products that are worry-less. Myths about getting your Birks wet once or twice in the rain will ruin it, will remain a myth unless you didn't follow the precautions stated above when you get them wet.

All things are meant to be ruined by time. Nothing lasts for a lifetime. It's truly all about how you handle your things will extend its longevity.

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