Oiled vs. Non-oiled Birkenstocks

Can’t choose between an oiled or non-oiled Birkenstocks? I got you covered! Oiled and non-oiled leathers are two of the brand’s best materials; that’s why the confusion is clearly understandable. 

In terms of appearance, oiled Birkenstocks look shinier than genuine leather. It is also more moisture-resistant due to the material being oiled and waxed. However, some say it is more prone to scratches than leather uppers. Leather uppers have untreated surfaces with a thickness of at least 2.8 to 3.2 millimeters.

Both leather types are very durable and long-lasting. Birkenstock also makes sure they use premium-quality leather to produce their footwear.

Keep scrolling if you want to know more about the differences between oiled and non-oiled leather. This article can help in answering every question you have in mind.

All About Oiled Birkenstocks

Birkenstock Women's Arizona SFB Oiled Leather Faded Khaki 38 R

Birkenstock Women's Arizona SFB Oiled Leather Faded Khaki Sandal

Are you looking for something classic that isn’t too bold or attention-grabbing? Maybe, a pair of oiled Birkenstocks is what you’re searching for. I have discussed everything you need to know about oiled Birks in this section.


Birkenstock’s oiled leather comes from tanneries. This type of material is known to be very sustainable and resistant. Unlike natural leather, its surface is either waxed or oiled.

The layers of oil and wax add protection to the material’s texture. This way, the leather becomes sturdier and more resistant to moisture. However, remember that oiled leather Birks are not entirely waterproof.

Besides this, oiled leather uppers appear stunning due to the resulting two-tone effect. Note that oiled leathers are just oiled or waxed, not split or buffed, unlike other leather types.

This is why they are as durable and robust as genuine leather Birks. One of their key advantages would be their extra layer of protection.


Oiled leather uppers look waxy or oily. But you don’t have to worry because their shine is not too blinding. The texture still looks simple yet elegant and sophisticated.

Just like natural leather, oiled leather Birks develop patina and creases. However, some reviews state that oiled leather is more scratch-prone than its other leather counterparts.

Do not feel hopeless because these scratches can still be fixed! If you have the patience to look at a few tips on the internet, the problem will surely be solved.

Best Selling Oiled Birks

On top of our list is none other than oiled leather Arizona. I suggest you get a black, taupe, brown, or white pair because these colors are very versatile; they would match every aesthetic look you have in mind.

Besides its style, oiled leather Arizona is also easy to wear and comfortable after the break-in period. If you are not into slip-on pairs, Milano in oiled leather would be perfect for you.

Milano Birks come with ankle straps that offer support at the back of your feet. The features of oiled leather uppers make Milano look rustic and fashionably nostalgic!

On the other hand, opt for an oiled Boston or London for a closed-toe option. For more slip-on, you can also check out an oiled leather version of Bali, Mayari, and Florida. 


Arizona leather is priced at $130. It is also available in a soft-footbed version at $145. With this model, you don’t need to worry about having break-in blisters during your first wear!

A pair of Milano can be purchased at $130, while Boston is $140. On the other hand, London is a bit more expensive because it can be obtained at $170. 

The price range of an oiled leather Mayari and Florida is between $130 and $145. These models are also available in Shearling versions which can be bought at $160.

If you are a lady who wants something cheaper, check out Bali, which is priced at $87. Don’t miss the Birkenstock sale!

All About Non-Oiled Birkenstocks

Birkenstock Arizona Tabaco Mens Sandals Size 41 EU

Birkenstock Men's Arizona Birko Flor Sandal

Non-oiled Birkenstocks are simply those pairs that have natural leather uppers. They are not treated or buffed. More so, they are not waxed or oiled. In this section, let’s talk about non-oiled Birks!


Birkenstock makes use of premium-quality leather from animal hides. Leather, as a natural material, is very authentic looking and robust. That is why genuine leather remains the top material in all Birkenstocks lineups.

Animal hides used in creating leather are mostly from goats, deer, and sheep, among others. Birkenstock does not treat the surface of the skin they obtained nor split them in half.

This is why natural leather uppers of Birkenstock have 2.8 to 3.2 millimeters of thickness. These are very durable and will surely last for a long time!


Natural leather’s thickness undoubtedly contributes to its durability and level of comfort. The high-quality leather is built to conform to the shape of the feet and soon feels like a custom fit. 

What makes natural leather stand out is its genuine textures and patterns. This is because the brand has always ensured that the leather material retains its positive features.

Similarly, genuine leather will naturally develop patinas and creases in the long run. These will ultimately add character to the pair!

Best Selling Non-Oiled Birks

Arizona and Madrid, particularly their big buckle versions, are a must-have! These non-oiled leather pairs look minimal and feminine, perfect for ladies

Arizona leather is also available in a soft footbed and Bold version. On the other hand, Franca and Milano Birkenstocks in natural leather are also worth checking out. 

Also, check out Tokio Super Grip, Boston, or Bend Low leather Birkenstocks for closed-toe options. These models are available in basic colors such as brown, gray, and white.


Arizona and Madrid Big Buckles can now be bought between $81 and $84. Leather Arizona in soft footbed version is at $140, while a new version, the Arizona Bold is at $220.

For a more affordable leather pair, opt for Franca or Milano. These models’ price range is from $81 to $90. Tokio Super Grip is priced at $155, Boston at $140, and Bend Low at $150.

What are the similarities and differences between oiled and non-oiled Birks?

Birkenstock Men's, Boston Soft Footbed Clog Habana Brown 42 M

Birkenstock Men's Boston SFB Sandals

Similarly, both are leather types. They are just created and prepared differently. For instance, oiled leather is coated with either wax or oil which adds moisture resistance to the surface.

On the other hand, non-oiled Birkenstocks leather uppers are not coated with anything. They are just dyed naturally. A natural leather’s surface is left untreated. 

In terms of appearance, the former offers more shimmer than the latter, although not too much. Oiled leather Birks appear waxy and oily, while natural leather just has a smooth and grainy surface.

Another similarity would be that both leather types are prone to developing patinas and creases. The development of these features just proves that the leather materials are of high quality.

One key difference would be their price range. Oiled Leather Birkenstocks seem to be more expensive than natural leather pairs. However, there are also sale items under the former’s lineups.

Which is more comfortable and travel-friendly?

Both oiled and non-oiled Birkenstocks are comfortable after they have been worn in. Due to the thickness of the leather material, the break-in period would require a week or two before finally feeling the pair’s best comfort.

The leather uppers of both oiled and non-oiled Birkenstocks, as well as their cork-latex footbeds, will soon adapt to the contours of the feet. This way, the pair gets very comfortable if you give it some time to prove its worth.

Break-in periods are totally normal! You just have to get through it. If you have some extra time, check out this article for some breaking-in tips. 

Which is more travel-friendly?

Birkenstock Unisex Arizona Vegan Sandal, Iridescent Light Rose Microfiber, Size 41 EU (8-8.5 M US Men/10-10.5 M US Women)

Birkenstock Women's Arizona Birkoflor Slide Sandal

Concerning travel-friendliness, I would be recommending oiled leather Birkenstocks. This is because they are geared with an extra oil or wax layer, adding moisture resistance.

They would be reliable when there is minimal water involved in your adventure. However, you have to remember that leather Birks, in general, should not be left submerged in water for long. 

If you want a completely waterproof pair, opt for synthetic versions such as the EVA Essentials.

Between oiled and non-oiled Birkenstocks, which are more stylish?

It depends. Some vastly prefer the oily and waxy finish of an oiled Birkenstock’s surface. Their shimmers are beautiful when the sun shines on them.

Others complain that oiled leather Birkenstocks are less versatile than most natural leather pairs. They claim that oiled pairs seem not suitable for some casual OOTDs. 

If what you are looking for is something classic yet versatile enough to become your footwear staple, a non-oiled leather Birkenstocks may be the one for you.

Oiled vs. Non-oiled Birks, Final Thoughts

Oiled and non-oiled leather Birkenstocks are similar in many aspects except for their creation, appearance, and price range. They even have the same list of models in their lineups.

So, it is really a difficult choice — some advice: take your time and consider the advantages and disadvantages these pairs can bring you. I am hoping that this article is of great help for your Birkenstock hunt!

Find what your were looking for?
Recent  Popular Articles
About Us
At PediDelight, we offer useful, time-saving information and some buying guides for online searchers and shoppers. 

We do research so that you don't have to. If you have a question about shoes or socks or anything related to your feet and we don't have an answer. Connect with us, so that we can provide the best resource for you!

We work hard to sift through thousands of product and brand websites, reach out to products and brands for answers that aren't available on their website. 

We read and collect honest product reviews and feedback so that we can be a one-stop shop for all the answers that you are looking for!

Pedi Delight!

We are all about feet.  Happy feet to be exact.  If you are looking for answers to questions about your foot joy, you've come to  the right place.

We talk about all things that cover your feet, like socks and shoes.  We answer all the questions you've ever asked related to your feet!
Visit Our Home Page

Affiliate Disclosure

PediDelight is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. 

We also participate in other affiliate programs which compensate us for referring traffic.

Shop For Birkenstocks
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram