Why are my Birkenstocks cracking?

Check out your Birks right now. Do you see any cracks on the cork, sole, uppers, or straps? They may vary in size ranging from small to big. But before you contact customer service and complain about defects, you should know that Birks, just like other footwear, aren't exempt from cracking.

Your Birkenstocks may crack due to overuse, exposure to direct heat, breaking in, strapping and buckling tightly, and immersing in water. Moreover, there are some other preventable factors that cause cracks such as the absence of cork sealant, being bitten and chewed by your dog, and being irregularly cleaned.

The cracks on your Birks are a matter of concern, but you can do something about them. Make sure to read the rest of this article for more insightful information!

Reasons Why Your Birkenstocks Are Cracking

Birkenstock Women's Mayari ICY Metallic Old Rose Birko-Flor EU Size: 36 - US Size: 5/5.5 Regular

Birkenstock Women's Mayari Sandals

Before finding the perfect solution to the cracks of your Birks, it is important to know the root causes of the problem first. There are several reasons behind this that you might not be aware of. 

  • Overusing your Birks can weaken the integrity of the materials used. Without a doubt, your Birks are high-quality. But just like any other footwear, they can develop damage. This includes cracking or, worse, breaking apart.
  • Exposing your Birks to concentrated and direct heat can cause brittleness. High temperatures are too damaging, especially to the cork. They can dry up the materials used, leading to weakening and cracking. You will notice the hard texture of the footwear as an indication of possible cracking.
  • Forcing your Birks to immediately fit your feet and get used to your gait can quickly damage them. It takes time and frequent use to break in your Birks. Hurrying up this process can stretch out your Birks which can cause them to crack and crumble.
  • If you are wearing the straps and buckles of your Birks too tightly, the leather may develop cracks. The right fit of Birks should leave enough room for your feet to move around. But if too tight and applied with tension, the straps can stretch out excessively, creating visible cracks.
  • Immersing your Birks in water causes irreversible water damage, like cracking. Leaving your Birks soaking wet and not dried up well reduces the quality of the materials used. They turn out to be too mushy and, eventually, brittle when dried up. When used again, you will notice some cracks starting to show up.
  • Not protecting the cork of your Birks with a cork sealant makes them prone to cracking. There are two important uses of cork sealant. It can make the cork waterproof to avoid water from getting absorbed, and it can prevent water damage from happening, like flaking and cracking.
  • The bite and chew of your dog on your Birks can cause cracking or, worse, destruction. Your dog may mistake your Birks for food or a toy. Because of the sharpness of its teeth, it can poke holes in your footwear that can produce cracks around them.
  • Not cleaning your Birks properly and regularly can aggravate the damage including cracking. If they are not cared for correctly, they can become more susceptible to other footwear problems, not just getting dirty.

What are the possible effects of having cracked Birkenstocks?

Birkenstock Milano Sandal,Mocha Birkibuc,40 M EU

Birkenstock Milano Men's Sandals

Cracked Birkenstocks may potentially affect a variety of things, ranging from the health of your feet to your confidence level. Be attentive enough because you might already be experiencing these. Here is a list that you should keep in mind:

  • Your feet become prone to injuries and exacerbation of existing foot problems if you continue wearing your cracked Birks. This is worrisome if cracks are found on the cork. Your feet and stance can be unsteady when you walk which may trigger pain and cause fractures.
  • Cracked Birks provide your feet with inadequate support when walking. As your feet carry your entire weight, a soft cushion is essential to support them. However, leaving them cracked can make your feet unstable and inflexible when walking.
  • Cracked Birks can cause discomfort. Your feet can feel the traces of the cracks that can be very uncomfortable to the touch. Some may have spikey areas that can stab your feet while some may cause unevenness to the footbed, making your feet unstable. During longer walks, the discomfort can ruin your activities.
  • The cracks can make your Birks look worn out and overused. You would want your Birks to look fresh all the time, but the visible damage can reduce the seamless look of your footwear. If you wear them, they might affect how you look, making you appear unpolished. Remember that footwear should not be neglected.
  • The unpolished finish can make you less confident when wearing them. Aside from the comfort and support from Birks, one of the priorities should always be a pleasing appearance. You may be conscious while having your cracked Birks put on, especially when surrounded by your friends and acquaintances.
  • The cracks can make your Birks look inauthentic and fake. Birk imitations are found almost everywhere. Although you are sure of the originality of your pair, the cracks may be mistaken for imitation because of the poor integrity and durability.
  • Leaving the cracks on your Birks unattended for a long time may cost you more money for repair. Treating the beginning of the appearance of the cracks as insignificant is a problem. If they turn out to be very bad after some time, deciding to get them repaired might need a huge amount of money from you. 

Some Birkenstock parts can have cracks

Birkenstock Women's Arizona Birko-Flor White

Birkenstock Arizona Women's Sandals

Some Birk parts are more prone to developing cracks than others depending on the materials used and how frequently they are worn. Even though you need to protect your Birks as a whole, if you worry about cracks, you might want to pay more attention to these Birk parts:

1. Cork

As the foundation of the footbed, the cork is susceptible to cracks. This is usually caused by overuse and improper cleaning practice. Try to look at the layer found above the sole. If you see cracks, especially in the part where the feet usually bend, this means that the cork is damaged.

As a result, walking is made difficult. The cork is no longer flexible which can affect the natural flexibility of your feet. To solve this problem, you can opt for applying cork sealant to make it water-resistant and water damage-proof.

2. Sole

Found below the cork is the sole. Sole is usually in contact not just with the ground and the outer environment but also with different hard kinds of objects, like stone, soil, and pebbles. These can cause the sole to crack if impactful events happen, such as tripping and stomping hard.

Being the foundation of the footwear, if the bottom is already collapsing, it can automatically damage the rest of its parts. The cracks on the sole can extend to the cork that can break your Birks in half. If this happens, either replacement or buying a new pair of Birks is probably the best option.

3. Leather Uppers

Whether the leather uppers of your Birks are oiled or non-oiled, cracking can still happen. You would not want this to occur because the uppers are usually the first Birk part that others can notice. Cracked uppers are not attractive at all!

If your leather uppers have cracks, this is an indication that they are losing strength and integrity. Cracking in this part can also be partnered with crumbling and flaking, making them look very worn out. If you want to do something about it, leather patching is perhaps the best solution for this problem.

4. Straps

Although this part is found in the uppers, straps deserve a separate discussion. Whether they are made of leather or synthetic materials, they are prone to cracking as well. The difference is straps tend to crack faster than the other parts of the uppers. They are just thin in size and can be easily damaged after getting stretched out too much.

Another worrisome impact is they can damage the buckles attached to them as well. They can get loose if the integrity of the straps weakens over time. To have this repaired, you can opt for a complete replacement of both the straps and uppers.

How to fix cracked Birkenstocks

Birkenstock Gizeh Soft Footbed Supernatural Flower Navy Birko-Flor™ 36 (US Women's 5-5.5) Regular

Birkenstock Gizeh Women's Sandals

Here are the steps that you can personally take to fix your cracked Birks. However, if you think going to a shoe expert is necessary, do it right away.

  • Step 1: Brush off the visible dirt and stains on your Birks. Making sure that they are clean first before doing some repairs keeps them hygienic. 
  • Step 2: Apply the repair treatment depending on the materials that have cracks. This may include gluing, patching, or replacing. Just be careful to follow the instructions on how to do it.
  • Step 3: If it is required to leave your Birks first to dry or let the repair treatment settle in, do not hurry up the process. Completing the time required can assure you of long-lasting repair results. Remember that patience is a virtue.
  • Step 4: Practice wearing them first at home before using them outside. This is just to make sure that your Birks have adapted to the repair done. 

How to prevent Birkenstocks from cracking

One of the secrets to extending the life of your Birks is to protect them from cracking. This will not only prevent them from looking worn out and overused but also preserve the high-quality materials. To achieve these, follow these tips:

  • Do not expose your Birks to high temperatures and concentrated heat. As they cause brittleness to your Birks, placing them in space at room temperature can preserve their integrity.
  • Immersing your Birks in water or flood is not recommended. Water damage, including cracking, can take place if you leave them soaking wet. Even if you let them dry, getting wet for hours is enough reason to cause brittleness and, eventually, cracking.
  • Clean your Birks properly and regularly. Knowing the materials used in your Birks is the key to determining the right cleaning process to do. Make sure that you also consider the specific ways to prevent your Birks from cracking.
  • Give your Birks a day or two in a week to rest. Overusing them can speed up the process of getting damaged. Although they already adjusted to your gait, their frequent exposure outside can abuse their materials and intactness.
  • Do not hesitate to go to a shoe repair shop if you think you need professional help. Even though you can do some ways on your own to prevent cracking, nothing can beat expertise. This might even save you more money as you can get tailor-fit prevention help from a shoe expert.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal for Birkenstocks to crack?

Birkenstock Original Arizona Birko Flor Regular width Soft-Footbed 051061 (38.0 EU)

Birkenstock Milano Sandal

Yes. It is normal for Birks to crack if you have been using them for a decent amount of time. No shoe material is an exception from getting worn out. However, if you are seeing cracks already after a few months, this should be a concern.

Can damaged Birkenstocks be repaired?

Damaged Birks can always be repaired. Whatever the damage is, there is a right treatment for it whether a simple repair only or a replacement. But you have to be keen, too. If the damage is too severe to get repaired, it might be best to just purchase a new pair.

Do the cracks on Birkenstocks affect comfort?

Yes. The cracks on your Birks can affect the comfort they can give to your feet. Although every Birk style is made comfortable, the cracks can upset the stability and flexibility of your feet. As a result, this may lead to discomfort while you are walking.

How do you restore Birkenstock leather?

Leather patching is an effective way to restore leather. Even though there are repair kits available for this, it is best to seek professional help. But if the damage is not too severe, you can just wipe the dirt from the leather using a damp cloth and apply glass cleaner for extra shine.

Final Thoughts: Cracked Birkenstocks

The cracks on your Birks only tell you one thing: you should go easy on wearing them and you should clean them more often. But before you take any action, consider the reasons why they are cracking, 

As mentioned in this blog, overusing, exposing to concentrated and direct heat, forcing to get used to your gait, tightly strapping and buckling, and immersing in water are some of the main causes of cracked Birks. Do everything to avoid all these so you can use your Birks for quite a long time.

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