When I was in the 8th grade my best friend and I saved our allowances for months until we could buy our first ever, and oh-so-coveted, Birkenstocks. We chose the masculine (well, aren’t they all?) Milanos in chocolate leather. We wore them proudly with our marled wool socks, sometimes even two pairs of stocks. You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do in a PNW winter I guess. If I didn’t have so much stuff in storage I’d show you the picture we took with our algebra teacher and our trio of socks and Birkenstock clad feet.
Since the 8th grade I have worn countless pairs of Birkenstocks, rainbow colored, garden variety (literally), shoes, clogs, thongs and on. Along the way I have learned a few things about Birkenstock upkeep that I thought I’d share with you guys.
The shoes are almost completely reparable, especially if you have leather. I wish all shoes were this way – buy well, and lovingly look after them and they will love you back. Birks are a little bit needy when it comes to upkeep, but it’s cheap and easy if you stay on it.
Heels: don’t drag your feet! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had new heel wedges put on my soles from feet dragging. Now that I’m “all grown up” I’ve gotten a lot better at this, but there is still some wear on my heels. Pay attention and get your heels patched before it wears into the cork – which leads to bigger, more expensive problems.
Cork: the strongest feature of these shoes is also the most delicate. The cork is what makes these beds deliciously comfortable to our feet. To keep the cork long-living it’s very important to re-seal it once per season. Below, I’ve shot a little tutorial with some more info.
1.) Purchase cork sealer. I bought mine on Amazon, but specialty shoe stores that sell Birkenstocks might have it too.
2) See the condition of my cork? Not so good. I have worn this pair for two summers without re-sealing them. Failing to do that has exposed my cork to the elements and caused some of it to fall out. :(
4) After examining your shoes, crack open the cream and squirt a little on your fingers. Back in the day the cork sealant used to be sold in a jar with a brush. I found that method left me over-sealing my cork and ending up with buildup. Using fingers works very nicely because you can ensure you apply a small, thin layer, and work it into the cork. It helps to have a napkin or cloth on hand to wipe off any excess that might get on the rubber part.
5) The sealant goes on shiny, which helps so you can see where you’ve applied it. When I did mine I did not put sealant on the spots that still obviously had it, I stuck mostly to the parts where the cork was bare, adding a little extra to the spots where the cork was starting to chip out.
6) The sealant dries matte and restores your cork to like-new condition! This extra protection from the elements will help give your beloved Birkenstocks a long life. Love them with a bit of TLC and they will love you back with years of happy feet!
*This post is not endorsed by Birkenstock, all opinions and information is based on personal experience and research.