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What are Birkenstocks made of?

What are Birkenstocks made of?

By Sole to Soul Footwear Calgary

The original BIRKENSTOCK footbed is made of high-quality natural materials from renewable sources that are joined together in an elaborate production process: natural cork, natural latex, jute and high-quality suede, which is used as the top layer. - Birkenstock

The Footbed

Birkenstock's describes its famous footbed as the "Heart of all our models".  This anatomically shaped inner sole provides unmatched comfort, support, and stability. Each curve, ridge, and angle on the Birkenstock footbed is placed with purpose and intent. 


Birkenstock Footbed Design

The Materials

Birkenstock has remained a footwear staple for generation in part thanks to their incredible build quality. Sourcing only the highest quality natural materials ensures that Birkenstock remains environmentally sustainable and true to traditional shoe manufacturing.

 Birkenstock Footbed Layers

How Birkenstocks Support Your Feet


The Birkenstock footbed consists of four layers. Two layers of Jute provide the shoe with breathability, flexibility, and structure, a layer of suede is added for moisture absorption, and a final layer of cork and latex for support, shock absorption and comfort. 

These four layer are then formed into the famous Birkenstock footbed shape. The unique combination of layers allows the Birkenstock footbed to adapt to the wearers feet overtime increasing comfort with wear.

Each pair of Birkenstock sandals is truly one of a kind and individualized to its wearer. 

Open Toes

The majority of Birkenstock feature open toe designs. Having an open toe box allows proper room for your toes to move, adequate space for the Birkenstock arches, and promote ideal weight transfer.   

Natural Position

The bottom of each Birkenstock features flat soles. This creates proper weight transfer by dissipating pressure throughout the entire sole of the foot.

Buckle and Strap

Each Birkenstock is secured with a high quality strap and buckle. The ability to adjust and tighten insures that your Birkenstock fit snuggly and firmly. 

Additionally, each buckle is given a anti-corrosion treatment so you can rest easy that it will last for years of use.  


Natural Materials


Integral to each Birkenstock is the natural raw cork. This sustainable material provides unmatched elasticity, shock absorption, and heat insulation. Cork is a naturally reproducing product and each tree can be harvested multiple times without harming or killing the tree. 

The cork is harvested by peeling five centimeters of thick bark from a Cork Oak Tree. This process can repeated every seven to nine years, with each tree producing approximately 100 to 200 kilograms of cork during its life.  

Once harvested the cork is cooked thoroughly to ensure it is hygienic and clean. 

Oak Cork Tree

Cork Tree - Mathis Jrdl


Unconventionally Birkenstock uses a natural latex as its primary binding agent. Like cork natural latex is a renewable resource sourced from the resin of rubber trees. 

The harvesting process involves the extraction and collection of latex milk from matured (six year old) rubber trees. Each year ,for up to 25 years, 80 grams of latex can be harvested.  

Utilizing natural latex avoids the need for crude oil based synthetic latex. Further, natural latex is free from pollutants such as solvents or CFC, provides better energy balance, and has a higher elasticity-point. 

Birkenstocks Leather

In addition to cork, latex, and jute Birkenstock also utilizes genuine leather. As leather is one of the most robust and naturally durable materials it perfectly complements the build quality of Birkenstocks footbeds.  

Image source:


 Suede Leather

Suede is a fuzzy and breathable variety of leather. It provides a soft touch, velvety finish, and supreme comfort. 

Birkenstock Suede Leather




Natural Leather

Natural leather is high quality untreated pieces of leather.

Birkenstock Natural Leather

Oiled Leather

Birkenstock obtains its special proprietary leather from only the best tanneries. Depending on preference oiled leather can be created using either waxy or oily surface coating. 

Birkenstock oiled Leather





Nubuck Leather

Nubuck leather is a several millimeter thick piece of leather with a softly brushed outer surface.

Birkenstock Nubuck Leather

Patent Leather

Patent leather is a finished smooth leather created by applying a film courting over the natural leather.

Patent Leather


Various Birkenstock products will also come in a Birko-Flor synthetic  material variation. Birko-Flor provides unique styles in a skin-friendly and durable material. 


Exclusively used by Birkenstock Birko-Flor is durable and easy to clean while still offering incredible comfort.  

Birkenstock Birko-Flor





Birko-Flor Nubuck

Nubuck Birko-Flor near perfectly replicated Nubuck leather.

Birko-Flor Nunbuck

Birko-Flor Patent

Birko-Flor Patent is a brilliant and bold material that gives incredible moisture resistance as well as beautiful colors. 

Birko-Flor Patent



Sizing questions? See our Birkenstock sizing guide.