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Can Birkenstocks Get Wet? Water Test (PHOTOS)

So, you’ve made the right choice and invested in a pair of comfy new Birkenstocks. Your feet love them, and you know it’s well-spent money. Next thing, you know you’re caught out in the rain wearing them. Should you be concerned? Are your shoes ruined? The question is whether you can get your Birkenstocks wet or not?

Can Birkenstocks Get Wet

You can get Birkenstocks wet, although they are not waterproof (only water resistant). Take care to dry them out properly should they become wet. Birkenstock’s EVA soles are water friendly and the cork footbed is treated with sealant to protect it from splash damage. Leather Birkenstock variants can withstand a few drops of water but need special treatment to protect them. Woolen uppers and other synthetic options in their range are water-resistant.

Birkenstocks also offer a professional Super Birki range, that is designed to get wet, if you would like to go for a totally waterproof option. They also have a Water-Friendly sandals range that are totally made with EVA, no cork.

In my experience I find Birkenstocks can get wet, but I prefer not to risk it (I usually wear classic cork footbed Birkenstocks, right now I currently own the Arizona model, so that’s the style I’m talking about here). I’ll avoid wearing mine in the rain, or near the sea, to be safe. This is because I find water stains the inner footbed a little. Whilst this isn’t a big deal to most, I’m a little fussy.

To show you what I mean I ran an experiment, where I put my Birkenstocks to a ‘splash test’. Here’s a video of my water test, so you can see for yourself how it went:

A video of me discussing if Birkenstocks can get wet, and putting them to a water test.

It’s really up to you if you want to get yours wet or not, but I’d recommend you avoid saturating them. If you like the look of my Arizonas, you can check out their current price here.

It’s a well known fact Birkenstocks are comfortable and durable. What’s lesser known is how well they withstand the elements. To find out, take a look through the Birkenstock online store to see what materials the shoes that catch your eye are made of. Then, read this guide to see whether you can get your shoes wet and which materials respond best to watery conditions. I’ve got it all covered for you!

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Getting Birkenstocks Wet Won’t Spell the End of Your Shoes

Although Birkenstocks aren’t sold as waterproof, the various ranges have certain elements of the shoe that are either water resistant or can hold up with the odd wet experience.

Suppose you find yourself walking in water or you’ve been caught in a sudden rain shower, don’t panic. Check out the material your shoes of made of. If they are leather, let them dry as soon as possible to prevent bad watermarks. It’s best to dry them off with a dry cloth or towel. Then apply a thin layer of leather conditioner and let them air dry.

In the water splash test experiment I ran with my Birkenstocks, I immediately put them avoid a dehumidifier to dry out, and they still got a little water stained, just so you know.

An image showing slight water staining on my Birkenstocks.

Please note: leather requires moisture to keep it supple. Synthetic heat, such as a hair dryer, dries the leather out, making it hard and prone to cracking. Never use synthetic heat to dry leather.

Birkenstock Soles Don’t Mind Water

EVA is a new addition to Birkenstock footwear. It’s flexible and soft and delivers the comfort and foot support that Birkenstock is known for. Birkenstock soles are either made of cork-latex or EVA.

An image showing the EVA sole on Birkenstocks.

The advantage of EVA is that it’s water-resistant and doesn’t absorb water, making this Birkenstock range perfect for everyday use in wet conditions.

Cork-Latex won’t get damaged if it gets wet. Both cork and latex are water-resistant and don’t get water-logged, either.

The cork sole used in Birkenstocks has been treated with a sealant (it’s what makes the sides look a little shiny, as you can see in the below image); however, too much water can generally dry cork.

An image showing a close up of the cork sealant on Birkenstocks.

If the cork appears to be drying out, reapply the sealant to prevent cracks. Never dry cork with unnatural heat, as this dries the cork too much and could make it crumble.

Birkenstock Professional Range Won’t Succumb to Water Damage

What’s great about Birkenstocks is that they cater to all walks of life. There is a shoe for you, from thongs to wedges, closed shoes, clogs, boots, and sneakers. Another category that Birkenstock pays special attention to is the professional customer who needs a shoe that is fit for all purposes, whether it’s comfort or tough working conditions.

The Professional Super Birki Holds Up Well in Water

The Super Birki style is water-resistant, forms part of the professional range, and is designed to be worn in workplaces and other outdoor settings. 

Think of healthcare workers who not only spend all day on their feet but often need to wash or sanitize their shoes. Super Birki is made for this. They’re slip-resistant too, so you won’t be sliding around on wet surfaces either. Think of them as similar to closed toe Crocs.

Even if you don’t need to use your Super Birkis in a working environment, you still enjoy the benefits of these ultra-comfortable shoes. 

Walking on the beach in your Super Birki’s is the best way to protect your feet from hot and coarse sand. Getting them wet is no problem. Rinse them and dry them off. It’s as easy as that. 

If you’re in the hospitality industry, you don’t need to be concerned about oil spillages either. As an added benefit, these shoes are oil resistant too.

Both the uppers and the soles are made from Polyurethane (PU) which is water-resistant. The great thing about PU is that it’s durable and washable. In fact, you can wash your Super Birkis in temperatures of up to 60 degrees Celsius to give them an extra sanitizing treatment.

The cork-latex footbed is washable too. Remove and wash it, but make sure the water isn’t hotter than 30 degrees Celsius to keep the mold in good shape. 

The Water-Friendly Range Is Designed for Water

Birkenstock has designed a specifically water-friendly range ideal for any wet conditions you may find yourself in. The uppers, inners, and soles are made from EVA, which is flexible and soft, delivering the comfort and foot support that Birkenstock is known for.

The advantage of EVA is that it’s water-resistant and doesn’t absorb water, making this Birkenstock range perfect for everyday use in wet conditions. 

Leather Doesn’t Like Water

The Birkenstock range is designed for comfort. Leather is super-comfy and ideal for molding to your feet, but it isn’t water friendly. The downside of leather is that it stains and is prone to water spots. If the leather doesn’t dry after it’s exposed to water, it will be damaged and lose its suppleness. 

Refrain from drying your leather with a hair dryer, which may harden it and make it less comfortable. Just leave your shoes to dry indoors in a dry, airy part of your home. 

Birkenstock uses a range of leather in its shoes, but they all have different degrees of water resistance. 

  • The suede doesn’t fare well in water and is prone to stains. The only effective way to waterproof suede is by buying a special spray and limiting any exposure to water or wet conditions. 
  • Nubuck leather, although it isn’t waterproof, is a smoothed-down version of leather and is water-repellent to the odd waters pill or drop of rain. Waterproofing your nubuck shoe gives it an added layer of water protection. 
  • Oiled Nubuck leather is slightly more water-resistant than nubuck leather; however, it still needs a waterproofing spray to protect it. 
  • Natural leather can withstand up to 10 minutes in watery weather. Leather is porous, so it will eventually start absorbing water. 
  • Smoothed leather works better in water than any other untreated leather type. This type of leather has a thicker, fattier finish that water can’t easily penetrate. Because it’s made from the smooth grain side of the leather is water repellant within reason. 
  • Oiled leather is water-resistant and less likely to stain or get damaged when wet. The oil on the leather works to repel water and protects the leather surface. 
  • Nappa leather is extremely porous and gets damaged in water. 

Leather Can Be Treated To Ward off Water Damage.

Many Birkenstock styles have leather uppers to make them supple and comfortable. The trouble is that leather isn’t naturally waterproof or water-resistant, so water damage is a concern. 

The great news is that leather is easy to waterproof. If you treat your shoes before you start wearing them out and about, they won’t be affected by the odd rain shower or water splash. As a rule of thumb, waterproof your shoes after every 10 wears to keep them in good condition. 

Before you start, make sure that your shoe is dry and clean. Waterproofing on a dirty surface renders the waterproof treatment ineffective.

If you are using a spray, don’t spray directly onto the leather. Rather allow a distance between the surface and the spray. Spraying too close to leather will concentrate the spray in certain areas and miss others. 

Always do a patch test on leather to make sure that the treatment you are using suits the leather being treated. Remember that colored dyed leather can lose its color, so be ultra-sure the treatment you use won’t leave your shoe streaky. 

Ensure waterproofing around the trim and sides of the shoe; these areas are also susceptible to water damage. 

Here are some ways to protect your leather Birks:

  • Use wax or oil to make your leather shoes water-resistant. Mink oil and beeswax are firm favorites. Cover your shoes in a thick layer of wax or with a generous amount of oil. Allow the wax or oil to penetrate your shoes before you wear them in wet conditions.
  • A waterproofing spray works well. There are many types readily available, so take your pick. Some are more suited to leather, suede, or nubuck, so double-check that the waterproofing you choose works for the leather you’re wearing. 
  • Nano waterproof is the gold standard for waterproofing sprays. Nanoparticles penetrate the leather and provide an evenly spread waterproof layer. 
  • If you need a quick waterproofing fix, Vaseline works but not over an extended period. 

Birkenstocks Are Crafted From A Variety of Materials

Aside from leather and EVA, Birkenstocks use various other materials to craft their shoes. Most have a degree of water repellency or water resistance. 

  • Birkibuc is a vegan-friendly synthetic material that is durable and soft on the skin. It won’t absorb water like leather, so a thorough dry should keep the upper in good nick. 
  • Birko-Flor is patented to Birkenstock and is a waterproof material.
  • Microfiber is made from polyester, nylon, and either polyamides or polypropylene. Depending on its use, it is either water-absorbing or resistant. When used to clean surfaces, it is water absorbent but used for fashion, it’s water resistant.  
  • Shearling does surprisingly well in damp conditions; don’t risk it in a downpour. If you want to waterproof, use a nubuck spray or a special shearling waterproof treatment. 
  • Wool-felt is water resistant because it is made from sheep’s wool with natural water protection. It isn’t advisable to step in puddles with your wool-felt shoes, but a light drizzle won’t damage them.

If you aren’t wearing one of the Super Grip shoes, you could be vulnerable to injury on wet surfaces. A good idea is to treat the soles of your shoes to give them more traction. 

The easiest thing to do is to spray a few layers of hairspray under your shoe. This creates a sticky layer between the sole and the ground surface. You’ll need to do this often to keep the soles’ grip going. 


What Happens If My Birkenstock Buckle Gets Wet?

Water won’t damage your Birkenstock buckle, but salt water may corrode and rust it. If you get your buckle wet with salty water, give it a good rinse and wipe it down as soon as possible.

An image showing a close up of the buckle on my Birkenstocks.

What Should I Do If My Birkenstock Shoe Gets Fully Submerged In Water?

The best thing to do is to wipe off excess water and then leave it to dry in an airy place. Don’t dry your shoes with electrically generated heat, as this will damage the uppers, footbed, and soles. The Super Birki and Water Friendly ranges won’t get damaged. They need to be wiped with a dry cloth. 

Can I Wash The Footbed Of My Birkenstocks?

Certain styles have removable footbeds that can be washed, but you must check this first. Birkenstock’s online site provides detailed information on every shoe. However the 


Birkenstocks can get wet. The Super Birki and Water Friendly ranges are designed to get wet. On the other hand, shoes with leather uppers can only withstand a small amount of water. The cork soles are treated with a sealant so that water doesn’t damage them. The other Birkenstock ranges, such as Birki Flor, Wool Felt, and Shearling, can withstand a short time in the rain.