If you are considering purchasing a pair of Birkenstocks, or if you’re a first time owner, you’ll likely be wondering how long they will last you. Birkenstocks are famous for being the go-to shoe for the summer, but how many years wear will you get from them?
Birkenstocks can last up to ten years with proper care. Avoid getting them wet regularly and make sure to care for their Birko-Flor® leather straps and you can expect plenty of wear from them. The environment where you wear them and the amount of walking and standing will affect the longevity and integrity of the Birkenstocks.
In my experience I find a pair of Birkenstocks will last me around seven years. I wear them throughout each summer and will keep them until they are looking super scruffy. Right now I am breaking in a brand new pair of Arizona Birkenstocks, and I expect these to last me seven years or more.
Here’s how they look on me:
I could expect up to ten years out of them, but I’m a little lazy when it comes to caring for them. It’s not very often I’ll condition the Birko-Flor® leather or clean up the soles. That’s just me, and personally I am more than happy with the amount of time Birkenstocks typically last me anyway.
Check out the current price of Birkenstocks here, to see if they fit your budget.
How you treat your Birkenstocks will make them last much longer, so if you are wearing them on rough terrain, be sure they will not make the ten-year mark.
Here’s a video of me discussing how long Birkenstocks last:
Next let’s look at what makes Birkenstocks last a long time, and how you can make your pair last as long as possible!
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How Long Should My Birkenstocks Last?
When wondering how long Birkenstocks last, it can depend on a few things. Some people have them for seven years or less, and others have them for up to ten years. The best way to make them last longer is to know what to avoid when wearing your Birkenstocks.
Your Birkenstocks are made of natural latex, cork, suede, and jute. All these materials are high-quality and renewable materials that come from natural sources. Then all of these materials are joined together in an elegant production process.
Some signs your Birkenstocks are are damaged and need replacing may include:
- The liners start to peel
- The soles begin to wear down
- Your Birkenstocks start to crack
- You start to notice stains on them
- The straps or soles begin to separate from, wear and tear, heat or water damage
The best part about Birkenstocks is that they were made to be repaired. Since they are made of cork, fixing them is more accessible. The soles are also replaceable; hardware can be fixed in most cases.
You can even have the footbed replaced and being able to reuse the straps. Take them to your local cobbler or shoe repair store and see how they can fix them up.
If your Birkenstocks are too damaged, they won’t be able to be fixed, and you will have to buy a new pair.
Replacing Birkenstocks isn’t something you need to think about for a while, but like every other expensive shoe, they will last longer when you take care of them.
Many parts of the Birkenstock shoe are replaceable before you have to throw them away, but nevertheless what can you do to prevent the need for replacement?
Knowing how to take care of them before replacing a pair is essential. There are some insider tips to ensure your Birkenstocks last longer:
- Keep your Birkenstocks’ cork sealed: When looking at the cork bed of your Birkenstocks, it should look shiny and feel solid. But when wearing your Birkenstocks a lot, you may notice that it is starting to crack and go dark.
To fix the cork’s shininess, you’ll need to buy a bottle of the Birkenstocks cork sealer. With this sealer, you can apply a bit onto the shoe if the cork loses the shiny layer. Keeping up on this can ensure your Birkenstocks last you a lifetime.
- Don’t put your Birkenstocks near heat: An essential rule when keeping Birkenstocks is to ensure they are never exposed to direct or extreme heat. The EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) and the cork footbeds don’t do well when exposed to heat.
Any heat, such as blow dryers, radiators, fireplaces, in a hot car, or direct sunlight, can cause the cork to dry out and crack. If your Birkenstocks do get wet, try and airdry them slowly.
- Prevent water stains: Your Birkenstocks straps are usually made from nubuck, Birko-Flor® leather, or suede, which, like the cork footbed, need to be cared for. From day one, these materials should be protected from water damage.
More on water stains here: Can Birkenstocks Get Wet? Water Test (PHOTOS).
You can use the Birkenstocks Stain and Water Repellent to prevent damage to your shoes’ upper part. You can use a suede brush to remove dirt or dust before applying the repellent.
- Gently remove any stains: When you wear your Birkenstocks a lot over time, your feet will stain them darker. You’ll only need lukewarm water, soap, and a cloth to get rid of these.
After cleaning the stains off the shoes, you can leave them out to dry at room temperature. You don’t need to leave them out in the sun since that can cause damage to the shoes.
Never put your Birkenstocks in a washing machine or tumble dryer. They are too delicate and will break.
- How to keep them smelling good: The smell and comfort are what Birkenstocks are best known for. But when they are worn and exposed to sweat, it is natural for them not to smell the best. Luckily, this is a manageable problem and is an easy solution.
You can get some Birkenstock’s Cleaner and Refresher spray and spray the footbed of your Birks. You can wipe away any dirt with a cloth and the spray. Repeating this process whenever your Birks start to smell with ensure they stay smelling nice and fresh.
You may also like: Do Birkenstocks Run Big? Sizing Guide Plus Charts
Why Are My Birkenstocks Changing Color?
There are common reasons why leather Birkenstocks can turn dark. Since the shoes are made from natural materials such as cork and leather, they can become discolored over time with environmental exposure.
When Birkenstocks absorb the oils from your feet, it causes your shoes and straps to change, making it almost impossible to clean them off.
The leather type can also be why they turn black over time. Since the leather is treated with an oil-based dressing to help protect them from stains and water damage. Over time, this dressing can cause a build-up on the shoe’s surface, causing it to appear black.
If you want to ensure they don’t turn black over time, spray them with leather protection or wear socks with them. Humidity is a common reason your Birkens have discoloration.
Keeping your Birkenstocks in a moist or humid surroundings can cause the shoes to change color.
Sweat and moisture can cause the shoes to break down and create a dark stain. Discoloration also may happen due to contact with cleaners or chemicals that aren’t meant for the shoes.
How To Clean My Birkenstocks
It is essential to keep your Birkenstock shoes clean, so they don’t get damaged and look good. How should you clean your Birkenstocks?
- What you’ll need to clean them: Two bowls of water, a brush to clean leather, a toothbrush, cloth, and leather shampoo.
- Cleaning off dirt: For Suede or Nubuck, you can clean off dried dirt with a brush. And for smooth or natural leather, you can use a slightly damp, lint-free cloth.
- Clean with a damp cloth: Open the straps of your Birkens and clean the inside and outside of the shoe straps. You can clean the footbed using circular motions with leather shampoo and water. Using a toothbrush for the footbed is better for getting the shoe clean.
- Cleaning the shampoo: Use a lukewarm wet cloth to clean off the shampoo. Do not hold the Birkens under running water. Ensure your shoes don’t become soaked since that can cause damage.
- Let your shoes completely dry: Place shoes in a place that is room temperature to dry. Don’t place them in direct sunlight or a radiator to dry it will damage the shoes. They should be dried after twenty-four hours and good as new to wear.
Caring for your Birkenstocks with the methods suggested will inevitably make them last longer and prevent irreparable damage to the cork and leather.
For more Birkenstocks content, check out:
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).