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Birkenstock Material Guide

Upper Materials:
Natural
Upper Materials:
Synthetic
Liner, Footbed,
and Sole Materials


Upper Materials: Natural

Leather
Made from the highest quality, top-grain cowhide. The smooth finish is durable and easy to clean. Clean and condition with Leather Balm. If you need to touch up the scuffs, use shoe cream in a matching color.

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Embossed Leather
Same as Smooth Leather above except that a special pattern or texture has been pressed into the surface. Clean and condition with Leather Balm. If you need to touch up the scuffs, use shoe cream in a matching color.

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Oiled Leather
Compared to Smooth leather, Oiled leather has a softer feel and is a bit less shiny. It has a durable and moisture-resistant surface. For care, you can either use polish to enhance shine or beeswax conditioners to stay with a more satin look.

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Waxy Leather
Top-grain cowhide, buffed and coated with a waxy finish. Spray with Meltonian Water & Stain Protector when new to help protect it from the elements. To clean, use the Birkenstock Leather Cleaner then spray again with protector.

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Nappa Leather
A pliable smooth leather with a soft finish. Clean and preserve with Leather Balm and treat scuffs with polish and a buffing brush.

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Metallic Leather
Leather with a shiny or matte metallic finish to the top. Clean with Leather Balm.

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Water-resistant Leather
Leather has been treated to resist moisture. This minimizes darkening and staining from wetting and reduces time to dry out.

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Patent Leather
The surface of this full grain leather is finished to a high gloss. Clean the same way as you would eyeglasses with plastic lenses - wipe with a dampened soft cloth.

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Antiqued Leather
Leather with character - solid, genuine, unpretentious. The surface is smooth but with a flat finish.

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Wool/Oiled Leather
Naturally insulating wool is warm, soft and breathes to keep your feet comfortable. Oiled leather is long-lasting and looks good over the long haul. Spray wool with Water & Stain Protector. Clean oiled leather with Leather Balm and a horsehair brush. Spot color with Pedag Cream.

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Water-resistant Leather/Nylon
Leather has been treated to resist moisture. This minimizes darkening and staining from wetting and reduces time to dry out. Nylon adds strength and breathability.

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Nubuck
Top-grain cowhide, buffed to create a soft, velvety finish. Spray with Meltonian Water & Stain Protector when new to help protect it from the elements. To clean, brush the surface with a plastic bristle Nubuck Brush and spray again with the protector. For heavily soiled areas, use a Nubuck Block Fine Stain Eraser, then brush and spray.

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Embossed Nubuck
Same as Nubuck Leather above except that a special pattern or texture has been pressed into the surface. Care information is same as for Nubuck Leather also.

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Water-resistant Nubuck
Nubuck leather has been treated to resist moisture. This minimizes darkening and staining from wetting and reduces time to dry out.

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Suede
Made with premium cowhides, split to produce soft, thick uppers. Spray with Meltonian Water & Stain Protector when new. Clean by brushing with a brass bristle Suede Brush then spray again with the protector. Erase deep grime and stains with a Nubuck Block.

   
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Wool Felt
Genuine wool. Dense, retains shape well and does not pill. Spray with fabric protector like Scotchguard® when new.

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Denim
Cotton denim is sturdy and breathable.

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Boiled Wool
Boiled wool feels very dense because it is pre-shrunk. It features great durability, breathability and warmth.

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Upper Materials: Synthetic

Birko-Flor
Synthetic alternative from Birkenstock to smooth leather. Smooth vinyl with a compressed felt backing. Water-resistant. No break-in required. Doesn’t stretch or fade. Clean with a wet washcloth.

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Birkibuc
Synthetic alternative from Birkenstock to nubuck. Slightly porous, textured vinyl with a matte finish and compressed felt backing. Water-resistant. No break-in required. Doesn’t stretch or fade. Clean with a wet washcloth. Leather Balm can be used to hide scuffs.

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Birko-Felt
A durable, breathable, synthetic from Birkenstock. Spray with fabric protector like Scotchguard® when new. (Meltonian Water & Stain Protector doesn’t work because the fabric absorbs it.) Brush lightly with plastic bristle Nubuck Brush to clean. Use a sweater shaver if the felt pills.

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Birko-Flor
Same as the Birkenstock Birko-Flor above except that a special pattern or texture has been pressed into the surface.

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Microfiber
Very soft, synthetic material woven from micro-fine filaments. Moisture absorbent, breathable, and washable.

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Polyurethane
A tough, waterproof, biodegradeable synthetic. Resistant to heat, acid, oil, and grease. Wash with mild soap and water. Don’t use bleach on white shoes because it turns them yellow.

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EVA - Ethyl Vinyl Acetate
Ethyl vinyl acetate, a non-toxic synthetic compound. Creates super lightweight and flexible footwear that is quite shock absorbent. Resists discoloration from exposure to bleach or UV rays. Also waterproof and resistant to acid, oil, and grease. Can shrink in heat over 170º Fahrenheit.

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Nylon webbing
Strong, abrasion resistant and water-friendly. Often printed with colorful designs and padded with neoprene underneath.

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Footbed, Sole, and Other Materials

Cork
Birkenstock uses premium quality cork—a natural, renewable substance—to provide the orthopedic contours feet need for maximum comfort. Cork is lightweight, resilient, and shock-absorbent. Your new footwear comes with a sealant already applied to the cork. When the cork looks dry or has a dull finish (usually between one and three months), use Cork Life to maintain the protection. Interesting facts about Birkenstock cork: Cork comes from the bark of cork oak trees that grow in Spain and Portugal. Workers peel cork by hand in a process that is harmless to the trees. After seven years of new growth, each tree is ready for harvest again. The cork used in Birkenstock shoes is a by-product of the bottling industry. After harvest, the cork bark is cut into bottle stoppers, and we grind up the remaining scraps to make the Original Contoured Footbed®.

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Latex
A natural polymer. Latex is mixed with cork to give the footbed more elasticity and flexibility, and to keep it from cracking.

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Jute
A natural, thick fiber, obtained from the jute plant, which increases the flexibility and durability of the footbed.

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PPT
A highly durable open cell urethane that can be applied by our repair folks between the leather and jute to add cushion and shock absorption to the footbed. Does not compress. Good for plantar fasciitis/heel pain. (PPT is a registered trademark of Langer Biomechanics Group, Inc.)

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EVA
Ethyl vinyl acetate, a non-toxic synthetic compound. Creates a flexible, somewhat cushioned sole that is able to absorb pressure as you walk. Waterproof and resistant to heat, acid, oil, and grease. Abrasion and tear-resistant. Compresses over time. Can shrink in heat over 170º Fahrenheit.

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Birko-cell Foam
(Also called ‘spacers.’) Medium-density EVA. Often used under the footbed, on top of the sole, to tighten up the fit. It reduces the volume inside the shoe and adds cushion. Compresses over time.

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Microfiber
Very soft, synthetic liner woven from micro-fine filaments used on the surface of some insoles. Moisture absorbent, breathable, and washable.

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Cork/Latex
The standard material for Birkenstock Sandal and Shoe footbeds. Natural cork held in a tough, flexible matrix by Latex (a natural polymer). Firm and resilient support. Lightweight and shock absorbing. Conforms to the contours of your foot over time.

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Cork/EVA
Also called BirkoCork. The standard material for Birkenstock Arch Supports and footbeds for children's footwear. Natural cork held in a tough, flexible matrix by EVA (ethyl-vinyl acetate). Lightweight and shock absorbing. Thermopliable at 250 degrees F.

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Polyurethane foam
Dense, closed-cell foam. Unaffected by water, maintenance-free and no perceptible compression over time. Somewhat softer than the Birkenstock Cork/Latex footbed and does not conform to the shape of your foot.

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Latex Foam
Medium-density foam provides structured cushioning. Softer than the cork arch supports and lined with either leather or Cambrelle textured fabric.

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Memory Foam
Memory Foam is a heat sensitive, visco-elastic polyurethane foam. At room temperature memory foam is harder than at skin temperature, which causes it to soften on contact and mould itself to the shape of a warm body within a few minutes. The foam also holds its shape temporarily - a hand pressed into memory foam will leave a clear impression when removed.

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