Footbeds and Materials

Leather vs Synthetic

NATURAL LEATHER is breathable, absorbent, and it adapts to the shape of the wearer’s foot over time. Birkenstock uses only very high-quality, especially thick, unsplit leather.

SUEDE is a soft, fuzzy leather that feels cozy right out of the box. It will stretch and expand significantly over time.

NUBUCK is a top-grain leather that is naturally several millimeters thick. It has a softly brushed outer surface.

OILED OR ANTIQUE LEATHERS will vary in appearance with every batch, depending on how each hide has absorbed the waxy or oiled coating. This leather can be stiff at first but gains both softness and character over time.

SYNTHETIC straps have a very consistent finish, they typically will not stretch out, and they are easy to clean. Synthetic straps are gentle against the skin and do not fall down when you take them off.

indicates that no animal byproducts have been used in the making of the product.

Footbeds (Classic vs Soft)

At the heart of every Birkenstock design is the legendary footbed. The word “footbed” was first used by Birkenstock in the 1930s to describe anatomically shaped inner soles with special support elements. Each element serves a purpose to encourage proper foot health and well-being.

A deep heel cup cradles the heel and keeps your natural cushioning right under the heel bone. The longitudinal and transverse arches help ensure proper alignment and a solid stance. The raised toe bar encourages a natural gripping motion, thus exercising the legs and stimulating circulation. The roomy toe box allows toes to move naturally, promoting better balance and correct foot alignment.

* The Classic footbed is the "original" and it offers the most anatomically correct support. It will mold perfectly to the shape of your foot, but it requires some break in time for most of our customers.

* The Soft footbed is typically more comfortable right out of the box. It offers a slightly "cushy" feel, a little less arch support, a softer toe bar and a more shallow feeling in general. This footbed will not mold to your feet quite as much as the classic footbed does.


Birkenstock was one of the first shoe manufacturers in the world to use water-soluble and solvent-free adhesives almost exclusively in its production processes.

Cork is a raw material which is obtained from the bark layer of the cork oak. The tree is not harmed in the process and the bark can be harvested again and again.

Natural latex serves as a primary binding agent in the production of the footbed. Like cork, natural latex is also a renewable resource. It is obtained from the resin of rubber trees.

Jute provides additional stabilization to the cork and latex core of the Birkenstock footbed. Jute is also a renewable resource and helps Birkenstocks be more easily repaired.

The Papillio Collection

Papillio is a division of Birkenstock which is focused on wedge and platform silhouettes. Made in Portugal, Papillio products offer the same high quality materials and craftsmanship that Birkenstock is famous for.

While these styles will not feel the exact same as the more traditional Birkenstock items, we think the Papillio wedges and platforms are really comfortable option if you are in need of a little more "elevated" style!