With their generous fit and excellent breathability, sandals are some of the most comfortable and accessible footwear for summer. There are numerous brands in the footwear niche all claiming to offer sustainable sandals but Birkenstock definitely stands out.
With their long-standing reputation, Birkenstock boasts large customer support all over the world for their quality and attention to detail.
They employ different materials in the making of their products, which in turn, makes them a reliable brand for both men and women. In this article, we’ll be looking at two of the common materials featured by certain Birkenstock models: birko flor and leather.
- Birko-Flor upper is a skin-friendly, tear-resistant faux leather material with soft fleece on lower layer.
- Classic suede-lined cork and latex footbed with deep heel cup, arch support and toe bar
- Super lightweight EVA sole is flexible and offers traction
- cork sole
- Comfort sandals with adjustable buckles
Birko Flor vs Leather: Overview
Birkenstock is a German shoe manufacturer that began operations in Neustadt, just outside Bonn, in Germany. The company uses top grain cowhide for its leather uppers, which aside from being durable, are smooth, and easy to clean. Based on reviews, the ordinary leather balm seems to work well with their pairs.
Birk flor, on the other hand, is the synthetic alternative for leather. It is a smooth vinyl water-resistant material with a soft felt backing. The fabric does not fade or stretch and does not require a break-in period to get accustomed to your feet.
Birkenstock uses different types of leather from oiled leather, to cordially leather and suede. Birks made with leather are generally comfortable and durable and are also associated with other advantages that make them worth the price.
Here is a quick rundown of their features and benefits to your feet.
Oiled leather is soft and a bit less shiny, and is usually useful for those who prefer less attention. The material is quite thick and is designed to mold to your feet and feel like a custom-made pair as soon as they break in properly.
The ordinary Amalfi leather used by Birkenstock is also thick but very smooth. It has this special ability to stretch as per the size of your foot- which is a very useful feature for those looking for a customized fit.
Nubuck leather, meanwhile, has a softly brushed outer surface. It is several millimeters thinner than the oiled and Amalfi and it’s also very soft and easy to break in. This makes it ideal for long walks after just a few days of familiarizing yourself with the shoe.
Birkenstocks made with suede are just fabulous. Suede is an exceptionally soft material that is quite flexible for long walks. The soft texture makes it easy to wear, even if right out of the box. Just use a stain guard and do some waterproofing, and this pair will not fade any time soon.
With that being said, there are several downsides to Birkenstock Leather that you might want to know:
- The fact that the Amalfi leather is a bit thicker makes it rather difficult to break-in
- The nubuck’s leather ability to stretch is also its main disadvantage. It sometimes stretches too much so you might need to add more holes to the straps.
- The suede wears out very quickly if not stain guarded in time.
- Leather Birkenstocks are relatively pricy compared to other materials like birk flor.
Tear-resistant and soft to touch, Birko Flor is the synthetic alternative to smooth leather. This Birkenstock exclusive material is very easy to care for. According to reviews, Birko flor does not fade and its breathability is agreeable.
Below are the various reasons why you might want to consider opting for Birkenstock Birko flor products:
The material has a lining fleece on the underside; this makes it very soft on your foot. Even when worn straight out of the box, the pair will not cause any blisters like its leather counterpart.
Cleaning the material is relatively easier compared to other materials like leather. A wet cloth is enough to clean the upper part of the shoes without leaving stains.
This material is synthetic so you can be sure it lasts quite some time. Users have not reported any fading even after wearing the pairs for months. It looks new even after a year and a half.
Apart from being durable, this material has no limits on the number of colors you can get it in. You can order whichever color you wish and get it in the same quality as others.
Some versions seem to be exact replicas of nubuck leather so, if you can’t get the leather this synthetic material will do just fine.
Coming down to price, synthetics have always been very accommodating. Compared to its leather counterpart the synthetic is cheaper. However, there are several disadvantages associated with birk flor as used in Birkenstocks:
- Synthetics are uncomfortable on some skins. They tend to cause itching and irritation. Therefore you might want to consider further research before buying a pair, particularly if you have sensitive skin.
- It sometimes requires to be worn several times to eliminate the roughness on the inside.
- Synthetics, unlike other materials like leather, do not improve with age so every day it gets closer to the garbage bin.
- The price of these products is lower compared to others but we cannot ignore the fact that lower prices are sometimes associated with inferior quality.
While Birkenstocks products come in various materials, there are several reasons why you might want to consider birk flor vs. leather. They both work best in their area of application and we hope you are now well-informed about leather and synthetics used in Birkenstocks’ uppers.
Both types are durable and useful in their own way. While leather is a bit more pricy in comparison to birk flor, it surely is worth each dime, both in the short and long term. Without discrediting models made with the birk flor, it is safe to say that leather is better. After all, quality leather represents class and sophistication.