Can Birkenstocks Get Wet? Can You Wash Them?

Can Birkenstocks Get Wet

Here’s the story: You have invested in Birkenstocks and the performance is satisfying.

However, you have another concern: Can Birkenstocks get wet? How well do those sustainable materials hold up against unfavorable weather conditions?

Let’s see what happens if your Birks are soaked and what you can do to save them from damage!

Can Birkenstocks Get Wet In The Rain?

Birkenstocks have moderate water resistance but not waterproofness, hence they can get wet if exposed to wetness for longer than they are intended to.

If you leave them out, the excessive moisture will cause some side effects and even damage to your Birks.

Immersing Birkenstocks in water and walking in the rain with them are two of the most common mistakes some people make with these sustainable and comfortable shoes.

What Happens If Birkenstocks Get Wet?

Since Birkenstock footwear consists of multiple layers, it seems fair to break them down into separate segments using the corresponding materials.

Soles and Buckles

The soles of Birkenstock shoes are made of cork or EVA. Both of them are water-resistant, with a sealant applied to the seams, so they won’t be filled with water and you shouldn’t have to worry if you step on a wet floor.

However, the cork might become extremely dry if it is overly drenched for too long. You can protect it from cracks with a suitable sealant.

Don’t be tempted to dry the cork in your Birks with unnatural heat sources, or it will crumble beyond repair.

On the other hand, the buckles on your Birkenstocks have no problem with normal water, yet salt water might be another story.

Therefore, if you go to the beach and get your Birks wet, you should rinse and clean the buckles as soon as possible to avoid corrosion.


Birkenstock Uppers Material
Birkenstock Uppers Material

Different types of leather in your Birkenstocks will perform differently against wetness.

  • Natural leather is extremely comfortable to wear with various beneficial properties. Water is its weakness. Moisture can leave visible impacts on your leather, from stains to cracks.
  • Suede is about the same as leather, very prone to tainted marks, and quite vulnerable to water if not waterproofed carefully.
  • Nubuck leather is a buffed top-grain leather for more durability. However, the process doesn’t change the water repellency in nubuck, hence it still needs a waterproof product to thrive.

The surface treatment for the leather will also affect how it fares against water.

  • Oiled leather or nubuck has better water resistance and thus is not likely to get as many stains as non-oiled materials because the oil prevents water molecules from permeating the fabrics too easily. But they are still not fully waterproof.
  • Smoothed leather is smooth-grain leather with treatment, so its thick finish is quite hard for water to penetrate.

Synthetic Fabrics

  • Birko-Flor, the patented Birkenstock material, is a waterproof fabric.
  • Birkibuc is a new synthesized material, vegan and soft. It isn’t porous and absorbent like leather, so you only need to air dry it if it ever gets wet.
  • Wool felt has natural protection against water because sheep’s wool is the primary component of it. This is not to say you should soak your shoes in water for hours, though a light rain won’t ruin them.


The multi-layered footbed of Birkenstocks might become a hassle when soaked.

First of all, water will accumulate in between the layers and make your steps extremely heavy. With models like Birkenstock clogs with closed toes, the situation might be worse.

Secondly, a slick footbed might give your feet some imbalance and simultaneously keep too much moisture on your skin. Therefore, you will be facing the risk of blisters and unnatural foot positions.

In short, abundant wetness on Birkenstocks isn’t something we want, yet it is also not a desperate situation for desperate methods just yet! There are several things you can do to keep the footwear as good as new.

Check more: What Are Birkenstocks Made Of?

Can Birkenstock Be Washed?

It might not be bad to get Birkenstocks wet, yet purposely putting them in the washing machine might spell the end of your favorite shoes if you go for the highest setting.

The intensity might damage the materials and the structure in ways you don’t want to see.

For safety, we only recommend washing waterproof Birkenstocks by machine – whether they are tagged by the brand or made waterproof by yourself. Also, cool water and low settings for the cycle would be a better choice.

What To Do With Wet Birkenstocks?

If your Birkenstocks are completely socked and you keep using them, they might end up deformed beyond repair.

The wisest thing to do here is to wipe the wetness off and air-dry your shoes. Don’t forget that air-drying and leaving the shoes in direct sunlight are not the same!

All unnatural sources of heat should be avoided at all costs. Signature Birkenstock materials such as cork and jute will dry and grow vulnerable if exposed to intense heat for longer than they should.

Prevention Methods

Use Waterproof Products

Leather is the most commonly used fabric for Birkenstock’s uppers, hence the shoes are often very comfortable and supple. Nonetheless, it also means most Birkenstock shoes have concerns regarding water damage.

Fortunately, the market is flooded with products for waterproofing. They all require you to clean your shoes of water remnants and let them dry in advance.

We also recommend patch tests to be sure the products are compatible with the materials of your shoes, since you will need to get the substance to the seam and the trim of the shoes as well.

Get An Alternative

While it isn’t a disaster to have some wetness splashed onto your Birkenstocks, we recommend being careful.

If you are going somewhere with excess wetness, such as the pool or the beach, it’s best to have another pair of slides or flip-flops so your Birkenstocks can rest for a while as well as stay away from the source of damage.


1. Can Oiled Leather Birkenstocks Get Wet?

With an extra film of oil on the surface, these Birkenstocks certainly have better water resistance than the ones with only leather, because water will simply slip off when coming into contact with oil.

2. Can Arizona Birkenstocks Get Wet?

With EVA soles and waterproof coatings, the iconic design of Birkenstocks is more than ready for wetness. You can wear them comfortably to the beach or the gym with pools.

3. Can Birkenstock Boston Get Wet?

Not only is the Birkenstock Boston good to wear all year round, but the EVA construction is waterproof enough to handle wet terrain with no problem, as long as you maintain it as instructed.

Last Words

Not made to be waterproof shoes, your Birkenstocks can get wet if there is an excess amount of wetness, such as getting immersed in a pool or soaked in the rain for hours.

However, getting wet doesn’t mean Birkenstocks get ruined right away. You can dry them and treat them for better protection, so they will be safe and do better again.

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