Cork renew helps keep your Birkenstocks protected from the elements. Applying cork sealant to exposed cork on your shoes, helps to prevent them from drying out. Cork seal should be used when the cork on your Birks no longer looks shiny.
I have exclusively used Kelly’s Cork Renew on all my Birkenstocks. I have been very satisfied with their product. However, since Birkenstock makes their own cork sealer, I thought I would try it out. I had a pair of Birkenstocks with dull looking cork, so I decided to do a comparison. I would seal one shoe with Kelly’s Cork Renew and the other with Birkenstock Cork Sealer.
Kelly’s Cork Renew comes with a brush. It goes on evenly and can be used to get in between smaller areas of cork, when there are multiple straps. Kelly’s Cork Renew dries in about 10-15 minutes, leaving a high gloss shine.
Birkenstock Cork Sealer comes with a foam applicator. The foam applicator is wider than the area that I needed to reseal. Thus, it was hard to apply the sealer in between multiple straps and it did NOT go on evenly. I ended up removing the foam applicator and putting the sealer on to an old brush. The brush was the only way that I could avoid getting sealer on the uppers and the soles. The foam applicator soaked up the sealer and there was no way to return any of the unused portion into the bottle. The Birkenstock product took longer to dry compared to Kelly's Cork Renew, about 15-20 minutes. When the Birkenstock Cork Sealer dried, it resulted in a matte finish.
Here is a video that I made comparing the two products:
In my opinion, Kelly’s Cork Renew was the better product. It was easy to apply, dried quickly, and left a beautiful shine. I was so disappointed with the matte finish of the Birkenstock sealer that I ended up resealing the test shoe with Kelly’s Cork Renew. I wanted both shoes to have a matching shine.
Kelly’s Cork renew has the product down to a science. Birkenstock’s Cork Sealer is a clumsy product because you end up wasting a lot of sealer and it is messy to apply. I could only see using the Birkenstock sealer if one wanted a more matte finish on their cork. I prefer the shine offered by Kelly’s Cork Renew.
I usually re-apply cork sealant to my Birkenstocks once or twice a year. I live in a very mild climate and have several pairs of Birkenstocks in my shoe rotation. One would likely need to apply Kelly’s Cork Renew more often if one lived in areas exposed to extreme heat or if one wore the same pair on a daily basis. How often do you reseal your Birkenstocks? Which product do you prefer? Send me an email.
For more information on how to apply cork sealer, please refer to my previous blog, “How to Care For Your Birkenstocks”.
Birkenstock blogger since 2016.