Have you experienced a crack on the footbed of your Birkenstocks where your foot bends? If so, you are not alone. Numerous readers have sent me messages asking if their shoes are defective because they are cracked. The answer is no, your shoes are not defective. In fact, this is normal and indicates that the shoe is adapting to your gait.
Some models of Birkenstocks tend to show the cracks more than other styles. A foot bend crack is more visible on a pair of Gizehs then on a pair of Arizonas because Gizehs have more exposed cork. A pair of Arizonas may very well have a foot bend crack, however, it is not visible because the uppers of the shoe cover the cracked area.
I reached out to Sandy at Sandy’s Birkenstock Boutique to find what she recommends to customers' that experience a foot bend crack. Sandy states, “How much and how quickly the footbeds will form cracks depends on myriad variables that are unique to each person that wears Birkenstocks. But ultimately it is not a thing to cause any concern, being a completely normal character of the cork. If the appearance of these cracks doesn't appeal to you, a cobbler will be able to advise on a flexible shoe glue that can fill them in.”
In order to help prevent cracking, one needs to reseal the cork whenever it starts to appear dull. Applying cork sealant to the exposed cork helps to prevent it from drying out. I recommend using Birkenstock's Cork Sealant or Kelly’s Cork Renew. Here is a a short video I made demonstrating how to apply cork renew to your Birkenstocks:
In addition to applying Kelly’s Cork Renew, one of the simplest ways to protect your Birkenstocks is to avoid extreme heat. Do not leave your Birkenstocks in your car. Do not put them near a fire or heater to dry. If your shoes become wet let them slowly air-dry away from direct heat. Please refer to my previous blog, “How To Care For Your Birkenstocks” for other tips on how to maintain your Birkenstocks.
If you follow the above techniques and continue to have issues with the cork cracking you may need to take them to an authorized Birkenstock repair person to have them recrafted.