Best Glue for Birkenstocks

Best Glue for Birkenstocks
By Bill Wyatt
November 6, 2020
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I love my birkies! They are my favorite shoes for summer. I even wear socks with them to embarrass my grandkids. But what happens when you need to repair or maintain them? Let’s find out the best glue for Birkenstocks and how best to look after them.

In a rush?
No time to read? No problem! Here is a list of recommended products for your Birkenstock repairs and maintenance:
Best Glue for Birkenstock Leather Repairs: Weldwood Contact Adhesive or Shoe Goo
Best Glue for Birkenstock Soles (Foam): Shoe Goo
Best Glue for Birkenstock Soles (Cork): Shoe Goo
Best Cork Sealer for Sealing Birkenstocks: Birkenstock Official Cork Sealer
Best Anti-Odour Solution for Birkenstocks: Clean them with Birkenstock’s Cleaning Kit, and use a Shoe Deodorizer to keep the smell away.

Why would you need to glue Birkenstocks?

Known for their adaptive cork soles, trendy design and extremely high build quality, Birkenstocks are a German fashion icon, which are very popular across Europe and North America.

There is a fair bit of maintenance to carry out on Birkenstocks to keep them looking good for years to come, and although they are very well made, (all Birkenstocks are manufactured in Germany) eventually years of wear and tear take their toll and you may have to make some small repairs to keep them looking and feeling great.

Why not just replace them?

Birkenstocks age like fine wine. The more you wear them, the better the cork adapts to the shape of your feet, making them extremely comfortable. It’s much better to repair them if you can. Plus, they are expensive!

Best Glue for Birkenstock Straps

Birkenstock straps are made from a high quality Leather. 

The best way to repair the leather straps is with a strong contact adhesive like Weldwood Contact Adhesive. In fact, this brand of adhesive is widely used by commercial leatherworkers, so you can rest assured it is the perfect tool for leather repairs.

The only time I might recommend something different is if you don’t have a large surface area to use the contact cement.

In that case, I would recommend you use Shoe Goo or Amazing Goop. They are almost identical chemically, so just pick whichever one is cheapest on Amazon. 

Shoe Goo and Amazing Goop both form a very strong, clear bond, which remains flexible like silicone once it’s cured. It’s great for shoe repairs because the bond can flex and bend without losing strength.

How to repair Birkenstock Straps:

If using Contact Cement:

  1. Clean the leather with a damp rag to remove any dust or grease.
  2. Apply the Weldwood Contact Adhesive to both leather surfaces, but don’t put them together yet. Make sure to go right up to the edges of both.
  3. Wait 5-10 minutes for the Contact Adhesive to dry a bit, until tacky to the touch.
  4. You’ll know it’s ready when you can touch the adhesive with your finger and none of it comes off when you take your finger away. It will feel sticky like sticky tape.
  5. Once the glue is ready, press the two parts together, ensuring there are no air bubbles.
  6. Apply pressure to the two parts to ensure as much of the adhesive touch as possible for the strongest bond.
  7. The adhesive will be strong in a couple of hours, but it’s best to leave it overnight to form a strong bond.

If using Shoe Goo / Amazing Goop:

  1. Clean the leather with a damp rag to get rid of any dirt or grease.
  2. Apply the Shoe Goo / Amazing Goop to the area of the break.
  3. Put the strap in position, ensuring the Goop is covering the damaged area as much as possible.
  4. Goop dries clear, but often has bubbles. So if possible, keep the glue on the inside of your Birkenstocks where it won’t be visible once it’s dry.
  5. Goop takes 24 hours to cure, leave the shoes in position overnight. You don’t have to apply any pressure, just make sure the strap doesn’t come loose.

Best Glue for Birkenstock Soles

The soles are the defining feature of Birkenstocks. The porous Cork material adapts to the shape of your feet the longer you use them.

So what happens if your soles become damaged?

Firstly, if the soles are starting to dry out and crack, use a Cork Sealer to seal them. Birkenstock make their own cork sealer which you can find on Amazon, but there are other brands available too.

If the cork is coming apart from the sole, or if it’s the sole itself (usually made from rubber or dense foam) that has become damaged, the best option is to use Shoe Goo or Amazing Goop to repair them. 

Goop can be used directly on the sole to seal any tears or holes, and it can be used to re-affix the sole to the cork.

How to repair Birkenstock soles:

Repair the foam / rubber sole:

  • Use Shoe Goo or Amazing Goop to repair the damaged area
  • Goop can be used to repair tears or holes in both foam and rubber soles
  • It takes 24 hours to fully cure
  • Leave the Birkenstocks in a ventilated area, since these glues give off quite nasty fumes

Repair the Cork

  • First, apply a layer of Birkenstock Cork sealer to the cork.
  • Allow the sealer 24 hours to cure before you wear your shoes again.

If the Cork is coming apart from the foam sole:

  • First, wipe any dust from the sole with a DRY cloth. (Don’t get the cork wet)
  • Apply Shoe Goo or Amazing Goop between the surfaces and press together imediately.
  • Try not to use too much, because it’s hard to clean up if you get it everywhere.
  • Wipe any excess with a damp rag straight away.
  • Allow 24 hours for the Goop to cure. 

Best Cork Sealer for Birkenstocks

Over time, the sealant on your Birkenstocks will wear off, leaving the underlying cork exposed to the elements.

You need to keep your Birkenstocks sealed in order to protect them from damage.

The best option for Cork Sealer is to use the official Birkenstock Cork Sealer, which is available in most stores that sell Birkenstocks, as well as on Amazon.

It’s roughly the same price as other options, and you can be sure the formula is specifically designed with Birkenstock cork as the intended use.

Can you seal Birkenstocks with Glue?

Although it’s possible to seal your Birkenstocks with glue, I would definitely recommend you use the official Birkenstock Cork Sealer instead. With glues and other adhesives, different manufacturers add various chemicals to their adhesives to manage things like viscosity and flexibility. Some of these chemicals may end up damaging your Birkenstocks.

That being said, if you can’t get a hold of the official Cork Sealer, there are other Cork Sealers on the market including Kelly’s Cork Sealer (often used by Fishermen for their Cork fishing rods) and Cadillac Cork Sealer. Both of these options will work just fine too.

If you are determined to use glue, you can use a very thin layer of Shoe Goo as a sealant, or a very thin layer of Contact Cement.

Don’t use PVA glue (craft glue) as it is not waterproof and will create a horrible sludge if your Birkenstocks get even a little bit wet.

How to Seal Birkenstock soles:

  • First, remove any dust and dirt with a damp rag.
  • Apply your Cork Sealant on to the edge of the Cork soles. I recommend you use the official Birkenstock Cork Sealant, but you can use whatever brand you have on hand.
  • If you get any of the sealant on the leather uppers, wipe it off with a damp rag.
  • Don’t get any on the top of the soles where your feet are, only on the outer ring of the soles where the cork is visible.
  • Ensure all the cork is covered with a layer of sealant.
  • It’s white when it goes on, but it dries completely clear.
  • Leave the sealant for 20 minutes to dry, and apply a second coat.
  • After the second coat, leave your Birkenstocks for 24 hours before you use them again.

FAQs:

How to stop Birkenstocks from Smelling?

Keep them clean! Birkenstocks need regularly cleaned and maintained to keep them in good condition, especially if you wear them barefoot. Take a look at the FAQ below for how to clean birkenstocks.

You may also wish to use a charcoal Shoe Deodorizer, which can help absorb any odors.

How to look after Birkenstocks:

You can look after your Birkenstocks by keeping them properly sealed, avoiding exposing them to water, (don’t go swimming with them!), and by cleaning them regularly.

Unlike some other shoes, Birkenstocks really do need to be regularly maintained, otherwise they become noticeably worse for wear.

If you look after your Birkenstocks, they can last you for several years.

How to Clean Birkenstocks:

How to clean leather Birkenstocks:

Use a regular cloth with warm water. Use soapy water to get rid of any persistent grease. Try not to let any water drip down on to the cork. If necessary, use beeswax or a leather waterproofer to protect the finish.

How to keep the soles and footbed clean:

Use a suede cleaner and a soft shoe brush to gently remove any dirt. Birkenstock have a Birkenstock cleaning kit available which includes a brush, a sealant, a cleaner, and a waterproof sealer for the leather.

Important: Let the footbeds air dry, don’t apply any heat to them as it may damage the cork.

Conclusion

Here is a brief recap of the best glues for Birkenstocks:

For leather repairs, your best bet is to use a contact cement like Weldwood Contact Adhesive. If you have a very small repair, or you need to repair the rubber/foam soles of the Birkenstocks, the best glue is to use Shoe Goo or Amazing Goop, because it’s flexible like silicone, but it’s still waterproof and durable.

Sealing the outside of your Birkenstocks should be a regular maintenance task to keep your Birkenstocks healthy. You can use a Cork Sealer to do this.

I hope this was useful for you, and thank you for reading!

-Bill

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