Do you know how to care for your Birkenstock sandals to keep them looking good? With proper care they can last for ages but only if you treat them right. Do Birkenstocks Shrink or stretch? Well yes, they can and that can impact their wearability and your enjoyment of the shoes.
I’ve learned over the years that in order for my footwear to last I need to take care of it. Learning how to preserve your footwear prevents damage and means that I get to wear my sandals and shoes for significantly longer.
Here’s what you need to know if you own some Birkenstocks to help you keep them in the best condition for as long as possible.
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Do Birkenstocks Stretch or Shrink?
When it comes to Birkenstock sandals then yes you are going to find that they can stretch or shrink depending on the circumstances.
Generally, Birkenstock sandals tend to have a cork footbed and a leather upper strap section. Whilst the cork footbed is unlikely to stretch it does mold to your feet increasing the comfort of your sandals over time.
The leather strapping can start to stretch with wear or alternatively shrink depending on what you put your Birkenstock sandals through.
Birkenstocks can also shrink if they get wet or are left to get too hot. This can not only make them harder to wear but also cause the integrity of the sandal to be compromised so that they start to fall apart.
Do Birkenstocks Shrink in The Sun?
So let’s start with the first major problem with Birkenstock sandals and that is that they can shrink when they are left in the sun or in extreme heat.
If you are walking around in your sandals in hot weather you shouldn’t experience a problem but if you leave them to lie out in the sun or in the back seat of a car in the summer then they get too hot and start to shrink.
Not only do normal Birkenstock sandals shrink but the footbed and sole of the sandals start to break down. So you may find that the sole of the shoe starts coming away from the cork footbed and the cork section of your shoes becomes dry and brittle and starts to fail.
If your sandals have started to fall apart then the only solution is to get your Birkenstocks repaired. Usually, they will remove the sole and footbed and attach the straps to a new one.
Using a cork sealer product can help to protect the material your Birkenstocks are made from and prevent drying of the cork however it won’t be enough if you allow your shoes to bak in a hot car or by a pool all day.
It isn’t just the sun that causes the problem of shrinking either. Putting a pair of Birkenstocks near any heat source is likely to cause a problem.
Don’t forget that the leather can also start to dry out as well. This is why many people use a leather conditioner to keep their leather supple.
Do Birkenstocks EVA Shrink With Heat?
Birkenstocks EVA sandals are a great addition to the brand’s range of footwear as they are waterproof which means they are great for wearing around a pool or at the beach.
They do however still shrink just like regular Birkenstock sandals if they are left out in direct sunlight for too long. This means that you can’t take them off and leave them in the baking sun all day and expect them still to be the same size or shape that you left them.
How much they shrink will very much depend on the heat and the time they are left in the heat. You might be lucky and find that they are just a little more snug or find that they are not unwearable.
The simplest way to make sure that they stay looking as good as new is to keep them away from extreme heat and store them somewhere dark and cool when you are not wearing them.
How to Shrink Birkenstocks
Do Birkenstocks shrink? Well the fact is that if you want to shrink your Birkenstocks then the only way to do it is by using a heat source but the problem is that this method is not precise and can ruin your sandals.
If you have bought a pair of Birkenstocks that are too big then by all means use the adjustable strap to help get them to fit properly but don’t think about using direct heat.
Putting your Birkenstock sandals into a dryer or near a heat source will undoubtedly shrink them but by how many sizes? Also what kind of shoe or sandals are you going to be left with when that is done?
Direct heat ruins Birkenstocks so don’t be tempted to try this method. If you have a pair of Birkenstocks that are too big then take them back to the store and exchange them.
How to Stretch Your Birks
Whilst it may be difficult to shrink your Birks you might have more luck with stretching your sandals.
Whilst you will not be able to make the cork-contoured footbed any bigger you should be able to stretch the straps of your sandals if needed provided they are made from leather.
The easiest way to do this is by either wearing a pair of socks with your new pair of sandals so that the leather becomes a little roomier. You should also find that this starts to make the process of breaking in the footbed of your sandals easier as well.
What Happens If They Get Wet?
Do Birkenstocks shrink if they get wet? Well, when it comes to the standard Birkenstocks water shouldn’t shrink them directly but if you then try to dry them with a direct heat source you are likely to have problems.
I know that some people have suggested that you can actually stretch Birkenstocks by putting immersing them in water for short periods and then walking around in them with socks on.
This is a bad idea!
Whilst Birkenstocks sandals might be able to withstand some light rain showers they are not designed to be worn in the water. This is because the glue that holds parts of the material together starts to fail when it gets wet. So to soak them in water seems a foolish thing to do and could ruin your sandals completely.
Most of the Birkenstock range can however still be perfectly ok if you get caught out in the odd shower. To help your sandals last longer use Birkenstocks water and stain protector on your footwear which can be bought directly from their store.
If you want to dry your sandals do it naturally. Leave them in a place away from direct heat to allow the moisture to evaporate slowly so that the materials of the sandal don’t start to dry out too quickly.
How To Unshrink Birkenstocks
The problem with Birkenstocks is that once they have started to shrink because of the heat or from getting too wet there isn’t that much you can do to get them back to how they were.
This is because both the sun and water can not only shrink your footwear but also impact its integrity causing it to fall apart. So you might the cork starts to disintegrate or your footbed starts to come apart.
One of the only proper fixes you can do is to take your shoes to a professional cobbler who can remove the old footbed and insert a new one to the straps providing they haven’t been impacted. You may however find that the cost of doing this is not far off the cost of buying a new pair.
You may have a better chance with the EVA sandals by putting them in some hot water or the tumbler dryer to get them hot and then try and stretch them back into shape. However, don’t expect them to be the same as before as they may not ever fully return to normal.
So do Birkenstocks shrink? The answer is a resounding yes so try and store them away from heat, don’t leave them in your car and will stay looking good for significantly longer.
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