Birkenstock is a reputable casual footwear brand that employs different materials in crafting its products. Birko flor and leather are some of the most popular ones.
For those who had made Birkenstock their favorite sandals brand, it may not be difficult deciding whether to buy oiled leather or birko-flor Birkenstock. But if you are just starting to make it your summer sandals, then you are likely to be unsure.
Birko-Flor vs Leather: Overview
Here is a quick one to grab about these materials: Birkenstock employs the use of top-grain cowhide leathers that are durable, breathable, and easy to clean and maintain.
Birko flor, however, is a two-layer synthetic material. It is a sleek alternative for leather. The outer layer is made of smooth vinyl while on the inside is felt fleece. It is also easy to clean and friendly on the skin.
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Birkenstock does not use natural or oiled leather only in its products. They also employ the use of other types of leather like suede leather, nubuck leather, waxy leather, and patent leather. However, each of them still delivers comfort and quality.
The oiled leather, for example, has a matt surface because of its visible grains and natural leather color.
So if you prefer a less shiny sandal that wouldn’t draw much attention, consider the oiled leather Birkenstock. Suede leather is the closest alternative if you love to keep a low profile.
In contrast, patent, waxy, and embossed leathers are glossy and smooth. They are thick but soft, and they easily conform to the shape of your feet.
The nubuck leather option is a little thinner than the others. It is created by sanding the natural grain of leather to give it a smooth and soft feel.
Nubuck leather Birkenstock is also easy to break-in, a feature that makes it suitable for long walks after a few uses. However, it is very stretchy and can grow out of proportion at times.
Leather Birkenstocks are generally easy to break in, except for the Amalfi leather which is thicker than others.
Advantages of leather Birkenstock over birko flor
- Leather Birkenstocks get better with age. They mold to the shape of your feet over time.
- They are comfortable to wear.
- Leather is more durable. You just have to take proper care of it.
- It is a timeless style. You wouldn’t be scared of dressing out of fashion.
- Leather is easy to clean and maintain
- Compared to birko flor, leather is more breathable
Birko flor Birkenstock
In a previous article, we comprehensively revealed what the birko flor material is, how to identify it, including its pros and cons. It is a double-layered synthetic material used to design the upper of some Birkenstock sandals.
The outer part is a very smooth polyvinyl layer. On the inside, it is lined with soft-felt fleece. It has a glossy appearance and it is easy to clean.
Advantages of birko flor over leather Birkenstock
- The fleece layer on the inside gives your feet a soft feel. No rough surface would be making contact with your feet
- It is easier to clean and maintain compared to leather
- Unlike the leather Birkenstock, you can find birko flor in many colors and styles. It is more trendy and stylish.
- Birko flor is cheaper than the leather counterpart
Both leather and birko-flor Birkenstock sandals are durable. But in comparisons like this, one tends to stand out as a better one.
From experience, leather footwear seems to perform better than its counterparts. It is breathable and acts more like a living thing (It is a dead skin already) in the sense that it ages to conform to the shape of your feel. It stays alive as far as you moisturize and polish it.
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Birko-flor can also last a few years. But as it ages, it gets closer to the bin. You need proper maintenance and seldom use, to make it last as long as the leather.
This does not mean that leather Birkenstocks last forever. They only last longer than those made with synthetic upper materials.
Right out of the box, birko flor would be more comfortable than leather. This is because of the time you need to break in the leather. The comfort will improve over time, anyway.
Synthetics are less comfortable on the skin. They cause itching and irritation, perhaps because they are less breathable. Consider avoiding them if you have sweaty feet.
To make up for this, the fleece lining was incorporated in the design of birko-flor Birkenstocks. This design attribute dampens the discomfort you would have experienced using the footwear.
In summary, both leather and birko flor are comfortable to wear. Leather takes more time to break in but will become good after a few uses. The fleece on birko-flor protects against rubbing, pain, and blisters on your feet.
Leather Birkenstocks are more expensive than their birko-flor counterparts. While you can get a birko-flor soft bed Arizona style between $80 to $120, oiled leather Birkenstock costs between $140 and $200.
Birko flor vs leather: Which is better?
Having consumed the content up till this point, I think the onus now falls on you to choose either birko-flor or leather Birkenstock.
They are great in their ways; you just need to pay attention to your present needs and budget. The leather is more durable but expensive while the other is stylish, cheaper but less durable.
If you are buying Birkenstock for the first time, we recommend you buy the leather Arizona soft-bed. It is a good point to begin your experience with the brand. Maybe from there, you can start to explore other styles.
But if you are looking for something simple yet stylish and affordable for the summer, getting a birko-flor wouldn’t be a bad idea after all.