Natural Cork Sandals Are the Best Choice for Healthy, Happy Feet on ethemshoes.comThe world’s cork trees can’t keep up with our thirst for wine, but there’s certainly more than enough to be harvested for cork footbed sandals. Your feet will appreciate the choice.

Synthetic cork may be the best thing that ever happened to a bottle of wine, but it’s not what you want your sandals made out of. Cork sandals are gorgeous, and they’re just as kind to the environment as they are to the health of your feet.

But, to understand why the better choice for cork is on your feet as a pair of scandals – and not protecting a bottle of wine until its ready for drinking – it’s necessary to take a closer look at the synthetic stuff. Don’t worry, we’ll walk our way back to real cork and your sandals.

Global thirst

It’s estimated that by 2021, global consumption of wine will surpass 2.66 billion 9-liter cases. What’s more, China is expected to become the second largest market for wine, behind the United States.

Imagine if each of those bottles needed a cork.

Almost 90 percent of the natural cork for wine bottles comes from the Iberian Peninsula – especially Portugal. The cork is harvested from Quercus suber, the cork oak tree. Portugal has always been aware of this treasure. Laws regulated the stripping of these trees by hand and restricted it to only once every nine years.

These trees were treated with such respect that it was forbidden to harvest specimens less than 40 years old. Such care was taken during the stripping process that it wasn’t unusual to come across trees that had been harvested for the past 200 years.

The international demand for this cork has, unfortunately, persuaded Portugal to relax its stringent laws protecting cork trees. Today, these trees can be stripped every four to five years – twice as quickly as before.

It’s believed that this has impacted the health of these trees, and it has reduced the quality of the cork.

Enter the synthetic cork

It was necessary to find an alternative. There was no way the world’s existing cork trees could continue to supply enough to make corks for all the wine we’re drinking – even as more winemakers switch to screw tops.

The industry has, for the most part, embraced the synthetic cork. It’s generally made of ethylene-vinyl acetate, and it has several advantages. Because it’s made of an inert material, it’s not possible for these synthetic corks to transfer fungus or microbes to the wine. Synthetic corks also create a better seal, preventing the wine from oxidizing.

Good news for your feet

The world’s cork trees can’t keep up with our thirst for wine, but there’s certainly more than enough to be harvested for cork footbed sandals. Your feet will appreciate the choice.

In its natural state, cork is relatively soft. It’s compacted for use as a shoe sole, but when subjected to your body weight and heat, the cork insoles mold themselves to your feet. Nothing comes close to giving you a true custom form-fitting shoe. That’s important if you need arch support and foot alignment.

Cork floats, and it’s a moisture repelling material. Foot odor is caused by bacteria that thrive on the moisture inside your shoes. Cork sandals simply don’t have this problem.

If you’re on your feet all day, you’ll truly appreciate the practicality of cork footbed sandals. Cork’s natural elasticity reduces the transfer of impact force to your ankles, shins, and knees. Depending on the design of the sole, you may even see a dramatic reduction of foot pain because of cork’s ability to hold your heel and foot in orthopedically correct positions.

So, leave the synthetic cork for wine bottles. It’s a responsible choice that will reduce the need to harvest natural cork trees sooner than they’re ready. At ETHEM, we’re devoted to fine craftsmanship and constant innovation in both design and manufacture. To find out the variety of cork footbed sandals we offer, please visit our site.