The classic cork footbed sandal has seen an increase in popularity as brands turn to this comfort technology to develop modern styles that look and feel good.

The classic cork footbed sandal has seen an increase in popularity as brands turn to this comfort technology to develop modern styles that look and feel good.


Cork footbed sandals are becoming increasingly popular as consumers seek out products that not only stylish and comfortable, but also friendly for the environment. Have you ever wondered where the cork comes from, or what makes it a safe and healthy material to make quality footwear out of?


Cork shoes are not only fashionable, they’re also good for the planet, your feet, and your legs. We’re going to take you through some facts about cork footbed sandals that you might not have ever considered. You’ve likely seen cork used as a wine bottle stopper or an office bulletin board, but what about under your feet?

1. All natural & from a renewable source

The cork oak tree is native to Portugal, Spain, and North Africa. Natural cork is unique in that it is naturally buoyant and elastic, and water and fire resistant.


A cork tree can live as long as 500 years and can be harvested every 9-12 years.

Not only is cork all natural and renewable, it’s also water resistant. This is why it’s the perfect material for wine corks (no leakages here) and the soles of shoes. You can walk through as many rainy days as you come across without risking the longevity of your cork-soled shoes and sandals.


If you’re worried about the environmental impact, you’ll be glad to know that cork forests promote biodiversity, providing habitats for a number of plant and animal species.

2. Form fitting & anatomically correct footbed

The nice thing about cork footbeds is that they’re versatile and easily mold into the natural shape of your foot. When cork is made into a footbed, it’s densely packed together to create a smooth material that’s comfortable to wear for long periods of time.


Cork footbeds and soles are natural, heat resistant, and long-wearing. In fact, the longer you wear them, the more comfortable they’ll be for you. This is because the natural heat from your feet helps the footbed mold to the shape of your foot. Not only does this increase the comfort of your shoe, it also creates an orthopedically correct sole for your foot. The risk of developing foot and ankle issues is minimized due to the extra support these soles provide.

3. Odor resistant

Tired of smelly shoes? Foot odor is typically caused by bacteria that thrive off of the moisture harbored in your shoe. Because cork is a naturally water resistant material, it does not absorb the moisture that comes from the natural sweating of your feet. Without moisture, odor causing bacteria cannot thrive, keeping your shoes and feet relatively odor-free without having to use harsh chemicals on your feet.

4. Low impact & kind to your knees

Cork gets another A+ for how comfortable and kind to our feet and knees it actually is. The fibrous material, when packed so closely together, develops a sort of elasticity. Because of this, when you walk, you’re feeling truly supported.


Having sandals that support your walk means that you can wear them for longer periods of time. The elasticity will cushion your step and cause less impact force to travel up your ankles, shins, and into your knees.


We’ve also mentioned how cork footbeds will eventually mold to the shape of your foot - meaning they will keep your foot in an orthopedically correct position, so there’s no twisting or unnecessary stress on any part of your foot allowing you to walk confidently and comfortably all day long.


If you’re on your feet for long periods of time, consider a pair of cork footbed sandals from ETHEM. Made in Spain with all natural cork and incredible comfort technology, our trendy styles are sure to have you looking and feeling great all day long.

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.

Corkbed Sandals Complete Any Look14 ways to style cork footbed sandals

Corkbed sandals are not only comfortable, but they’re also trendy. Everyone is wearing them, and if they’re not, they want to. Our range sandals at ETHEM goes from traditional to ultra trendy.


No matter what kind of look you’re going for, the perfect pair of sandals completes it. Adding a pair of flat sandals transitions your high fashion look into something casual and comfortable to wear through the day. And pairing something more comfortable with sky-high platforms lets you look ready for the club at any second.


 Maxi dress

It’s easy to pair a maxi dress with a comfy pair of cork footbed sandals. When you wear a maxi dress, you’re looking for ultimate comfort. By wearing a pair of sandals that literally mold to your foot shape, you’ll feel like you’re walking on a cloud.


We recommend a pair of flats with double straps, like the gorgeous Adams or Fond.


Mini Skirt and Floaty Blouse

When you’re wearing a mini skirt and floaty blouse, it’s easy to feel like you’re the trendiest girl walking down the street. This outfit combination can be complemented by pretty much any of our range of cork footbed sandals. Go platform to give your legs an added length or go flat to let your pegs speak for themselves.


We particularly recommend the Bangor or super trendy Marsala.


Skater dress

The flared skirt of a skater dress is so playful and flirty. You need a sandal to match that personality. We think a platform without heel or something as fun and sporty as your skater dress would be perfect.


Check out our range of Hawaii and Ham sandals that would be perfect.


Jeans and a sweater

Sandals are great to wear in cooler weather, too! They’ll still be incredibly comfortable and also give your warmer clothes a totally casual look. Best to go for a more traditional sandal with either straps or a toe stud.


We recommend the Bern or Clifton.


Boho skirt and tank top

Boho skirts are ultra trendy right now. The way they float around your legs, giving anyone a dreamy look. And when they’re a vibrant pattern, we think they’re best paired with a plain tank top and some extra long necklaces.


Pair your boho skirt with something comfy and chic like the Clyman or Cedar.


Shorts, tank top, and a cardigan or kimono

Wearing a pair of shorts and a tank top is the ultimate summer look. And if there’s a breeze, pairing it with a patterned cardigan or kimono is so trendy. We think a fun pair of sandals will complete this look.


Try out the Farm or Ferry from our range of foot healthy cork footbed sandals.


Shorts and a button-up shirt

Of course, you can wear shorts and a trendy button-up shirt for a different summer trend. Complete the look with a Panama hat and oversized purse to look ready to take on anything. When it comes to sandals, you’ll want something traditional and comfortable.


Try the Cedar or Adams range.


Skinny jeans and a stripey top

Skinny jeans still reign, queen, when it comes to long pants. Our favorite are ones that just reach the ankle and, even better, this style lets you show off your favorite sandals. Wear these jeans with a stripey or plain top and some sunglasses for the ultimate summer casual look.


Pair this look with something fun like the Farm or a bit more lowkey like the Hunter.


Fitted jogging pants

Jogging pants aren’t just for, well, jogging or lounging around the house anymore. Style has taken them to a new level with a fitted and tapered leg. While it might seem logical to wear them with high top sneakers, we think they look on fleek with sandals.

Try them on with the Harmony or Clyman.

Ripped jeans and a blazer

Ripped jeans are in style right now, no matter what style. Skinny, straight, and shorts – it doesn’t matter, rip them, and you’re straight up fashion. Wearing them with a plain tee and fitted blazer adds to the look.


Pair with the Clifton or Fond to complete your look.


Cut off jeans and a spaghetti strap

Wearing jeans that reach mid-calf is in, whether you’ve cut them off yourself, rolled them up, or they’re naturally Capri style. Matching these with a fancy spaghetti strap tank top gives you an ultra chic look.


Wear this look with the Fox or Bern.


Overalls or an overall dress

Bring back the ’80s with overalls. They come in all different styles now: long pants, shorts, and as a skirt so pick your poison. Wear a tube top, off the shoulder top, or just a tee to really make this a fun look.


Pair your overalls of choice with the Clear or the Farm.



A sundress is everything you want to wear on a hot summer’s day. Perfectly floaty, mid-thigh or knee length, and light, a sundress is so comfortable when it gets hot. We think adding flowers in your hair, and a pair of easy slip-on sandals or platforms will complete your look.


Why not try the Hawaii or Fox with your sundress?



Jumpsuits are definitely in fashion right now, especially when it comes to clubbing looks. Take comfort with you to dance the night away with a pair of platforms – to die for! And when we pair a trendy jumpsuit with a pair of sandals, it’s easily made more casual with flats for a daytime look.


Try it with the Vicenza or Clifton.


Our sandals come in a variety of high-fashion styles perfect for a night out, a day at work, or a walk on the beach. Visit our site to see all the styles we have to offer.

How Cork Footbed Sandals Promote Foot Health on ethemshoes.comWhat designers consent to make stylish often cause as much harm to our feet as it does to our pocketbook. It’s wise to spend as much time as possible being barefoot, and cork footbed sandals are as close as you can get.


A love for stylish shoes may make you more than a slave to fashion. What designers consent to make stylish often cause as much harm to our feet as it does to our pocketbook. Men are not immune to this, although they’re probably thankful they get to pass on the high heels.


What you might find surprising is that it's not just dressed shoes that can cause harm to our feet. Everything from comfortable loafers to supposedly healthy athletic shoes carry some risk. Few of us are in a position to do away with wearing shoes, but it’s wise to spend as much time as possible being barefoot. Here’s why:


 The result of your relationship with shoes

• Ouch! The shape of most modern shoes contributes to conditions ranging from shin splints and tendonitis to plantar fasciitis. These conditions are characterized by intense and chronic pain. Other bothersome foot conditions like hammertoe, corns, and bunions were almost impossible to find before we took to making shoes as a fashion statement.

• Oops! If you have a set of healthy feet, you should be able to spread apart your toes much like you can with your fingers. Our toes are crucial for balance and stability. Wearing shoes often forces our toes together. This diminishes your ability to distribute your weight or use your toes for balance. What’s more, this constant “toe squishing” by our shoes can – over time – cause us to lose one full shoe size.

• Heel striker! Nearly all styles of shoes feature an elevated heel. Even the quarter-inch lift on a pair of casual loafers interferes with your posture. Your weight is pushed forward onto the balls of your feet. Your hips are moved forward. Your lower back is over-extended. This transforms you into what’s known as a “heel striker.” The lift in the heel is compensated by cushioning that encourages you to take wide strides and land with most of your weight on the heels. The impact radiates up your knees, hips, and spine, all the way up to your neck.

Undoing the damage of the modern shoe

Not wearing shoes is the best answer. It’s also probably the most improbable answer. There is an alternative. Look for shoes that offer your feet protection without making them conform to unhealthy positions.


One option is a pair of stylish sandals with cork footbeds. Cork footbeds are lightweight and odor-resistant. Their form-fitting nature offers excellent health benefits. Cork is a natural substance that has the amazing ability to mold to the shape of your foot. It’s like having an orthotic professional create a custom pair of shoes just for you. Others might be able to wear them if you share the same shoe size, but they won’t find them comfortable. With continued wear, your cork footbed sandals will completely customize themselves to your feet, offering superior forefoot and arch support.


This unique shape allows you to walk naturally. The cork footbeds support proper weight distribution. Your posture and balance improve. The elastic nature of the cork is excellent at absorbing the shock to your joints – even though they’ll already help to be less of a “heel striker.”


Cork floats. It repels water. Materials that do this are known as hydrophobic. In fact, it’s practically impermeable to all liquids and gasses. Foot odor is caused by bacteria living in the moisture inside your shoes. Cork’s hydrophobic characteristics prevent this.


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.

Birkenstock May Have Been the Cork Sandal Creator, But Have You Seen These? on ethemshoes.com9 cork sandal alternatives to Birkenstocks


Birkenstocks have been around for hundreds of years and are considered the pioneers of cork footbed sandals. Their traditional, unwavering style makes them a fan favorite for walkers, comfort seekers, and hippies.


They might be the original cork footbed sandal, but are they still the best? Let’s check out some alternatives to see what they can offer regarding comfort, foot health, and fashion.




Mephisto has some amazing technology in their shoes. The Soft Air Technology helps relieve pressure on your joints, especially knees, ankles, and spine. And, because it’s a foam sole, it will feel like you’re walking on air.


While they have a stunning range of cork footbed sandals, there doesn’t seem to be any practicality in them. Most of the sandals consist of tall wedges or chunky rhinestones. Plus, Mephisto’s background is in the foam sole.


Shouldn’t your cork sandal come from a brand dedicated to the craft?




Naot is specialists in foot care. Their entire range is made up of finding the best sole to match your natural foot contours. This means that they have a wide range of shoes - and not just sandals.


Some of their soles are made of a combination blend of latex with only a bit of cork. This will give your foot support and comfort. However, this also means that while they might have the look of a cork footbed sandal, they don’t actually qualify. On top of that, latex is not a renewable resource, whereas cork is.


Don’t you want natural, renewable resources on your feet?




This British brand is adorable. Full of bright colors and quirky designs, customers are bound to find something that resonates with them. They have an entire range of cork footbed sandals as well, complete with a model known as the Bavaria.


Moshulu has some focus on foot health, though it doesn’t seem to be a selling point for their sandals. The range of cork footbed sandals, while colorful, doesn’t offer a variety of styles. You’re limited to flats or a small wedge.


Wouldn’t a sandal range in a variety of styles be something you’d prefer?



ABEO Footwear is backed by science to create a biomechanical sandal that’s perfect for your foot. A complete digital foot scan creates your digital footprint which means you’ll be getting totally customized comfort and support.


So while ABEO has created perhaps one of the best soles out there, they offer only a limited range of cork options. They’re also not the most fashion-forward sandals, aiming for practicality over good looks.


Don’t you deserve to feel beautiful from head to toe?




This brand of sandals takes inspiration from the natural world around them. Neutral colors brushed stones, and a bohemian feel makes these a solid choice. Taos have created a removable footbed that’s designed to provide ultimate foot comfort and support with the addition of shock-absorbent cushioning.


Taos are not, however, specialists in cork footbeds. While they do offer a small range of cork footbed sandals, they are all relatively plain with unremarkable colors.


Shouldn’t your feet get to wear something exciting, too?




Viking sandals might just be Canada’s cheaper alternative to Birkenstocks. Favored by everyone’s crazy aunt because they come in a variety of colors and patterns and have a softer footbed.


That softer footbed doesn’t always provide the support some feet need. Yes, they’re a natural cork footbed sandal; yes, they have some foot technology; and yes, they definitely cover the color angle. However, Viking sandals come in one design – flat – and without the firmness of most other cork footbed sandals.


Will they really mold to your foot in the way you need it to?




Another British brand, Hotter makes sandals for an aging population. They’re a healthy choice and come in a variety of widths, designed to deal with any foot swelling that comes with age. In fact, Hotter is recognized as meeting all 11 criteria of the healthy footwear guide.


While they certainly tick the comfort box, Hotter doesn’t really tick the fashion box. They’re known for a super thick heel. And only a minority of their sandals actually come in trendy cork, so on the whole, Hotter isn’t using this sustainable material.


Shouldn’t your sandals support a sustainable environment while being fashionable?




Our sister European company, Genuins, is up to par. Sustainable cork, fashionable styles, and colors, and ultimate foot comfort and support.


The only issue with Genuins? They’re based in Europe, making shipping to the US completely impractical – not to mention the nightmare of returns.


Why take the risk?




That’s where ETHEM comes in.


ETHEM Shoes is first and foremost fashion-forward sandals. We have a range to suit everyone from plainer styles to super high-fashion models you’d see on the runway.


We source our cork from renewable forests and take pride in our focus on creating a sustainable sandal that will last years.


Our sandals are focused on providing orthopedic, comfortable shoes. We have worked hard over the years to create the perfect sandal for optimum foot health.


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.

How to Care for Your Cork Footbed Sandals on ethemshoes.comExtend the life of your cork footbed sandals with these care tips


You’ve heard that cork footbed sandals are not only terrific for your foot health, they’re also extremely durable and long lasting. It’s all true; cork footbed sandals can last you years, but only if you’re taking proper care of them.


This means getting into a regular cleaning routine that keeps them dirt free, cleansed, and sealed. Follow our tips to get the most out of these beautiful additions to your foot wardrobe.


Wipe often to get rid of the excess dirt


First things first, when it comes to keeping your cork footbed sandals looking clean and shiny, you need to be giving them some regular TLC. By taking a soft, damp cloth to the straps and soles, you can inexpensively remove scuff marks and dirt.


When you clean your sandals regularly, you make your long-term cleaning jobs easier because the dirt hasn’t had a chance to build up. Plus you’ll be keeping them looking fresh for longer.


Make your own cleaning scrub


Making a DIY cleaning scrub will be cheaper than buying a premade one. You will need a soft bristled brush or an old toothbrush. The brush will help to scrub off any caked in dirt, grime, or sweat.


Mix one tablespoon baking soda and one tablespoon water together to form a paste. Smear it over the cork footbed and, using the brush or toothbrush, give the sole a good scrub. Use a damp cloth to remove the paste and dirt you’ve cleaned off.


If you need to clean the leather straps, use a quality leather cleaner mixed with some water and gently rub onto the straps with a soft cloth.


Let them air dry in the shade


If your cork footbed sandals get wet – after you’ve washed your sandals or walked through a rainstorm – it’s important to let them dry fully. Put your sandals in the shade or a corner of the room out of direct sunlight. Too much heat and direct sunlight can actually cause your cork footbed sandals to crack as they dry.


Cracked sandals are no good for anyone, and this will seriously diminish the life of your sandals. If they start to rot, the cork will begin to fall apart and cracks will get bigger. When your sandals crack, bits of cork will fleck off, and the inside of the cork won’t be protected anymore.


Use a cork sealer regularly


Cork sealer is the only product we wholeheartedly recommend you buy premade. It’s a type of wax sealant that acts as a barrier between the cork footbed and outside forces, such as water, dirt, and debris.


If you don’t use cork sealer, you risk exposing the naked cork to the elements, having pieces falling out, and again, reducing the lifecycle of your sandals.


Applying a thin, even coating, using either a sponge, soft cloth, or (our favorite) just your fingers, will protect your cork footbed sandals. Make sure you don’t get the cork sealer on the rubber sole and have a soft cloth on hand to wipe any off. It’s also important to only apply the sealer to parts of the cork footbed that obviously need it and to make sure you don’t get a build up of sealer.


You’ll want to apply the cork sealer fairly regularly, or whenever you see parts of the cork exposed. The sealer will bring your cork footbeds back to a near new condition while adding to their life, so definitely don’t skip this step.


Buy a premade cleanser kit


There are a few kits on the market that contain a cork cleanser, stain remover, sealer, and a brush. These kits serve a purpose and are generally made with quality ingredients.


Following the directions on the package will give you extended life and shiny, clean cork footbed sandals. These kits can be a bit pricey, so it’s entirely up to you whether you want to go down this route or the DIY.


No matter what care you show your cork footbed sandals, so long as you have a routine in place and follow our tips, you’ll extend the life of your sandals. Cork is a natural resource and one that is built to last if taken care of.


At ETHEM, we’re devoted to fine craftsmanship and constant innovation in both design and manufacture. An exclusive distributor of women’s European fashion shoes, our team scouts the fashion capitals of the world, creating new products to bring to the North American market. Check out our range of stylish yet comfortable sandals designed to keep you looking good and feeling great.