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.