Sweaty feet are more than just an inconvenience. They damage your confidence and make you more prone to picking up a foot fungus. Then the Original Birkenstock Cork sandals came out. They’re much lighter and allow your feet to breathe naturally.
Birkenstocks traditionally use cork footbeds. The new Eva range, though, has footbeds made from EVA. Are these as good as the originals? Do they allow the same breathability? Do they also conform to the pressure of your feet?
In this post, we’ll make a comparison and see for ourselves.
Quick Comparison: Birkenstock Eva vs. Cork
|#1. Birkenstock Eva|
Our Best Pick
|#2. Birkenstock Cork|
Features of the EVA
We’ll compare the traditional two-strap Arizona style in EVA.
Aside from the buckles, the company uses Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA). The EVA used in the footbed is of a slightly lower density, so it molds to the shape of your foot.
The footbed itself is molded in the same way as the original cork beds. You get the patented Birkenstock ridges and low cupped heel for extra comfort.
Birkenstocks switched to an EVA footbed in this model because EVA is lightweight and elastic. You get the same comfort as you do with the cork footbeds with less weight.
These models are waterproof. The buckles might show signs of wear and tear eventually, but you can get these sandals soaked without destroying them.
Shock Absorbing Properties
These are excellent. EVA is as good as cork at absorbing the impact of each step.
What We Like About It
- The tone on tone effect of the footbed is pleasing to the eye. The cork on the other models does stand out somewhat.
- Classically styled so can be worn with many outfits.
- It comes in several colors.
- Less expensive than the original.
- Easy to clean.
- It comes in a lot cheaper than other models.
What We Didn’t Like
- Without the cork, it’s hard to say that these are Birkenstocks and not knock-offs.
- Not ideal for long distances in the heat â€“ your feet will get sweaty and slosh around.
- If you don’t wash them, they can become stinky.
- They might make a squeaking noise if your feet are wet when you’re walking in them.
- You don’t have a choice about the uppers used â€“ they’re all EVA.
- They’re not as breathable as the cork models.
Those who like Birkenstock comfort but not the look of cork. The EVA models are significantly less expensive than the originals but just as durable.
Features of the Original
Here we’ll look at the Original Arizona style.
- Choose from the following materials:
Birkibuc: A synthetic material that looks like leather and has a soft backing. It’s reasonably breathable, but not as breathable as real leather.
- Leather: Choose from different leather finishes â€“ patent, suede, and Nubuck. These breathe the best out of all but are also the most expensive.
- Other materials: There are models made from microfiber and textiles as well.
The footbed is made from cork and features the Birkenstock contouring. It provides excellent arch support. It can also absorb a fair amount of sweat, so it keeps you comfortable for longer.
The originals are heavier than the EVA versions. It’s not that much more, but it can become an issue over longer distances.
The Original is not considered waterproof. The opposite is true as the footbed absorbs water. If you use the leather straps, these may also absorb water.
It’s easy enough to waterproof the patent and Nu-Buck leather. You just need to treat it with Dubbin regularly.
The suede uppers are a different story. You’ll want to keep the suede high and dry.
Shock Absorbing Properties
There’s nothing quite like the original when it comes to dulling the impact of each step.
The reason that Birkenstocks have a cult following is that they are so comfortable to wear. The cork also conforms to the shape of your foot.
This, in combination with the contouring and deep heel area, make these shoes exceptionally comfortable.
What We Like About It
- This model is what made Birkenstocks famous.
- The cork absorbs sweat, so you don’t feel like you’re sliding in your shoes.
- There’s no way that the Original will be mistaken for a cheap knock-off.
- You’ve got a wide choice of not only colors but materials for the uppers.
- The cork has more spring to it naturally.
- Very breathable and will keep you comfortable for longer.
What We Don’t Like About It
- The Original is heavier.
- It has a very distinctive look, and it’s not a high-fashion one.
- Prices are significantly higher than with the EVA models.
- If you wear them for too long, the sweat saturates the cork. Then you get an uncomfortable squishy feeling when wearing them.
- Leather uppers require more maintenance to keep them looking good.
- The cork can stink if not allowed to air properly between wears.
People who have sweaty feet purely from a breathability standpoint. Choose a leather upper to help your feet breathe better.
If you don’t mind a little extra work in the maintenance department, these shoes will look stylish for ages.
Which Model is Better?
Choosing one above the other is a tough call. If you have sweaty feet, the cork with leather straps is your best bet. The cork shoes weigh a little more, but that’s not an insurmountable problem. The Originals look like real Birkenstocks, not cheap knock-offs.
At the same time, though, the Originals cost significantly more than the EVA models. If you’re operating on a limited budget, the EVA offers similar comfort levels to the Original. The EVA is ideal for use around the pool. The Original is not.
Over short distances, the difference in the absorbability of the two makes little difference. If you’re traveling for long distances, though, the cork footbed has definite advantages.
That said, neither model is suited for a long hike in the heat. So, if you’re planning on spending a day sightseeing, make sure that the temperatures are cool before setting out.