Birkenstock repairs can be done at home by following 5 easy steps. In this video, shoe cobbler Teri Edmonds reveals her tips and tricks to make a used Birkenstock look new again. The best results can be achieved using the supplies listed below. Enjoy!
Step 1: Clean Uppers
Cleaning the uppers to the Birkenstocks is easy when using Lincoln EZ suede cleaner. Shake the bottle before opening and add 1/4 cup to a dish. Apply the cleaner with the suede brush and bring it to a lather. Wipe off excess with a dry towel or paper towel.
Step 2: Disassemble Shoe
Disassembling a Birkenstock can be easy or hard depending on the condition of the shoe and age of the glue between the cork and the soling material. If the glue is dry and old, it is likely the sole will come apart easily, as demonstrated in this video. Advanced sole removal instructions are provided in a video “Removing Birkenstock Soles” and a link has been included.
Step 3: Glue Upper to the Footbed
Using the original glue pattern as a guide, liberally apply contact cement to the strapping material of the Birkenstock. Next, apply the freshly glued strap to the sole where it will be fixed permanently. The glue should still be wet, but the objective is to establish a clean line where the glue is supposed to go. Wait 15 minutes and assemble the straps to the cork. This should be enough drying time to get a strong seal.
Step 4: Glue the Soling Material and Cork
Apply glue to both the cork footbed and the soling material and let dry for 20 minutes.
Step 5: Assemble and Trim
Once the glue has dried, the parts need to be assembled. Carefully aligning the sole to the cork footbed will make this project easier. Hammer these together and look around the edges to make sure the entire shoe is glued and sticking together.
Trim the excess sole using a sharp razor knife. Slow and safe is the key here. The closer the trim is to the shoe means that less finish sanding will be necessary.
In this video you will see the four steps used to restore a Birkenstock. The four steps include disassembly, sole preparation, glue/assembly and finishing work (luxury shine and condition).
Step 1 – Disassemble:
The first step in disassembly, is to remove the sole. This can be easy or very hard. A set of nippers is the best tool to use. Grab a piece of the Birkenstock soling material and pull apart. If the sole does not come off easily, use a little bit of thinner on the seam between the rubber and the cork. A flathead screwdriver is also helpful when separating the materials.
Step 2 – Sole Preparation:
Sole preparation includes building up the cork foot bed anywhere that the cork has been worn off. Using pieces of cork sheeting, glue individual layers with contact cement onto the worn areas. It is important to let the glue dry 10-15 minutes for each layer. This will ensure adhesion. When the layers are thick enough, use a razor knife to trim excess cork around the sides. Finally, use a heavy-grit sand paper to even the cork to allow for the sole to lie flat.
Step 3 – Glue Soles/Assembly
Gluing the soles also includes gluing the straps to the sides of the cork footbed. Unbuckle the straps first and apply the glue to the same place it was glued before. This may seem obvious but it is trickier than most expect. Take your time. Wait 15 minutes for the glue to set up before pushing the straps together.
Once the straps are finished, apply glue to the sole and to the cork bottom. Apply the glue with even strokes and make sure to cover each surface completely to avoid touching up the glue later, it is more difficult. Wait 20 minutes for the glue to dry. Apply the sole to the cork footbed and make sure all edges have touched and that you have a good seal.
Step 4 – Finish/Polish
Using a soft rag and Cadillac Boot and Shoe care, apply a thin layer of conditioner and let sit for 5 minutes. Next, apply shoe cream to all leather surfaces. After the shoe cream, apply a thin layer of Lincoln Stain Wax. Finally, buff the leather with a brush or terrycloth towel to remove excess wax and bring out the luster in the leather.
The last step in the finish work is to add Cork Renew to the exposed cork and let dry for 20 minutes.
Congratulations! You have repaired your Birkenstock!