I've got the summer in sandpaper sandals blues.
July 13, 2012 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Shoe Filter: Can these Birkenstocks be saved?

I bought a pair of Birkenstock sandals (the real deal) at a shoe store and began to wear them frequently over a summer. However, my enjoyment of the sandals been stymied by thin, sandpaper-like line of glue or something that runs across the inside of the strap where it meets the foot bed across the inside arch of my foot. Over time, these lines of glue rub against my feet as I walk, leaving them sore, raw, and bleeding. The sandals are great in every other way.

I have attempted to cover this rough patch with moleskin, and then duct tape, but both get dirty and slide clear of the rough spot over time from use, forcing me to remove them. I assume that taking the sandals to a repair shop will be expensive, and I'd like to fix them myself if possible, but I'm out of ideas. I need something that will cover the patch but also withstand wear, heat and moisture and not destroy the sandals or make me sick from coming into contact with my feet. Any ideas?

Thank you in advance.
posted by koucha to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you contacted Birkenstock about this? Or the place where you purchased them? That might be your best bet, as this sounds defective to me. But I'm not a professional defect detector.
posted by bilabial at 8:36 AM on July 13, 2012

Have you tried liquid bandaids or maybe even just putting some super glue on top of it and letting it dry?
posted by Grither at 8:38 AM on July 13, 2012

Was this a Birkenstock store, (of the grey ponytailed owner, cat sleeping in the display window, etc,) variety? Or a regular shoe store with Birkenstocks? Assuming the former, I'd ask someone at the store you about it first. My experience is that they're usually super helpful about this kind of thing. Birkenstocks are probably one of the few shoes that get frequently repaired anymore, and if your cork is intact, it's not generally expensive, (or at least not close to 50% of the price of the shoe to start with), which is why they get repaired.

Is filing down the offending glue stuff not an option? I'd take a regular old nail file to it, or maybe an extra coarse one for artificial nails.

My other idea would be to fill over the rough patch with rubber cement. Birkenstock sells a "cork preserver" which is more or less rubber cement. It'll be water and heat proof, and last for a pretty long time.

And lastly, perhaps the sandal is moving around a bit too much? If you've got more holes, try a tighter one, or punch an extra hole in it. I've always had to add extra holes to my Birkenstocks.
posted by fontophilic at 8:49 AM on July 13, 2012

I'm with bilabial - I've worn birks for 20 years and I've never had anything like this. I wonder if you could get a refund?
posted by crapples at 8:50 AM on July 13, 2012

Best answer: I'd sandpaper it - OR use a callus shaver blade to gently scrape it down - then brush on a thin layer of Barge Cement. Trust me, the shoes can take it.
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:56 AM on July 13, 2012

I'm with everyone on the defect. Contact Birkenstock if it is within the 30 days or go to the store or site you purchased them from.

If you are not able to have customer service help with the repair, I think it would be better to go to a shoe repair expert since they use a specific glue for shoes to make repairs to prevent the sliding problem you are having.

Good luck.
posted by Yellow at 9:56 AM on July 13, 2012

dgran, the rule of thumb I've heard from birkenstock folks is if the soles haven't worn through to the cork you're good. They'll resole, re strap, but replacing the cork isn't worth it.

My mom has pairs of Birkenstocks that are older than I am (26). If you get them resoled before you hit cork you can make a pair live for forever. It costs maybe $50-60 bucks.
posted by fontophilic at 12:08 PM on July 13, 2012

Thanks for the tip, fontophilic. Unfortunately the cork is also pretty worn through so I think I would need new ones.
posted by dgran at 12:22 PM on July 13, 2012

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