New soles for old Birkenstocks: worth it?
May 5, 2008 5:57 PM   Subscribe

Does resoling Birkenstocks really work? If so, what is the best online company that resoles Birkenstock sandals? I love my Birks and they're still in great shape, except for the rubber sole, which is almost worn down to the cork. I'd like to save some money and get them resoled, but I can't find a local store that is an "authorized" Birkenstock repair shop. Have you had experience with a good repair shop that accepts mailed-in sandals? (Ideally, I'd like to find a nice balance of quality, price, and speed.) Most importantly, did your new soles stay attached to the cork footbed?
posted by lewistate to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You just need any shoe repair place to repair any shoe. Tell them exactly what you want and they'll do it.

I just got an old pair of boots resoled and it was easily worth the money.
posted by Pants! at 6:06 PM on May 5, 2008

YMMV, and times have probably changed, but the last time I checked (~10 years ago), resoling a basic pair of Birks cost as much as a new pair.
posted by zippy at 6:07 PM on May 5, 2008

Years ago, I had a pair of Birkenstocks resoled by the manufacturer. The policy might be different now, but I don't recall it costing more than about $10, though the company did stress that the next time wouldn't be as cheap.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:11 PM on May 5, 2008

In case you find it expensive to get them resoled professionally, there's an Instructable on resoling shoes:
posted by tractorfeed at 6:14 PM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I got mine resoled at Dave Page Cobbler in Seattle at one point. He took a $70 or so pair of shoes and attached custom cut Vibram soles to them for maybe $20-25 and they were the best shoes ever, of all time. I'd suggest that over regular re-soling, but the one time I got a pair officially resoled it worked fine, was a little spendy but the soles stayed right on.
posted by jessamyn at 6:30 PM on May 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

I've had them resoled for around 20–30 dollars. Totally worth it, with no problems, but our local shoe repair guy is good. YMMV.
posted by D.C. at 6:33 PM on May 5, 2008

zippy, I've found a few places online that offer $30 resoling for Birkenstocks, which is much cheaper than the $100 I'd pay for a new pair. That said, if the resoling isn't going to last, I'd rather buy a new pair.

jessamyn, were the shoes you had resoled Birkenstocks? I've had good success resoling other shoes, but the thing that makes me nervous about my Birks is the fact that the soles are attached with glue and nothing else (no stitching, etc.).

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I'm still interested in recommendations for shops that specialize in resoling Birkenstocks.
posted by lewistate at 6:34 PM on May 5, 2008

Yeah sorry should have been clear. They WERE Birks and the soles stayed on just great for many years.
posted by jessamyn at 6:38 PM on May 5, 2008

It's best not to wait too long to resole them. I had some last about ten years. I think I have them resoled twice, and don't recall it being too expensive.

I've had friends, though who really worse their birks down, and they didn't have much luck with resoling.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:44 PM on May 5, 2008

I can second Dave Page Cobbler. I haven't had them do Birks but they did an awesome job on a pair of hiking boots of mine with totally blown-out soles.
posted by zsazsa at 6:57 PM on May 5, 2008

I am wearing a pair right now. My purple sunglasses and vitamin C must have been lost in the crevices of the couch. Anyway, put a sole on the footbed, no problem, but the shoe is all about the footbed, that rigid, formed to the bottom of your foot, slab of cork. Don't mess with that. The rest of the shoe is commodity, but the footbed is a unique.
posted by caddis at 6:59 PM on May 5, 2008

I had a pair that I resoled twice, plus once I got just the heel areas resoled. There was never a problem with the soles coming loose, or anything like that. Each time I just took them into a store that sold Birkenstocks and they charged me about 1/3 or so of the cost of a new pair for the work (less for the time only the heels were fixed).

The prices listed here are about the same as what I paid a few years ago -- it's a lot cheaper than a new pair, unless your sandals are really trashed and need a huge amount of work.
posted by Forktine at 7:08 PM on May 5, 2008

Try contacting Footprints (Lawrence, KS). They're a lovely and awesome store in person; I've purchased Birks there and had shoes resoled there. They have a solid online store (they even run ads in the back of the New Yorker, so I think they're ready for remote customers) but I can't find anything about sending shoes in for repair on the website. They have a toll-free number so you could call and ask about rates/procedures. Totally worth your time to check out; they're good people.
posted by donnagirl at 7:10 PM on May 5, 2008

Thanks for clarifying, jessamyn. I'm going to email Dave Page Cobbler and see if they still do Vibram soles on Birkenstocks. I imagine those would last a lot longer than the standard-issue Birk soles.
posted by lewistate at 7:11 PM on May 5, 2008

I did what Forktine did- bring my birks into a store and have them send it out. I'm on my 3rd or 4th sole on my birks.
posted by jmd82 at 7:56 PM on May 5, 2008

I should mention this wasn't a service they specially offered, I just said "these soles are crappy and I want ones that kick ass in Seattle weather" and picked out the Vibrams and they were happy to cut them to fit. This was also quite a while ago.
posted by jessamyn at 8:21 PM on May 5, 2008

Another vote for Dave Page. He does fantastic work.
posted by bolognius maximus at 9:54 PM on May 5, 2008

My Dave Page experience: The soles on my hiking boots were shot, so I sent them to Dave. They came back with a brand new sole and even had some stitching repaired. Not thirty trail miles later the soles began to detach. I've heard nothing but good about Dave Page, but I was not happy with my first experience.
posted by DakotaPaul at 10:03 PM on May 5, 2008

I had mine resoled/new footbed-ed locally (Austin) so I can't speak to that, but as for the resoling? Beautiful, wonderful, awesome, like new. Like new but BETTER, because the uppers were already perfectly soft and broken in and perfect, and the sole and footbed were new and clean and firm. I can't recommend it enough. That and my irrational emotional attachment to my Birks. ("We've had some great times together, shoes!")
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:03 AM on May 6, 2008

Montague & Son in Alex., VA does all sort of Birk repair. I've used them in the past for two Birk resoles and they've done a great job.

Here's their price list (just ctrl-F on "resole").

A resoled Birk feels like new to me, and I saved about $40 compared with buying new.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:27 AM on May 6, 2008

A belated follow-up for those who are interested:

Dave Page Cobbler seemed like a promising solution, but my email correspondence with the shop didn't exactly inspire confidence. Perhaps their in-person customer service is better.

After some additional searching, I found Hartland Shoe Repair, which offers exactly what jessamyn described: a Vibram sole on Birkenstocks. The owner of Hartland was quick to respond to my email; the Vibram resoling is $48, which includes return shipping. Not too shabby.
posted by lewistate at 7:10 PM on May 6, 2008

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