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Cork Birkenstocks Versus Plastic Birkenstocks

Ironic retro revivalist fashion people all know that there are many styles of Birkenstocks, the popular nineties hippie-meets-grunge, laxed-but-lush sandals from Germany. While you are in pursuit of these feetwears, notice that they come different materials finishes too. The most common sandal is the cork based classic Arizona sandal which is the more natural base for the weirdo spinoff cheapo plastic sandal.

Is one better than the other? Interesting question, friend. I didn’t even know we had this many types of Birkenstocks but, because the plastic was so cheap, I purchased them to see what they were about. In addition to a cork pair we’ve had lying around, I compared the two to see where you should spend your Birkenbucks. Here’s a little breakdown of these nu-basic normcore footsies you might have considered purchasing.

Style
CORK: As Birkenstock describes, “our iconic two-strap style, the Arizona, is known for being the epitome of comfort.” Iconic! Comfortable! Arizona! Okay.
PLASTIC: As Opening Ceremony describes, “these buckled slip-ons are perfect for in and out of the water.” So, same style but waterproof? However, someone did describe them to me as BirkenCrocs. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Fit
CORK: The fit of these are a bit more rugged since they are made of wood and leather. They will chafe your feet after long wears but you will eventually attune to their fit.
PLASTIC: These are super easy. Just slide them on and go. No problems here!

Durability
CORK: These will last forever. They’ll age so nicely too!
PLASTIC: Eh. I feel like these are going to break at any point. They are not very sturdy at all.

Weight
CORK: Heavy.
PLASTIC: So fucking light. Remember: Birkencrocs.

Accessorizing
CORK: These sandals are very easy to dress up and get all Japanese country indigo with, slapping on some socks and skinny jeans and running out of the house with them on.
PLASTIC: Same as above but more limited because of the monocrhome, non-natural plastic feel they have. They’re also a bit too sporty and can make you look underdressed.

Price
CORK: Roughly a hundred dollars.
PLASTIC: Less than forty dollars!

etc.
CORK: These are good for all year wear.
PLASTIC: These can be slippery because they are all that one, slick plastic material. They can be squeaky, too.

WINNER: The cork pair. I do love and will wear the plastic more at home but they were born to die. They will break and get fucked up whereas the quality of the cork are much stronger and will gain a beautiful patina through the years. The plastic? Nope, they’re just good for beaching it and being slippers. Stylish, yes, but a little too casual. But you know what? The plastic is only $35. Don’t feel guilty if you want them: just buy them. They’re cheap. They’d make a great gift, too.

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