Birkenstock Leather vs Suede: Which Material is Best for You?

For the past 200 years, Birkenstock has been gaining popularity around the globe, particularly in Germany, as this brand was initiated here. Longevity and comfort are the main factors that help the users select Birkenstock sandals over other options available in the market. However, the customers can consider a demanding decision to choose between suede and leather Birkenstocks.

Natural leather is used to manufacture Leather Birkenstocks, and the thickness of its upper part is approximately 2.8 to 3.2 millimeters. The acute external conditions can be resisted if the shoes are structured using natural leather, a hard-wearing material. These shoes can last for elongated periods as they are durable but are considered a bit pricey compared to other choices. On the other hand, you need to take proper and extra care if you use suede Birkenstocks, as they are less expensive than other options. 

Both leather and suede Birkenstocks are moderately economical in price. Less popular Leather Birkenstocks range around $90 for several shoes; on the other hand, the prices of Arizonas and Bostons come in the range of $125 and $270 as they are considered more renowned than other models. Suede shoes are accessible in different price ranges; the models for kids are available at $99, adults can get the boots for approximately $125, and Maiden and Kyoto shoes are accessible at around $215.

Comparison Table: Blundstone Leather Vs Suede

AspectLeather BirkenstocksSuede Birkenstocks
Material CharacteristicsMade from hard-wearing natural leatherNapped finish suede
DurabilityResistant to external conditionsLess durable, vulnerable to scratches and scuffs
Comfort and FitInitially may feel complex and firm, but molds over timeMore snug and softer, molds to foot’s shape more easily
Breathability and MaintenanceLess breathable, requires proper maintenance for water resistanceMore breathable, requires delicate care to maintain appearance
Visual AppealClassic and enduring appearanceVelvety texture, more casual and softer appearance
Color and Texture VariationWide range of bold shades and polished textureEarthy colorways, opulent and mushy texture
Fashion VersatilitySuitable for advanced and formal eventsIdeal for relaxed and regular occasions, adds style and elegance
Environmental ImpactLeather production may have negative environmental consequencesRequires fewer harsh chemicals in production, but still can impact environment
Care and CleaningEasier to clean with wet cloth and leather conditionerRequires special suede brush and eraser, stain and water repellent
Price ComparisonGenerally more expensiveGenerally less expensive, but varies based on style and color
Popular Birkenstock ModelsBoston, Milano, ArizonaBoston Soft Footbed, Arizona Soft Footbed, Zurich Soft Footbed
Longevity and Ease of MaintenanceMore durable with proper careLess durable, requires more care to maintain appearance

History of Birkenstock

Johann Adam Birkenstock initiated a German footwear brand called Birkenstock in 1774, and it has been gaining popularity for the past 250 years. Comfort and quality are the main factors that maintain the fame and reputation of these shoes from one generation to another. Hence, it is considered a distinct brand among other models. 

Revolutionary patterns and top-quality Birkenstock materials play an essential role in intensifying the ease and quality of the shoes. The fame of the Birkenstock shoes is mainly because of a contoured cork footbed, the initial brand launching this kind of footbed. The user can enjoy remarkable ease and support as suede lining, jute, and natural cork are utilized to manufacture its footbed.

Different materials, colorways, and styles are available in various models of Birkenstock shoes. Suede, leather, and other materials are used in manufacturing this renowned brand’s boots, sandals, and shoes. To maintain the excellence and popularity of Birkenstock shoes, the manufacturers provide similar focus and preciseness in designing these shoes.

Individuals have praised Birkenstock as a renowned brand in more than 90 countries. These shoes have been gaining popularity in the footwear market because of their extraordinary attributes, such as innovation, quality, and comfort.

Understanding Leather and Suede

Birkenstock sandals are structured using admired and accepted materials such as suede and leather. You can choose the perfect pair of shoes according to your preferences by comprehending the significant dissimilarities between the various materials utilized to form these shoes.


Animal hides are used to manufacture the hard-wearing leather that is utilized in designing Birkenstock shoes. Exclusive footwear mainly contains leather in its construction, as it looks smooth and even. Birkenstock sandals are considered durable and snugly made using finer and superior leather. The users can easily carry out the cleaning and maintenance of the leather sandals.


A napped finish is available for a particular leather called suede. This is a renowned option, as leather is more stretchable and mushier. Birkenstock sandals are permeable and snug as they are constructed using top-quality suede material. The users can pair these famous shoes with different outfits that provide style and elegance to their personalities.

The selection between suede and leather Birkenstock sandals depends mainly on the personal inclinations and preferences of the customers. Ease and mushiness make suede shoes more famous. On the other hand, leather shoes are renowned because of their easy cleaning and durability. Before selecting a particular model, the users should consider their basic requirements and personal preferences.

Material Characteristics

Durability of Leather vs Suede

Leather is apparent when users must select between suede and leather regarding durability. Users can efficiently use leather shoes daily as the deterioration can be resisted because of its athletic and sturdy material. 

On the other hand, suede is not hard-wearing, just like leather, as it is a mushier and delicate material that needs appropriate maintenance and care. Moreover, this soft material is vulnerable to scratches and scuffs.

Comfort and Fit

When both suede and leather are compared, suede is considered more snug and sturdy than leather. The suede can easily get molded to the foot’s appearance as supple and mushy, and the users can easily break into these shoes. 

Users can initially feel uneasy due to the complex and firm leather used in forming the Birkenstock shoes. Moreover, people feel difficulty during the break-in process, but this difficulty can be minimized by wearing these shoes several times and walking around the house. As a result, these shoes can become more comfortable and snug compared to the suede shoes.

Breathability and Maintenance

Users can wear suede shoes for warmer weather because of the intensified permeability of these shoes as compared to leather shoes. The feet do not get sweaty and hot as there is proper air ventilation. 

On the other hand, leather shoes sweat more as they are porous and permeable. However, the maintenance of leather is relatively easy compared to the suede. A wet cloth can clean the leather shoes more efficiently, and the glow can be restored by polishing it appropriately. To avert the wear and tear from moisture, the users should take proper care to maintain their waterproof attribute. 

In summary, the advantages and features of leather and suede shoes are versatility and uniqueness. The maintenance of leather is considered to be more accessible, and these shoes are hard-wearing and long-lasting. On the other hand, the permeability and comfort are the main attributes that make the suede shoes famous. The users can select a perfect model based on their inclinations and preferences.

Aesthetic and Style

Visual Appeal

A distinguishing look is available for suede and leather Birkenstocks, which seem aesthetically charming and elegant. The appearance of the suede is versatile and abundant because of its velvety surface. 

The texture of the leather is enduring and classic. The user can select an ideal model based on their inclination, as there is a difference in the appearance and touch of both suede and leather.

Color and Texture Variation

Vigorous and earthy colorways are available in the case of Suede Birkenstocks, as they offer different textures and shades. Users can feel cozy and snug while wearing suede shoes because of their opulent and mushy texture. On the other hand, bright and bold shades are available in the case of leather Birkenstocks, as there is a vast extent in its color shades. An ideal and purified appearance is available in the case of Leather Birkenstock shoes because of their polished and even texture.

Fashion Versatility

According to the event, you can dress up or down in suede and leather Birkenstocks, considered iconic and seamless. For a relaxed and regular appearance, you can opt for suede Birkenstocks; for advanced and formal events, the users can select leather Birkenstocks as they can dress up according to the occasion. Some outfits, such as a summer dress, jeans, and a t-shirt, can be paired with suede and leather Birkenstock shoes. 

In conclusion, the users can opt for a particular model between the leather and suede Birkenstocks by considering their inclinations and preferences. A broad range of iconic styles can be managed by using these shoes as versatile and classic appearances are offered in these cases. 

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

Eco-friendly sustainability and friendly operations are available in the case of Birkenstock footwear. Leather and suede are the materials used to manufacture the Birkenstock shoes. Versatile environmental impacts are accessible in the materials utilized to manufacture Birkenstock shoes and to select between suede and leather Birkenstocks, customers should consider these impacts. 

Leather is considered a luxurious material as it is hard-wearing and durable. However, leather material plays a vital role in the environment as its production can influence the surroundings in many ways. A considerable quantity of water and harsh chemicals are utilized in the tanning procedure, which can pollute the environment during the formation of leather shoes. Furthermore, greenhouse gas releases and deforestation can majorly influence the environment as they are the main ingredients of leather in the livestock industry. 

On the other side, animal hide is used to prepare another leather material called suede. A lesser quantity of jarring chemicals and water are generated in the case of suede shoes; hence, this sustainable alternative can be used efficiently instead of the customary leather. However, if bearable practices are not utilized to manufacture the suede shoes, it can cause severe environmental issues. 

Overall, many specific factors, such as materials utilized in manufacturing Birkenstock’s shoes, the impact of the materials on the environment, and the formation procedures, can help customers opt for the perfect model. Ultimately, personal preferences and inclinations are essential in selecting the suede and leather Birkenstocks.

Care and Cleaning

Leather Care

Hard-wearing and durable leather are used to manufacture Birkenstock leather sandals as they offer excellence and decency to the shoes. Try to take appropriate care of the leather Birkenstocks to maintain the remarkable appearance of these shoes. Leather shoes can be cleaned by following the tips given below:

  • Use a wet and mushy fabric to clean your leather shoes. The leather of the boots can be damaged by using jarring chemicals or grinding cleaners, so do not use these kinds of chemicals on the surfaces of the shoes.  
  • Use a leather conditioner on the shoes to maintain the softness of the Birkenstocks. Make sure to use a leather conditioner that is mainly manufactured for this kind of material. 
  • A stain and water repellent can shield the leather of Birkenstock’s shoes; therefore, try to use these repellents on the surfaces of the shoes. For the coming years, the appearance of the sandals can be maintained at a perfect level. 

Suede Care

Special and adequate care is required for the suede Birkenstocks as velvety and mushy materials are used to manufacture these shoes. Proper care and cleaning process can be carried out by following the tips given below:

  • Suede Birkenstocks can be cleaned, and the stains and debris can be removed using a suede brush. The dust and dirt can be detached using the suede brush only in one direction.
  • To clean the tough stains, use a suede eraser softly and mildly. Tremendous pressure can destroy the surface of the suede shoes; therefore, try to wipe the surface gently.                                             
  • A stain and water repellent can shield the suede shoes from the water and stains. Your shoes will look amazing for the years to proceed.                                                  

The maintenance of the leather and suede shoes can be carried out efficiently by following decent tips mentioned above.

Price Comparison

Price plays a significant role in selecting a particular model between the Birkenstock suede and leather. Before buying the Birkenstock shoes, examine the differences between leather and suede shoes as the price points differ for both materials. 

The cost of Birkenstock leather shoes is greater than that of suede shoes. The renowned suppliers have supplied the leather utilized in its formation, and its quality is remarkable and outstanding. The kind and style of the leather help a lot in determining the cost of leather Birkenstock sandals, and its range is approximately between $90 and $270.

On the other hand, customers consider Birkenstock sandals more economical than leather shoes. The lower price of suede shoes is mainly because of the hard-wearing and mushier material used to manufacture them. The color and style of the suede Birkenstock sandals determine the cost of these shoes, which ranges from $99 to $215.

More maintenance and care are required for suede Birkenstock sandals, although they are less expensive than leather shoes. The longevity and appearance of the suede shoes can be affected with time as they are vulnerable to stains and water damage.

Overall, there is a minor difference in the price of both suede and leather Birkenstock sandals. Customers can opt for a particular model by considering their inclinations and values.

Popular Birkenstock Models

Leather Models

A broad range of leather models makes Birkenstock shoes stand out. Boston, Milano, and Arizona are the most renowned leather models of Birkenstock shoes. Nubuck leather, smooth leather, and oiled leather are the different kinds of finishes available in Arizona, and it contains two straps in its construction. 

Suede, oiled leather, and smooth leather are present in the closed-toe clog called Boston, a famous model of Birkenstock shoes. Three straps are available in the case of Milano shoes, and its leather is manufactured from nubuck leather, oiled leather, and smooth leather.

To mold to the shape of the feet, a signature Birkenstock contoured cork footbed is available in all models of Birkenstock shoes. Hence, the users can enjoy extraordinary support and ease. Customers who prioritize an enduring and definitive look should opt for the leather models of Birkenstock shoes.

Suede Models

Users who like a more relaxed and informal look should choose suede shoes, which are available in a wide range of models from Birkenstock. The three most well-known suede shoe models are the Boston Soft Footbed, the Arizona Soft Footbed, and the Zurich Soft Footbed.

For further comfort, a mushy footbed is provided in the case of a two-strap nadal, known as the Arizona Soft Footbed sandal. Arizona shoes come in a variety of suede finishes, including black, blue and taupe. A closed-toe clog is designated a Boston Soft Footbed, and this kind of Birkenstock shoes comes in a variety of suede colours, including blue, black, and taupe. Zurich Soft Footbed is a three-strap sandal available in a variety of suedes, including blue, black, and taupe.

Birkenstock suede shoes meet the same standards of support and comfort as their leather counterparts. Customers looking for regular and informal styles could choose suede shoes since they highlight the personality and texture of the outfit. 

Finally, Birkenstock shoes come in a variety of colours and styles, including leather and suede. Birkenstock shoes are available to meet the needs of users, whether they like an informal or timeless and iconic look.

What are the differences between Birkenstock’s oiled leather and suede materials?

Suede and oiled leather are the materials used to manufacture the Birkenstock shoes. Various advantages, attributes, and considerations are available in the case of both materials. Significant dissimilarities between the two models are given below:

Durability and Weather Resistance

Water resistance and longevity are the main factors that play an essential role in the popularity of oiled leather Birkenstock shoes. The resistance of leather to wear and water has been intensified by using oil to treat the top-quality material of the leather shoes. Customers who want to wear leather shoes in damp weather or for outdoor activities should opt for the leather Birkenstock shoes. There are fewer chances of these shoes deteriorating with time. 

On the other side, the material of suede Birkenstock shoes is considered to be more porous and permeable than leather sandals. However, the water resistance and longevity of the suede shoes could be better and ideal compared to the leather sandals. Sueded shoes are vulnerable to stains and water damage, and proper care and maintenance are needed.

Comfort and Fit

The feel and fit of the boots can be influenced by various attributes offered by different models of shoes. However, the customers can enjoy the support and ease of suede and oiled leather Birkenstock shoes, as they are manufactured in a particular way to offer comfort. 

Users can enjoy remarkable arch support by wearing the oiled leather Birkenstocks as they get molded to the foot’s shape with time. The support and stiffness increase in the oiled leather Birkenstocks when both models are compared efficiently. People suffering from different foot issues or having flat feet can opt for the leather Birkenstocks without considering other options.

On the other hand, people suffering from foot issues should opt for suede shoes as they are considered to be an ideal option for sensitive skin because of the presence of mushy material. Customers who prioritize a snug feel should go for suede shoes, which are more plush and secure but less supportive than oiled leather sandals. Suede Birkenstock material is considered more stretchable and mushier than oiled leather shoes.

Style and Appearance

The appearance of oiled leather sandals is more earthy and plain. On the other hand, users can get a casual and softer look with suede sandals. To satisfy the personal preferences and values of the users, both models of Birkenstocks can be selected as there is diversity in the styles and colorways of both models.

The feel and fit can be affected differently because of the distinct attributes of both models, and there is variation in the support and comfort offered by both Birkenstocks models. Suede sandals are more porous and mushier; however, leather sandals’ water resistance and durability are more than suede shoes. The users can opt for any model between the suede and oiled leather Birkenstocks according to their fondness and liking.

How does the durability of Birkenstock’s suede compare to their leather choices?

Both leather and suede choices are available in the Birkenstock footwear. Durability plays an important role when selecting between the two models of Birkenstock shoes.

Longevity and durability make the leather Birkenstocks stand out in the market as these shoes can resist regular deterioration compared to suede shoes. The leather shoes can endure for many years if appropriate care is taken. Particular cleaners are used to prevent damage from the suede shoes as they are plush and delicate in appearance; the users can easily carry out the cleaning process for leather shoes compared to the suede shoes.

On the other hand, when acute environmental conditions are available, suede shoes can deteriorate rapidly compared to other options. To maintain the excellent condition of the shoes, more maintenance and care are required in the case of suede shoes as they are more delicate than other choices. However, users can wear the suede Birkenstocks more comfortably as they mold to the shape of the foot compared to the leather shoes.

When choosing between Birkenstock’s leather and suede models, specific use cases should be considered efficiently. Because of their greater durability, leather sandals can be worn on a regular basis. Customers who value ease and comfort, on the other hand, can prioritise suede shoes

Both Birkenstock types have advantages and disadvantages in terms of lifetime and durability, respectively. Before purchasing, ensure that the shoes are properly cared for and that all qualities and circumstances are considered. 

LeatherEasier to cleanLess comfortable 
SuedeDemands more delicate careMore comfortable

Can Suede Birkenstocks Withstand Getting Wet, or Do They Stain Easily?

Customers searching for modish and snug sandals should opt for the Suede Birkenstocks as it is considered a famous option. However, the question arises about the resistance of the suede shoes against the stains and dampness of the shoes. 

The search results show that suede shoes can resist the wetness of the boots as they are manufactured of rigid and stiff material. However, as compared to other options, the shoes can take longer hours to get dry as they are structured of a porous and permeable material. Use a stain and water repellent regularly to shield the suede shoes from debris, water, and dirt.

Make sure the suede shoes get dry naturally if they get wet. The material of the suede Birkenstocks can be damaged by exposing them to heat origins such as a heater or hairdryer. To revive the nap leather, gently use a suede brush on the surface of the shoes after they dry.

The oils and liquids can easily stain the suede sandals if they are exposed to such oils. Try to use a mushy, clean fabric and suede cleaner to detach the stains from the shoes. The suede sandal’s material can be damaged by acute chemicals or water.

Overall, try to take appropriate care of suede shoes to prevent them from getting damaged or stained; moreover, suede shoes can resist dampness, too.

Which Birkenstock material is recommended for longevity and ease of maintenance?

The durability and easy maintenance of the material play an important role in selecting between the suede and leather Birkenstocks. The longevity and other attributes of the shoes can be influenced as both models contain versatile and iconic features. 

A hard-wearing and durable material is used to manufacture the leather Birkenstocks as they can resist deterioration with time. To maintain the perfect look of the shoes, the users should carry out regular polishing and conditioning. Customers in damp or rainy climates should opt for leather shoes as they contain more water resistance than suede shoes. 

On the other side, the material of the suede sheets is more plush and mushy than the leather shoes. However, to sustain the appearance of the suede shoes, the users should carry out the proper maintenance and care; moreover, these shoes can stretch out with time. Users in dirty or damp environments should not wear suede shoes as they are vulnerable to staining and water damage. 

Customers should select Birkenstock leather if the significant consideration is the maintenance and durability of the shoes. The users can maintain the appearance of the shoes if they take adequate care of them, and then they can endure for years. People preferring ease over durability should select suede Birkenstocks as they can be ideal, but leather shoes are less durable than suede shoes.

In summary, users should consider the kind of material, lifestyle, and eco-friendly conditions where shoes should be used.


Users should consider several important points when choosing between suede and leather Birkenstocks. The excellent durability and easy cleaning make the leather shoes stand out in the market compared to other choices. On the other hand, the material of the suede shoes is more snug and mushier. 

Leather Birkenstocks are considered more costly than suede shoes regarding the price of shoes, as the famous models are more pricey than other models. 

Ultimately, the users can opt for a particular model between the suede and leather Birkenstocks according to their inclinations and preferences. Several individuals may wear leather shoes because of their slender look and longevity. On the other hand, some people may select suede shoes if ease and comfort are prioritized. When selecting a perfect model of shoes, try to consider your requirements and values. 

Whether you choose leather or suede, Birkenstocks is renowned for its top quality and ease. You can enjoy remarkable support in the case of both Birkenstock models if adequate care maintenance is carried out.