What are Cork Shoes – Everything You Need to Know

Cork shoes have been around for centuries, and they’re getting popular.

If you’re considering investing in a pair of cork shoes, there’s a lot to consider. 

This blog post will cover everything you need to know about cork shoes, from the history of this unique footwear to its advantages. 

By the end of this post, you’ll be an expert on cork shoes, so get ready and read on.

What are Cork Shoes?

Brown cork shoes with lace-up closure

As the name suggests cork shoes are made from cork.

Cork is a natural material that is environmentally friendly and biodegradable.

Cork shoes are made by harvesting the bark of Cork Oak trees. The bark is then processed and formed into sheets, cut and shaped to create the shoes. 

The harvesting of bark does not kill the cork tree. The cork trees will continue to grow and produce new bark, making cork a sustainable resource.

Cork shoes are made in a variety of ways. These include hand-woven and machine-sewn construction. The cork shoes are comfortable and stylish and offer a unique alternative to traditional leather shoes.

How long has cork been used to make shoes?

Cork has been used to make shoes for centuries. The first recorded use of cork shoes dates back to the 14th century. Even then, the man understood that the soft but durable bark of the cork oak provides comfortable yet protective padding underfoot. 

Cork shoes became popular in the 19th century as a lightweight and comfortable alternative to leather shoes. Cork shoes were often made with a canvas upper and a cork sole. 

The popularity of cork shoes declined in the early 20th century but came back in the late 20th century. Today, cork shoes are popular among those looking for a stylish and sustainable alternative to leather shoes.

Many brands like Adidas, Nike, and Reebok have been using cork in their footwear. 

Where is Cork Used in a Shoe? 


A part of shoe where cork is used - Outsoles

In the outsoles, the cork provides durability and traction. Cork can also be used to fill the gaps in the outsole to provide extra cushioning. It also provides a flat shoe base. Cork on the shoe base can reduce the impact on your feet. 

Insoles and footbeds

The areas of shoe where corks are used - Insoles and footbeds

Cork is used in the insoles for cushioning and support. As an orthopedic material, cork can help with foot problems. Cork is often used in footbeds to provide a comfortable foundation for the feet. The footbeds can be made of different thicknesses of cork to provide different levels of support.

Cork wedges

Cork wedges - a segment of shoes where cork is used.

Cork is also used in wedges. Wedges are a type of heel that is wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. Cork wedges are comfortable and provide extra support. 

Cork provides a comfortable and stable foundation for the heel. It also absorbs shock and reduces the impact on the feet.

Properties of cork that make it a good material for making shoes

  1. Cork is a lightweight and durable material that is comfortable to wear.
  2. Cork is water-resistant and anti-microbial, making it an ideal material for shoes.
  3. Cork is environmentally friendly and sustainable. You can harvest cork without damaging the cork oak trees.
  4. In cold weather, cork can be a good choice for shoes since it is a natural insulator.
  5. Cork shoes have good cushioning and shock absorption properties. This property makes them ideal for walking, running, and hiking.
  6. In addition to being resistant to mould and mildew, cork is also resistant to UV rays.

Brands Making Cork Shoes

Several different companies make Cork shoes. Some of them are:

  1. SOLE
  2. ReCORK
  3. Birkenstocks
  4. Teva Navot
  5. Nike
  6. TREES

Advantages of Cork Shoes

Cork shoes have several advantages that make them a good choice for many people. Cork shoes are comfortable, durable, environmentally friendly, and stylish. They are also suitable for people with foot problems, providing cushioning and support.

Cork shoes are also lightweight and breathable, making them ideal for summer weather. Cork shoes are a good option if you are looking for an alternative to leather shoes.

Let us look at some of the advantages of cork shoes in detail:


Advantage of cork shoes - form fitting

Cork is a very soft material, so it adapts to the shape of your foot over time. As a result, the fit gets better with time.

Lightweight and breathable

Lightweight and breathability - one of the benefits of Cork shoes

Cork shoes are also lightweight and breathable, making them ideal for summer weather.

Cork shoes have several advantages that make them a good choice for many people. Cork shoes are comfortable, durable, environmentally friendly, and stylish. 

Odor Resistance 

Merits of Cork shoes - Odour resistance

Cork is a moisture-absorbing material. Therefore, they will help keep your feet dry and comfortable, even in hot weather. The material also has anti-microbial properties, which help to keep your shoes smelling fresh

Impact Resistance

Impact Resistance - one of the important asset of Cork shoes

Cork shoes are also impact-resistant. Therefore, they will cushion your feet and protect them from shocks and impacts. The material surface is also slip-resistant, providing you with good traction. It reduces joint stress.

Environmental Impact of Cork Shoes

  1. Cork trees are a renewable resource, making cork shoes sustainable.
  2. Once disposed of, they won’t pollute the environment since they are biodegradable.
  3. Cork is relatively cheap and easy to obtain.
  4. Cork trees are home to many endangered animals, so cork shoe production helps to preserve these habitats.
  5. Cork trees help to improve air quality and prevent soil erosion. 
  6. Cork shoes also have a smaller carbon footprint than leather shoes.
  7. These shoes last longer than other types of shoes, so they create less waste.

As per the cork quality council, the Mediterranian cork forest takes out 14 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. A hectre of cork first takes out c. 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year.

When to wear cork shoes

Cork shoes are a good choice for any time of year. They are comfortable and you can wear them in all types of weather. You can also style cork shoes with different outfits as they are versatile.

Rainy Weather

Best time to wear cork shoes - Rainy Weather

Cork shoes are great for walking or hiking in wet weather because they are water-resistant. The cork material is practically impermeable to liquids.

Sunny Weather

Perfect season for wearing cork shoes - Sunny Weather

Cork shoes are perfect for hot weather because they are breathable and lightweight. The shoes’ surface does not retain heat like leather or synthetic materials. As a result, they are more comfortable to wear in warm weather.

Cold Weather

Cold weather - ideal season to wear cork shoes

In the fall and winter, you can wear cork shoes with socks to keep your feet warm. It is not susceptible to freezing like other materials, so your feet will stay warm even in the coldest weather. Cork shoes are also slip-resistant, making them a good choice for walking on icy sidewalks. 

If you have slippery shoes, check out 15 methods to make your shoes non-slip.

When you want to highlight your look

Perfect time to wear cork shoes - When you want to highlight your look

The versatility of cork shoes makes them suitable for both formal and informal occasions. You can wear them with jeans, shorts, skirts, or dresses. You can also wear cork shoes to formal events. These shoes are an excellent choice to highlight your style. 

When Not to Wear Cork Shoes 

  1. Cork shoes are not good exercise shoes because they do not provide the support sneakers do.
  2. Wearing cork shoes in the winter might require adding extra layers to keep your feet warm.
  3. Cork shoes might not be the best choice for those who need arch support for stability.
  4. Cork shoes are not a good choice for walking or hiking on rough terrain because they do not provide the excellent support or protection that hiking shoes do.


That’s it. Now you know everything you need to know about cork shoes. Cork shoes are a great alternative to traditional shoes.

They’re environmentally friendly, stylish, and comfortable. Cork shoes are the way to go if you’re looking for an earth-friendly shoe option that still looks good. 

Have you tried cork shoes before? Let us know in the comments below.



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