Cork, which is bark from the cork tree, is often used in fashioning footwear, for example the popular Birkenstock sandal. Cork cushions and absorbs shock, stands up to hard use and is quite beautiful. Unfortunately, it is also porous, and it flakes, chips and absorbs moisture and odors when left unsealed. Use a water-based sealant to waterproof and protect the original look and feel of your cork footwear.

Things You'll Need

Clean the shoe by buffing it all over with a soft shoe brush. Clean the whole shoe, not just the cork, to prevent stray dirt from falling onto wet sealant.

Dip a soft cloth into the water-based sealant and rub the sealant onto the cork. Cover the cork thoroughly while avoiding contact with any leather straps. Let the sealant dry completely as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Apply a second coat of sealant to the cork. Let it dry completely before wearing the shoes.


  • Reseal cork once per year to maintain the cork’s original condition.