Cork has been an integral part of shoe design and manufacturing since the ancient Greeks ( 1600 a 1100 years B.C.). Today we are seeing more and more Cork footbed shoes and sandals than ever. With the sky rocketing popularity of Birkenstock cork shoes are now almost in everyone’s wardrobe.
Why Cork? and Why is cork sooo comfortable? And where does it come from? Cork grows naturally in only two areas of the world: the Mediterranean region of Europe – particularly the Iberian Peninsula, where Portugal and Spain produce more than 80% of the world’s cork – and Northwest Africa.
Cork is a renewable resource ( will get to that later), is flame retardant and has the ability to recover 90% of it’s shape (after 24 hours) after being compressed by 14000 lb/ square inch, that is the estimated weight of a T- Rex just to give you a visual. That is one extremely strong cushion.
Cork is the bark harvested from the Cork tree and it takes about 8 years after a harvest for the bark to grow back to harvesting thickness again. It takes about 20 years for the trees to mature and once the tree is in prime harvesting it can produce 500 lbs of cork.
So, why are they just so comfy? Well that comes down to design and thickness of the cork. Cork can be shaped into many different contours allowing for the footbeds to meet all the contours of your feet plus provide cushioning on a whole new level. As well as, cork doesn’t absorb moisture that well so bacteria doesn’t grow to easily – therefore less chance of stinky shoes!