From their website: “Environmental protection has long been paramount at BIRKENSTOCK. We constantly work to improve production processes, products, packaging and logistics. Thanks to their durability, our products are sustainable by nature. A high proportion of the natural materials that we use are from sustainable sources: cork, natural latex, jute, leather, wool felt, copper and brass are among our most important materials.”
Clearly, sustainability is at the forefront of Birkenstock’s mission and the minds of their employees, though I do think adding more styles and colors without leather in their vegan line would earn them the rest of their planets.
Dyed leather (numerous types - and the vegan sandals do not have this nor the wool), wool, synthetic fibers, fleece, nickel-free metal, cork, and Ethylene-vinyl acetate mix. Each Arizona sandal is slightly different as most are not vegan like the one in the photograph, but there are a few models and colors that do not use their animal products. All Arizona sandals have the footbed, soles, and metal for the buckle.
They have a “Code of Conduct” that all suppliers of materials and all shoe manufacturers in Germany must follow, which include labor laws, environmental restrictions, supply chain regulations, and is based on the principles of the Global Compact done by the United Nations and the International Labor Organization.
Originally made by German shoemakers, and are now exclusively manufactured there, which helps indicate that there are no outsourced factories using cheap labor being used by this company. Room for improvement in transparency here, or in explicitly hiring those who are most vulnerable and in need of work.
Accessibility: Quite expensive, but the information is very accessible. Birkenstocks have a label on their shoes that indicate the exact materials used which I find very accessible. I personally only wear vegan shoes, so it is very helpful that Birkenstock makes vegan Arizona sandals that are only slightly less soft and comfortable than their leather pairs. Most Birkenstocks are gender-neutral with sizing and fit, which is very accessible, and they have narrow sizes and medium regular width sizes as well as European standard sizes. They can get wet, are insanely good quality, last many years of every-day use, and form to fit your feet overtime.