Birkenstock use premium hides to produce thick and strong leather that is buffed on the inside to create the supple suede softness. Pull-up leather has been buffed and coloured with a wax or oil finish where stretching and heavy use over time will lighten the colour to create an interesting aged patina.
Apply a compatible suede and smooth leather water/stain protector before wearing and after each clean. For suede avoid wax polish as this will spoil the special finish, for regular cleaning use a suede brush moving in the same direction to remove dust and dirt and a gum eraser for any scuffs. Use a soft dry cloth on smooth leather. If dampened allow to air-dry naturally away from direct heat.
The cork footbeds come with a light coating of sealant to prevent them from drying out. When the cork no longer looks shiny apply a thin coat of cork sealant to prolong their life. For regular cleaning wipe with a dampened cloth or soft bristle brush. Allow to air-dry away from direct heat. Wearing these on most days will retain a lot of moisture so remove regularly for airing.
Birkenstocks are designed to be roomy this is needed to perform the natural rolling motion of the foot without restrictions - just as if you were barefoot.
Your toes and heel should not touch the rim of your shoes while standing in them. Most people are fine with a regular fitting, but if your foot moves side to side when you walk and adjusting any straps does not help, a narrow fitting may be more suitable.