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Known for its exceptional style, comfort, and quality, Birkenstock has been synonymous with orthopaedic design and foot support since 1774.

By using eco-friendly cork, jute, and natural latex footbeds, Birkenstock shoes, boots, and sandals combine high-quality materials with foot health benefits.

Birkenstock is a family-run business that remains one of the most trusted names in footwear today thanks to its enduring popularity and global recognition.


The contoured footbed was developed by Birkenstock in the 19th century as part of its design philosophy.

By combining cork with latex, the footbed provides custom comfort and weight distribution over time as it adapts to the wearer's feet.

It is anatomically shaped and provides arch support, a deep heel cup, and a roomy toe box.

The History

18th Century

When two brothers handcrafted shoes in the German countryside in 1774, the Birkenstock family began. During those times, harsh weather conditions required rugged clothing and footwear. The average person owned one pair of shoes, which were repaired by a local cobbler over time.

19th Century

A middle class with purchasing power developed in European society during the industrial revolution. As a result of steam engines, shoe manufacturers were no longer required to manufacture each piece by hand, thus meeting a growing demand for shoe products in greater quantities.

History of Birkenstock

1920s -1930s

With the introduction of Birkenstock's 'Birkenstock System' in the 1920s, the company created handcrafted shoes with orthopaedic lasts and flexible footbeds. In the 1930s, Birkenstock patented the first flexible arch support, which improved the support features of its contoured footbeds.

1940s -1950s

The shoe gained popularity in the German, Austrian and Swiss markets. In 1947, Birkenstock introduced its first sandal featuring its signature footbed, which combined orthopaedic benefits with fashion. In the 1950s, Birkenstocks gained popularity among those seeking foot health in addition to their medical origins.

History of Birkenstock

1960s - 1980s

As Birkenstock expanded its sandal collection in the 1960s, the Arizona sandal became an international favorite. The Gizeh thong sandal was introduced by Birkenstock in 1973, giving its contoured footbed a fashionable twist. In 1978, the Boston clog was introduced with a closed-toe footbed.

1980s - 1990s

In the 1980s, the company began selling shoes in the USA. In the 1990s, Birkenstock began offering vegan and cruelty-free leather options after gaining popularity in alternative and counterculture fashion movements.

Birkenstock Today

Birkenstock sole

During the 2000s, Birkenstock expanded the brand's product line even further. In 2003, Birkenstock launched closed-toe shoes and boots, expanding its expertise in foot health and comfort. As an innovative footwear brand with a lasting legacy, Birkenstock celebrated its 245th anniversary in 2019.

Did you know?

During space missions, NASA astronauts wore Birkenstock sandals.

The footbeds provide support and comfort even in zero gravity.

Because they conform to the feet and distribute weight evenly, they are ideal for astronauts experiencing foot swelling and hardship during space travel.

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