Birkenstock Sandals for Comfort and Style
Birkenstock Orthopädie GmbH & Co. KG is a German shoe manufacturer. The company sells Birkenstocks, a German brand of sandals, and other shoes notable for their contoured cork and rubber footbeds (innersoles), which conform closely to the shape of the wearers' feet.
Classic products include the two-strap Arizona sandal and the Boston clog.
The development of the Birkenstock brand
The Birkenstock brand traces its roots to Johann Adam Birkenstock, registered in 1774 as a "vassal and shoemaker" in local church archives in the small Hessian village of Langen-Bergheim. In 1896, Johann's great-great-grandson Konrad Birkenstock developed the first contoured innersole for use by shoemakers in the production of custom footwear. Also in the year 1896, Karl opened two shoe stores in Frankfurt, Germany, where he continued to make and sell his innersoles.
1902 saw the development of the first flexible arch-support for insertion into factory-made shoes; and in 1964, Karl Birkenstock developed these inserts into a shoe — thus producing the original prototype of the Birkenstock sandal.
Popularity in the counter-culture movement
In 1966, Birkenstocks were introduced in the United States, as well as elsewhere. When Margot Fraser first started distributing them in San Francisco, California, she was unsuccessful. Later on in the 1970s a cultural revolution improved her business. In the United States, Birkenstocks first became popular among young men and later on among hippies and others with a "back to nature" philosophy who appreciated the natural foot shape and foot-friendly comfort.
Birkenstock uses only high quality materials, whether they are leather or animal free. Each contour in a Birkenstock footbed is precisely placed to stretch, flex and move naturally.
The Birkenstock Gizeh sandal is a popular variation on the classic Arizona sandal, with a thong rather than double straps.