For over two centuries, Birkenstock has been an exception. The German shoe company is known around the world for its expertise, comfort and quality of its products. Since the 1970s, Birkenstock has been available in more than 90 countries across Europe and the rest of the globe for men and women.
With its signature styles such as the Madrid single-strap sandal, the Arizona double-strap sandal and the Boston mules, Birkenstock has been around for generations. The brand has always been innovative, reinventing itself and creating new feet.
The footbed, a mythical sole
In 1902, Konrad Birkenstock's experiments resulted in the production of the first "insole". These were insoles for the treatment and cure of foot ailments, which were previously made of metal. After several tests of materials, it is an alliance mainly composed of cork and latex that will prove to be the most effective. The product officially became the "Fußbett" or footbed. An insole that allows for overall health beyond healing and ensures foot comfort. The launch of the Birkenstock Orthopaedic Footbed marks a revolution for both the family business and foot health.
The general public was initially shy about using the shoe on a daily basis. In 1954, Karl Birkenstock took the concept of his father and grandfather and introduced the Birkenstock "footbed sandal". The structure and the construction are visible and desired, taking inspiration from the brutalism in modern architecture. We find the same cork sole simply embellished with an adjustable strap.
This sandal will be adopted first in the households as a shoe of interior for its comfort and its simple aesthetic, then by the alternative movements which wish to express this nonconformity via this sandal which breaks the rules. It was named the "Madrid" in 1979, before giving way to the Arizona.
1973, the ARIZONA
1 cork sole, 2 adjustable straps, the Arizona shoe is born. This silhouette represents hundreds of variations and millions of units sold. Birkenstock innovates in materials with leather and nubuck for comfort. The colors are also varied, the favorites remaining black, mocca and beige. Respecting the design, we find the essence of Birkenstock and the emblematic sole. The Arizona model is now a best-seller, available worldwide and considered as a classic shoe for both women and men.
In paradox to the rigid and heavy wooden clogs, Birkenstock offers the Boston model, light and flexible mules. This silhouette was as successful as the Arizona. Boston mules are worn by workers for comfort and safety, as well as by tourists on the go. This foot has as many variations of materials and colors as the Arizona, with the same comfort. Today, this foot is available for both men and women, or recently in collaboration with high fashion houses such as Dior.
An ecological commitment
Directly manufactured in Germany, Birkenstock is committed to its ecological investment as a corporate position beyond the marketing aspect. The majority of the materials used are from sustainable sources such as cork, latex and leather. Birkenstock collects cork from cork oaks every 7 to 9 years, an inexhaustible resource.
The soles made from cork grains are made from liquid rubber (or latex milk), a binder with a much lower energy balance than synthetic latex.
Birkenstock is committed to manufacturing in Europe to minimize its carbon footprint.