The Story Behind Birkenstock – A Brief History
The Birkenstock story is one to truly be admired. Like any other household name brands, it’s foundations were built on solving an issue that required a solution. Since their inception, Birkenstock have been committed to crafting orthopedically inspired shoes – footwear that supports your foot and leg, allowing for the optimal walking position.
As one of the longest running footwear companies in the World, Birkenstock (Birkenstock Orthopädie GmbH & Co. ) owe their roots back to Johann Adam Birkenstock who was registered as a shoemaker in the German town Langerberg local churches archives in Germany in 1774.
Fast forward to 1896 and relative & master cobbler Konrad Birkenstock owns two specialty shoe stores in Frankfurt. He begins developing & manufacturing his own flexible footbed insoles. By 1925 he purchases a factory in Friedberg, Hasse. The space is significantly larger with extensive grounds that eventually allow for expansion to keep up with the growing demand.
The iconic ‘blue footbed’ earned it’s stripes during this period & Karl Birkenstock launches the ‘Birkenstock Training Courses’ – highly regarded training sessions for cobblers looking to hone their craft. Throughout the following years over 5,00 cobblers partake in the week long podiatry & specialist footwear courses. The course is endorsed by physicians to patients needing orthopedically inspired shoes for medical reasons & converts into hardback format via a book titled ‘Podiatry – The Carl Birkenstock system’, which goes onto be the highest-selling podiatry book of it’s time.
By 1963 the iconic Madrid model is launched as the first fitness sandal featuring a deep & flexible footbed. The model has remained a staple of Birkenstock’s seasonal collections to this day & set the pace for other manufacturers in the comfort footwear market. 25 years later in 1988 the brand introduces environmentally friendly adhesives into their process of production in a bid to push a more environmentally conscious way of manufacturing.
The following decades see the brand go from strength to strength releasing new models & eventually launching their own line of beds in 2017 as part of a collaboration with ADA. The bed collection not only fell in-line with Birkenstocks ethos of promoting healthy living but also matched in terms of two family owned businesses with similar philosophy’s coming together.
The Birkenstock name has been a household term now for decades, synonymous with quality & footwear that will last a lifetime. Shop the latest collections of Birkenstocks in time for this summer, online & in-store now at Stuarts London.