Why Birkenstock?

The Birkenstock family has a rich history and tradition centered on foot health and comfort, beginning way back in 1774.  The concept behind the Birkenstock contoured footbed was simple yet revolutionary: The shape of the shoe should match the shape of the foot.

Birkenstock footwear is designed to encourage and support healthy walking habits. The toe bar allows for the natural gripping motion of the foot which increases circulation and helps strengthen the arch tissue. The anatomically designed footbed lifts the lateral, medial, metatarsal, and transverse arches. The deep heel cup cradles the foot and provides stability. The contours of the cork footbed support the natural curves of your foot, thus distributing weight evenly over the entire foot structure.

Initially, the contoured cork footbed may feel very stiff and strange if you have never worn Birkenstocks before. The best way to get used to your Birkenstock footwear is to wear them for a couple of hours each day until the footbed begins to soften and conform to the shape of your foot.  


In a small German village, Johann Adam Birkenstock is registered as “subject and shoemaker” in the church archives.



Konrad Birkenstock (Johann’s grandson) develops a concept that would literally change the shape of footwear.  Although the soles of our feet are curved, shoes had always been flat inside. Konrad theorized that if the shape of the shoes reflected the shape of the feet, greater comfort would be possible.  He soon designed the first shoe with a contoured insole to be used by shoemakers in the production of custom footwear.



Konrad Birkenstock develops the first flexible arch support to be inserted in factory-made shoes that have become widely distributed in Germany.



Karl Birkenstock takes his grandfather’s contoured arch support concept one step further – as a ready to wear shoe.  The Birkenstock sandal is born.


While on vacation in Germany, Margot Fraser seeks relief from uncomfortable shoes and the tiring effects of walking all day on hard pavement.  While visiting a spa during her vacation, someone suggests she try Birkenstock.

Margot enjoys immediate comfort with her first pair of Birkenstocks.  Moreover, she finds that the chronic foot pain she had endured for years simply vanished within months after she returned home to California.  Convinced of their health benefits, she begins importing Birkenstock footwear to America.



The Arizona, a style which has now become synonymous with the Birkenstock brand, is introduced.  Birkenstock’s popularity explodes during the 1970’s.


By the beginning of the 1980’s, Birkenstock has become a household name throughout the United States.  The continually expanding Birkenstock line now features over 40 style/color combinations.


Birkenstock Distribution USA, Inc. celebrates its 30th anniversary.  Birkenstock now offers almost 300 style/color combinations, and the footwear is distributed to millions of people throughout the United States.



Birkenstock celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Boston clog.


Known as a comfort icon for the past three decades, Birkenstock’s famous Arizona 2-strap sandal celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Size Conversion Chart