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Birkenstock

Birkenstock

Just a few years ago, Birkenstocks were the typical grandma shoes or eco-slippers that you would never have worn yourself. Since the rise of hipster culture and sustainable thinking, they are now often found in the shoe cabinets of fashion fans and sneakerheads: hardly any other brand has undergone such a successful image transformation as Birkenstock.

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Birkenstock: from eco-slipper to cult brand

The brand is one of the 5 most successful footwear brands in the world and one of the most internationally renowned German brands. Whether for leisure, shopping in the city, on vacation or in the office - Birkenstocks can be found everywhere and are considered a cool accessory. Not only are they outrageously comfortable, they also pick up on current trends and implement them authentically, such as with the Gizeh toe separator. In this article, you can find out what makes these shoes so special, how a brand can last for several centuries and which styles are the most hyped. 

A unique history

It is not only a fine art to be successful in a craft for centuries and create a cult brand that everyone knows. It also takes a strong vision to go for what you believe in.

Centuries-old shoe craft

The foundation for this was laid by master shoemaker Johann Adam Birkenstock in Hesse in 1774. He began making and selling shoes. By the end of the 19th century, the family was already running two shoe stores in Frankfurt and had started to manufacture flexible footbed insoles. They were pioneers in their field and did a lot of convincing to make their footbed known. The insoles were a major milestone in shoe manufacturing, as they were completely metal-free and adapted flexibly to the foot. In 1925, Birkenstock was so successful that the company bought a large factory and even offered training courses supported by doctors. Effective marketing that many today could take a leaf out of their book! 

Madrid and the new era

The Birkenstock family's vision of producing healthy footwear for natural walking became a reality in 1963 with the "Madrid" sandal. An absolute classic that is still one of the most popular models today. But that was not all, as the family also wanted to spread knowledge about healthy feet to the world and launched the Birkenstock foot primer. With the first electronic shaping machine, they caused an international sensation and once again demonstrated the label's pioneering spirit. 

With the transformation into a corporate group and many other restructuring measures, Birkenstock positioned itself more broadly and was able to further expand its international success. The historical roots combined with continuous research and development have secured the company's pole position in the comfort shoe sector to this day. A story that no-one will be able to replicate in a hurry.

Where the hype comes from

The combination of loyalty to its roots and the desire to always be at the cutting edge is the secret of the family company's success. Added to this is the huge wealth of experience they can draw on, which has brought them to where they are today: at the top of the comfort shoe sector. 

Thinking about a world of tomorrow and striving towards sustainability and health has overtaken the throwaway mentality and the higher-faster-further attitude and has therefore also influenced the shoe industry. The rethinking that has taken place in the minds of many people in recent years has allowed the brand to experience its second spring and made Birkenstock shoes a trend. 

After the look was hyped and you could see Birkenstocks in various shapes and trendy colorways on every corner, the shoes naturally had to prove what they were made of. The secret of Birkenstocks is their anatomically shaped footbed, the core of the entire company. A mixture of cork and latex forms the heart of the footbed, which supports and relieves the feet. The suede finish ensures a pleasant foot climate. The shape is based on the natural footprint in the sand, offering a high level of comfort and the lowest possible impact. The footbed also ensures good support. The soft footbed, which was developed later, pampers you with even more comfort with an additional foam insole. From start to finish, the footbed is a design that has been thought through down to the smallest detail and is fully focused on the wearer's well-being. 

The most popular styles

A lot has happened between the "Madrid" sandal and today, of course. Birkenstock not only produces various shoes, but also natural cosmetics and mattresses, for example. In addition to the product portfolio, the shoes have of course also evolved and have enjoyed success with collabs such as Stüssy and Fear of God as well as hyped colorways. Here we reveal which models are among the absolute classics among Birkenstocks and why. 

Birkenstock Arizona

The absolute classic among Birkenstock sandals with a timeless design for women and men: the Birkenstock Arizona. This version comes with two leather straps, an adjustable buckle and, of course, the typically comfortable footbed. You can choose between suede, nubuck leather or Birko-Flor, a synthetic material with a patent look, for the straps. The buckles are also available in different shapes and colors and some styles have an outsole colored to match the upper. And of course, the Arizona Birkenstocks are available in vegan or platform versions - a truly versatile classic!

Birkenstock Madrid

Madrid is the silhouette that started it all. It was the first sandal to feature the famous footbed and made Birkenstock a global success. Originally sold as a gymnastics shoe, the purist single strap is another Birkenstock classic. Visually, this silhouette is more restrained and refined than the Arizona, but at least as comfortable. The EVA outsole provides good cushioning, while the anatomically shaped footbed offers the high level of comfort we have come to expect from Birkenstocks. In addition, the adjustable buckle on the strap provides the necessary flexibility and a comfortable fit. The Birkenstock Madrid Big Buckle comes with a wider buckle, which gives this version a more modern and elegant look. 

With this model, you can also choose between different types of leather and Birko-Flor for the strap or opt for the Madrid Essentials, which are made entirely of EVA.

Birkenstock Gizeh

Modern design meets Birkenstock comfort! Gizeh is the anatomically shaped answer to the flip-flop. The toe separator is definitely a fresh summer sandal that scores points both on the beach and in the office. The boho-style version with a braided strap or the platform versions are particularly popular. The Gizeh is also available in vegan and as a big buckle for a more striking look and comes in many trendy colorways. 

 

Birkenstock Boston

When we talk about Birkenstock slippers, we are referring to the Boston silhouette. With its closed front, the clog can be worn all year round and the lambskin version also provides the necessary comfort in winter. For very cold feet, the Boston lambskin is now also available with a cuddly teddy upper. In addition to the classic version, the Boston is also available as a big buckle or as a vegan alternative. 

 

Even though Birkenstock has not yet produced any sneakers, trendy collabs do not stop at the shoes. There is the eye-catching collabo with Valentino or the classic sandal by Jil Sander, but collabos such as those with Dior and Manolo Blahnik are also hyped styles. And they are really something to behold! But of course it's not just the collabs that make Birkenstock so special. The company belongs here for its unique history and authenticity alone. They are pioneers in the shoe industry and have inspired many other labels to follow their own authentic path. Because not everyone can stay true to themselves, no matter what! And let's be honest, somehow these super-comfortable Birkenstocks belong in every shoe cabinet, don't they?

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