The Birkenstock History

1774

Johann Adam Birkenstock is entered in the church archives in the city of Langen-Bergheim in Hesse as a "shoe maker and subject".

1896

Master shoemaker Konrad Birkenstock, who managed two speciality shoe stores in Frankfurt began production and sales of the flexible footbed insoles.

1899

For the next 15 years, Konrad Birkenstock held lectures in front of leading masters and guilds to explain his idea of a mass shoe made completely of plastic and to sign license agreements for the manufacturing of his shoe with a footbed. To this end, he travelled through Germany and Austria.

1925

A large factory with extensive grounds was built and expanded in Friedberg in Hesse. The growing customer base requires a considerable daily production that is realized by having both a day shift and a night shift. The "Blue Footbed" is added to the production program.

1932

Carl Birkenstock starts the Birkenstock® training courses, which went on to become famous. In the following years he trained more than 5,000 specialists during his one-week foot service courses. Leading physicians support the courses and the "Carl Birkenstock System".

1935

First edition of Carl Birkenstock's book "Mit dem Arzt gegen Fußkrankheiten und Irrlehren" ("A doctor's guide to footcare and heresy") was published. It is 83 pages long and has 87 illustrations. 15,000 copies were printed and for sale on the market.

1947

The textbook "Fussorthopädie - System Carl Birkenstock" ("Podiatry - Carl Birkenstock's System") was published, 14,000 copies were printed. Encompassing 112 pages, with 55 illustrations, Carl Birkenstock shared his guide to "Naturgewollten Gehen" [The natural way to walk], the socalled step-sensory system - and healthy footwear. It became the best-selling textbook on podiatry of its day.

1963

Karl Birkenstock introduced "Madrid" to the market, the first fitness sandal with a flexible, deep footbed, thereby laying the cornerstone for today's comfort shoe market.

1972

The "Buch der Fußgesundheit" (the "Book of foot care") was published by Karl Birkenstock and 30,000 copies were printed.

1973

Development of an electromechanical moulding machine that can create all sizes and with the right proportions in a stepless process all based on a single style. More-over, the same method can be used to model any width, individual heels and the frontal area of the foot. This innovation makes Birkenstock® the global leader.

1983

The "Birkenstock-Fussfibel" ("Birkenstock foot primer") Karl Birkenstock is published and 360,000 copies are printed.

1984

Alex Birkenstock, the second son of Karl Birkenstock, en- ters the family business.

1988

Environmentally-friendly adhesives were used in the production process for the first time. With this step, Birkenstock® set an example for the world - and the company became a global role model.

Christian Birkenstock, the youngest son of Karl Birkenstock, joins the family business.

1990

Stephan Birkenstock, the oldest son of Karl Birkenstock, enters the family business.

Expansion and modernization of the bed production under consideration of environmental protection aspects: energy consumption was reduced by more than 90 per cent.

1991

A variety of licensed trademarks were founded throughout the following years in order to offer complementary as well as additional product groups.

2007

The owners of Birkenstock Orthopädie GmbH & Co. KG took over their long-term distribution partner Birkenstock Distribution USA, Inc. (BDUSA).

2009

A new and bigger footbed production facility was opened in Görlitz in the spring of 2009.

2013

The year 2013 is characterized by one of the biggest cuts in company history: BIRKENSTOCK is now a group. The traditional company successfully implements the change from a loose group of 38 individual companies into a group with three business areas (production, sales, services). The management of the group is in the hands of a management team, which for the first time does not come from the circle of the family: Oliver Reichert and Markus Bensberg jointly control the activities of the BIRKENSTOCK Group - a novelty in the company's 240-year history.

2014

BIRKENSTOCK enters the licensing business. The shoe manufacturer will be able to conquer new strategic business areas, markets and target groups by means of licensing agreements. With the line extension, the main focus is on four theme worlds, which fit perfectly with the brand core of BIRKENSTOCK: healthy sleeping and living, healthy working environment, healthy feet as well as running and healthy life setting.