1973 ARIZONA

1973 ARIZONA

Everybody’s favourite

In 1973, the Arizona first saw the light of day ahead of the 200th heritage anniversary of the Birkenstock family. Initially sold exclusively in specialist stores due to its unique footbed, the Arizona soon became a symbol of the 1970s counterculture in the USA. Since then, the two-strap sandal continues to be a classic which has outlived trends, dress codes, and societal changes.
2 min read

ARIZONA AT 50: THE NEXT CHAPTER…

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of Arizona, we tell the story of the passionate pursuit of foot health. The launch of Arizona marked an important step that helped spread the orthopaedic message of the Birkenstock family around the world.


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A SHOE FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION

Arizona was developed in honour of the milestone of the brand’s 200 anniversary, though it launched in 1973, a year before birkenstock’s bicentennial. karl birkenstock’s creation was in part a new interpretation of the iconic one-strap madrid sandal and part an ‘open’ version of zurich, which had featured an upper between its two straps. just like its revolutionary predecessor madrid, arizona put foot health and freedom at the forefront.


THE TWO STRAPS

As with madrid, the design of arizona started with the pursuit of keeping the foot healthy. it was defined by the contoured footbed: the iconic invention by Konrad Birkenstock, which was inspired by the anatomy of the foot itself. For Arizona the footbed was as always, the bedrock of the product. This promised a stronger hold of the foot, while staying true to the wide silhouette and simple style of the shoe. It also, of course, enabled the foot a much greater degree of breathability over Zurich, its covered, two-strapped predecessor.


AN ICON GOES GLOBAL

By the late 60s BIRKENSTOCK was already expanding in the USA. But the arrival of Arizona in 1973 helped the company reach a breakthrough. The new model appealed to people who paddled against the flow and who defined an alternative zeitgeist. Arizona quickly became a bestseller and remains the most popular style in the Birkenstock family across the world.


COUNTERCULTURE AND NEW IDEALS

Because of their unique character BIRKENSTOCK sandals were initially sold in health food stores in the USA and were embraced by the anti-establishment. Arizona promoted a more natural and healthy way of living. It defied dress codes and approached design in a democratic and gender-neutral way. It represented values that were emblematic of the counterculture of the 70s.

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