1983 GIZEH

1983 GIZEH

A bold new territory

In 1983, Birkenstock moved into new territory with the launch of the Gizeh. With this daring new style, Birkenstock remained true to its clear and bold aesthetic, while taking inspiration from one of the oldest shoes in history. With an ergonomically shaped toe bar, the Gizeh was first launched in five colourways and proved to be a bold step forward in the brand’s history.

2 min read


To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launch of Gizeh, we tell the story of the passionate pursuit of foot health. In the process of creating this new product BIRKENSTOCK explored designs that went beyond the company’s classic repertoire.


As the BIRKENSTOCK company and its successes grew, Karl Birkenstock continued to embrace new, bold aesthetics. He worked for more than three years on the next innovation: the toe bridge. This ergonomically shaped, orthopedically exact feature provided a frictionless fit for the average foot. It combined the distinctive linear shape of the thong sandal with the wide silhouette of the footbed. In doing so it combined a modern kind of elegance with the imperatives of foot health.


Just like his father and his grandfather before him, Karl Birkenstock was passionate about creating footwear that kept the foot stable and healthy. By analysing many different types of foot, he created a mold representative of the average human’s anatomy. The structure of the thong was based on this highly developed mold and fixed to the upper with a stud. The T-shaped strap, meanwhile, guaranteed stability while giving the foot space to breathe.


As new technologies were taking hold of society in the 1980s, BIRKENSTOCK proved its willingness to step out of its comfort zone. It created in Gizeh a new shoe that was fashionable while carrying the BIRKENSTOCK signatures: the footbed, the iconic buckle and the leather strap. Together, they define Gizeh, which has maintained its elegant appeal for the past 40 years.


After three years of development Gizeh was launched in five colour variations. Two of them were gold and silver, which stood out from the signature earthy, neutral shades. This use of new colours was a significant step forward.

Gizeh signaled a new confidence in marrying orthopedics with fashion.

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