The Birkenstock History: Tradition since 1774

 

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

Johann's great-great-grandson, master cobbler Konrad Birkenstock, who manages two speciality shoe stores in Frankfurt, begins production and sales of the flexible footbed insoles.


1899

For the next 15 years, Konrad Birkenstock holds lectures in front of leading masters and guilds to explain his idea of a custom shoe and to sign license agreements for the manufacturing of his shoe with a footbed.

To this end, he travels through Germany and Austria. 1902 saw the development of the first flexible arch-support for insertion into factory-made shoes.


1925

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


1932

Carl Birkenstock (Konrad’s son) starts the Birkenstock® training courses, which go on to become famous. In the following years, he trains more than 5,000 specialists during his one-week foot service courses. Leading physicians support the courses and the "Carl Birkenstock System".


1947

The textbook "Podiatry - the Carl Birkenstock System" is published with a print run of 14,000 copies. Encompassing 112 pages, with 55 illustrations, Carl Birkenstock shared his guide to "Naturgewollten Gehen" (The natural way to walk), the step-sensory system, and healthy footwear. It becomes 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.


1973

The “Arizona” model is released, a sandal now synonymous with the Birkenstock style. Development of an innovative electromechanical moulding machine using a single adjustable mould to produce all sizes and widths in the right proportions makes Birkenstock® a global leader.


1983

The "Birkenstock-Fussfibel" ("Birkenstock Foot Primer") by Karl Birkenstock is published with the first edition selling 360,000 copies.

Six additional patents for thong styles are registered for Birkenstock®, the much loved “Gizeh” thong makes its first appearance.


1984

Alex Birkenstock, the second son of Karl Birkenstock, enters the family business.


1988

Environmentally friendly adhesives are used in the production process for the first time, setting a new standard for environmental awareness worldwide.

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


1990

Expansion and modernization of footbed production sees power consumption reduced by over 90%.

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


1991

The Birkenstock family grows. A variety of licensed trademarks, such as Papillio, Footprints, and Betula, are established over the following years, so that the company can offer complementary and 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.


2013

The year 2013 is characterised by one of the biggest changes in company history: Birkenstock becomes a corporation. The traditional company successfully implements the change from a loose group of 38 individual companies into a group with three business areas (production, sales, and services).

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.


2017

Birkenstock expands its product range with the natural cosmetics line, Birkenstock Natural Skincare and the Birkenstock Bed collection. In addition to healthy walking, standing and running; healthy skin and a healthy sleep also have a considerable impact on our wellbeing.


2020

Birkenstock is recognised as the "Brand of the Year" by renowned magazines and media outlets worldwide. US shoe magazine "Footwear News" names it "Brand of the Year", while British Vogue awards the title "Sandal of the Year". Lyst index recognises Arizona sandals as "the world's hottest women's shoe".

Size assistant

Welcome to the Birkenstock Size Assistant!

Let us help you find the size you’ll be most comfortable in.
Approx time to complete: 5 minutes
OR
Or see what a good Birkenstock fit looks like

Your recommended Birkenstock size is

HELP
Measuring Tips

Measuring Tips

We recommend using a pencil or a ballpoint pen.

A thick pen can distort the result.

It’s best to measure your feet in the evening as they may expand during the day.