Birkenstock, the brand that brought sandals, incredible comfort and exceedingly good durability together. But their talent doesn’t stop there. Birkenstock has spread its wings and launched multi-strap sandals, clogs, trainers, ballet flats, and stylish boots.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the when, the what, and the how of the Birkenstock brand and its products.
Expect to understand Birkenstock’s heritage, Birkenstock sizing recommendations, product terminology explained, and the types of Birkenstock sandals.
Birkenstock history and heritage
Birkenstock was founded in 1774 by Johann Adam Birkenstock, who in 1896, began selling his innovative flexible footbed insoles. This soon expanded and in 1925, Birkenstock became a household name. Selling their product all over Europe and America.
It is said that a huge part of Birkenstock’s successful integration into the US is due to Margot Fraser. Fraser was a German dressmaker who was recommended to wear Birkenstock sandals to help aid her feet due to wearing poorly fitting shoes. Although the US didn’t welcome Birkenstock with open arms, eventually, the brand became so popular there was no other way around it. Birkenstock was there to stay.
Now, with even more popularity than ever, Birkenstock continues to grow and evolve into the much-needed footwear we know and love today.
Who owns Birkenstock now?
More recently, Birkenstock was taken over with a majority share by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, more commonly known as LVMH. The firm has been the parent company of Birkenstock since February 2021.
Birkenstock terminology explained
A few key elements of Birkenstock footwear are mentioned consistently when you read about their silhouettes and collections. Below, we’ve put together a list of three descriptions explaining what these terms mean:
Birko-Flor®: We’ll delve deeper into the origin of Birko-Flor® further, but for the purposes of this section, Birko-Flor® is premium synthetic, leather-like material.
Footbed: The footbed is exactly how it sounds. It’s the section of a Birkenstock where the foot rests. There are two different types of footbeds available with Birkenstock footwear. Firstly, the regular footbed, has a latex core, with layers of sturdy jute and a soft suede lining for comfort. The second is the soft footbed. It is similar. However, it has added layers of foam between the suede lining, for even more comfort.
Ethylene Vinyl Acetate: Also referred to as ‘EVA’, the material used by Birkenstock to ensure their footwear is flexible and water-resistant.
Discover more about Birkenstock materials.
The birth of Birko-Flor®
As we lightly touched on this before, Birko-Flor® is a superior synthetic substance. For those who don’t want to wear or purchase leather, sandals and footwear from Birkenstock, using Birko-Flor® is a great substitute.
The top layer is PVC and is lined on the inside with a layer of fleece. Birko-Flor® is extremely light on the skin, soft and comfortable, and long-lasting. Birko-Flor® is also extremely durable, easy to maintain and breathable.
Are Birkenstock unisex?
The majority of Birkenstock sandals, clogs, and trainers are unisex. However, some silhouettes have been developed for a specific gender. For example, the Mayari and Madrid models have been made with women’s shape, movement, and style in mind.
Are Birkenstock sandals true to size?
We must first disclaim that not all Birkenstock models fit the same. Some may naturally give a little more, and others could lend themselves on the smaller side. However, Birkenstock says, ‘Birkenstock products are known for being true to size’.
When it comes to Birkenstock sizing, one of the many benefits of choosing Birkenstock is its narrow and regular fitting options.
The difference between Birkenstock regular fit and narrow fit
Regular Fit: Birkenstock’s regular fit footwear is for those with medium to wider feet. It provides a spacious and comfortable fit for individuals with a broader foot shape. The regular fit also gives plenty of room for natural toe splay at the tip of the footwear.
Narrow Fit: Their narrow fit is designed for individuals with a narrower foot width. It offers a more snug and tailored fit compared to the regular fit. The narrow fit is ideal for those with a slender foot shape or a higher arch. Remember, Birkenstock footwear is known for its adjustable straps, which allow you to alter the fit of your Birkenstock shoes.
What different types of Birkenstock sandals are there?
Over the years, Birkenstock has continued constructing some of the best shoes for extreme weather and temperatures. From classic sandals to professional footwear safety boots, Birkenstock has excelled and developed footwear for all.
Let’s take a look at just some of the most sought-after Birkenstock sandals:
The Arizona is easily one of Birkenstock's most classic and iconic designs. With two adjustable straps that cross over the foot, available in abundant materials such as natural leather, oiled leather, Birko-Flor, and EVA.
The Boston collection is one of the most popular Birkenstock range to date, and rightly so. They are clog-style sandals with a closed toe and an adjustable strap across the instep. And, they are an attractive alternative for individuals looking for a more contained and supportive sandal.
The Milano collection features the signature contoured footbed, which provides excellent arch support. Milano’s have adjustable straps and a distinctive silhouette. And, according to Birkenstock, the Milano range has excellent grip and stability.
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