The Birkenstock clogs and sandals that are fashion and comfort staples today have a history that dates back to 1774, when Johann Adam Birkenstock is registered in a small German village's church archives as "subject and shoemaker."
In 1897, Johann's grandson, Konrad Birkenstock, theorized that curved shoes would be more comfortable than flat shoes. He developed the first contoured insole. In 1902, Konrad developed the first flexible arch support, to be inserted in factory-made Birkenstock shoes. In 1964, Konrad's grandson, Karl Birkenstock, integrated contoured arch support directly into the footbed, and the Birkenstock sandal was born.
Birkenstock USA began in 1966, when founder Margot Fraser visited Germany. Seeking relief from uncomfortable shoes and the pain of walking all day on hard pavement, she visited a spa, where someone suggested that she try Birkenstocks. Her relief was immediate, and within months of returning home to California and continuing to wear her Birkenstocks, Margot's chronic foot pain vanished. Convinced of the health benefits of Birkenstock sandals, she started a distribution business selling them.
In 1973, Birkenstock Arizona sandals were introduced. That iconic two-strap sandal has been re-invented in a variety of color and material combinations, and remains as comfortable as it ever was. Birkenstock Boston clogs also enjoy a long history; it was introduced in 1977.
Now, Birkenstock USA is 100% employee-owned, and continues to celebrate comfort with quality products that are unique, timeless and respectful of the world around us.