Birkenstock shoes have a quintessential style that is unmistakable. You can tell instantly whether a shoe is a Birkenstock shoe, even when blindfolded, as Birkenstocks are just so comfortable. The insoles are contoured so that your weight is distributed evenly, an idea hit upon by shoemaker Konrad Birkenstock in 1897. This makes the shoes very comfortable and helps your posture. Your toes also get lots of room to manoeuvre and breathe. There are over 400 types of Birkenstock shoes, including sandals and clogs, and each one has this insole design as the central principle. The shoes are also hand stitched in Germany, in keeping with tradition.
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The Birkenstock USA company was founded in the 1960s when Margot Fraser began importing small numbers of Birkenstock footwear to the States. She had first tried the shoes when visiting a health spa in Bavaria and found them extremely comfortable. The original shoemakers, however, have been in business since 1774. Fraser imported small numbers of shoes at first, persevering in creating a market for them in the US and so business grew every year. Satisfied customers wanted her to import different styles so that they could wear them in different places, and gradually the company grew into the large enterprise it is today.
The typical Birkenstock shoe is the Boston shoe. This clog-style shoe is available in materials such as suede (brown, black, taupe) and burnished black or brown leather, plus microfiber or nubuck. The Boston comes in sizes for men (35-46, regular or narrow fittings), women (35-46 in regular or narrow) and children (26-34 in regular or narrow). Children’s shoes come in pink and red as well as more traditional brown shades.
Popular Birkenstock sandals include the Gizah, which has a thong with adjustable strap and comes in red, green, beige or wine, and the more classic Arizona style with two straps and a shock-absorbing sole. You can get non-leather varieties as well, which is a nod towards the shoes’ popularity with those heedful of animal rights.
The great thing about Birkenstock shoes is their versatility: you can wear them with just about anything from jeans or a mini skirt, to a full suit (for a more casual look) and dresses. Whatever clothes you have on, you are sure to be wearing a beatific smile thanks to this ultra comfortable footwear.