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UNIQUE WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE

The success of BIRKENSTOCK is rooted in its commitment to the art of making orthopedically inspired shoes. Over the centuries, it has built up a wealth of unparalleled experience that it has passed down from one generation to the next, with each generation cultivating and further expanding this knowledge.
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THE BIRTH OF A LEGEND
1774
Johann Adam Birkenstock is listed in the church archives of Langen-Bergheim, a city in the German state of Hesse, as a "subject and cobbler".
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THE FOOTBED TAKES ITS FIRST STEPS
1896
Master cobbler Konrad Birkenstock, who runs two specialty shoe stores in Frankfurt, begins manufacturing and selling flexible footbed insoles.
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INCREASING DEMAND
1925
In Friedberg, Hesse, a larger factory with extensive grounds is purchased and expanded. A substantial daily production rate is necessary to meet the demands of the company’s large customer base and production runs around the clock in day and night shifts. The “blue footbed” is among the products manufactured.
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THEORY AND PRACTICE
1932
Karl Birkenstock launches the BIRKENSTOCK training courses, which are soon highly regarded within the industry. In the years that follow, over 5,000 professionals take part in his week-long podiatry and specialist footwear courses. Leading physicians endorse the courses and the “Carl Birkenstock system”.
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THE CARL BIRKENSTOCK SYSTEM
1947-1948
The book "Podiatry – The Carl Birkenstock System" is published with a print run of 14,000 copies. Over 112 pages and with 55 illustrations, Carl Birkenstock expounds his theories about the “natural gait” – the footprint system – and healthy footwear. At the time, it is the highest-selling podiatry textbook.
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AN ICON IS BORN
1963
Carl Birkenstock launches the Madrid model, the first fitness sandal with a deep and flexible footbed, thereby laying the foundation for today’s comfort footwear market.
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ENVIROMENTALY FRIENDLY ADHESIVES
1988
Environmentally friendly adhesives are used in the production process for the first time. The move reflects BIRKENSTOCK’s environmental awareness and sets an example worldwide. Christian Birkenstock, Karl Birkenstock’s youngest son, starts working for the family business.
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SUSTAINABLE ENERGY POLICY
1990
Stephan Birkenstock, Karl Birkenstock’s oldest son, joins the family business. Footbed production is expanded and modernized with due regard for environmental considerations: energy consumption is reduced by over 90 percent.
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NEW ADDITIONS TO THE FAMILY
1991
A variety of licensed trademarks are established over the following years, so that the company can offer complementary and additional product groups.
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COMBINED STRENGTH
2007
The owners of BIRKENSTOCK Orthopädie GmbH & Co. KG take over their long-standing distribution partner BIRKENSTOCK Distribution USA, Inc. (BDUSA).
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GÖRLITZ GROWS
2009
A new, larger footbed production facility is put into operation in spring 2009 in Görlitz.
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ONTO NEW SHORES
2014
BIRKENSTOCK enters the licensing business. With the help of licensing partnerships, the shoe manufacturer takes over new strategic business segments, markets and target groups. The new lines focus on four themes that perfectly complement BIRKENSTOCK’s brand essence: healthy living and sleeping, healthy workplaces, healthy feet, as well as running and a healthy approach to life.
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SLEEP SYSTEMS
2017
BIRKENSTOCK is expanding its range of products with the BIRKENSTOCK BED COLLECTION. At IMM Cologne, the traditional family business unveils premium-quality beds, slatted frames, and mattresses. These products are the result of a partnership with premium manufacturer ADA - a family business of a similar size and with a similar philosophy to BIRKENSTOCK.