Birkenstock was founded in 1774, and you can expect after almost 250 years of shoe making they have perfected the recipe for popularity. To some it might seem baffling, after all, they don’t look all that amazing at first glance. I certainly felt confused why they were so popular, before I tried on a pair of my own.
The Birkenstock brand is famous for its stylish, comfortable, and durable footwear, not to mention its unique design and eco-friendly manufacturing process. I’ve been wearing Birks for years and monitoring the brand’s successes and failures out of personal interest. After obsessively studying their design and testing them out I think I’ve cracked why they are so popular.
Here is a guide on 10 reasons they are so popular, written by a long term customer and fan of the brand – me!
Birkenstock’s quality material, deep heel cup, arch support, and toe grip make them extremely comfortable and popular. The brand’s stylish yet casual look appeals to all age groups and people from all walks of life. Birkenstock’s eco-friendly and durable design is also a big attraction for consumers.
Since the 1960s, Birkenstock’s popularity has skyrocketed, and today the brand has an even greater following. Let’s get into 10 reasons why they are so popular!
- How Did Birkenstocks Become Popular?
- Birkenstocks Popularity Today
- 10 Reasons Birkenstocks Are Popular Today
- 1. They Are Easy To Style
- 2. Birkenstocks Comfortable Footbed
- 3. Birkenstock's Exaggerated Heel Cup
- 4. Birkenstock's Heel Mold
- 5. Inner And Outer Full-Length Arch Supports
- 6. Birkenstock's Arch Support
- 7. Birkenstock's Toe Grip
- 8. Birkenstock's Footbed Edge
- 9. Birkenstocks Are Durable
- 10. Longevity Of Birkenstocks
If you want a quick summary, here’s a video of me discussing why these unassuming sandals are so popular:
How Did Birkenstocks Become Popular?
Back in the day, when shoes were bought for their durability and comfort and not for their popularity, Birkenstocks already staked a small claim in the market that made them a preferred footwear choice for many.
Here’s a quick history of their popularity:
- Soldiers who returned from World War II wore Birkenstock sandals as a recommendation by their doctors because of the orthopedic support it offered, and many enjoyed their benefits after suffering lower body injuries. Amazing right?
- After the war came what’s commonly known as the ‘Hippy era’. These popular sandals went from orthopaedic wonders to a coveted hippy fashion statement. Talk about a transformation!
- In the late 1960s and 1970s, owning a pair of Birkenstocks was a big deal; you could not call yourself a real hippy if you weren’t rocking a pair. The ‘hippy era’ was good business for Birkenstock until the 1980s, when the groovy fashion style faded. Goodbye Woodstock outfits and hello neon workout gear!
- Despite not dominating the 80s footwear fashion scene, luckily a new love for Birkenstocks bloomed when medical professionals discovered their comfort and durability towards the end of the decade. Again they were touted as orthopaedic miracle shoes.
- The 1990s was the start of a whole new era for Birkenstock when generation X discovered the comfort and relaxed style the brand produced. Picture slouchy 90s jeans, a grunge rock band tee and casual Birkenstocks combo on the cute barista in your local coffee shop – that was the ‘in’ look!
- As the brand continued into the 21st century, Birkenstocks reclaimed their ‘fashion statement’ status when the sandals were showcased in fashion magazines, sparking the interests of hipsters. This move toward high fashion was an excellent marketing decision for the brand and sales boomed.
- After all the big fashion stars acknowledged Birkenstock’s fame, the brand’s popularity exploded further, and the sandals were found in high-end department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom.
- A highlight for the Birkenstock brand happened in 2013 when Céline showcased a pair of fur-clad Birkenstock-style shoes that would set you back 1000 dollars to own. Every fashion blogger was flashing a pair on their Instagram feed, feeding the public desire for the brand.
If you are considering getting your own pair and seeing what the fuss is about, check out this helpful guide first: Do Birkenstocks Run Big? Sizing Guide Plus Charts
Birkenstocks Popularity Today
Today Birkenstock’s key brand principle is to provide everyone with access to healthy, comfortable shoes, which is why they have leveraged their popularity to supply to 90 countries worldwide. Birkenstocks are so popular that their Arizona model is available in more than 100 different versions, manufactured in various colors and materials.
I love my pair of Arizonas, pictured below:
Birkenstocks produce more than 800 models, and each shoe goes through a vigorous manufacturing process that includes a baked footbed, lined straps, and a punched upper.
The brand only uses high-quality materials like dyed leather, cork, jute, natural latex, and wool felt to ensure that every shoe is comfortable and durable.
Birkenstock has become more than just a comfortable, durable, and stylish shoe; it now belongs to the elect few footwear brands that grace the fashion runways in Paris and London.
10 Reasons Birkenstocks Are Popular Today
Birkenstock footwear is popular for so many reasons. The brands focus on eco-friendliness, and their use of natural, renewable, recyclable, and quality material makes them a top choice shoe.
Birkenstock uses high quality materials to ensure maximum comfort, and the brand constantly evolves to stay in line with the latest trends.
Birkenstock is a leader in protecting the environment, and its famous soles are made from the bark of cork oak trees. The bark from the tree is removed to manufacture the sole, and then the tree is left to regrow its bark, ensuring minimum environmental damage. Birkenstock produced eco-friendly shoes long before other brands began to green-wash their images, and they still strive to do better. Way to go!
To add to Birkenstock’s focus on providing the best for their customers, they have an online repair locator and a mail-in repair option to ensure longer use of their footwear – talk about excellent customer service.
Birkenstock designs top-quality shoes, and here are 10 reasons why they are popular and the preferred shoe choice for thousands of customers (including myself):
1. They Are Easy To Style
Birkenstock sandal’s unique design is easily identifiable and visible on the street, beach, and even at the office. The brand produces various colors, shapes, and sizes, including numerous models that fit almost any attire.
Personally I find them super easy to style, matching them easily with my go-to summer outfits.
Here’s a photo of one of my oldest pairs, next to my newest pair:
My newest pair of black Arizonas go with everything in my summer wardrobe, making them a no-brainer footwear choice for the warmer months. I just slip them on and get out the door, without having to worry if they’ll look good or not.
I love feeling confident in my Birkenstocks, plus I know I’m guaranteed comfort as I go about my day.
Take a look at the current price of my pair on birkenstocks.com.
2. Birkenstocks Comfortable Footbed
The Birkenstock footbed design is based on the look of a footprint in the sand (cool right?). The brand’s goal is to ensure that your feet get maximum comfort during many hours of wear.
The Birkenstock footbed is designed to support every foot shape, and over time it conforms to create a mold specific to your feet.
To read more about their long term comfort, check out my guide: Are Birkenstocks Comfortable? My Experience (Plus Photos)
Birkenstock uses breathable-soft leather and a cushioned cork sole to maximize absorbency and comfort even when worn all day.
Birkenstock sandals are popular with everyone because they provide both narrow and normal width options, to give your feet all the comfort and space they need. Adding to Birkenstocks comfort are their adjustable straps that provide an even better fit.
Podiatrists speak highly of Birkenstocks because of their orthopedic print that provides relief to feet, knees, and hips. Birkenstock also produces a softer footbed called the blue stamped sole padded with a natural rubber foam insert to produce even greater comfort.
Birkenstock’s iconic footbed is the heart and soul of the shoe, and it aims to enable walking as nature intended. The contours of the Birkenstock footbed are a precise design that supports the structure of the human foot. It is made up of a layered composition that combines natural materials with unique manufacturing techniques to guarantee durability and flexibility.
3. Birkenstock’s Exaggerated Heel Cup
Deep molding in Birkenstock’s heel portion of its shoe supports the heel bone in its normal position. Birkenstock sandals’ exaggerated heel cups provide nearly the same support for your heel as a full shoe.
I certainly enjoy the heel support that I’ve experienced with each pair of Birkenstocks I have owned.
4. Birkenstock’s Heel Mold
Birkenstock heel mold stimulates the shin muscles and steadies the rear of your foot to ensure a better posture and improve coordination and stability while walking.
5. Inner And Outer Full-Length Arch Supports
Birkenstock’s specially crafted footbed ensures stability and comfort with each stride. It features side arch support that braces the tarsal bones and ensures greater walking comfort and stability.
You may also like: Are Birkenstocks Worth It? My Experience (PHOTOS)
6. Birkenstock’s Arch Support
The center of the footbed in Birkenstock shoes provides support, ensuring the stability of the metatarsal bone. The arch support maintains the foot’s stability and straightness while ensuring that each step feels natural.
7. Birkenstock’s Toe Grip
Birkenstock created raised indentations for the toes on the front of the footbed to provide comfort and stability. This incredible design supports the toes’ normal rolling action while allowing them to remain flexible and stretch out in a natural and comfortable position.
8. Birkenstock’s Footbed Edge
The front of Birkenstocks’ footbeds is slightly elevated to increase stability and safeguard the toes. The raised edge of the footbed also secures the foot firmly in place, creating a snug feeling and avoiding needless rubbing.
9. Birkenstocks Are Durable
Most Birkenstock owners boast that they have a pair and that it still looks great after many years, attributed to their durability. Birkenstock uses top-quality tear-proof materials in its shoes, and you only need to replace the soles after years of wear.
Because the soles of Birkenstocks are replaceable, you retain your already personalized molded footbed, ensuring the same comfort for years.
Here’s a photo of one of my oldest pairs that is still going strong:
I’ve owned these for around 7 years or so.
Birkenstock sandals are manufactured using only high-quality materials to ensure their durability. The unique footbed print conforms to your feet, providing a snug and comfortable fit. The snug fit of the Birkenstock sandal prevents unnecessary scuffing, making it last longer.
10. Longevity Of Birkenstocks
Birkenstocks are very good quality shoes, with some claiming that they can last up to ten years or longer; of course, it depends on how you treat them (in my experience they last me around 7 to 10 years). Birkenstock uses high-quality materials during production, subjected to constant quality inspections to guarantee long-term viability.
Birkenstock takes pride in its craftsmanship, and they ensure that, from a manufacturing standpoint, their shoes should last many years. If you wear them as intended, don’t mistreat them, and take them for repairs when they show signs of damage, you can get a lifetime of pleasure from your Birkenstocks.
For more Birkenstocks content, check out:
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).