For hippies, granolas, tree-huggers and earth friends, the shoe of choice for over thirty years is the Birkenstock sandal. This soft-sole sandal with the moldable footbed has been the premiere in orthopedic footwear since the 18th century, and it maintains a strong toehold over 200 years later.
The Birkenstock family of Germany created their first shoe business in 1774, and by 1897, the contoured insole would change the name of footwear forever. The specially designed insole resembled a footprint, and it would mold to the foot in a natural state. The curved insole would evenly distribute bodyweight for an orthopedically advanced support.
The Birkenstock footwear would have remained a little-known secret had it not been for Margot Frasier, a simple housewife traveling Europe in 1966. Experiencing foot fatigue and pain from her travels, someone suggested she try the local Birkenstock shoe. She did, and became such a believer in the benefits that she imported them to America. Lucky for her, the hippie movement was swinging into action, and Birkenstocks became the only shoe to wear (if they wore any at all).
Birkenstocks were a household name throughout the 70’s, lost a little of their footing in the 80’s when conspicuous consumption was the norm, then trotted back into prominence in the 90’s. They remain as popular as ever, hugging the soles of hippies, granolas, and people who just like the feel of the wind through their toes.
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