History & Heritage

History & Heritage

A Tradition for Nearly 250 Years

Scroll through the timeline below for key milestones in Birkenstock brand history.



The Beginning

Johann Adam Birkenstock is entered in the church archive of Langen-Bergheim, Germany as “shoemaker.” A commitment to craftsmanship begins and is passed down from generation to generation.


Arch Support Arrives

Master cobbler Konrad Birkenstock, Johann Adam’s great-great grandson, begins manufacturing and selling flexible footbed insoles.


The First Sandal

Karl Birkenstock launches the Madrid – the first sandal of its kind with a flexible contoured footbed.


Birkenstock Arrives in the U.S.

Margot Fraser discovers Birkenstock sandals on a spa trip to Germany and initiates a distribution partnership with Karl Birkenstock to bring the brand to the U.S.


Birkenstock Finds Mackinac Island

Mackinac Birkenstock began its life on Mackinac Island in 1999 selling Birkenstock footwear and Chaco outdoor sandals.


Tradition Expands

Production is expanded and modernized with the opening of a new footbed production facility in Görlitz, Germany. Company wide capacity is increased dramatically.