Birkenstock is often associated with a certain stereotype— sandals with white socks, flared jeans and a headband— but over the years, the German brand has moved away from its “hippy” roots and become one of the world’s leading fashion must-haves. From its humble beginnings as a cobbler’s workshop, the comfortable shoe is no longer seen as “ugly”: it’s been worn by celebrities, featured in the biggest fashion magazines, and tabulated as a billion-dollar brand. Read on to find out how Birkenstock has literaly walked its way into the bright lights of the fashion world.
1. From Obscurity to Overnights: The Surprising Rise of the Birkenstock Brand
Once a symbol of the counterculture, Birkenstocks have experienced a surprising rise to become a hot fashion item. The simple and stylish sandals have become a fashionable statement across the world. In the last 15 years, Birkenstocks have taken the fashion industry by storm, with fashion editors and influencers clamoring for the new trend.
- Comfort Meets Fashion: The key to the Birkenstock’s success is that it straddles the line between comfort and fashion. With supportive cork footbeds and flexible soles, they are made for long-lasting comfort – yet still look stylish and perfect for everyday wear.
- Their Explosion Into Popularity: The resurgence of Birkenstock started in 2014 when Celine designer Phoebe Philo put them on the runway in a look styled alongside a crop top and wide-leg trousers. This drew the attention of millennials and young companies, who then went on to make them a wardrobe staple. Social media influencers then took them to new heights, taking pictures of themselves in their Birkenstocks and styling them with every outfit imaginable.
2. From Humble Beginnings to Billion-Dollar Phenomenon: The Curious History of Birkenstocks
Birkenstocks didn’t make a splash when they first appeared - they were never intended to become the sensation they are today. All they were meant to do was provide comfort and relief to the hardworking people of the 17th century Germany. Founded by Johann Adam Birkenstock in the late 1700s, the world-renowned shoes are based on the flexible colours of German peasants, which are still made in factories to this day.
When Johann’s grandson Konrad Birkenstock modernised his grandfather’s production method by introducing a steel-moulded footbed in the early 1900s, the storied shoe was truly born. On the strength of its unique, anatomically designed behaviour, the brand’s profile quickly rose across Europe and then the world. By the early 2000s, Birkenstocks had become a global phenomenon, with people wearing them as a scruffy fashion statement. Today, the brand stands as one of the most successful footwear companies in history. Its iconic cork-and-suede sandals have inspired countless imitators, but none can replicate the legendary comfort and style of Birkenstock.
3. How ‘Ugly’ Hippie Sandals Outlasted the Hippies and Shocked the Fashion World
Hippies of the 1960s had a unique, care-free style that was different from their predecessors. A key part of this style was the now iconic “ugly” hippie sandals. Despite originally being frowned upon for being deemed ‘ugly’ and unfashionable, the sandals surprised the entire world when they rose to become a major fashion trend.
The style of the sandals is unique and eye-catching. With chunky platforms and fleecy straps, many thought these shoes would never make it out of their origin, yet they have had a huge influence on the fashion industry. The thick platforms and bright color make them a popular statement shoe. Thanks to the uber-trendy fashionista celebs and influencers, they have had a massive resurgence of late.
- Fleecy Straps. Large, fluffy pieces of material that are design to wrap the foot.
- Thick Platforms. Platforms that are an inch or two thick that give the wearer extra height.
- Bright Colors. To add splash of color and draw the attention to the feet.
4. Exploring the Unexpected Revival of Birkenstock: A Success Story in Branding
Over the past few decades, one of the most intriguing brand transformations has taken place in the footwear industry, and that’s the unexpected revival of Birkenstock. Though the popularity of this brand was once diminished, it has since gone on to become a staple of the fashion world. This success story is one of ambition, ingenuity, and professional expertise that has kept the brand in the forefront of fashion.
The Secret to Birkenstock’s Revival: The brand’s remarkable comeback can be attributed to its innovative marketing strategies. Firstly, the company made the clever decision to capitalize on the major trend of comfort-based footwear becoming fashionable. They utilized product placement and fashion-focused influencers, connecting them to casual street style and celebrities. Secondly, they strengthened their presence online, ensuring that their brand was found across different types of social media platforms. Finally, focusing on high-quality production has been essential to keeping people coming back for more.
- Capitalize on trends
- Product placement
- Focus on high-quality
Birkenstock has come a long way since its humble beginnings in Germany. From an unsightly sandal to the most sought after shoe brand in the world, Birkenstock truly has made its mark in the footwear industry. With its unique craftsmanship and timeless designs, it is no surprise that they have achieved such success. From clogs, boots, and sandals, Birkenstock continues to produce quality footwear that will guarantee your feet one of the best-loved comfort and style.