Birkenstock is a German shoe manufacturer known for its sandals and other shoes notable for contoured cork footbeds (soles) made with layers of suede and jute, which conform to the shape of their wearers’ feet. Founded in 1774 by Johann Adam Birkenstock and headquartered in Neustadt (Wied), Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, the company’s original purpose was to create shoes that support and contour the foot, compared to the flat soles of many shoes during that time. In 1896 the Fussbett (footbed) was designed, and by 1925, Birkenstocks were sold all over Europe.

In 1966, Margot Fraser first brought Birkenstocks to America. In the US, they were sold in health stores, thus becoming associated with hippies in the 1970s.

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