We all remember the 70s: war raged across Europe, people were fighting for their independence, and in the small Hessian village of Langen-Bergheim, shoemaker Johann Adam Birkenstock was about to really shake things up. That’s when, in 1774, Birkenstock first made a splash in the world of footwear (you knew we were talking about the 1770s, right? By the 90s (the 1890s), his grandson Konrad was rocking the spot with a soft-sole sandal that became the go-to brand in orthopedic footwear. çbut the Birkenstock name – and the quality with which it is associated – endures.
It would be almost 70 years before a woman named Margot Fraser snagged her first pair of Birkenstock footbed sandals while on holiday in her native Germany. She brought the shoes home to Santa Cruz, California and the brand became a hit in the States. The “green” set couldn’t get enough. Of course, in the 1970s, nobody used the word “green” – they were “tree-huggers”. They were hippies and loved granola and they wore Birkenstocks and they liked it!
Over the past few years, there’s been a resurgence in the popularity of Birkenstocks the world over. There’s much to like about Birkenstock today, as SportieLA co-owner Isack Fadlon said in a recent interview: “People are looking for the perfect cross-section of a pair of shoes they really love and a pair that’s gonna last for years and years. Birkenstock hits that sweet spot.”
It’s certainly true that in today’s economy, consumers are putting an emphasis on quality over quantity. As recently as 2014, Nate Herman, vice president of international trade at Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), said, “People are more cautious with their money now. They want to spend it on something that they know is going to last.”
Regardless of the reason – comfort, quality, communion with nature or the independent spirit – Birkenstock is as influential now as it was decades – and centuries – ago. And SportieLA is thrilled to be sharing this enduring brand with its loyal customers.