Do you know where the term «footbed» comes from? Most people have no idea that the term originated with the revolutionary sandal maker Konrad Birkenstock a 19th century shoemaker from Germany. Before Birkenstock shoes were all made with completely flat soles and had no arch support. They developed a revolution in shoe making by designing footwear that matched the actual shape of a person’s foot.
Initially their idea was sold as an insert to be used in other shoes that had no shape. Their company took off as a major manufacturer of orthopedic inserts. They were called «footbed supports» and the term ‘footbed’ became a legal trademark of the Birkenstock company.
As time went by they realized that their novel footbed support concept could be extended into different types of footwear that they could make themselves. The original sandals they developed were intended to give the wearer a near barefoot experience while still providing fantastic support and protection of the wearer’s sole. Little did they realize how much of a revolution they would create in the shoe and footwear industry.
People quickly found that not only were they comfortable, but they also helped greatly with many foot and back problems by providing the arch support and proper fit that had been missing in shoes and sandals to that point. Today Birkenstock sandals and other footwear are frequently ‘prescribed’ by podiatrists as part of normal care for people with foot, lower leg, and back problems. In particular the ‘heel-less sandals’ are known to greatly strengthen and tone calf muscles.
From their humble beginnings as simple shoemakers, Birkenstocks have become producers of some of the most recognized shoes and sandals in the world. They are available in hundreds of styles, materials and colours that will suit just about anyone’s needs and personality. And they have done it by sticking to their basic philosophy: make them comfortable and make them last.