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Germany

How Birkenstocks Became Hip

They used to be the eco-shoe par excellence, footwear of choice for the 'No Nukes' crowd. But now that green has gone mainstream – so have Birkenstocks. The cork-rubber-and-leather German sandals known more for comfort than their good lo

Not just for the crunchy crowd (Meindert Arnold Jacob)
Not just for the crunchy crowd (Meindert Arnold Jacob)

Worldcrunch *NEWSBITES

BERLIN - "No smoke. No mirrors. No gizmos. You walk, the shoe molds to your foot. You feel good. We feel good. That's the deal," says the Birkenstock USA website, which pretty much sums up wearer experience of the iconic brand.

If the comfort factor remains unchanged, what has been evolving since the 1990s is the look and perception of the shoes. Although traditional Birkenstocks are still beloved by medical personnel and physiotherapists, ever trendier models have become the stuff of catwalks, grace the feet of celebs like actress Gwyneth Paltrow, and have even been included in goodie bags handed out at the Oscars.

The "Birkenstock styled by Heidi Klum" range designed by the German top model, which features bright patterns and colors decorated with rhinestones, contributes in no small measure to the sandals' newfound glamorous image.

The Birkenstock name goes back to Johann Adam Birkenstock who produced footwear in Germany as far back as 1774. But it wasn't until some 100 years later that the company he founded developed the orthopedic formula that made its name.

Read the full article in German by Caroline Turzer

photo - Meindert Arnold Jacob

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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