Women's orthopedic shoes
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Orthopedic shoes are actually very popular in the world, its range is huge. But the most famous brand is only a few manufacturers - Dr.Sholl and Birkenstock.
The onset of the new twenty-first century did not in any way affect the changes in the technology of orthopedic footwear After all, fashion trends and technologies for the production of healthy footwear can change in any way - but the demand of society for ergonomic footwear will remain stable in any situation.
The production of orthopedic footwear is usually created from natural materials: leather, latex, crepe. These materials are handled manually. An optimal microclimate is created for the foot so that it does not fog up. The fast lacing system allows the boots to be secured to the foot in the shortest possible time, without crushing the foot.
High-quality cushioning in the heel and under the metatarsal arch protects joints and the spine from excessive stress and vibration. Anatomically supported arch of the foot accurately reproduces the natural curves of the human body and provides stability. A layer of latex foam helps prevent pinching and friction just below the ankle. The non-slip ribbed outsole guarantees excellent traction on any surface.
Birkenstock is a German brand of sandals, whose sole made of cork, suede and jute feels very comfortable on the foot and eventually adapts to the individual anatomy of the foot. At the time of the company's founding, this approach was truly revolutionary, as most manufacturers created shoes with flat soles. Today, Birkenstock fits perfectly into the trend of "ugly" shoes and successfully integrated into the haute couture segment.
The history of the Birkenstock brand began in the German village of Langen-Bergheim. In the local church archives there is a record dated 1774 about Johann Adam Birkenstock, a shoemaker - the ancestors of the brand. In 1896, his great-grandson Konrad Birkenstock developed a contour insole for the production of custom-made shoes and opened two shoe stores in Frankfurt. His firm has been active in educating consumers about the benefits of Birkenstock footwear. In 1947, Conrad's son wrote the book Orthopedics: Karl Birkenstock's System, which became an important element of his extensive bibliography.
Archival advertisement for Birkenstock orthopedic shoes
In 1902, the first flexible arch support was developed for insertion into factory-made shoes. In 1964, inserts were added to this support - the resulting design became a prototype of the original Birkenstock sandals. In 1925, Conrad bought a large factory in Friedberg, Hesse, after which the brand's products began to be sold throughout Europe. When World War II broke out, soldiers praised the comfort of Birkenstock's orthopedic shoes.
In 1963-1964, Carl developed the first model of sandals for athletes with a flexible insole called "Madrid". To keep them on the foot, the owner of the shoe had to constantly squeeze his toes. This is toning the calf muscle, which has been very useful for athletes, especially gymnasts.
Expansion in the United States
In 1966, the seamstress Margot Fraser, who had emigrated to California, returned to her native Germany for a while. She went to a spa in Bavaria to cure a disease of the feet caused by too tight shoes. There she was recommended sandals "Madrid". These shoes helped Margo's recovery so much that she decided to sell them in the USA. American sellers were not impressed by Birkenstock's products at first, as the sandals looked too ridiculous. Eventually, they were taken to health stores and placed on nearby muesli shelves. Margot Fraser in Birkenstock sandals advertising
However, in the 1970s, a hippie movement began in the country, which liked German sandals very much, both from a pragmatic point of view and from an ideological point of view - they fully corresponded to the concept of unity with nature. Released in 1973, the model of sandals "Arizona" was the most popular in the line of the brand. The first department store of fashion clothing and footwear, which decided to add Birkenstock to its range, was Nordstrom in 1986.
Features of Birkenstock shoes
The characteristic Birkenstock insole was invented in the 1930s and consisted of 4 layers: shock-absorbing, jute, cork and another jute. A soft suede insole was placed on top of this construction. In the light version, a layer of foam runs under the suede.
Since the 1980s, the standard adhesive in production has been replaced by a more environmentally friendly alternative - water-soluble and solvent-free. Natural latex milk is used to make insoles, which assumes the function of a natural adhesive. Natural latex is extracted from the sap of the bark of rubber trees - and the synthetic analogue of this material is made from crude oil (Birkenstock does not work with this substance). In 2015, a more affordable alternative to ethylene vinyl acetate appeared in the brand's sole. In 2018, the company received the Peta Libby Award for "animal friendly".
Among the most famous technologies of the brand should be mentioned first of all Birko-flor. This material has become a high-quality replacement for genuine leather: only its upper layer is made of leather, and the bottom is made of soft fiber. Another significant development is called Smooth Leather - it is a dense but pliable and extremely pleasant to the body material.
The company is one of the top 5 shoe manufacturers in the world. It employs about 3,800 people worldwide and is the largest employer in the footwear industry in Germany.
Today, the Birkenstock range includes sandals, flip-flops, flip-flops, shoes, slippers, slates, shoes and sneakers.
In the early 1990s, Kate Moss posed in Birkenstock sandals for one of the magazine photo shoots. This ensured the sandal instant popularity among young people. High school students and students belonging to Generation X used to wear the brand's shoes with pleasure, but now it has also become a trend. This wave of demand lasted until the next century - and then it was replaced by a new one.
Kate Moss in Birkenstock
Model Kate Moss in Birkenstock sandals, 1990s
Gwyneth Paltrow often appeared in public in Birkenstock in the early 2000s. During the 2004 presidential primaries in the United States, some conservatives ridiculed Howard Dean's supporters as "liberals in Birkenstock." And in 2012, a historic event took place: "ugly" sandals debuted at the Celine fashion show in Paris. This model was an interpretation of the classic "Arizona", but with mink fur on the sole. Because of this, sandals were nicknamed "furkenstocks" - the word fur translates from English as "fur". Inspired by this model, many other designers presented their versions of Birkenstock - including Givenchy and Giambattista Valli. A version from Valentino in 2019 was presented at Men's Fashion Week in Paris.
In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic played into the brand's hands: the more time people spent at home, the more they valued comfortable and affordable shoes.
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