The Birkenstock brand traces its roots to Johann Adam Birkenstock, registered in 1774 as a "vassal and shoemaker" in local church archives in the small Hessian village of Langen-Bergheim. In 1897 Johann's great-great-grandson Konrad Birkenstock developed the first contoured insole for use by shoemakers in the production of custom footwear. 1902 saw the development of the first flexible arch-support for insertion into factory-made shoes; and in 1964, Karl Birkenstock developed these inserts into a shoe — thus producing the original prototype of the Birkenstock sandal.
Every pair of Birkenstock is designed for comfort. ... The cork footbed absorbs shock and slowly conforms to the foot. Birkenstock footwear is designed to encourage and support healthy walking habits.