Birkenstock is a German brand of sandals and other shoes, famous for their contoured "footbeds," which are supposed to match the shape of their wearers' feet. Birkenstock's "classic" model, the highly prolific "Boston" clog, is worn just as commonly barefoot as with socks, the choice generally based on outside temperature.

The brand has a long history tracing its roots back to 1774 and a German cobbler named Johann Birkenstock. But it was over a hundred years later that this "founder's" grandson really started the current company. In 1897, Konrad Birkenstock designed the first shoe with a contoured insole.

Since 1966, these shoes have been sold in the USA. American Margot Fraser "discovered" Birkenstock sandals while on a holiday in Germany. She gained relief from a foot condition, and founded a trading company called Birkenstock Footprint Sandals, Inc. in Novato, California, based on her enthusiasm for the sandals. Since that time, Birkenstock Footprint Sandals, Inc. has been the exclusive importer and distributor of Birkenstock products in the United States.

Since the 1980s, a high percentage of medical professionals (e.g. dentists, nurses) in Germany are wearing Birkenstock shoes or sandals during their service. Furthermore, these sandals are often used as domestic slippers. In the United States, they are associated with American liberalism. During the 2004 U.S. presidential primary, conservatives derided Howard Dean supporters as "Birkenstock liberals."

In Germany and Austria they are associated with housewives.In the recent years Birkenstocks have become a part of everyday fashion from professionals to blue collar workers, even to the entertainment industry. Heidi Klum designs footwear for Birkenstock, and wears them as well.

Birkenstock also markets other brands of footware featuring the original contoured footbed; these brands include Betula, Tatami, Papillio, Birki's, Footprints, and euroWellness.

The brand euroWellness was developed to further advance the classic footbed. With new advancements and technology a better development for the feet and body was born.

Source: Wikipedia

Buying Birkenstock Sandals At A Discount

There are many sources of discount Birkenstocks, however to find them you may need to look around a little in your area. Even if Birkenstocks are about the best value for your shoe money, they can be a little expensive, especially if you're outfitting the whole family.

There are three simple ways that you can find Birkenstocks at reduced prices. You can look at retailers of Birkenstocks for sales on last year's models, you can find overstock or liquidation style stores, or shop online and take advantage of reduced costs available online (often with rebates and sales that are only available online).

Another reasonably good place to check for reduced prices on Birkenstocks is through eBay. Many people sell Birkenstocks through online auctions, many at considerably reduced prices from retail, even on current year models. Since eBayers don't have to spend money on setting up their own retail presence, they are able to offer cheaper and discounted prices on Birkenstock sandals or any other footwear by Birkenstock. Just be sure to use the eBay that is closest to you to save on shipping costs.

Birkenstock sandals - if you've never had a pair you don't know what you're missing. You can wear them barefoot in summer or toss on a pair of wooly socks and boot around in your Birkenstock sandals all winter. Well at least that's what we do out here on the west coast. For those of you "Back East" Birkenstocks and wooly socks may be a bit much, but you can always choose to wear clogs instead during the winter.

The sandals that Birkenstock makes are quite unique. They have a very sturdy cork sole that is really light and naturally water resistant so it holds up well in almost any conditions. The nice thing about the cork is that it slowly forms to your feet so that you get a completely custom fit that provides just the right support.

To be sure some people find that the arch in Birkenstocks does not fit their feet exactly right (I have had this problem), but by trying on slightly different sizes and adjusting the straps on the sandals you should be into a pair of comfy footwear in no time at all.

There are cheaper knockoff versions of Birkenstock footwear, but none of them can come close to matching the quality. The foot-bed is second to none, and the sandal straps are made of high quality softened leather so that the sandals are comfortable from the first day you walk in them. I've had pairs of Birkenstock sandals last as long as 7 years, no other cork-soled leather sandal I've ever owned has even come close.

Helen Walters provides in depth information and reviews on Birkenstock Sandals and most other Discount Birkenstock Sandals.

Sandal Guide Tip

Huaraches are famous for featuring the iconic recycled tire sole. The Beach Boys sang about huaraches.