Good things come in threes. This month, historic German shoemaker Birkenstock – best known for its ergonomic sandals with signature contoured footbed – celebrates a trio of anniversaries for its Gizeh, Arizona and Madrid sandals, which are turning 40, 50 and 60 years old, respectively.
Three of its most memorable styles – particularly the two-strap Arizona, which is arguably Birkenstock’s most well-known export – they are worn by ‘millions of people around the world’, according to the brand. Each of the sandals features the brand’s footbed, born from ‘orthopaedic experience passed down from one generation of the family to the next’ and originally inspired by a natural footprint in the sand. ‘[They have been] “it” pieces for the creative and fashion industry, a symbol of nonconformist subculture, and faithful friends to a variety of specialised professions – their distinctive outlines have also become a brand’s hallmark and symbols of a “natural gait”,’ says Birkenstock.
Birkenstock celebrates classic designs with anniversary collection
In honour of the anniversaries, Birkenstock will reissue original versions of the styles in limited-edition numbers related to the year each was first released (the Madrid will have 1,963 pairs available, the Arizona 1,973, and the Gizeh 1,983). Each of the colourful reissued versions will come with vintage-inspired socks, designed to complement the style (the Gizeh, for example, comes with a split-toe tabi-style sock to fit with the style’s thong design). They will also each come with a wax seal-style tag to ensure their authenticity and a box inspired by archival packaging.
Of the three styles, Birkenstock describes the Madrid as ‘the mother of all footbed sandals’, recognisable for its slim single strap and buckle and ‘unembellished, functional aesthetic’ which reflected the brutalist architecture of the 1960s. The bestselling Arizona is called ‘everybody’s favourite’, while the thong-strap Gizeh – introduced in the 1980s – is described as a ‘rendezvous with the world of fashion’ for the way it was adopted by industry insiders on its release.
‘Birkenstock wrote design history with the Madrid, Arizona and Gizeh, and revolutionised the development of foot-friendly footwear,’ says Oliver Reichert, CEO of Birkenstock. ‘The successful symbiosis of function and design not only defines these three anniversary pieces, but also determines every step we take. Deeply rooted in orthopaedics, Birkenstock stands for sophisticated functionality, a commitment to quality and the promise of an inimitable product experience.’
The three anniversary styles are available now, exclusively from Birkenstock’s website.
Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.
Svenskt Tenn gets a summer makeover courtesy of Margherita Missoni
At Svenskt Tenn, Margherita Missoni curates 'A postcard from Italy,' a summer takeover of the Stockholm gallery (until 27 August 2023), as well as special edition pieces
By Rosa Bertoli • Published
Carlotta is a London homage to 1980s Italian-American cooking
Carlotta is bringing all the chintz and meatballs of the best Italian-American restaurants to London's Marylebone
By Mary Cleary • Published
A show on British cooling towers explores these sculptural giants
'British Cooling Towers - Sculptural Giants' is a new exhibition created by Twentieth Century Society (C20 Society) and Margaret Howell, presented during the London Festival of Architecture 2023
By Ellie Stathaki • Published