Cult Clogs

Birkenstocks Step into the Big Time

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The company behind Birkenstock sandals has gone from a family-run disaster to a global player.

  • Facts


    • Since 2013, the company has been run by former TV executive Oliver Reichert and company manager Markus Bensberg on behalf of its owners, brothers Alex and Christian Birkenstock.
    • In the business year that ended September 30, the company made 20.5 million pairs of shoes, compared to 12 million in 2013.
    • The company is moving beyond sandals and shoes to manufacture beds, natural cosmetics and office furniture.
  • Audio


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Heidi Klum Launches Birkenstock Shoe Collection
Supermodel Heidi Klum with her Birkenstock collection. Source: Getty Images

St. Katharinen is an industrial area in Westerwald, a low mountain range looking down on the River Rhine.

And it was once the scene of a dramatic battle at the heart of the famed cult shoe company, Birkenstock.

The events that unfolded there in the 1990s shocked and horrified the footwear company’s employees, as well as many fans of the brand.

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