10 Little-Known Facts About the Birkenstock Arizona Sandal

As more people have transitioned to working from home amid the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the Birkenstock Arizona has emerged as the go-to sandal for consumers around the globe. Or as Birkenstock Group CEO Oliver Reichert refers to it — it’s the “official home-office shoe.”

Numerous celebrities have been spotted in the two-strap, cork-bottom slide, including Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber, Reese Witherspoon and even Kanye West. And the interest in Birkenstock’s classic comfort sandal reached such heights that the Arizona was the most-searched shoe in the second quarter of this year, according to online fashion platform Lyst.

The unisex sandals come in all number of variations, with leather or suede straps offered in a range of neutral tones, metallics and bright colors. There are also versions with vegan-leather straps, a waterproof EVA option and, of course, a shearling-lined look for cooler seasons. Retail prices for the Arizona range from $45 to $150, and it can be found at Birkenstock.com and Nordstrom.com, as well as numerous independent shoe stores including Tip Top Shoes in New York and Karavel Shoes in Austin, Texas.

So for all the Arizona fans out there, below are 10 more little-known facts about the comfort sandal:

1. Karl Birkenstock developed the two-strap Arizona style from 1971-72, and it debuted in 1973. The first prototypes were tested on his employees.

2. It was the third shoe introduced by Birkenstock, after the Madrid (1963) and the Zurich (1964).

Birkenstock Ad 1977
A vintage Birkenstock ad from 1977 featuring the Madrid and Arizona sandals.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Birkenstock

3. The sandals are handmade in Birkenstock’s production facilities in Görlitz, Germany, near the Polish border, in a factory that opened in 2009.

4. The Arizona undergoes 17 stages in the production process, including baking the footbed, lining the straps and punching the upper.

Birkenstock Shoe Factory Gorlitz Germany
Birkenstock’s sandals are made in its facilities in Gorlitz, Germany.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Birkenstock

5. There are more than 50 different color shades and lacquers for the buckle on the Arizona.

6. To create a durable buckle, Karl Birkenstock developed a fixing method, referred to as the “pretzel technique.”

Birkenstock Factory Buckles
Birkenstock developed a special technique to make durable buckles.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Birkenstock

7. The Arizona accounts for one-third of all the Birkenstock sandals sold.

8. The anatomical shape of the footbed is meant to reflect a footprint in the sand.

9. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was a fan of the Birkenstock Arizona, in tan suede. A pair of his sandals are on display in the brand’s New York store.

10. Actress Frances McDormand famously wore a pair of custom Birkenstock x Valentino Arizona sandals to the Academy Awards in February 2019.

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