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How to Spot a Fake Birkenstock

Updated February 21, 2017

Birkenstocks are a form of sandal-styled footwear that originated in Germany, invented by Konrad Birkenstock in 1897. However, it wasn't until just over 40 years ago that Margot Fraser brought these shoes to the United States. The Birkenstock company prides itself on the extreme comfort and durability of its shoes, making them desirable to many. Because of their popularity, imitators have copied the shoe, creating substandard versions. Luckily, you won't be fooled by these imposters if you know what to look for.

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  1. Examine the insole. You should see the word "BIRKENSTOCK" printed over the inner arch of the shoe in yellow ink. In the same yellow ink but in smaller lettering underneath, should be the words "Made in Germany." If the shoes don't have this detail, they're fake.

  2. Turn the shoe over. If you see the words "Made in China" anywhere on the shoe, they are definitely fake as original Birkenstock are made in Germany.

  3. Hold one shoe in one hand and bounce it slightly. Fake Birkenstocks will feel decidedly heavy for a sandal.

  4. Look at the box that the shoe came in. The box should be dark blue and white and under the word "Birkenstock" should be the words "Das Original." The absence of this detail is a sign of a fake.

  5. Bend and roll the sole of the shoe between two hands. The shoe should bend easily and feel remarkably pliable, as real Birkenstocks are made of cork and latex. Fake shoes will have a marked stiffness and rigidity.

  6. Examine the insole of the shoe. Brikenstocks are famous for having a sculpted insole with an arch support. Many fakes do not have this detail.

  7. Feel the leather upper of the Birkenstock; it should feel supple and you should be able to feel the soft grain of the leather. Stiff leather, or leather clearly coated with artificial dyes are signs of fakes. Measure the leather. It should be 3mm thick. Any thicker or thinner is indicative of a fake.

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Things You'll Need

  • Ruler

About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."

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