David Kahan

Birkenstock began before the Declaration of Independence was born, and the family-owned company is still thriving with sales success in 90 countries.  David Kahan, CEO of Birkenstock Americas, says consistent comfort is part of the company’s DNA.

“Our roots began with orthotic arch supports and over the years we have added sandals, clogs, shoes and boots. We will always create anatomically good-for-you footwear that features our contoured footbed,” said Kahan.

From the soles of their shoes to the happy feet of customers, Kahan says the company’s continued sales success following 245 years in the business is “really quite simple.”  At this year’s American Image Awards, Kahan will accept the honor of Company of the Year.

“We stay true to who we are and we never compromise quality. Our customers know that when they choose Birkenstock, they get incredibly comfortable footwear. They get footwear that is supportive and will conform to their feet with wear. And, they know our footwear will last a long, long time. That combination of quality and comfort is unmatched,” said Kahan. 

Birkenstock has experienced tremendous growth over the past five years, increasing revenue 10 times.  Kahan says it’s safe to say they have awoken a sleeping giant.

“There is no single factor but rather a combination of many important factors – an authentic heritage, fantastic core product that people love, disciplined distribution, deep retail partnerships, elevated marketing, exciting brand partnerships that deliver fresh stories each season,” said Kahan.

Following many collaborations, like a recent one with Rick Owens, Birkenstock remains strapped to the intersection of comfort and high fashion.  Kahan says “The best part of our collaborations is that as we bring new communities into the brand, they discover the inherent quality and comfort we offer and we become part of their lives.”

That is great freedom for the next generation of Birkenstock customers.