Birkenstock: From Hippies to Hipsters – A $1.48 Billion Fashion Revolution

Birkenstock, the iconic German shoemaker, is not just known for producing cork-soled sandals that were once embraced by California hippies and even adorned the feet of Steve Jobs.

This timeless brand recently made waves by raising a staggering $1.48 billion in an initial public offering, marking a pivotal moment in its storied history. The company priced its shares right in the middle of the anticipated range, propelling its valuation to more than $9 billion.

Birkenstock’s Rich Heritage

Birkenstock’s journey traces back to the year 1774 when the foundations of this footwear empire were laid. The brand’s simple yet comfortable sandals found fame during the 1960s. However, it was only two years ago that this family-owned business entered the mainstream, thanks to its acquisition by the private equity firm L Catterton and the family investment company of Bernard Arnault, the visionary billionaire behind LVMH.

Collaborations That Defined an Era

What truly set Birkenstock on its meteoric rise was its collaborations with eminent shoe designers. Names like Christian Dior, Manolo Blahnik, and Valentino Garavani lent their expertise, generating immense buzz and catapulting the brand’s sales to a remarkable 1.24 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in 2022, a quantum leap from €292 million in 2014, as per the company’s filings.

The Challenge Ahead

While Birkenstock’s recent success is undeniable, analysts caution that it faces a challenging market as it sets its sights on expanding in Asia and the United States. The global cost-of-living crisis has compelled consumers to be more frugal in their fashion choices.

Moreover, Birkenstock joins the ranks of shoe companies that have gone public in recent years. However, it’s worth noting that most of them, including AllBirds, Dr. Martens, and On Holding (the company behind On Running sports shoes), have seen their market value dwindle since their debut on the stock market in 2021.

To add to the complexity, other recent I.P.O.s such as Arm Holdings and Instacart have witnessed significant declines in stock prices in the weeks following their public offerings, a fact highlighted by David Trainer, the CEO of New Constructs, an investment research firm based in Nashville.

The Road Ahead: Trading on the NYSE

Birkenstock’s journey to the stock market culminates as it lists its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, under the ticker symbol BIRK. The much-anticipated trading is set to commence on Wednesday. The company settled on a share price of $46 each, within the earlier projected range of $44 to $49. However, the actual trading price may deviate from this range. In total, just over 32 million shares were sold in the offering.

In the ever-evolving world of fashion, Birkenstock’s transition from a beloved counterculture brand to a mainstream sensation is a testament to its enduring appeal and the power of strategic collaborations. As it takes its next step into the stock market, Birkenstock faces the formidable challenge of staying relevant in a world where consumers are re-evaluating their spending habits.

This brand’s journey reflects the broader landscape of fashion and finance, where success is a dynamic dance of heritage, innovation, and market acumen. The fashion world is watching with bated breath to see if Birkenstock can continue to captivate the hearts and soles of consumers around the globe.


1. What is the history of Birkenstock?

Birkenstock was founded in 1774 and gained prominence in the 1960s. However, it only entered the mainstream two years ago following an acquisition and high-profile collaborations.

2. Who acquired Birkenstock?

Birkenstock was acquired by the private equity firm L Catterton and Bernard Arnault’s family investment company, linked to LVMH.

3. How much did Birkenstock raise in its IPO?

Birkenstock raised a staggering $1.48 billion in its initial public offering.

4. What challenges does Birkenstock face in the market?

Birkenstock faces challenges in expanding its business in Asia and the United States, particularly in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.

5. How did recent IPOs in the shoe industry perform?

Most recent IPOs in the shoe industry, including AllBirds, Dr. Martens, and On Holding, have seen their market values decline since going public.

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