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Walking History –
the one-strap Madrid sandal

The Madrid is the oldest member of the BIRKENSTOCK model family. This simple one-strap sandal was launched on the market in 1963 – more than half a century ago. It soon conquered the world, laying the foundation for the success that Germany’s largest shoe manufacturer enjoys today.

The gymnastics sandal

The one-strap Madrid is thus the oldest member of the BIRKENSTOCK model family, although it was once known by another name – the “gymnastics sandal.” This is because the grip reflex of the toes is activated when you walk, exercising your foot and leg muscles, while the cleverly designed fit in the cushioned original BIRKENSTOCK footbed offers the perfect combination of ergonomics and comfort.

The footbed of the Madrid is held in place with an adjustable strap. The strap can be adjusted to the wearer’s foot using the buckle made of nickel-free metal and stamped with the BIRKENSTOCK logo. But the truly unique feature of this model: the grip reflex of the toes is activated when you walk. This exercises your legs and calves. It also explains the model’s original designation as a “gymnastics sandal” when it was introduced.


Just as it was when it was first introduced, the flexible cork and latex footbed is made of high-quality natural materials from sustainable resources (natural cork, natural latex, jute and suede). The anatomically shaped footbed, the contour of which is based on the cast of a healthy foot in the sand, relieves pressure on the wearer’s foot and provides support for a natural footstep.


But the one-strap sandal is not only good for you – it looks good, too. While the design has remained unchanged for decades, the upper material incorporates the latest fashion trends. To this end, we use high-quality leather in thicknesses of 2.8 to 3.2 mm in different designs, as well as textiles or synthetic materials of the highest quality (Birko-Flor®).


The Madrid is now also available in a vegan version. This version does not use any components made from animal products. It has absolutely no leather or animal-based adhesives. The sole is made of flexible EVA synthetic material. A high-quality microfiber fabric is used for the footbed cover instead of suede. The model is also available in ultralight, highly flexible EVA for trips to the health and wellness spa and the beach.


Trendy colors, patterns, embossing and a patent leather finish offer a fashionable reinterpretation of this classic sandal. With their distinctive bone-pattern tread, the soles are available in more than 30 different colors. This allows for exciting color contrasts with the upper (known as color blocking). With so many options, the Madrid is a stylish all-rounder.


The one-strap sandal goes as well with jeans and casual shorts as it does with an airy summer dress. Whether they have a bright neon patent leather finish or a spectacular metallic look, these sandals are the ultimate eye-catcher at any beach party. But comfort is even more important than fashion. We’ve heard of backpackers who have traveled almost around the world in their sandals.


The Madrid is particularly popular among women. In some countries, especially in southern Europe, the sandal can also be spotted on men’s feet. The Madrid is available in sizes 35–46, with children’s versions starting at size 30. The model comes in two widths (normal and narrow) to ensure a good fit.



Walking history


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Walking history


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Walking history


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