Birkenstocks are known around the world for being high-quality and comfortable sandals that are ideal for both heavy walking excursions and everyday use. While the company produces a wide range of footwear, its sandals are most famous. The contoured foot bed for which Birkenstocks are renown was originally invented and manufactured in Germany by Konrad Birkenstock in 1897 and has continued to evolve since then. Birkenstock sandals provide comfort and good foot care that is rivaled by only a select few manufacturers.
Originally designed in 1984 by a Grand Canyon river guide, Teva sandals were intended to respond to the need among rafters for appropriate footwear that didn't become waterlogged, like shoes, or slip off, like sandals available at the time. The distinctive nylon ankle strapping keeps the sandal firmly attached to the foot, while also providing comfort. Although Teva sandals were designed for use in water-based activities, they are also known to be comfortable for walking.
Merrell is known for producing high-quality hiking boots and multipurpose hard wearing footwear. Originally established in 1981, Merrell now produces a range of sandals designed for comfort and suitable for land and water-based activities. The company also has an expanding collection of sandal designs that are fashionably styled for everyday use, while being good for the feet due to features such as a molded arch shank and soft foot bed designed to mold to the shape of individual feet.
While Crocs now produce a variety of footwear designs, the company is most recognized for clogs made of a foam resin called Croslite. The company emerged in 2002, presenting its first footwear design at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show and selling out in the process. While the original Crocs were designed as boat shoes, the comfort and purported medical benefits of the slip-resistant, aerated clogs has made them popular everyday shoes, as well as being extremely common among nurses and catering professionals.
Established in 2005, Fitflop footwear is biomechanically engineered to help tone and tighten leg muscles while walking. The shoes and sandals use patented Microwobbleboard technology to boost muscle activity in the legs while walking. As well as being comfortable, the company claims the shoes and sandals help increase leg and bottom muscle activity, absorb more shock than a normal shoe, help realign ground force reaction closer to joints and reduce foot pressure. The company currently has almost 20 different sandal designs available.
Charles Parkinson is a British freelance journalist who began his career in 2010. His work has appeared in the "Liverpool Echo," "Liverpool Daily Post," "Nottingham Evening Post," "East Kent Gazette," "Morning Star" and the "Independent." His writing shows expertise in international affairs, current events, social problems and soccer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in American studies from the University of Nottingham.