Throughout the over two century long, rich history of shoemaking, BIRKENSTOCK has always championed the health of the human foot: with shoes that enable everybody to walk in a way that is as close as possible to how nature intended us to. Now, together with the New York Times, we have embarked on a journalistic investigation into the foot. The three-part documentary series UGLY FOR A REASON explores the relevance of foot health and reveals why healthy shoes look exactly the way they do.

The human foot is
actually a miracle


1/4 of our body’s bones are in our feet alone.
The biomechanical process that makes these
parts work together is as complex as it is perfect:
our feet let us walk. Keep the balance. Dance or
jump for joy and stand strong or be fast, when
we need to. and yet, we neglect our feet.

Hardly anyone spends more time thinking about
how to create products that keep your feet healthy
than Cansu Elman. Meet BIRKENSTOCK’s Head of
Innovation & Orthopedics and find out how we
should walk, why healthy shoes look the way they
do, and how foot health is integral to

Serving foot health since


Meet our experts


Dr. Benno M. Nigg is an expert for biomechanics.
He founded the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Calgary, a multi-disciplinary research center for the study of the human body and its locomotion.
He has collaborated with major sport shoe, orthotics
and sport equipment companies and holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Salzburg and Innsbruck and an honorary professorship from the Shanghai University of Sport.


Dr. Carol Ward is Professor of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences at the University of Missouri. She studies the evolution of apes and early hominins. The aim of Ward’s work is to get a better understanding of the evolution of the hominoid torso and to be able to interpret the evolution of body shape and locomotion in ape and 
human evolution.


Prof. Sandra Utzschneider, M.D., is one of the few highly qualified experts with a double education in adult and pediatric orthopedics. She was head of the pediatric orthopedics focus at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich. Today she looks after the foot health of children from all over the world in her private practice in Munich.

Out Footbed Heroes