Fueled by ‘Barbie’, Birkenstock Credits ‘Modern Feminism’ With Driving Strong Demand for Brand as It Files for IPO

Birkenstock said the “breakthrough of modern feminism” has been a benefit to the brand as more women seek out more comfortable and functional styles.

In a prospectus document filed on Tuesday for an initial public offering, the sandal maker discussed tailwinds, recent financial figures and potential risk factors that could create problems once the stock is registered. (The early buzz is the valuation could top $8 billion.) Modern feminism was among these tailwinds projected to drive growth for the brand as a public company.

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“The ongoing evolution and expansion of the role of women in society continues to drive meaningful shifts in their preferences in footwear and apparel,” the brand wrote in the filing. “While trends in fashion come and go, we believe women’s increasing preference for functional apparel and footwear has and will prove secular in nature. As a brand that has long stood for functionality, we believe this ongoing tailwind will continue to drive relevance and growth for the Birkenstock brand.”

The brand added that the feminist movement spurred demand for Birkenstock as early as the 1990s, when women took to the sandals to “free themselves from long-standing fashion norms that required wearing painful high heels and other constricting footwear.”

“Today, consumers turn to Birkenstock in their search for healthy, high-quality products and as a rejection of formal dress culture,” the filing wrote. “By remaining true to our values of function, quality and tradition, Birkenstock has endured across generations.”

More recently, Birkenstock played a central role in the box office smash hit, “Barbie”. In the film, Kate McKinnon’s “Weird Barbie” character explains to Margot Robbie’s Barbie she must choose between Barbieland-appropriate sparkly high-heeled pumps and a pair of Birkenstock sandals. The latter are the footwear chosen to represent the real world, where Barbie must venture to remedy her existential crisis — and her suddenly flattened feet.

This movie moment sparked a 110% increase on searches for Birkenstock Arizonas following its release, according to Lyst. Google Trends data also showed that searches for Birkenstock sandals increased by significant percentages in the U.S. after the movie premiere, according to data from 3DLOOK, a virtual fitting room company. For instance, Google searches for “Birkenstock sandals for women” rose by 346%. Searches for “Birkenstocks on sale” were up 102% and searches for “buy Birkenstock sandals” and “Birkenstock sandals” rose by 76% and 70%, respectively.

However, CEO Oliver Reichert denounced the idea of Birkenstock “having a moment” in a letter included with the registration statement.

“I always reply then ‘this moment has lasted for 250 years, and it will continue to last’ — driven by an international consumer movement toward casualization, a growing preference for healthy products, an increasing appreciation of craftmanship and a preference for brands with a purpose,” Reichert wrote.

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