Who Invented It: Konrad Birkenstock
Year Introduced: 1897
Konrad Birkenstock set the company's legacy when he developed the first contoured insole used by shoemakers in 1897. He followed that up with the first flexible arch support in 1902. The cork and rubber footbeds conform to the wearer's feet, resulting in a more comfortable shoe. Karl Birkenstock took that insole and turned it into a shoe, forming the basis for what Birkenstock is known for today... just in time to be embraced by flower children and counter-culture.