Birkenstory #1

“My fashion is never really bold and loud, but can be described as understated. At first it is unobtrusive, and, at second glance, you notice it’s elegance." 

Hanna Wolf

Fashion Designer

Birkenstory #2

“I won’t let anyone pigeonhole me. I’ve always been somewhat of a hippie, and to some extent I still am today!”

Thomas Waas

World Traveler & Entrepreneur

Birkenstory #3

"Everything that grows at a certain time of year within a region is how I define that regions culinary identity"

Johannes King

Star Chef

Birkenstory #4

"Dubai is a crazy city, either you love it or you cannot handle it."

Florian Akinbiyi

Event Manager

Birkenstory #5

Jeff Wears Birkenstocks? written by the world-famous punk rock band NOFX.   The first thing we asked ourselves was “Who is Jeff and does he really exist?”. So we began to dig around a little. And we eventually found him in Los Angeles – Jeff Abarta, product manager for the punk label Epitaph and this unusual track’s eponymous hero. Jeff is initially somewhat surprised that he’s being approached about that song after so many years – but is then more than happy to tell us his story. 

Jeff Abarta

Birkenstory #6

He already has more than a million subscribers to his YouTube channel, his videos have been watched by hundreds of millions of people, and a recent highlight was him being interviewed for the legendary magazine Rolling Stone: Cole Bennett is a music-video director from Chicago with his own platform for artists called Lyrical Lemonade.  Cole is just 21, but is already well known for his video clips – and his striking Birkenstocks.

Cole Bennett

Youtuber & Music Video Director

Birkenstory #7

Rachel Marshall likes wearing Birkenstocks to work – something that once even cost her a job. This was one of the reasons why she and her partner Adam set up Rachel’s Ginger Beer six years ago.

Rachel Marshall

Owner of Rachel's Ginger Beer

Birkenstory #8

Rainer Felsen has worked as a music producer for 40 years. His nose for hits has earned the self-taught producer multiple gold records – and has brought his fans German classics such as “An der Nordseeküste” (On the North Sea Coast), “Ein Pferd auf dem Flur” (A Horse in the Hallway) and “Der Eiermann” (The Eggman).   Despite these huge successes, Rainer Felsen is still pretty down-to-earth – preferably in Mallorca. That’s where we met up with him.

Rainer Felsen

Music Producer

Birkenstory #9


If you’re in Los Angeles and you spot a 1950s race motorcycle with a rider who has a portrait of Beethoven on the back of their leather jacket, it’s pretty certain you have just spotted John Zainer.   This is where the 84-year-old jazz pianist and fan of motorbikes lives, together with his German wife Ille. His favorite model is a 1956 Norton race motorcycle, his favorite shoes are a pair of Birkenstocks from 1998.

John Zainer

Musician & motorcycle enthusiast

Birkenstory #10

A gray beard and long, thinning hair, stylishly paired with a suit, a tie, and BIRKENSTOCKs. Admittedly, Mike Whalen stands out with his appearance and he looks a bit more like a forest gnome than a lawyer.   We paid a visit to the affable defense attorney and found out why he only wears BIRKENSTOCKs, even in the highest courts. And that he finds murders far more interesting than divorces … 

Mike Whalen

Defense Attorney

Birkenstory #11

 Inspired by the pioneer of electro music Karlheinz Stockhausen and the 1968 electronic album Switched-On Bach, Bernd-Michael Land discovered his own musical style. And this unconventional guy from Hesse has gone on to produce 17 albums.   We visited him and learned about his philosophy of colorful hair, sound art, and V8 engines.

Bernd-Michael Land

pioneer of electronic music

Birkenstory #12

Proponents of sustainability are in the right place in Portland, Oregon. This is where the autodidact and manufacturer of top-notch traditional straight razors Scott Miyako lives. We visited Scott, who wears Birkenstocks out of conviction, and spoke to him about quality and sustainability. And learned what makes for an excellent shave ... 

Scott Miyako

makes traditional razors

Birkenstory #13

“I’ve been wearing Birkenstocks for 45 years. I’m a huge fan! Perhaps you would like to run a story on me some time.”

Bernd Brinkmann

Birkenstock wearer & comeback kid

Birkenstory #14

Romany Pajdak’s life revolves around ballet. She already knew she wanted to be a professional dancer at the age of ten. It was a clear-cut decision that had far-reaching consequences as it takes an incredible amount of discipline to become one of the world’s best ballet dancers. When we visited her in London, Romany told us among other things about the part that Birkenstocks play in this.

Romany Pajdak

First Artist, The Royal Ballet London

Birkenstory #15

Matto Barfuss is a successful wildlife filmmaker. He describes himself as “crazy in a good way”. He achieved fame in the 90s, when he spent months living among cheetahs. His message is that we can learn from nature and animals.   We caught up with Matto in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, where he is shooting his latest film, which is about meerkats. Despite the area also being home to venomous scorpions, he wears  Birkenstock sandals all the time here.

Matto Barfuss

Artist & Wildlife Filmmaker

Birkenstory #16

Mariah Nielson is the daughter and curator of the works of American sculptor and creative all-rounder J. B. Blunk, whose preferred artistic tool was the chainsaw.   

Mariah grew up in the wood house built by her father, which was an ever-changing work of art. She now lives in London, where she spoke to us about her father’s legacy – and how Birkenstocks became an integral part of the family uniform. 

Birkenstory #17

After a few crazy business ventures, father of four Geoff Higgo now runs an unusual car hire company in Cape Town with his partner Monika.   He has worn nothing but Birkenstocks on his feet since 1986. “But always the Milano!”  

Birkenstory #18

“I discovered my first gray hair when I was about 12 – my granddaughter’s age,” relates Yazemeenah Rossi. Her hair was already more salt than pepper by her late 20s, when she embarked relatively late on an exemplary career as a photo model. Gray hair and a perfect figure are her signature features to this day. We visited her in Malibu and spoke to her about ideals of beauty, health tips, and why she used to think Birkenstocks were dreadful. 

Birkenstory #19

“I don’t think Nobel Prizes are always awarded fairly. I’m delighted to have it, but it doesn’t set me apart from everybody else – I was lucky, others weren’t. So let’s simply get back down to work!”  

Birkenstory #20

Like all the women in her family, Shalene has fishing in her blood – her grandmother was a commercial fisherwoman, too. She loves living according to the tides, even though a working day can frequently be 15 hours long.   We paid her a visit and spoke to her about family and sustainability – and about how fishing led her to her first Birkenstocks.