Frustrated by the inability of, or lack of desire by, Amazon in the USA to police or control the sale of counterfeit goods, the US arm of Birkenstock, the German sandal manufacturer, has decided not to allow Amazon to offer its products in the USA from January next year. It is also seeking to prevent third-party retailers from doing so.

Counterfeit goods are the bane of designer brands’ lives and the particular problems for Birkenstock appear to lie with China; Amazon appears to be working more closely with an increasing number of Chinese sources. Amazon catalogues goods from different sellers in their lists and it is possible for fake and real goods to appear together.

If Birkenstock were to give Amazon selling rights to its entire range, it is believed that the retailer might give them more support, but being privately owned, Birkenstock understandably wants to retain more control.

In a letter to all its retail partners, the word from Birkenstock US has gone out, and they will be diligently telling consumers that purchases should next year only be from authorised outlets and that anything listed as Birkenstock goods on Amazon will either be counterfeit or stolen or manufactured under questionable labour or environmental conditions.

The US open-toed sandal brigade will have been warned.


“In July this year sandal maker Birkenstock decided to remove its products from Amazon in the US in an apparent protest against its “unacceptable business practices” which, Birkenstock stated, jeopardised its brand.”