E is for Earth Shoes

May 5, 2022

The Earth Shoes became popular in the USA during the counter culture movement in the 70’s. The featured a negative heel sole where the forefoot was thicker than the heel. It was claimed to have positive effects for the posture.

Earth shoes were a type of footwear that gained popularity in the 1970s. They were created by Danish yoga instructor Anna Kalsø and featured a unique design that aimed to provide natural comfort and promote proper posture.

Negative Heel Design: The defining feature of Earth shoes was the negative heel design. Unlike traditional shoes with a raised heel, Earth shoes had a slightly lower heel and a higher sole at the front of the foot. This design aimed to position the heel slightly lower than the toes, creating a gentle incline. Proponents of Earth shoes believed that this design helped to align the body and promote better posture.

Anatomic Arch Support: Earth shoes incorporated anatomic arch support, which aimed to provide additional support and comfort to the foot. The arch support was intended to mimic the natural contours of the foot and promote a more balanced and stable walking experience.

Kalso Heel: The negative heel in Earth shoes was sometimes referred to as the “Kalso heel,” named after the brand’s founder, Anna Kalsø. The Kalso heel design was intended to provide a more natural gait by placing the heel slightly lower than the forefoot.

Comfort and Wellness Focus: Earth shoes were marketed as comfortable footwear that could potentially benefit the wearer’s overall well-being. Proponents claimed that the negative heel design and anatomic arch support could alleviate foot and back pain, promote better posture, and enhance overall comfort during walking and standing.

Retro and Nostalgic Appeal: While the popularity of Earth shoes waned over time, they hold a nostalgic appeal for some individuals who remember the footwear trend of the 1970s. Earth shoes are often associated with the counterculture and health-conscious movements of that era.

The benefits and claims associated with Earth shoes have been a subject of debate. While some individuals found them comfortable and helpful, others did not experience the same benefits or found them unsuitable for their needs. Footwear preferences and comfort can vary significantly among individuals, so what works for one person may not work for another.

Today, the Earth shoe brand continues to exist, offering various styles of shoes that incorporate the original principles of the negative heel and anatomic arch support. However, they have evolved to include modern designs and technologies to meet the changing preferences and needs of consumers.


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