Everyone slipped into a pair of Anne Kals Minus Heel Shoes in the 70's, but nobody called them that. Making their U.S. debut in 1970, around the time of the very first Earth Day, the shoes were renamed after the environmentally conscious movement and dubbed Earthshoes.
The ergonomically-designed Earthshoes were actually created in 1957 by Anne Kals, a yoga instructor in Copenhagen, Denmark. The orthopedic shoes featured a ‘negative heel,’ which lifted the toes higher than the heel. This slope mimicked the angle of the foot when walking in sand, touted as an orthopedically superior posture.
The holders of the U.S. license (and those responsible for the name change), Raymond and Eleanor Jacobs, opened their first store in New York City in conjunction with the Earth Day celebration of 1970. Business boomed, and the Earthshoe was on every foot that wasn’t cramming into platform heels. Several styles were available in the patented form: sandals, clogs, hiking shoes, and the traditional lace-up loafer.
Earthshoes were not fashionable, nor attractive, but they were perfect for the health-conscious craze that was sweeping the nation. Along with Birkenstocks, Earthshoes were kind to tired feet and became a fast fad with the hippie movement.
Unfortunately, the Earthshoe extravaganza fell from grace by 1976 and the company filed for bankruptcy. Vintage styles are sought after by hipsters of today.
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