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Earth Shoes

Original Earth shoes were a prominent part of the 1970's footwear scene. The shoe with the "negative heel" was hot then, and now the hip, classic styles are being relaunched. Travel back in time with us on this page to learn about the history of Earth brand footwear.

There are many compelling reasons to wear Original Earth shoes: they promote good health, they add style to any outfit, and they are very comfortable. Enjoy this earthy shoe that's "Back from the Past," and enjoy shopping at! We love our original Earth Shoes!

1957 Anne Kalso®, a Danish yoga instructor travels to a monastery in Santos Brazil to further her studies. She observes the superb posture of the Brazilian Indians with their heel prints in sand, which are lower than their toe prints. Kalso discovers that by flexing the foot or by lowering the heel, one could achieve a feeling similar to the Yoga mountain pose.
1957-67 With the help of a Portuguese shoe maker, Kalso begins to redefine her concept. She personally tests the new footwear models, sometimes on hikes of 500 miles or more.
1968 Anne opens a retail store in Copenhagen and begins to sell the Kalso Minus Heel™ shoe.
1969 While vacationing in Europe in the Summer of 1969, Americans Raymond and Eleanor Jacobs discover the remarkable comfort of the Kalso Minus Heel Shoe. The Jacobs’ earn the respect of Anne Kalso, and an agreement for U.S. distribution is finalized.

On April 1, 1970, Earth Shoes are born in the United States. The Kalso Minus Heel store is opened by the Jacobs’ in a non-traditional retail location: E. 17th Street, New York City. Coincidentally, April 1 was the first Earth Day celebration in the U.S. Upon discovering this, Eleanor puts a handwritten sign in the retail store window, “Earth Shoes,” which caught the attention of passers by.

Earth expands distribution. Through word of mouth, articles, and unsolicited testimonial, the concept quickly becomes popularized. Customers, so impressed with the product line, begin to open their own stores throughout the country.

The Original Earth Shoes
The Stylish 70's!
The original Earth Shoes.
1972 In September, the first Earth factory opens due to demand of the shoe exceeding supply. In order to shorten the delivery timeline and eliminate import challenges, the first U.S. factory opened in Middleboro, Massachusetts. Stores continue to roll-out throughout the U.S. and Canada.
1974 In early 1974, Earth launches its first advertising campaign. Time Magazine runs an extensive story (as does Vogue, Cosmo, Glamour, GQ, The New York Times, and more). The Jacobs’ appear on TV shows such as Johnny Carson, What’s My Line, and To Tell the Truth. The Metropolitan Museum of Art places an Earth shoe on permanent display. The Factory cannot keep up with the overwhelming pace of customer demand, and lines form outside stores – now 60 locations coast to coast. The Los Angeles store changes its phone number four times to avoid customer calls. Mail-order is backlogged by 3,500 pairs. Demand overwhelmingly exceeds supply.
1975 With over 135 stores open throughout the country, expansion plans are booming. Earth broadens the product offering in footwear, leather goods, bags, belts, socks and leather accessories.
1976-77 Store owners file a lawsuit against the company regarding retail store locations and availability of sufficient inventory to support demand. A legal battle ensues, and the Earth brand disappears, but does not die . . .
1990 to 1998 After more than 30 years of designing and manufacturing footwear for major brands, European designer Michel Meynard decides to look for an opportunity to launch his own brand. While traveling throughout Europe, Michel spots a Levi’s billboard with a model wearing Earth styled shoes. Over a four-year period, Meynard Designs Inc., secures all related rights to Earth Brand from a variety of individuals formerly associated with Kalso Systemette, Inc. The business plan is developed and refined for Earth® Brand with the Negative Heel Technology™ for a more upscale marketplace.
Summer 2000 In the Summer of 2000, former – and extremely devoted -- Earth Shoe wearers discover the Earth web site ( and provide unsolicited testimonial for the Earth brand’s unique comfort experience. Word begins to spread: the Original Negative Heel Technology will once again be available. The footwear industry begins to learn that Earth is returning.
Fall 2000 Re-branding work by Boston-based Holland Mark Advertising features a hip, unconventional approach to reach contemporary consumers, targeting an independent, style-setting group which Earth deems “Generation I.”

Spring sell-in begins as Earth launches its Fall 2001 line at WSA (Western Shoe Association Show in Las Vegas) and regional trade shows. Distribution is secured throughout the U.S. Later, the first Earth Brand International sales meeting is held in Brussels, Belgium. Nine distributors representing Canada and European countries introduce Earth Brand globally.


On April 29, Earth Footwear is debuted to the public at Boston’s Earth Fest, an all-day outdoor Earth Day celebration. Attendees praise the return of Earth Footwear, “They’re selling Earth again. Incredible.”

In August, Earth launches its Spring 2002 line at WSA and regional shows. Earth Brand expands to include comfort-driven leather bags, along with shoe care and accessories.

Fall 2001 After a quarter of a century, Earth Brand footwear is reintroduced to the retail marketplace.

The "Solar" Shoe
The "Kharma" Clog
The "Sassy" Sandal
The "Solar" Shoe
The "Kharma" Clog
The "Sassy" Sandal
February 2002
Earth Footwear named “Brand of the Year” by, the leading footwear portal on the Internet. Presented on February 11, 2002, at the WSA Show in Las Vegas, the award recognizes Earth Footwear for its successful re-entry into the footwear market.
Fall 2002 Earth launches its first-ever Earth Classic Collection in response to consumer demand for authentic‘70s Retro styling in footwear.
2003 The Earth Nature sandal is among J.Jill and other retailers best sellers. Trendy Fashion designer Francis Hendy, selects Earth Fall 03 styles for his NY FASHION WEEK runway show. Earth is the hit of the show, at the first-ever Yoga Expo in L.A.
2004 Earth receives the APMA seal of acceptance for the health benefits of its footwear design. The Earth Vegan collection is introduced, with certification from the Vegan Society™.

Read these exciting news articles about Earth Shoes from the past and present

Try on a pair of Earths shoes and you'll be glad they're back from the past!

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