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First introduced in the 1970s, Earth® shoes are unconventionally designed shoes that traditionally feature negative heels. This negative-heel technology was the brainchild of Anne Kalso, a Danish yoga instructor. According to the manufacturer, they promote good health and serve to provide a natural alignment to the body.
Earth®, the company responsible for designing the original Earth® shoes, was absent from the shoe market for quite some time following its initial popularity. In recent years, the company has resurfaced, introducing many new styles and designs for both men and women. There is a wide variety of shoes in this style available, including sandals, boots, sneakers, and casual wear shoes. They are even available in vegan styles, featuring an array of designs made without animal products.
The negative heel technology unique to Earth® shoes involves a heel that slopes, positioning the wearer’s heels below his or her toes. According to the company, this positioning is designed to feel as natural as treading in the sand. The shoes are said to provide for the optimal alignment of the wearer’s spine and pelvis, encouraging the shoulders to roll back. As such, Earth® shoes are credited with improving the wearer’s posture. They may even help to relieve back and foot pain, allowing for improved breathing as well.
People who are interested in burning a few extra calories may find that negative heeled shoes may actually help. The incline of these shoes requires the muscles to work as if the wearer was walking up a hill. As such, he or she can burn extra calories just by walking around. Wearers should keep in mind, however, that this leg workout may lead to some initial leg discomfort if the person is not used to working the muscles in this way. People may find it more comfortable to wear new shoes for a couple of hours at a time at first, gradually moving up to wearing them all day.
To provide for added comfort, many Earth® shoes are designed with Gelron 2000®. Placed in the insoles, this material is designed to absorb shock to the body as the wearer moves about. This high-performance material is also designed to mold to the foot over time, allowing the shoes to become more comfortable after they’ve been worn for a time.
The Earth® company doesn’t neglect arches with its shoe designs. Its shoes feature layers of padding to support the arches and cushion the feet. The company asserts that its arch supports are built for longevity, never wearing out.
Although the negative heel was the distinctive feature for the original Earth® shoes, the company does not include it in all of its most recent styles. Negative heel shoes are still available as part of the Kalso line.