What are Earth Shoes?

N. Madison

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.

Negative heel shoes are designed to take stress off of a person's knees when walking.
Negative heel shoes are designed to take stress off of a person's knees when walking.

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.

Earth shoes may help improve a person's posture and relieve back pain.
Earth shoes may help improve a person's posture and relieve back pain.

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.

Earth shoes may help relieve foot pain.
Earth shoes may help relieve foot pain.

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Discussion Comments

Dana Sullivan

rallenwriter: I own a pair of Earth Shoes (women's boots, don't remember the style name), and I like them a lot. I've worn them on a regular basis for five years and they are still in good shape, so I'm impressed with the workmanship. My job involves a lot of prolonged standing, and I find them very comfortable for that.

I don't know if they improve posture or burn calories - I'm suspicious of both of those claims, but they are definitely comfy and still look good after five years of hard wear.


Are all earth shoes vegan, or do they just have certain vegan earth shoes designs?

Also, I'm actually not entirely sure what earth or vegan shoes actually are, could you explain that to me?

I thought that veganism was just a type of diet that you followed, like vegetarianism. What does that have to do with shoes?


I read a lot about earth shoes for women, but how do mens earth shoes rate when it comes to shoe quality?

Most of the reviews that I see online only deal with the women's versions, so I'd love to learn more about how the mens versions are designed, and whether they have generally positive or negative reviews.

Also, if anybody knows where to buy some discount mens earth shoes, I would definitely be interested.

Thanks so much!


Has anybody reading this ever actually worn Kalso earth shoes? I am really curious about how they fit and whether they live up to all the hype.

I've been looking at a few pairs of womens earth shoes and boots that are really cool looking, but I'd hate to buy them and then be disappointed that they don't live up to the talk.

Does anybody reading this own a pair of earth shoes, can you tell me your experience with them?

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