Anne Kalsø was born in the Faroe Islands off Denmark in 1905. Her life was defined by a deep immersion in the study of yoga, and the fundamental belief that wellness principles needn't be reserved for just one aspect of an individual's life, but could be wholly integrated as part of an everyday existence.
Kalsø 's passion for yoga led her to study in Switzerland and eventually in Santos, Brazil. It was there, in 1957, that she observed the excellent posture of indigenous Brazilians, and the impressions left by their bare footprints as they walked through beach sand. She observed that the footprints laid were deeper in the heels than in the toes. This natural body position resonated with the thoughtful Kalsø. It echoed a formative yoga pose she knew well – Tadasana (the 'Mountain' pose). As she herself emulated the pose of the native Brazilians, she noticed how her own posture improved, and how her breathing passages opened. She was inspired.
Returning to Denmark, Kalsø enlisted the help of a Portuguese shoe maker to begin what would become a 10-year process to design the original Kalsø Shoe. Although not a shoemaker by trade, Kalsø was deeply immersed in the process of shoe development -- even testing prototype models on long hikes that covered hundreds of miles. According to Kalsø, "it took numerous years of hard work before I reached the final form of my shoe that takes into consideration all the natural demands of the foot and body. It is only now that I know I have created something. It is no longer an idea in my mind, but is something that is thoroughly tested and proven."
Kalsø began selling her shoes from a modest storefront in Copenhagen. Those who discovered her shoes became passionate about their benefits. Many reported that the shoes helped ease chronic foot and body problems. Expectedly, people from around the world inquired about the shoes. But Kalsø insisted that they be experienced in-person prior to being worn.
Even with such interest and fervor, it was not until the mid-to-late 1960's that Kalsø entertained the idea of expansion – ultimately exploring retail beyond Denmark, And specifically in the United States.
April 1st, 1970 would mark the much-heralded opening of the first United States distribution point for Kalsø's shoes. Coinciding with the first Earth Day, the name of the shoes - on the spot – was changed to "Kalsø Earth Shoes" and capitalized on the youthful movement and energy that defined the day. The trajectory of a wellness enterprise was underway. With much thanks and credit going to a Danish yoga instructor, a belief that wellness could be part of everyone's daily existence, and a simple shoe.