Bare is beautiful
DESMA Schuhmaschinen GmbH helps to write the success story of barefoot shoe producer leguano
26 bones, 20 muscles and roughly 100 ligaments: the human foot is an amazing thing. It combines stability with mobility and is subjected to extreme wear and tear. Throughout your lifetime, it cushions a load of several hundred kilos with every step you take. The healthiest and most natural way to run is barefoot, without a stiff sole. Walking or running barefoot strengthens the foot muscles and the entire locomotor system. That was what inspired Helmuth Ohlhoff, passionate long-distance runner and journalist, to found the company leguano Ltd. in Sankt Augustin, Germany, in 2004 and invest in the development of a minimalist shoe. The puncture-resistant barefoot shoe gives the foot total freedom of movement and protects it at the same time. leguano has been producing these trendy shoes since 2009 – on shoes machines made by DESMA.
Driven by the general trend towards adopting a healthy lifestyle, the barefoot shoe fan community grew rapidly. The small enterprise was bowled over by the immense demand and therefore began to set up a network of branches in 2013. This also encouraged the company to set up its own production facilities in Germany. leguano chose DESMA as its partner because of the good experience it had already acquired with DESMA machinery.
DESMA machines are designed not only to reflect the findings from previous products, but also incorporate the expertise of the entire DESMA team. The cooperation with leguano posed a particular challenge for the DESMA mouldmakers: the sole of a leguano shoe has to fit snugly around the foot like a second skin. “The customer has complete faith in our skills and is always open to suggestions, which makes it very pleasant to work with this company,” says DESMA Managing Director Klaus Freese.
One of the first milestones in the leguano success story was the opening of the first barefoot shoe store in Bad Zwischenahn in 2013. There are meanwhile more than 90 stores throughout Germany, and 13 new outlets were opened in 2018 alone. The annual production currently amounts to around 300,000 pairs of “leguanos”, in 16 different models; each pair of shoes costs between 49 and 189 euros. International business is also flourishing and barefoot shoes are meanwhile to be found in stores in China, Singapore, Canada and Spain. “Our production machinery plays a decisive role in enabling leguano to meet this high demand,” points out Klaus Freese. leguano founder Ohlhoff is equally happy: “Together with our partner DESMA, we have the chance to continue producing shoes successfully in Germany.”