1945 and Dr. Klaus Maertens, a 25-year-old soldier. While convalescing from a broken foot he created a unique air-cushioned sole (rather than the traditional hard leather sole) to aid his recovery. Using a salvaged cobbler’s last and a needle, Maertens made a prototype shoe and showed it to an old university friend and mechanical engineer, Dr. Herbert Funk. The two went into partnership by using disused military supplies to begin producing their unique shoes. By 1947 they began formal production and within a decade had a booming business.