"I’ll make my own shoes!"
Christian Bär, 1982
"No more painful feet," decided the company’s founder, Christian Bär – who spent a lot of time on his feet at trade shows and exhibitions – when he went in search of a pair of comfortable shoes and returned to his hotel exhausted after a long, freezing cold night in Berlin in the late 70s. The following summer, he happened to meet a manager from a major North German rubber factory while he was on holiday by the Baltic Sea. After talking about soles that were made at the factory, the pair starting chatting about comfortable shoes. The factory manager gave Christian Bär a tip and contact details for a manufacturer.
Based on the anatomical shape of the foot and the healthy feeling of walking barefoot, Christian Bär developed a model with the help of the last-maker Gerhard Motsch from Pirmasens who had a tireless sense of humour, a great deal of passion, and the skill and creative flair to craft shoe lasts. The result was a design which was completely at odds with the footwear fashions of the time. "But the shoes were comfortable! They gave my feet generous toefreedom – the big toe could move and wasn’t restricted. Even when I had been on my feet for ages, I didn’t give them a moment’s thought," recalls Senior Director Christian Bär.
This response form countless shoe retailers was a sobering wake-up call. "From now on, we‘ll sell our shoes ourselves!" decided Christian and Hilke Bär in the early 1980s. It was hard to start with. Christian and Hilke, experienced in direct selling, started marketing their shoes at consumer shows. 60 shows a year meant they needed stamina and organisation. In 1982, BÄR GmbH was established, which began to invest in serial lasts, cutting tools and raw materials. BÄR has long since established a reputation for being an exemplary company that is constantly evolving and growing.
Sebastian Bär’s own story also plays a crucial role in that of Joe Nimble shoes. As part of a family who has been dedicated to shoe manufacturing for decades, he possesses extensive expertise in how to make a functional shoe with an optimal fit. Inspired by the barefoot revolution initiated by Chris McDougall (Born to run) and Prof. Dan Lieberman (Harward) and after suffering a serious sports injury himself, he came up with his own personal solution for the perfect shoe. In collaboration with Lee Saxby, he designed the “nimbleToes” functional shoe with uncompromising toefreedom – for a strong, resilient foot.
The adjective nimble means quick and light in movement; agile. Functional shoes by Joe Nimble are therefore an expression of sporty agility – and thanks to their generous toefreedom, bring the foot back to its natural shape again.
"With our Joe Nimble Functional Footwear we always think of the human being first!"
Sebastian Bär, 2018