Icon Health & Fitness, the maker of fitness products, has acquired Altra Footwear, a minimalist shoe developer. Founded in 2009, Altra Footwear claims to have introduced “the first Zero Drop, fully cushioned, foot-shaped, gender-specific footwear line.”

The new line, which debuted at Outdoor Retailer 2011 Summer Market, includes core running shoes, outdoor shoes and minimalist shoes to encourage natural movement.

According to a statement, the founders of ALTRA are former All-American runners, triathletes, and ultra-marathoners. Two of them managed Runner’s Corner in Orem, Utah. The release states, “The young innovators created the zero-drop shoe category by working with a local cobbler to cut out the elevated heel of traditional running shoes. They glued the soles back together to create shoes that were the same distance off the ground at the heel and forefoot, therefore having no “drop” from heel to toe. The store had thousands of customers who bought new shoes, took them to the cobbler and paid an average of $30 for the alteration. The innovation of “AL-tered shoes” and the founders’ ul-TRA marathoner status provided the inspiration for the ALTRA brand name.”

The release noted that nearly all running shoe midsoles have a “2-to-1 ratio,” meaning the heel of the shoe is elevated twice as high as the forefoot. Over time, “running in high heels” can cause a range of injuries.

“By removing the heel, ALTRA’s founders created shoes that allowed the foot to sit level with the ground, without a drop from heel to toe, and with that, Zero Drop footwear was born,” the release states.

ICON, headquartered in Logan, Utah, made the purchase in March 2001 and the purchase price was  not disclosed in the statement. ICON's company-owned brands include ProForm, NordicTrack, Weider, iFit Live powered by Google Maps, HealthRider and Weslo. ICON’s licensed brands include Gold’s Gym, Jillian Michaels and Reebok.