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About Dr. William Mathias Scholl

Dr. William Mathias Scholl was born on June 22, 1882 in La Porte, Indiana. One of 13 children and the son of a carriage maker and dairy farmer, William learned the importance of a strong work ethic growing up on the family farm.

He also learned about foot care and shoes thanks to his grandfather, who was a shoemaker in Germany. The young Scholl would often borrow tools from his grandfather to repair his own shoes, eventually becoming the go-to family cobbler.

Scholl left the family farm at 16 to work as an apprentice at a shoemaker’s shop in Chicago, where he quickly discovered that city residents struggled with foot pain just like people on the farm. Fascinated by foot ailments and how to treat them, he took night classes and studied medicine at Loyola University Chicago to earn his M.D

In 1904, while still in school, Scholl invented and patented his first arch support. To market and sell his invention, he founded the Dr. Scholl’s® company in 1906 and later worked with his brother, Frank, to expand the company overseas. Over the next several decades, Scholl’s built a company on the simple belief that “when your feet hurt, you hurt all over."

Scholl’s expertise in shoes, combined with his medical background, helped him to develop many of the innovative solutions available from Dr. Scholl’s® today. During his lifetime, Scholl helped bring more than 1,000 foot care products to market all over the world.

While creating one of the world’s best-known brand names, Scholl realized that his good fortune could be used to help others. In 1947, he created the Dr. Scholl Foundation to carry on his legacy of charitable work. Dr. Scholl died on March 29, 1968, leaving most of his estate to the foundation.