The amazing ability of geckos and insects to walk on walls has fascinated scientists for many years. The key to this phenomenon lies in the microstructure of the animal's foot. It is comprised of a series of hierarchical structures allowing maximal utilisation of van der Waals adhesion forces. We are combining for the first time a biomimetic approach for optimal shape development of the structure on the micrometre-scale with flexible nano ceramics as a tool for tuning the mechanical properties of structure. Finally, novel inorganic / organic photoswitchable polymers will allow us to introduce switching functional properties to the structure, leading to bioinspired switchable dry adhesives.