Month: February 2012
Here’s a picture of one of the walls of the entry into the OESH factory. Surrounding the map are some of my peer-reviewed original research articles. The ones that wouldn’t fit on the wall are in that blue binder behind the chair. They’re regularly pulled down to read while waiting to pick up a new pair of OESH. Better than a pile of old magazines!
Gerri Ward of the comprehensive women’s news website, www.sheknows.com just posted a wonderful article on the She Knows Beauty & Style page entitled Sins of a sensuous sole. Subtitled with the rhetorical How dangerous are your heels? Gerri’s interview with Casey a few months ago is beautifully summarized in the news story below.
We are especially pleased that She Knows offers both clear reasoning and then a thoughtful suggestion to women shopping for superior footwear. Perhaps this site might now be called She Does Know. Thanks Gerri!
Aaaah! The eminent red leather sole that saunters across the red carpet and adorns the feet of those who can afford to splurge. Oooh, but what Monsieur Louboutin sews today must the lower extremities of those who invest in his beautiful craftsmanship reap tomorrow.
How dangerous are your heels?
As I stepped into a journey of “sole” searching the shortcomings of wearing sinister high heels, I stumbled in my 2-inch heels onto Dr. Casey Kerrigan, M.D., an authority on gait and the effects of footwear. After regaining my feet, I knew I had to learn more about this phenomenal woman. Not only is Dr. Kerrigan an M.D. in physical, sports and rehabilitation medicine, but she is also an aerospace and mechanical engineer as well as the inventor of two of this country’s top gait/motion labs and creator of her own footwear named OESH, (that’s shoe upside down and inside out).
OESH was born after Dr. Kerrigan’s findings from her biomechanical research showed that wearing shoes with heels higher than the forefoot play a major role in the development of the degenerative disease osteoarthritis. Upon reading about this painful disease, I quickly kicked off my high heels fearing they would arouse the destructive knee torques that are responsible for devouring cartilage and leaving their own signature of red (inflammation in the knee joints).
While I strolled down memory lane on a quest for the first time I put on a pair of high-heeled shoes, I saw many flashes of light brightly illuminating my mother’s feet in chunky 2-inch heels. Soon, I would have the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Kerrigan who would tell me that chunky heels actually put more pressure on the knee joints than narrow heels because women tend to wear them for longer. Could this be the reason my mother has had both of her knees replaced? I asked myself…
There were a couple more questions that I needed to know the answers to and who better could answer them but Dr. Kerrigan? I have always heard that wearing high-heeled shoes 2-inches and above not only strengthened the calf muscles but also made them shapelier. Unfortunately, Dr. Kerrigan informed me that wearing high-heeled shoes does just the opposite; they shorten the calf muscles and make them weak.
A question I have pondered for a very long time is one I am sure many women have as well: What heel height is safe to wear? Dr. Kerrigan told me if you do not want to risk developing osteoarthritis, then never wear heels that are over a 1/2-inch high.
Dr. Kerrigan has stepped full-time into devoting her heart and soul into OESH, an all-day shoe specifically created for women based on medical and scientific research. OESH is the only shoe on the market with a mid-sole (made of carbon fiber cantilevers) whose primary job is to decrease stress on the joints by compressing and releasing at the right time when the foot is entirely planted to prevent injuries to the body. It would be sinful to not invest in a pair of OESH shoes for $195.00 — not only will your joints be saved, but your sole will never feel the same.
We’re getting really close on that sandal design. In time for the warm weather, I promise. To all you OESHers in Australia – I’m sorry we couldn’t get this done six months sooner.
We’re making not just the carbon fiber sole, but also the entire upper part of the sandal here in our factory. Which means we could use a little more shelving and work space.
Meanwhile, the group of UVa Engineering students that I’ve been working with this year, have broadened their year’s goal of making and designing things that increase production of the OESH cantilevers, to making and designing things that simply “streamline OESH manufacturing.” They are all seniors and their work at OESH will become their senior thesis. One of the things they have wanted to do is build more shelving and workspace. And yesterday, they did just that.
What exactly does building shelves have to do with getting a degree in Engineering? Well, if you saw them yesterday, you’d say, “Everything.” In the course of the day, they ran into all sorts of engineering problems that they (and I) never anticipated. And they solved them, creatively, and I think, had a lot of fun.
I was just most thankful there were no Laurel and Hardy injuries.
Now more than 650 years old, the magnificent Charles Bridge was the scene of a recent excursion by Tremendous OESHer Jean McCarthy.
Able to withstand every conceivable river issue through the centuries, it is rumored that the mortar within the Bridge was made with a high component of egg yolks, perhaps accounting for its remarkable staying power over the oft-flooding Vltava.
We’ll keep this in mind if we run into a resin shortage while making the cantilevers.
The last few weeks I’ve been digging in to how we might be able to make our entire sole right here in the U.S. Currently several parts of the sole are being made in China. The factories that make those parts do a fine job but I keep thinking that we ought to be able to make them even better here. There are not many factories here in the U.S. still making shoe sole parts and none that I know of that are set up to do the specific type of insert/vertical injection molding process that we’d like to use. But I have found some wonderful resources, starting with the University of Virginia (UVa) Engineering Library which encourages its faculty to check out books and keep them indefinitely until someone else requests them (this helps conserve library space).
Injection molding is simply shooting a melted material under high pressure into a mold cavity. Remarkably, five wonderful, and apparently never-been-opened books on injection molding, were available. It did not take me long to read them all (real page turners(!), though I somehow wasn’t able to organize a book club around them…) before adding them to the ever-growing OESH/UVa Manufacturing Library.
With that, I could have some “not too naive” conversations with various folks here in the U.S who are injection molding all sorts of things. I’ve also been talking with different material suppliers in the U.S. as well as with folks who are selling injection molding equipment. Here is the type of injection molding machine that we would use (the picture doesn’t do it justice, it’s at least eleven feet high), which we would then need to customize:
What is super cool is how tremendously encouraging everyone who I have been talking to has been. They feel, like I do, that we absolutely can and should make these pieces here in the U.S.
So I’ll continue to research this. For now we’re appreciative that those factories in China are making those sole pieces for us.