Most Running Shoes Are Actually High-Heeled!

Being a new employee here at OESH, I was skeptical to hear that many existing athletic shoes are designed all wrong.  As a recent Industrial Design graduate from James Madison University and being involved with sports my whole life (shoutout to the 2013 WCLA D2 National Champions aka JMU Women’s Club Lacrosse), I had never heard such a thing. Therefore I decided to look into this concept as well as having some fun with the CNC waterjet saw!

Casey had told me how most running shoes have a higher heel which actually destabilizes the ankle and increases torques at the knee; as if you were to be wearing a high heeled shoe. I went on a search for a few different athletic shoe brands and found New Balance, Saucony, Geox and, of course, the new OESH La Vida. Using the CNC waterjet saw, I wrote a simple program to cut each shoe in half. Watch the video to see this process in action!

Wishing I could play on the waterjet some more, I had to continue with my investigation, thus took the freshly cut shoes and headed for the work bench to grab a digital caliper. Measuring the difference of the heel height to the forefoot height, the results were startling. New Balance had a difference of 0.47 inches, Saucony had a 0.56 inch difference, Geox had a 0.45 inch difference, while the OESH La Vida had a 0.0 inch difference.  This was unbelievable!  These other brands do indeed have a significantly raised heel!

split shoes2

The La Vida heel was approximately the same height in the forefoot as the other brands however rather than gradually becoming thicker towards the heel, the sole stays the same height.  Having a specially designed responsive sole lets the foot act natural, in contrast to absorbing the impact at an unnatural slope. After seeing it with my own eyes, the other brands were indeed designed with all of the wrong intentions. So there you have it, save your high heeled running shoes for a fancy dinner out and wear your OESH La Vidas for athletics!

stacked shoes

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