OESH Shoes is Awarded Grant from the National Science Foundation to Develop Pellet-based 3D Printers!

OESH Shoes has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation in partnership with Dojo Research & Consulting to develop a pellet-based extrusion process for 3D printers used in shoe manufacturing.

Pellet printer research has the potential to increase the use of 3D printers in manufacturing. This would make 3D printing shoes at a local scale a reality and allow shoe production to shift back to the US from overseas. Innovations in 3D printing increase the ability to customize shoe soles and create designs that are unable to be manufactured with any other existing manufacturing processes.Screen Grab Printers

OESH founder Dr. Casey Kerrigan reacted to being awarded the grant saying, “We’re honored that the National Science Foundation has recognized our work innovating new shoe design and manufacturing processes.”

3D printed Athena Sandals are currently being sold online at or at the factory on Saturdays. The OESH factory, 705 Dale Ave, Suite E, Charlottesville VA 22903, is open to the customers on Saturdays from 10am-3pm.

Download or Print Press Release Here

Congratulations to OESH Shoes for Winning SBIR Funding from the National Science Foundation!


OESH Article in The Daily Progress

Have you read the article about OESH in the Daily Progress, yet? In April, Allison Wrabel wrote a great article about OESH for the Daily Progress with photos by Andrew Shurtleff.

This article is a must read for life-long OESHers and newbies alike.

Here is a link read it on the Daily Progress’ website:

Redesigned Soles put a Spring into Steps

Photo by Andrew Shurtleff/The Daily Progress


Made by Women Using Brains not Brawn

Graphic Sandals with logo

Unlike typical sweatshop shoes, our sandal soles here at OESH are 3D printed, made using our brains and robots.  Grasshopper, an algorithmic design plug-in to Rhinoceros 3D, gives us the ability to adjust the placement and sizing of the base curves of our design.  Combining industry knowledge and cutting edge programs, we are able to increase the number of people who benefit from these healthy by design shoes.

One of the benefits of 3D printing the Athena Sandals here at OESH in Charlottesville, VA is that we can customize the design to meet customers’ specific needs.  Sometimes it’s a longer or wider foot bed; other times it’s a longer strap.   Sometimes it’s changing the shape slightly it to fit a man’s foot.  At this time we can only offer customization locally, so if you’re in the area stop by on Saturdays from 10-3 and see what we can do for you.  Not to fear, our loyal customers all over the world, we are looking into how we can offer this through our online shop in the future.

Custom Athena Sandals (for locals only) –$185.00

Athena Sandals–$135.00

Think Pink with Bubblegum Athena Sandals

Oesh - 3D printed shoes - Athena Sandals - Bubblegum

Everyone is loving the Bubblegum Athena Sandals this summer! The bright pink straps are sure to make a statement whether you’re wading in a river, picking up groceries at the farmers’ market, or exploring a new city.

All colors of the Athena Sandal are great for wherever this summer takes you. Where do you wear your Athenas?

A Peek into the Athena Sole

Here is what the inside of an Athena sole looks like, pictured in green instead of black. All those little honeycomb spring structures can only be made with 3D printing. Pretty neat, right?

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Summer is Here at OESH!


Hello OESHers! I’m Maggie, and my fellow intern Emma and I are super excited to be working at OESH this summer!

This afternoon, after working on computers all morning, we tightened the straps on our Athena sandals and hopped down to the Rivanna River to take some photos and get some fresh air. After weeks of rain, it felt great to be out in the sunshine, and the sun was great for taking pictures, too! The photo above is my favorite from today, a pair of maroon Athena sandals in their natural environment. We got a little muddy traipsing through the river, but we rinsed off our sandals in the water and the Charlottesville summer heat quickly dried us off.

We’ll be here all summer, so stay tuned for more photos and possibly some new designs! I hope everyone’s summer is off to a great start!


An electrifying week at OESH: blowing a fuse

So this happened at OESH this week:


We blew a fuse. Well, actually, we didn’t blow a fuse. An exuberant vine on one of our power line poles blew a fuse. It was a fuse for one of the three transformers for our 480 volt line that went kapooey. That meant all of our 480 volt machinery was down and we couldn’t injection mold for two whole days. As frustrating as it was getting further behind on orders while we waited for Dominion Power to come and fix it, I wasn’t about to try to climb up the pole to try to fix it myself. Honestly. An electrician will tell you: 110 volts can certainly kill you. 240 volts will most definitely kill you. 480 volts will kill you a few times over.

At least our 3D printers marched on through the whole ordeal. They’re only 24 volts. And can be completely unplugged when changing their cute little fuses, which hardly ever seem to blow, anyways.

Make it in America

This is the first book that caught my eye as I randomly wandered a random section of our public library. Last time I did this, the first book that caught my eye was a book on deep fried insects.


Now THIS one I can do. In fact, we’re already doing it!

Better than foam

OESH Athena sandals with 3D printed cellular elastomeric soles


We’ve been using a specially developed cellular elastomeric material in all our OESH shoe soles for several years now. And now we’re 3D printing that material into our Athena sandals. The material is much more expensive than traditional foam used in shoes soles. Moreover, the process to make shoe soles with this material is much more complex. There was a research article in the journal “Nature” this week comparing the long-term mechanical response of a cellular elastomeric solid created with 3D printing to traditional foam. The upshot is that the 3D printed cellular solid performs better than foam. Of course we already knew that. But it’s nice to see independent peer-reviewed research on the subject.

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