La Vida v2.0 Oxford launches with best OESH sales day of 2015

The newest color of our superb La Vida v2.0 portfolio, the Oxford, just launched, first to our OESHer community. As is our style, we believe reciprocating your loyalty by offering each of you on the Priority Email List the first look at the latest and greatest from our Development Team works for all. And this post is to say “THANK-YOU” for again showing up and ordering these beautiful Oxfords in a record-setting 2015 day for OESH.

Then again, Who can resist having these on her feet? 15Y.08 Email #37 Club OESH #4 header

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wait ’til the word gets around the University that the Yanks are loving Oxford…in our own, inimitable way. Oh…wait a minute…they’ve heard already? Well then…

Q: What do Oxonians think of the La Vida Oxfords?

A:

15Y 99th Varsity-11

 

 

 

 

Morton’s Neuroma – New Landing Page for OESH Shoes

OESH recently made a significant improvement when you use the main Search Engines looking for a legitimate answer for Morton’s Neuroma Shoes. Paul Giacherio is the reason for our new, powerful internet presentations, and his thoughtful design for Morton’s splashes in with this image:

Morton's Neuroma 15Y.08

 

And the photo he took of Casey to go with the above is equally compelling:

15Y.08 DCK for Morton's Neuroma

Obviously, Paul is a world-class expert in design, and you’ll continue seeing massive improvements in the “look” of our website and surrounding material that convey the OESH message cleanly and effortlessly. For the complete new page for the world’s healthiest footwear for Morton’s, click here.

Way to go, Paul!

Autodesk’s “Line//Shape//Space” features Dr. Kerrigan and OESH

Autodesk–the world’s leader in 3D Design, Engineering, Architectural, and Entertainment software–today published this wonderful article by Matt Alderton about Casey and OESH. This feature appears in the “Success Stories” tab of their Line//Shape//Space online magazine, entitled How to Become a Product Designer

15Y.08.06 DCK in Autodesk Line Shape Space

OESH has had several excellent articles written about our unique successes, but today’s  might be the very best of all. Many thanks to Matt for his splendid writing and all of the other great folks at Autodesk who did such a super job. Below is the full article–and indeed, you’ll see some photos of imminent products that might be appearing soon…on your feet.

Onward!

How to Become a Product Designer: A Medical Doctor Shifts Career From Academia to Shoe Design

D. Casey Kerrigan, MD, isn’t a product designer. And yet, that’s exactly what she is.

What sounds like a contradiction isn’t at all. Rather, it’s the axiom of a new era in product design—an era in which anyone can leverage technology to turn expertise into ideas and ideas into inventions. Anyone can learn how to become a product designer.

“I’m a good example of how democratization of design technology can allow a physician-scientist, with no prior background in design, to improve how shoes are designed and made,” says Kerrigan, who six years ago left her job as a tenured professor at the University of Virginia to establish OESH, a company that designs and manufactures “responsive” women’s footwear.

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The journey from scientist to shoemaker began more than 20 years ago, when Kerrigan became interested in biomechanics as a student at Harvard Medical School. A former runner, she attended a lecture on gait—the science of walking and running—and became fascinated by the impact of footwear on the human body, which she studied for nearly a decade before publishing a groundbreaking paper in 1998 establishing, for the first time, a link between high-heeled shoes and knee arthritis in women.

“Knee arthritis is a big deal,” Kerrigan says. “It causes more physical disability in the elderly than any other singular disease, but it doesn’t get the attention that other life-threatening things do, because it’s very subtle. People live with it, and they don’t exercise because of the pain and loss of motion [which increases their risk for cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and depression]. It’s a vicious cycle.”

The culprit isn’t necessarily the height or size of shoes’ heels. The contouring and cushioning of their soles also interfere with the body’s natural range of motion.

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“After I demonstrated the link between high-heeled shoes and knee arthritis, I did more research and found out that it’s not just high heels; it’s any women’s dress shoe, really, that abnormally increases the forces in the areas we get knee arthritis,” continues Kerrigan, whose subsequent studies revealed that even a typical running shoe increases joint loads by 50 percent. “People choose shoes based on what’s comfortable for their feet, but I know there’s a long-term effect on the knees. That’s what eventually led me to decide that we need to make better shoes: I wanted to save knees because nobody else will.”

Ultimately, only shoes, not studies, can save knees from arthritis. So, in 2009, Kerrigan established OESH to turn her research into reality. “You can only do so much research,” she says. “At some point I decided, ‘If I want to make a difference, I’ve got to just get out there and start making shoes.’”

She tried to license her idea—shoes with flat, springy soles that support the body’s natural biomechanics—but existing shoe manufacturers were more interested in form than function.

“They were receptive, but their agenda was very different from mine,” Kerrigan says. “They were very into aesthetics; I just wanted to make something healthy.”

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Kerrigan’s shoes didn’t just have a different agenda. They also had a different makeup: Unlike most shoes, the soles of which are made from an elastic plastic known as ethylene-vinyl acetate, hers are made from a unique elastic composite material that she developed. Not only is the material unique, it is incorporated into a cantilevered structure in the sole that does not “cushion” but rather “responds” to body-weight forces when they are at their greatest.

“I’m just a physician and a researcher; I’m not a machinist,” Kerrigan says. “But I had to learn to become one because my shoes are so nontraditional; they’re very different from what’s currently being made, not only in terms of their design and how they affect the body but also in terms of how they’re manufactured.”

The shoe industry didn’t know how to work with the material Kerrigan developed, nor did it have equipment that could incorporate that material into Kerrigan’s sole designs. So, Kerrigan established her own DIY laboratory and factory in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she taught herself how to design, model, and manufacture with a variety of design tools, including Autodesk AutoCAD and, finally, Autodesk Fusion 360, which she currently uses to manage the entire production process, from initial design through final fabrication.

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“The idea of learning CAD was very daunting, but it ended up being very straightforward and intuitive,” says Kerrigan, who uses the software to operate her own water-jet cutter and milling machine to produce her shoe soles on site.

Kerrigan spent about a year perfecting her initial design through trial and error and began selling her homegrown shoes online in 2011. OESH has been growing and expanding ever since.

“I just had to experiment and figure it out,” she says of design and production. “I couldn’t have done that without technology. The technology is everything.”

The technology didn’t just turn Kerrigan into an inventor. It also turned her into an innovator: Last year, she began using CAD to design and fabricate a dozen specialized 3D printers capable of 3D printing her patented shoe designs, the first of which—a line of 3D-printed sandals—arrive this summer as OESH’s Athena Collection.

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“We’re the first to sell a truly functional 3D-printed shoe,” says Kerrigan, who eventually plans to use 3D printing to fabricate the tops of her shoes, which she currently imports from Asia. The result, she boasts, will be a shoe that’s 100 percent made in America—and, one day perhaps, entirely custom made. “I think that’s where things are going: Instead of injection-molding the same part a billion times, technology will make it possible for manufacturers to embrace many different designs that fit many different needs,” she says.

Not only many different designs but also many different designers. Perhaps even you.

“If there’s something you feel passionate about—something you think could be designed differently and better—you can make it,” Kerrigan concludes. “You don’t need design experience. You just need the technology.”

OESH delivers FREE International Shipping

Once in a while, a weather image nails the center of the bullseye. Going for a run this summer Virginia morning, with the temperature already pushing above 80, and pulling the newspaper out of the mailbox when I finished, on page A2 I saw this:

This July 16, 2015, photo provided by Bill Shrapnel and photographed through a window shows a Kangaroo on the Colmar Estate vineyard in Orange, New South

This beautiful photograph (thank-you Bill Shrapnel/Colmar Estate and AP) from Orange, New South Wales, in (where else?) Australia, lit me up today.

To the point that we said, let’s do something neat for our friends around the globe. So we are.

A really underrated strength of OESH has always been our international business. OESHers who live outside of the USA wait the longest and put up with the most hassle (Customs…holy cow, what a cabal…) to receive their footwear–and do so almost entirely without complaint. Thus, given the many international OESHers we serve, we thought it would be a nice gesture to offer FREE SHIPPING during the rest of July to those of you outside the USA.

When you order and the international shipping rates are applied, we’ll be refunding those charges prior to shipment through Friday July 31, just to let you know how much we appreciate you wearing your La Vidas and our other spectacular OESH Footwear.

And all because our favorite marsupial took a stroll in the snow. It looks like she’s waiting for the delivery truck with her new Rococcos (I’m guessing she was that order for a pair of size 7s and a pair of size 70s we got last week)…and I’ll be sure to refund that freight charge asap.

Onward!

Where building construction meets shoe fabrication

This past week we were recognized by Autodesk in one of their fabrication blogs. Autodesk’s Reality Computing blog entitled Where Building Construction Meets Shoe Fabrication highlighted the recent collaboration between OESH and Melissa Goldman’s The World is Flat class at the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture (previous post here). For those unfamiliar with Autodesk, they are a software company which produces powerful computer programs used by designers in a wide variety of fields. At OESH, we have been using their Autodesk Fusion 360 in our latest shoe design and fabrication process (previous post here). Needless to say, making an appearance on an Autodesk blog, especially with our recent collaboration, is pretty exciting.

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Both the Autodesk Blog and our previous posts have highlighted the process of working with Melissa Goldman and her class. To recap: it was a semester long course where students worked in groups to design, develop, and print a wearable shoe. Within this, each student had their own research track, and for the second half of the semester, some groups researched materials, hacked tools, and created extruders for said material.

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OESH Designed & Fabricated Printer

As with many collaborations, the moment when there is a chance for reflection and evaluation is incredibly valuable. Without everyone explicitly saying it, it was apparent that most students, regardless of what material they were printing, realized that optimizing the design for the specificities of how the printer works was paramount. There are limits to printing, and therefore certain restraints needed to be adhered to. These restraints varied greatly based on printer and material (ie printing icing vs. printing concrete). Another great lesson learned by the students is the importance of a well-designed extruder. Regardless of printing filament, plastic pellets, concrete mixture, paper pulp, or cake icing, the actual material needs to pass through and out of an extruder in order to print. The precision of how the extruder is built must match the material being printed. There is often a fine line between what will and will not work, and it was great to see the students dealing with this challenge at multiple scales and with multiple materials.

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Student Designed Concrete Extruder

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Student Designed Icing Extruder on Robot

Another gratifying part of any design collaboration is seeing how each individual interprets the challenge. For instance, one student from outside the Architecture School commented, “at the Architecture School they create space, so I made a shoe with a space in it” (the “space” was in the heel and provided a place for a key or other small necessity). Another student produced a shoe which was a skeletal frame contoured to the foot where fabric could be woven in and out of to form enclosure. Students even produced designs to aid personal needs. There were many ideas, and though they were vastly different and with varying intentions, everyone faced the challenges of designing with the reality of fabricating in mind.

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Design & Image by Tori Amato

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Design & Image by Carl

The value of this collaboration could be seen in the students’ process of taking a design idea, modifying the tools to make it work, and physically producing the design. It is success such as this which makes us excited to continue the collaboration with the Architecture School into the fall. With Melissa’s help, Dr. Kerrigan will be heading an undergraduate design studio which will dive deeply into the value and challenges of 3-d printing footwear. The end goal of this second collaboration is to merge the creativity and experimental nature of students with the real world fabrication experience and research of Dr. Kerrigan in order to advance 3-d printing for healthy design.

OESH Sells Out! Suede Sandals join Lizards & Classics as official Collector’s Items!!!

The last pair of Suede Sandals shipped out the door this week–and it was a Sequoia Suede. I think the aesthetics of the Sequoia were awesome…but one of its neat attributes, for me anyway, is that the name “Sequoia” has all 5 vowels.

OESH Suede Sandal SequoiaEqualPorky Pig-That's all Folks!

 

 

 

 

The wordsmith stuff is neither here nor there of course, but what IS HERE–almost, anyway–is going to be the Lollapalooza of Sandals. Our engineering and design efforts have been geared, nearly non-stop for more than 2 years, in perfecting a spectacular confluence of health and manufacturing. So stay tuned! In the meanwhile, we bid adieu to the Original OESH Sandal design, now joining the 5-cantilever Lizards & Classics as sturdy footwear that we love, but have now made even better. And you’ll see what we mean…very, very soon.

Onward!

Shoegate: We still have work to do

Photo via Pressherald.com

Photo via Pressherald.com

A controversy surrounding high heel shoes has made its way into the media yet again.  Deemed “Shoegate” by some, multiple women were recently denied entry to a movie premier at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival for wearing flats. Though actors and actresses alike have made comments at the unjust nature of this incident, it has largely been through the lens of inequality. Furthermore, the media seems to largely be scrutinizing the dress code, and in this particular case, a dress code which is spelled out through tradition and not text. What has seemingly been lacking in the post “Shoegate” discussion goes beyond fashion and concerns our health.

A blog post by Dr. Kerrigan from nearly 2 years ago entitled “Why Heels Are Bad” rings particular relevance today amidst the Cannes shoe controversy. In this post, with links to her previous research and our own OESH investigations, Dr. Kerrigan lays out the relationship of high heel shoes as a factor in the progression of knee osteoarthritis. Moreover, the post introduces the struggle in getting people (especially shoe companies) to address this issue of elevated heels and health. As with many factors which adversely affect our health, it is hard to change the way in which the topic is discussed on a large scale. In the above mentioned post by Dr. Kerrigan, she shares what a seasoned reporter once told her, “Your research is very much like the first research showing the ill-effects of cigarettes in rats. Cigarette companies got away with ignoring it for over a generation on the basis that the research was inconclusive. Eventually enough smart people argued that ALL research studies are inconclusive.”

The Controversy at Cannes has ignited a discussion about high heels, and though this is certainly a good thing, the way in which the conversation is going is a reminder that our health is not the primary concern and that there remains a long ways to go in changing the discourse. These current events surrounding the appropriateness of flats in a formal setting does nothing more than beg the question; at what point does our health trump tradition?

We reprint here what syndicated columnist, and OESHer, Ellen Goodman, wrote, in covering one of Dr. Kerrigan’s research articles. Fourteen years later, her words remain all very true.

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day

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My mom, Edna Lorraine Kerrigan, with Rusty (who I never met but heard epic stories about), 1958.

Last night I dreamt my mom was at our front door, smiling. It’s not unusual that I dream of my mom, who passed away last year. What was unusual about the dream was that she was at the front door. She would have come in through any other door in the house; not the front door. Perhaps she thought that this particular visit was unexpected.

This is the first year that I almost forgot about Mother’s Day. Ever since I can remember, I would begin thinking about what I’d get my mom for Mother’s Day back on Saint Patrick’s Day, my mom’s birthday. But this year, I didn’t give Mother’s Day much if any thought and in fact, didn’t even know when it was going to occur, until yesterday.

Contributing to my lack of memory is the fact that it hardly seems like it’s been a full year since I wrote my last year’s “Happy Mother’s Day” post. It’s been a busy year at OESH and we’ve been working hard on a new project that we hope to launch and talk about soon; a project that I know my mom would be especially proud of, but which I never had a chance to tell her about. Except for in my dreams.

Here is what I wrote:

“Unconditional love,” my mom used to say, “is the most important thing a mother can give to her child.”

That she gave and more and taught me to give the same to my own daughters. She was successful in making me strong and independent and to never feel like I couldn’t do something just because I was a girl.

I could talk to my mom about anything. And well after I achieved adulthood, I still relied upon her for advice. Should I be a doctor? What kind of a doctor? Should I leave academic medicine to build a shoe factory? Although super smart in ways that I am not (she was a brilliant school teacher and had an amazing understanding of the English language), my mother did not have much scientific experience, other than being married to my scientific genius father and typing his Chemistry PhD thesis. Nonetheless, she so very clearly understood my research and would often help me articulate its impact.

I remember my mom being much dismayed by the poor footwear choices for women. She would tell me about her own mother being physically disabled from wearing high-heeled shoes. And when I was five-years old, and my grandmother, who lived in New York, came to visit us in San Diego, I was struck with the fact that it was painful for her to walk. 

Years later, when I discovered the biomechanical link between high-heeled shoes and knee osteoarthritis, I could hardly wait to come home to tell my mom about it. By that time, she was living with us, caring for our first daughter, Jayme, while I worked. My mom must have read to her nearly every minute of the day. She continued to live with us and did the same with our second and third daughters, Kellyn and Zoe. In so doing, my mom successfully passed on her love for books to our daughters.

My mom was always well ahead of her times and, all along, the sweetest person you could ever meet. She passed away seventy-two days ago on February 28, 2014, shortly after Jayme was accepted to Oxford to “read” English, and seventeen days before what would have been her 91st birthday. One of our dear friends said to me, “I know this time of reflection must be hard. A mother’s bond is the most elemental bond.” Indeed it is hard. Even though my mother had fairly severe dementia (such that we no longer could enjoy the conversations we used to have) for several years, she always knew who I was. And although she had difficulty recognizing objects, she always lit up when I showed her my latest OESH design. I loved giving her the very first pair of any new style we made just as much as she loved wearing them. 

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. Mother’s Day or not, I love you always and forever.

OESH & Architecture

Hello extended OESH family! My name is Sarah and I am the newest member of OESH. This past December I graduated with a Masters in Architecture from the University of Virginia and have been with OESH since. I’ve always been interested in making, and in the years between undergraduate (BS in Architecture, University of Illinois) and graduate school, I worked as a carpenter. While at UVA, I was able to explore 3-D printing as a new form of making and it was this interest that led me to OESH. Part of what I’ve been responsible with here is assisting a collaboration between OESH and the School of Architecture. In the post below you will understand more about the logical relationship between designing buildings and designing shoes!

OESH Collaboration Photo 2Over the past few months the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia has been collaborating with Dr. Kerrigan and the OESH team on an exciting design challenge. The challenge has been part of a class taught by Melissa Goldman, the architecture school’s fabrication facilities manager. Working with the guidance and expertise of Dr. Kerrigan, the task for the students was simple: design a shoe. This wasn’t to be just any shoe, but one which could be worn, provide the magic compliance that only OESH Shoes give, and actually be fabricated.

To back up a moment, one may ask, “why collaborate with students of architecture for such a project?” Not only are architecture students great designers, but the design process of architecture is actually quite similar to that of shoes. Both architecture and shoes require a keen understanding and awareness of how materials go together. In architecture school, students commonly think at the scale of the joint; for example, how a beam and column may meet. At OESH, we equally consider the joint, though for us it’s at a physically smaller scale. Here, the challenge for the students was to understand the joints which exist in the shoe such as the connection between the sole and body of the shoe and between the fabric and structure of the shoe.

In addition to Dr. Kerrigan’s knowledge of biomechanics and shoe design, OESH provided another important element for the students and their project. OESH has been actively researching and fabricating specialized 3-D printers as part of our production process. Through the unique design of our printers, the students were able to prototype their designs in a way which they could not do using standard 3-D printers such as those that are available at the architecture school. Our printers allowed the students to experiment with flexible materials and encouraged material research as part of their design process.

The design challenge has taken place over the length of the semester and has included several phases. It began at the OESH factory with the entire class gathered for a lecture by Dr. Kerrigan. Here, they were introduced to key points about biomechanics and issues to keep in mind while designing. The challenge started with thinking about the sole of the shoe and how its form relates to its function. The students were then divided into 4 teams. Each team, using their new knowledge from Dr. Kerrigan, paired with their knowledge and curiosities of 3-D printing, designed and printed a wearable shoe. This early phase also allowed the students to conduct testing with materials and material combinations for printing. Basically, our factory was their playground for a few class periods! [Highlights of this phase can be seen in this previously posted video]. The second half of the course brought back a smaller and focused group of students. This group, though they are currently wrapping up their final designs, were able to go deeper into their schemes and the design of critical joints and connections within a shoe.

As researchers and fabricators, it has been wonderful to impart our knowledge upon an eager group of students. In return, their curiosity and questions have prompted us to pause and think as we continue with our own designs and fabrication processes.

Many thanks to Melissa Goldman and her class, “The World is Flat, the 3-D Printer Edition.”

OESH is Inventor Connections “Innovator of the Month” and More Lacrosse

In recognition of “pushing the boundaries of design and innovating in the industry,” I’m featured today in an article in Inventor Connections entitled “Fusion 360 Enables OESH to Take a Fresh Approach to Shoe Design.”

Cool beans.

To access it, you need to register to become a member of InventorConnections.com here. However, if you are not into all things CAD (computer aided-design), know that it’s a nicely written article describing in detail what you already know by simply putting on a pair of OESH.

Here’s a screenshot of the intro:

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Now, on an unrelated note but in follow up to Bob’s last post on our oldest, Jayme, winning the Oxford vs. Cambridge Varsity Lacrosse Match, here’s a picture of Kellyn (our second oldest), firing a shot into the goal in last week’s Charlottesville High School vs. Culpeper High School game. In her beloved Deep Wisterias.

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And here’s another shot from today, of Kellyn and Jayme (who’s home for Spring Break) taking a lacrosse practice break with Marcia.

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Their La Vidas are more than a year old and as much as I’d like to wash them, I appreciate that the dirt, which was not one of my intended design features, could be good luck.