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.


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


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.

Oxford vs Cambridge–the 99th Annual Lacrosse Varsity

Through the prism of the 21st century, the idea of an annual sporting contest as the culmination of a team’s hard work, sweat, and camaraderie has a purity that holds up well over many years. 15Y 99th Varsity-11In a two-day cricket match 188 years ago, Oxford and Cambridge established this tradition and cemented the Varsity concept with an annual boat race in 1829 (when the Blues became Oxford and Cambridge the light Blues). In fact, lacrosse is also played very well throughout the UK, and has had its Annual Varsity every year since the inaugural 1903 match, only breaking for the two World Wars.

The two women’s, two men’s, and the mixed lacrosse teams thus compete for the Varsity trophy (with draws going to the side of the previous year’s winner), this year’s match hosted on the beautiful playing fields of St John’s College, Cambridge.

with many thanks to Emily Harrap Photography for the splendid images!

with many thanks to Emily Harrap Photography for the splendid images

Oxford won at Varsity last year, hence with a men’s draw and victory, a women’s and mixed loss, the 99th Annual Lacrosse Varsity came down to the other women’s match, in which our favorite OESH summer intern and erstwhile Fresher at Oxford, Jayme Kusyk (#2 on the far left, above), was going to be a participant.

Given that the Cambridge team had played its 10 game regular season in dominant form, going undefeated and bashing Oxford twice in the process, the match was seemingly doomed for Oxford when the Blues called their last timeout, trailing by 5 goals with the last grains of sand nearly dumped into the bottom of the hourglass.


The Oxford student newspaper, the Cherwell, also reported: in what was one of the most nail-biting matches ever experienced by most of the players and many of the spectators…At 7-2 down with 20 minutes to go, the Swifts called a time out and co-captains Sophie Poston and Rachel Wright gave the team talk of their lacrosse careers. In an incredible show of grit and determination, Oxford took control of the remaining third of the match and completely reversed the momentum of the game.

This magnificent shot helped. We asked Jayme afterward if she remembered launching it and she said “yep, that was the only place I saw it could go, right between the goalie’s legs”. The score made it 7-5. One of our favorite family metaphors is that “life is a great reflection of lacrosse”, and when the momentum…in life, a game, whatever… begins to roll your way, GO FOR IT! The caption (repeated in the photo below from the OULC Facebook page), says it all.

The beginning of the end

                                                                                               The beginning of the end

Then wrote Helen Record of the Cherwell: With 30 seconds to go and the score even at 7-7, Oxford transitioned the ball straight to attack from the centre draw and in a moment that she, nor anyone else watching, shall not forget easily, Jayme Kusyk scored her fifth goal of the match and sealed Oxford’s victory.

15Y 99th Varsity-10Equal15Y 99th Varsity-12





We also pried the info from Jayme that she was indeed named Player Of The Match, and gets to cart around a trophy for the rest of her life. We told her that should make for a splendid goblet suitable for all occasions when drinking is required, such as tonight when we pick her up at the airport and bring her home to celebrate stateside.


JKK--Player Of The Match, Lacrosse Varsity #99

             JKK–Player Of The Match, Lacrosse Varsity #99

OESH Goes to the National Science Foundation

We’re in Arlington, Virginia, presenting to the National Science Foundation who recently funded our work to track gait parameters inside of shoes.  Below is our presenting team; Bill Hill, Brad Bennett, and me.IMG_0364

Our first Power Point slide was that of our research team (or at least a portion of our team) in the OESH Factory. Left to right: Jackey Gong, Shannon Wheeler, me, Brad Bennett, Shawn Russell and John Lach.

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As is typical, everyone is wowed — with our science and with OESH. I’ve been alternating between wearing my Saguaro’s and the Rococco’s. Like at many of these events, I often find myself without shoes because someone asks if I can take them off to show them and before I know it, my La Vidas are being passed around the room. In the past, I’d bring an extra pair of OESH – one to wear and one to show. But I’ve learned that by only sharing the OESH that I’m wearing, I have a much better chance of getting them back.

People LOVE our OESH! As well as the science behind it.

And we love the National Science Foundation!

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My Two-Minute Yoga Routine


As we age, we lose a certain amount of hip extension range during walking. By hip extension range, I mean the amount that our hip extends backward during walking. That may not sound too surprising. Don’t we lose, as we get older, a certain amount of range in ALL of our joints during walking?

Well, actually, no.

Through a series of gait laboratory studies (see below) we found, surprisingly, that only hip extension range during walking decreases with aging. When elderly subjects are asked to walk at a faster than normal speed, their joint range of motion matches or exceeds that of a young adult subject for every lower extremity joint in every direction. Except for the hip joint, in extension. We found peak hip extension to be on average 10 degrees less in an elderly subject (age 65-85) compared to a young adult subject (age 20-40).

Simultaneous with this age related reduction in hip extension, we find not only a shortened stride, but an increase in pelvic or low back motion. Presumably, the concurrent age-related increase in pelvic / low back motion is a compensation for the reduced hip extension range.

Walking and running are the only regular activities we do in a day that can stretch the hip into full extension. Standing or lying down, for example, require that the hip only gets to a neutral position. Only during walking or running, can the hip be stretched into full extension. Being bedridden or sedentary results in a loss in hip extension flexibility.

Gait form and footwear can affect hip extension range during walking. A gait that allows the trailing limb to fully extend before weight is borne on the lead foot provides maximum hip extension.

Outside of walking and running, there aren’t a lot of ways you can actively stretch your hip into extension. This led us to researching and studying specific exercise stretches that DO stretch the hip into extension. We found that most Western exercise regimens do not include stretching the hip into extension. On the other hand, we found that every form of Yoga we investigated, included at least one stretch that stretched the hip into full extension.

The next question was, could a two-minute stretch to the hip flexors reverse our age-related changes in gait? To answer this, we studied the isolated effect of stretching the hip into extension and in fact did find a modest improvement in age-related changes in gait.

Ways to stretch the hip into extension (besides regularly walking) include the Sun Salutation and Warrior Pose. Different yogis might call the pose I am doing above different things but you can see how my trailing hip is fully extended beyond neutral.

What I do is take a step forward and extend my trailing leg back as shown, with the knee extended and my weight slightly forward, and tI slowly lift my arms up overhead. Then I hold it there for 20 seconds. I do the same thing on the other side and then repeat. You should only do it after you’re warmed up, after a hot shower or a workout (and of course there’s no need to do it if your workout IS Yoga). I usually do the stretch / pose after I run. All in all, it takes less than 2 minutes.

Research Studies:

Kerrigan DC, Todd MK, Della Croce, Lipsitz LA, Collins JJ. Biomechanical gait alterations independent of speed in the healthy elderly: evidence for specific limiting impairments. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 1998;79:317-22.

Kerrigan DC, Lee LW, Collins JJ, Riley PO, Lipsitz LA. Reduced hip extension during walking in healthy elderly and fallers versus young adults. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2001;82:26-30.

Kerrigan DC, Xenopoulos-Oddsson A, Sullivan MJ, Lelas JL, Riley PO. Effect of a hip flexor-stretching program on gait in the elderly. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2003;84:1-6.

Laughton CA, Slavin M, Katdare K, Nolan L, Bean JF, Kerrigan DC, Phillips E, Lipsitz LA, Collins JJ. Aging, muscle activity, and balance control: physiologic changes associated with balance impairment. Gait and Posture 2003;18:101-108.

DiBenedetto M, Innes KE, Rodeheaver PF, Taylor AG, Boxer JA, Wright HJ, Kerrigan DC. Effect of a gentle Iyengar yoga program on gait in the elderly: an exploratory study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2005;86:1830-1837.

Lee LW, Evans J, Zavarei K, Lelas JL, Riley PO, Kerrigan DC. Reduced hip extension in the elderly: dynamic or postural? Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2005;86:1851-1854.

Franz JR, Paylo KW, Dicharry J, Riley PO, Kerrigan DC. Changes in the coordination of hip and pelvis kinematics with mode of locomotion. Gait and Posture 2009;29(3):494-498.

Riley PO, Franz J, Dicharry J, Kerrigan DC. Changes in hip joint muscle-tendon lengths with mode of locomotion. Gait and Posture 2010;31(2):279-283.

Watt JR, Jackson K, Franz JR, Dicharry J, Evans J, Kerrigan DC. Effect of a supervised hip flexor stretching program on gait in elderly individuals. PM&R 2011;3(4) 324-329.

Watt JR,Jackson K, Franz JR, Dicharry J. Evans J, Kerrigan DC. Effect of a supervised hip flexor stretching program on gait in frail elderly patients. PM&R 2011;3(4):330-335.

OESH Collaborates with UVA School of Architecture

This video highlights an exciting collaboration between OESH and the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. The World is Flat-3-d Printing Edition, a class offered at the Architecture School and headed by Melissa Goldman, is exploring new ways in which this technology can be used in architectural fabrication. Mirroring the design processes used in architecture, this project has provided a challenging exercise for the students through the complexities of designing a shoe which is not only functional and well-developed but also aesthetically pleasing. Dr. Kerrigan’s expertise in a field unfamiliar to these students has allowed them to understand fabrication in a completely different way!

Video produced by Michael Peterson, UVA Student

OESH La Vida v2.0 Compliance Revealed in Winter Wonderland

Walking outside to feed the geese and ducks this morning, I had to laugh as I was crunching through the snow. We’ve had enough weather variance to make the top surface able to bear the weight of the fowl, but…as I made my way around the yard I couldn’t help but to try and walk “lightly” enough not to crack through the top of the snow and keep my feet dry.

Ivan says to Sweet "that big Saguaro will be sinking as soon as he tries to push off"
Ivan says to Sweet “that big Saguaro will be sinking as soon as he tries to push off”

Of course Ivan the Goose was correct in his above assessment–elementary to an intelligent animal, I suppose.

It is kind of neat when the beauty of the OESH Sole is revealed in an unexpected way–but just as the snow surface caves in when all of Bob’s weight is atop his foot (midstance phase of gait), that is PRECISELY the INSTANT the La Vida midsole and sole complies and flexes, too. That moment of weight bearing is when we are most vulnerable to injury (when my foot sinks into the snow below), and this morning was another graphic example of why nothing else compares to the dynamic shoes we make.

As Marcia attests to on a beautiful snowy morning, Viva La Vida!

Marcia enjoying/wearing half a foot of snow
Marcia enjoying/wearing half a foot of snow

Our National Science Foundation grant to further the study of walking and running

…and make OESH Shoes even more awesome (if that were even possible)

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What makes OESH unique is that everything we do is driven by medical and biomechanical research. Not just research that we know about; research that my colleagues and I DO. Yes, I know. That makes us the most awesome shoe company there is.

Currently we use high tech gait (walking and running) laboratories with force plates and 3-D motion cameras to measure all sorts of parameters relevant to injuries and performance. These million dollar laboratories have been essential to our discovering, for example, the link between traditional types of shoes and knee osteoarthritis and finding the footwear characteristics that reduce loads on the joints, improve foot and ankle stability, improve posture, and optimize efficiency.


Now imagine if we could extend our study of gait beyond a hospital or university laboratory. That is the idea behind a research grant my colleagues and I were just awarded from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Basically, what we will do over the next several years is develop new technology to miniaturize that million-dollar gait laboratory into… shoes.

The technology is pretty neat in that it will rely upon specialized Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) rather than the typical GPS currently being used to estimate movement. Our developing and integrating this specialized (and patented) IMU technology into shoes will allow for truly accurate gait data over long periods of time, hence the title of the grant, “Gait Tracker Shoe for long term accurate measurement of walking and running.”

Using new mathematical algorithms developed by my colleagues John Lach, Ph.D., Brad Bennett, Ph.D., and Shawn Russell, Ph.D., the data from the IMU sensors will be able to accurately determine gait, running or walking, parameters. We’ll be able to determine not only the number of steps one takes and how large each step is, but detailed information on what activities someone performs, such as walking up or down stairs; walking up or down slopes, walking versus running, etc.

This will allow us to collect oodles upon oodles of data that we will constantly be comparing to the oodles of data that we are already collecting in the laboratory. More importantly, we’ll be analyzing all that data; something in which our research team is especially adept.

And just like all of our research, we will be using it to keep making the best shoes on Earth.

Why Dansko’s are Even Worse for your Knees than Manolo Blahnik’s

Describing for ABC's 20/20 how knee joint torques are abnormally increased.

My describing for ABC’s 20/20 how loads on the knees are abnormally increased with heeled shoes.

Years ago a reporter asked me if I’d be willing to do an interview alongside the high heel shoe designer, Manolo Blahnik. According to the reporter, Manolo Blahnik agreed to do the interview as long as I would accept a pair of his shoes. I wouldn’t, and the interview never happened. Oh well. Later I found that the typical women’s “casual” or “comfort” shoe is even worse than Manolo Blahnik’s.

My expertise in footwear all started back in 1998 when I published what became a landmark research article demonstrating a link between stiletto high-heeled shoes and knee arthritis. Specifically, I showed that stiletto’s significantly increase the loads on the knee joint relevant to the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis).

Knee osteoarthritis, or cartilage breakdown, is a major health problem. We all get it to some degree as we get older but we women get it twice as often and more severely. It’s so prevalent that it causes more disability with respect to mobility than any other singular disease in the elderly. In other words, it’s a big deal.

I believe that the main reason women get knee osteoarthritis more than men is because of differences in footwear. But I don’t think it’s the classic stiletto heel that’s the problem. Why? Because even though they increase the loads on the knees, they are so uncomfortable in the foot that it’s hard to wear them for any extended period of time. The much bigger problem is the traditional women’s dress, “comfort,” or “casual” shoe, with a modestly elevated heel that feels comfortable enough that you wear it much of the day, every day.

It’s this “casual” or “comfort” shoe, that you think because it’s more comfortable than a high heeled shoe, that it must be good for your knees. Unfortunately, it’s not. My research team and I showed that wide-based heels and moderately heeled shoes, like what’s in a “sensible” women’s dress shoe or “comfort” women’s shoe, e.g., a Dansko, abnormally increase the loads on the knees to nearly the same extent as a Manolo Blahnik. But unless you already have knee pain, you aren’t going to notice the abnormally increased loads on your joints while wearing them. Those abnormally increased loads occur with each and every step and even just while standing.

In fact, ANY heel elevation abnormally increases the loads on the knee. We’ve shown that even the small heel of a traditional athletic shoe abnormally increases loads on the knee.

Which is why the very best shoe you can wear is one that is ABSOLUTELY, PERFECTLY flat, with no heel elevation whatsoever.

Back to high heels and specifically those 2”, 3” and 4” stilettoes. Are they bad? Yes of course they are. But as long as you find them so uncomfortable that you never ever wear them, well then, they’re really not THAT bad.


1. Kerrigan DC, Todd MK, Riley PO. Knee osteoarthritis and high-heeled shoes. The Lancet 1998;351:1399-1402.

2. Kerrigan DC, Lelas JL, Karvosky ME. Women’s shoes and knee osteoarthritis. The Lancet 2001;357:1097-1098.

3. Kerrigan DC, Lelas JL, Bryant M, Boxer J, Della Croce U, Riley PO. Moderate heeled shoes and knee joint torques relevant to the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2005;86:871-875.

4. Kerrigan DC, Franz JR, Keenan GS, Dicharry J, Della Croce U, Wilder RP. The effect of running shoes on lower extremity joint torques. PM&R 2009;1:1058-1063.

OESH Offers Sandal Blowout SALE After Phil Sees Shadow

After hearing the news this morning that the fearless Groundhog’s Day forecaster himself predicts six more weeks of winter (boooooooooo!), we put our remaining pairs of OESH Suede and Athletic Sandals on SALE (hooray!!!).

Phil not amused by own forecast

Phil not amused by own forecast

The upshot is that we are clearing the decks of our Sandals as we plan on having all new OESH Sandal styles available for you in 2015. For the many, many of you who love the Athletics and Suedes, we thought it would be cool to offer you the remaining pairs at an equally great price. All of the details are here.


The Juiciest Scientific Article I’ve Ever Written

The National Library of Medicine is the best resource to find out what scientific articles a certain individual has ever published. For example, to see what I’ve published, you type in my last name, kerrigan, followed by my initials, dc, and up will pop a list of most every peer-reviewed scientific article I’ve ever published, including my most recent article, “The Race to Build a Better Shoe.”

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“The Race to Build a Better Shoe” is different from my other scientific articles in that it’s not just one hypothesis-driven research study but rather a summary of my research studies and in it, I describe how all that research led me to make OESH. Unlike the typical scientific article, this piece includes a candid, somewhat personal section that the editors asked me to write, to inspire other scientists (particularly women scientists) to translate their research into a successful product. Meaning, this is the most candid, juiciest scientific article I’ve ever written.

In fact, ever since “The Race to Build a Better Shoe” was uploaded into the National Library of Medicine’s database (which only includes the article summaries), we’ve been getting loads of requests for the full length article, not just in the online format which is available here, but in its original, printed, unadulterated PDF format with that candid inset, entitled “From Scientist to Entrepreneur,” featuring a lovely picture of me up on top of the injection molding machine with wrench in hand.

So here it is (below), as a PDF, in all its glory. Enjoy!

The Race to Build Better Shoe