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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Women manufacturers rock!

The NAM's Manufacturing Institute's 2016 STEP Awards. Photo by David Bohrer.
2016 STEP Ahead Awardees. I’m towards the middle in a black blouse and red blazer. Photo courtesy of the National Association of Manufacturers.


It would seem that the “STEP Ahead” Award that I got last week, along with 129 other amazing women, would have something to do with making shoes. Well, it does, but not in the way that you think. STEP stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering and Production” and last week, we were each awarded the 2016 STEP Ahead Award from the Manufacturing Institute in Washington DC. Over a two day celebration we were wined, dined, congratulated and thanked for all the science, technology, engineering, and production awesomeness that we do on a daily basis. Congress people told us how essential we are to the U.S. economy, creating wealth and community and serving as role models for young women and girls to pursue STEM and manufacturing careers. Many of us mentor young women in one way or another. In fact, it was a former mentee of mine, Grace Lefebure who nominated me for the award. Grace was the only woman in her mechanical engineering capstone class with me at OESH a number of years ago. She is now a hotshot engineer making airplane parts for Boeing in Seattle, who won the STEP Ahead Award last year. Thank you Grace!

Washington, DC, USA - April 21, 2016: National Association of Manufacturers STEP Ahead Awards presentation reception at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Photo by Ian Wagreich
Me with the award. Yes, the award is a crystal shoe! Photo courtesy of the National Association of Manufacturers.


While I was the only honoree from the shoe industry, there were women from just about every other industry sector, all manufacturing one thing or another right here in the United States. We had much fun talking about injection molding and how to get grease off your clothes (you can’t, which is why you have to wear mostly black). We also talked a lot about coding and 3D printing. Everyone loved my hot pink 3D printed Athena Sandals!

Washington, DC, USA - April 20, 2016: National Association of Manufacturers STEP Ahead Reception at the J.W. Marriott Hotel. Photo by Ian Wagreich
I also won “Bingo” because I was the only one with a company that started with the letter “O.” Photo courtesy of the National Association of Manufacturers.


Before we parted, we each had to make a personal commitment as to how we would encourage more girls and women to pursue STEM and manufacturing careers. I promised that I will continue to host factory tours for students. The girls who come through the OESH factory are especially excited to see how we can make shoes using coding and 3D printing. There are very few shoe designers who are women and there are even fewer women who actually manufacture shoes. When girls see what we do here at OESH they can’t help but be inspired to role up their sleeves and learn some code!

The award back home, proudly displayed on top of the injection molding machine…until it’s time for our next run.

Flavor of the Month: April


All through April, the La Vida Rococco is only $99 in our shop – no coupon codes required. Add our new Elites to your order, and get an additional 10% off your entire cart.

Women’s Rights


So proud. That’s my Jayme protesting for women’s rights with fellow Oxonians at Yarl’s Wood Detention Center in England.

STEP Ahead – Women in Manufacturing


Dr. Kerrigan is being honored by the Manufacturing Institute with a 2016 STEP Ahead award.

The Manufacturing Institute launched the STEP Ahead initiative in 2012 to celebrate women in the manufacturing industry that are making a difference through advocacy, mentorship, engagement, promotion, and leadership. The STEP Ahead Awards highlight the achievements of real women in manufacturing on a national stage with a formal gala to celebrate their accomplishments.

OESH Shoes once again leads the way!