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

OESHers Say replaces Testimonials as moves into 2015

We recently modified one of our major website headings, changing the label of “Testimonials” to what we believe is a more-accurate representation of what you can expect from an OESH product, now under the heading of “OESHers Say”.

Given our wholly unique foundation–a footwear company based entirely upon medical science research, we are very careful not to promise results for medical conditions. Of course, that makes all of the OESH products even more compelling–they have a level of hard-wired scientific integrity behind every stitch, fiber, and melted pellet unavailable in any other shoe.

OESHers Say has always been, consequently, your section of And the coolest facet of this is, we won’t touch the content (unless you see the clarifying “OESH ed.:” add within a message) as the tone, words, and vibe is 100% yours.

OESHers say

OESHers Say

And those stories of product successes are extraordinary–just look at the massive numbers of compelling stories/posts that you decided were worth sharing to the OESHer community:

La Vida v2.0-46 posts
customer service-43 posts
plantar fasciitis-39 posts
Morton’s neuroma-38 posts
walking-24 posts
knee pain-20 posts
running-13 posts
metatarsalgia-6 posts

There’s nothing that matches your story, told your way. OESHers Say, indeed!

My New Old Playlist for the Treadmill

I never, repeat, never, listen to music when running outside. Do not do it, please, ever. Headphones make you oblivious to cars, bicycles, and other potential dangers.

But on a treadmill, I say go for it! The jury is out on whether listening to music actually improves athletic performance, although in this recent study in men, it did. In any event, listening to songs that have a good strong beat (like Rock and Roll) has been shown in several studies, including this one, to improve motivation. Which is always tremendous.

I’ve mentioned in my Scientific/Personal Advice for Treadmill Training that I keep about 50 songs that I especially like in an iTunes library called “Running” and play them in sequence, picking up from where the sequence left off the workout before. I’m always editing the list but I thought it would be nice to go with an entirely different playlist for awhile…a playlist that I originally made as a cassette tape back in the ’80’s; not for running but for an assignment when I was a medical student doing my surgical rotation at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

As a lowly medical student, there’s not much you can do to help in the operating room. You mostly just hold things and try to stay out of the way. So when the physicians asked me if I would make a tape for the operating room that was more lively than their sleepy elevator music tape, I was delighted to help.

This is what I came up with from our record collection (those black disc things now up in our attic).

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The tape was a huge hit and looking back, I can see why. I had in there a full four songs by Michael Jackson who I had seen in concert, not once but twice — enough to learn how to moonwalk. The only song that’s missing is my favorite… “Over and Over” by Madonna. I’m thinking that when I made the tape, we hadn’t yet bought “Like A Virgin,” although it was clearly on my mind (hence the title of the tape) and that getting to a music store to buy the album was on my things-to-do-whenever-I-get-a-day-off list.

It’s been awhile since I’ve listened to the tape-turned-playlist and I’m looking forward to playing it tomorrow. Just like I do with my running playlist, I’ll start with “Billie Jean” and see how far I get before finishing my workout. I’ll pick up where I leave off the next day and so on, until, well, we’ll see.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of music. It’s a good bet that the type of music that you normally like listening to will be the music that especially motivates you during a workout. But it’s fun to experiment, because you just never know. There’s something about ’80’s music that especially revs me up when running. That’s just me.

Happy New Year, Happy Treadmill!


Last New Year’s I wrote a post entitled My Scientific/Personal Advice for Running on a Treadmill. That advice is based on my years of research studying gait as well as my own personal advice, having logged many a mile on a treadmill.

Whether or not you are contemplating the inclusion of a treadmill in your New Year’s Resolutions, the post is still, a year later, very much a worthwhile read. I discussed how the biomechanics between walking or running on a treadmill and walking or running over ground are essentially the same. Our biomechanical studies have dispelled a number of myths including “the treadmill belt propels you forward so that you do less work,” or “the treadmill belt pulls your leg through, resulting in a relatively passive extension of the hip, which reduces conditioning of the hip extensors.”

The post was picked up by Amby Burfoot, Senior Editor of Runners World who wrote an article for Runners World entitled “Biomechanics Expert Debunks Treadmill Running Myths”. From that, Mark Remy, also of Runners World, wrote a super funny piece entitled “12 More Treadmill Myths…Busted!”, which are all, still, must reads.

In my original post, I mentioned how treadmills provide a beneficial compliance or “springiness,” compared to running overground. This point subsequently spurred a lot of inquiries into the difference between “cushioning” and “springiness” particularly in regards to choosing which is the best treadmill.

Treadmills are often advertised to cushion impact, which would be all well and good if injuries were to occur at impact when the foot first strikes the ground. But the moment of impact is NOT when injuries occur. Counter to what many have believed, our biomechanical studies have shown that the peak forces associated with injury occur not at impact, but later when the foot is fully planted. Osteoarthritis of the knee, for example, is associated NOT with the tiny force that occurs at impact, but with the major force that occurs when the foot is fully planted, in midstance, when all the body weight is over the foot. And studies show that attempting to cushion impact results in increasing, rather than decreasing, the major forces at the knee that are associated with osteoarthritis.

Just as cushioning or “dampening” has a negative effect on the joints in the body, compliance or “springiness” has a positive effect. A truly springy interface that compresses and releases in response to when forces are at their peak can in fact reduce peak joint forces. And most treadmills that are built upon a compliant deck, usually plywood, in fact provide such an interface.

I like running on any treadmill, whether it’s at a gym, health club, or hotel. But I especially love our 21 year-old treadmill and have been resistant to getting a new one, even though it must have over 50,000 miles and has had to be re-built several times. It was made by “Trotter,” a company that is now owned by “Cybex” and is straightforward in design in that it has a plywood deck that compresses and releases in response to when the body weight forces are at their peak. I see many new treadmills advertised to cushion impact, via some type of foam cushioning or an alteration in how the deck is supported. Since anything that cushions the forces at impact just increases the peak joint loads, the best treadmill design would be one that has no cushioning or padding, but rather has a simple plywood deck supported in all four corners, just like our good old tried-and-true 21 year-old treadmill.

As I said last year, “Running on a treadmill is a great way to either get into or stay in shape during the winter. It’s so great in fact that you may find you like running on a treadmill year-round.” A lot of people do. I won’t because I love running outside, too. But this time, early in the New Year, I will be doing most of my miles on a treadmill.

Merry Christmas!

It’s been a busy year at OESH and by all accounts, will be utterly insane next year.

Early this year, our La Vida v 2.0 took legs (literally) with a few blog posts that went viral, some really nice media coverage, and a new report from the American College of Sports Medicine that the ideal running shoe is something that looks a whole heck of a lot like our OESH La Vida v 2.0. Then word got around that the La Vida is the go-to “gym shoe,” ideal for the treadmill, cardio equipment, indoor courts (because of its non-marking sole), etc., etc. And that it’s ideal for everything outside the gym as well – for walking, working, hiking, trail running, going to the grocery store, traveling (because they are so lightweight), etc., etc., etc.

Then later in the year, the Fashion Section of the Wall Street Journal decreed that high-heeled shoes are not only dead but that the new “in” shoe is something that looks, once again, a whole heck of a lot like our OESH La Vida 2.0, providing only further validation that it isn’t just A-Okay to wear your La Vidas to church, it is downright fashionable. (That they clean up well in the washer, after getting good and muddy on the lacrosse field is nice in this regard.)

Rest assured that none of this popularity has gotten to our heads. We’ve continued doing research, developing and refining the perfect combination of materials that makes the La Vida 2.0’s the healthiest shoe possible, based not on the typical shoe company “pseudoscience” hype that is in fact unhealthy, but on real, honest, peer-reviewed studies. Which is of course what keeps making OESH highly unique.

Then there’s the manufacturing and sustainability side of things for which we’ve been getting a lot of attention lately. And it’s not just because I’ve been wearing my Rosie the Riveter “We Can Do It” t-shirt to the factory. We partnered with Autodesk (the people who invented 3-D computer aided-design) who just this month, profiled OESH in a mega presentation to media and industry analysts. And this week, we were awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to do some pretty cool stuff that I’ll be reporting on next year.

We’ve continued designing and refining the machines we use to make shoes. This has included, since the beginning of the year, designing and making specialized 3-D printers that can print unique materials and material combinations that have never before been 3-D printed; materials that will soon find a home in what I call the next new “impossible shoe sole.” More to come on this – stay tuned.

With the huge success of our Christmas Sale, I know many of you are looking forward to opening up a new pair of OESH under the tree. There certainly will be some La Vidas under our tree and I’m hoping there will be at least one pair for me (hint: I could use a new pair of Rococco’s).

Wait, I DO have one early Christmas gift… this comment from “Deb”:

“I came across your shoes in a Google search for “best shoes for knee pain”…I have terrible Knee Osteoarthritis and could not stand it any longer. I do not want to have surgery, I was awfully desperate… It has not been 1 full week since my Oesh La Vida’s arrived and I am feeling WONDERFUL! I still can’t believe how much less pain I have! I am able to go up and down the stairs so much more freely!…Thank You, Thank You for making these shoes!! Looking forward to ordering more!”

Thank you Deb. Many of you know that it was my research on the effects of shoes on our joints that started this whole adventure and that OESH are designed to minimize loads on the joints in our body where we are prone to developing osteoarthritis. While prevention of course is best, it’s OESHers like Deb who are best at being able to tell us that our OESH La Vidas indeed are doing what we’re designing them to do.

If this year wasn’t insane enough (and I thank each and every one of you OESHers for that), next year is going to be out of control. But we’ll be ready for it, right after we take a little break to decorate the tree, make some eggnog, and work on keeping Marcia away from it.

I wish you all the very happiest and healthiest of holidays. See you next year!

Annual SALE, Last Week of Guaranteed Christmas Delivery!

Health is one AWESOME Gift to receive!

Health is one AWESOME Gift to receive!

As Casey makes her way back home after addressing the most-influential footwear builders and engineers in Europe with our seminal Healthy by Design paradigm, we surely want to encourage you toward our La Vida SALE while you can still get the shoes for Christmas morning.

We have noticed a remarkably more-significant increase in shipping the great La Vida v2.0 onto friends and family members from those already taking advantage of the hefty discount this year vs. 2013. Right on!

If you’d like to get a pair, simply email us for the Discount Code (
and we will immediately set you up for the savings…and the Christmas delivery, too!

ALL colors and sizes are available, and we’ve already shipped every order from the first ten days of December, so if you haven’t received them by today, you will early next week. Just like last year, we aren’t going to miss a single Christmas delivery for orders placed by December 17–we are doing our best to make certain your feet have another Merry Christmas!

And off we go to get your shoes boxed up and shipped to your favorite Christmas tree.

Viva La Vida!

Healthy by Design: Building Better Shoes Based on Research

I just got back from an amazing Autodesk conference in Las Vegas and am leaving tonight for the Netherlands via Oxford, England (where I will get a chance to see Jayme).

I was invited to give a lecture at “SLEM”, an international innovation and education institute for footwear, located in Wallwijk, in the south of the Netherlands. “SLEM” is an acronym for Shoes, Leather, Education, and Museum. I’ll be covering material that is in the article I wrote, “Race to Build a Better Shoe,” published earlier this year in the IEEE journal. This will be a special seminar devoted to designing shoes around health, called Footwear Health Tech Conference (FHTC).

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I’ll talk about the research that informs the design of OESH shoes. Then I will talk about our innovative sole making process, not typical to standard shoe-manufacturing, utilizing a variety of specialized materials and tooling that give our OESH La Vida’s (all six colors!) that unique feel that no other shoe provides.

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I will also give a sneak preview into the exciting work we’ve been doing with 3-D printing. Initially, only folks who happened into the factory this past year who’ve seen, besides shoes, all the specialized 3-D printers and extruders that we’ve been designing and building, have known what we’ve been up to. But word has been getting out via our many collaborators in the process, through various Universities, the National Science Foundation, Autodesk, material suppliers, and others. Sometime soon, I promise, we’ll be offering a 3-D printed awesomeness exclusively to our current OESHers.

If you happen to be in the Netherlands next Wednesday, contact the folks at SLEM to inquire about seeing my talk. And no matter where you are, you better get that Christmas order in for your new La Vida’s before all those hard-working elves call it a day for the season.


Viva La Vida!

OESH Thanksgiving reprise, again and again: Speed of lightning, Roar of thunder…OESH is here!

A tradition we have now maintained for our fourth consecutive year, and back by popular demand, is the blog we posted for the First OESH Thanksgiving. The annual parade in New York City is the backdrop for all here at hq to wish you and your gathering a wonderful Thanksgiving, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014!

This photo of Underdog is from the Macy’s Parade the first year we actually saw it, in 1983.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 1983

I especially remember walking around 77th street and watching them blow this guy up at 11 o’clock on Wednesday night–it’s now 31 years ago. It’s a good thing Underdog was netted that evening–it was quite windy and if he had gotten loose he might not have responded to traditional canine commands to get in line for the parade (had he blown across the Hudson River, for instance) on Thursday morning.

And here is a certain young lady “I’m a size 8 but a size 10 feels real gooooood” from that same year. As we see Olive Oyl approaching the Dakota on Central Park West, Ms. Oyl would have gained benefit from OESH–that tendency to create a 180° angle with her feet (common to many cartoon characters, apparently) would clearly be mitigated by a compliant weight-bearing architecture allowing for a unique and healthy re-distribution of forces leading to more efficient foot motion and even, perhaps, a realistic view of proper footwear sizing. I shudder at the size of the machinery required to properly make her that compliant sole, though. But Olive would be PSYCHED to wear a pair of La Vida v2.0–and she’s a natural for the Charcoals.

Macy's Olive Oyl 1983

Have a great Holiday!

OESH La Vida v2.0 Christmas SALE begins!

Health is one AWESOME Gift to receive!

Health is one AWESOME Gift to receive!

The time to prepare for another Holiday Season is upon us!

To say thank you for another wonderful year, we’ve created another hefty SALE to keep you (and your dearest friends) well-stocked with our potent La Vida v2.0 shoes. To receive the Discount Code, simply shoot us a quick email here:

Same wonderful, unique, responsive OESH Sole that you love. ALL colors and sizes are available, and we’ve already begun the shipping process for the first orders to go onto the sleigh. As always, the sooner you order, the sooner you can jump into the ship-to queue. Like last year–we never missed a single Christmas delivery for orders placed by December 17–all here are going to make certain your feet have another Merry Christmas!

Off we go to get more shoes boxed up and cozy under your Christmas tree.

Viva La Vida!


La Vida at Oxford

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Our summer intern, Jayme Kusyk, also known as our oldest daughter, is about a month in to being a freshman (or “Fresher” as they say “up there”) at Oxford in England. She’s majoring in English (or as they say, “reading” English). She’s always loved English and turned down admissions to Yale and Brown because, as she explained to me, “Mommy, Oxford is where English was invented.” In addition to excelling in the standard American college requirements, she had to fulfill Oxford’s own requirements, taking a special exam, etc. She’s always wanted to go to Oxford and now she’s there, studying with the best of the best. And in her ample time (because it doesn’t seem like she’s sleeping much), she’s playing for Oxford’s Varsity Lacrosse Team, wearing exclusively, of course, her OESH La Vida’s. Above, she is with her little sister, Zoe, who flew out with Bob to see the first big Oxford-Cambridge game today. Oxford lost, but no worries, Jayme is just a Fresher.

We’re so happy for Jayme but we also miss her hugely. It helps, I suppose, that we’re super busy and that she’s busy too. From the sounds of it, she’s turning in a paper about every ten seconds. But in between her assignments, she’s gotten in a few emails to the family, which, in my completely biased opinion, are priceless:

(1) Upon arrival, I (1) walked into my room (2) screwed the head onto my lacrosse stick (3) noticed a door in the wall that looked like a closet (4) opened the door and (5) almost screamed aloud because this tiny room contains a shower AND a toilet AND a sink. Yeah, I know.  
(2) I literally feel as though I’m at Hogwarts right now. Last night, we had our Freshers’ Formal – it was, to a tee, that scene towards the beginning of Chariots of Fire where all the bloody tabs are eating in that hall, and Aubrey describes it in the voiceover as “a sumptuous affair”. Everyone was in their best clothes, and there were four courses; it lasted almost two and a half hours. The food was all really, really good – it’s supposed to be the best meal of the year – and there was so much silverware on either side of my plate(s) that things became pretty confusing. Luckily, I was sitting across from an Eton boy; naturally, he was very familiar with all the utensils, so I just copied him. Afterwards, I felt like Harry does after his first night at the Hogwarts feast: but instead of reeling away from Great Hall happy, completely stuffed, and exhausted to Gryffindor Tower, all the freshers were herded down into the bar to meet their college parents… 
(3) In response to some of your questions and comments…Yes, the shower is nice, and it is delightful to not have to regularly remove hair from it. No, I have not yet (unnecessarily) sat on my sink. I am loving my bathrobe nevertheless; I wear it around my room and it will definitely come in handy if there is a fire or something. Yes, the lacrosse team is nice, VERY nice. England is great! Yes, I am safe.  
(4) Yes, the November 12th game with Cambridge is an absolute certainty, and, again, it’s at home – reserve away, and I’ll see you soon on Pitch #8 in University Parks. On an incidental but unrelated note, would it be possible to make approximately three dozen pairs of white and navy-blue La Vida with “OULC” written on the tongue? Approximately three dozen individuals are currently clamoring for just such an enterprise.

We respond that indeed, we’ll get those special OESH La Vida colors made for the team. But in the meantime, everyone’s pretty happy with the White Sands.

I know she’ll continue to rip it up and have a great time but that doesn’t keep me from always being worried. Last week as we were talking on Skype and she was telling us about that fantabulous lecture, my mind wandered…what if she chokes on that apple she’s eating while talking to us? She’s so excited, that COULD happen. I wouldn’t be able to do anything but watch…how horrible would that be? I relay that fear to her and she says “no worries, if that happens, I’ll shut off my computer.”

Viva La Vida