OESH Meme #4

OESH Meme 4
Last of this series…bow fell off.

Women runners comment on OESH

A frequent question we respond to is How will OESH perform as a running shoe? In fact, Casey was interviewed recently by the major trade journal of the running specialty industry (more on that when the article publishes in a few weeks) on precisely this topic. Given that OESH Classics and OESH Lizards are designed as an all purpose 24/7 shoe, we constructed these OESH to be sturdy, in many instances going with heavier materials over lighter choices. Nonetheless, many potential OESHers are intrigued with the performance they might expect from a runner’s perspective. Since the reporter wanted to hear specifics directly, we asked two very articulate, active women to let ‘er rip and say what they think after buying OESH to wear primarily as a running shoe.

Here is what Kathleen Korth of San Francisco had to say:

Hi Max,

My name is Kathleen Korth and I’m writing to you regarding my experience with OESH shoes.  I am a 59 1/2 year old female who uses running nowadays to help maintain the 80 pounds I lost 6 years ago.

I’ve been wearing OESH for over a year and I couldn’t be happier with them.  I’ve been a runner off and on for 40 years and have used various types of running shoes.  Everything from your standard Brooks to Asics to Nike Frees to Vibram Bikilas.  I thought for sure when I went to the Vibrams that I would have the “Born To Run” experience that we all want. Now I’m not here to knock the bare-footers.  I truly believe that whatever works for an individual is the right way to go.  

Vibrams weren’t right for me.  I didn’t get injured mind you, I just never felt relaxed or comfortable with them.  As opposed to the OESH which worked from day one and have continued to perform perfectly for me.  I always have to chuckle when I visualize the 5 fingers next to the OESH.  I mean, could they look any more divergent?  Also, I am so impressed with the research that Dr. Casey Kerrigan has put into the concept and design of OESH.  Especially as a female runner, I feel that someone (Casey) has my back.  (And my hips, ankles and knees!)

Now while I’m mostly a treadmiller, I have used my OESH outdoors.  

Always the perfect running experience.  I have put over 1000 miles on my shoes and they still look brand new.  I don’t know how these guys are going to make money since it looks like it may be a LONG time before I will need to replace them.  Also, I have been so happy with my OESH that when the company came out with their sandals earlier this year, I couldn’t click the “BUY” button fast enough!

If you have any further questions regarding my life as an OESHer, I’m happy to answer them.



And here is what Kim Stempien of Redding had to say:

Hi Max,

I have been running for 36 years. Like many moms, I let my running body fall by the wayside after having children 10 years ago. A year ago I tried to regain the runner fitness in me, but I ran into a few hurdles. I was out of shape, 10 pounds heavier and plagued with a few injuries, including a debilitating case of plantar fasciitis.

I stumbled across the OESH shoes a couple of months ago when searching the internet and was floored when I saw they were created by Dr. Casey Kerrigan, a former high school track & cross-country running mate. I justified the higher end shoes because I had paid so much already in medical bills (e.g., MRI, prednisone, cortisone, doctor’s visits, and LOTS of Rock Tape). Dr. Kerrigan was known as a genius in high school, and if there was anyone who could redesign the way running shoes were made, I was sure she had done the research and could do it!

After running in the OESH’s for 3 months, I can honestly say they have given me spunk back into my stride and it was a great decision. I am hooked on them and try to share the OESH information to anyone trying to lose weight through running or that’s been battling PF.

I have found that the OESH work particularly well for me on the asphalt or paved surfaces. I specifically feel that I have less impact going up the leg when landing each stride and they set me straight on my take-off (kind of like a diving spring board puts you straight up in form). I don’t feel like I’m a pronator in them and my legs don’t fatigue as I bump my mileage up.

To top it off, I love the sound the OESHes make. They have a bit of a hollow ring to them on pavement (like our metal Bornean gong but in a carbon-fiber kind of way). The sound reminds me of my old Spinergy bike wheels with carbon fiber tri-spokes that I used in the 1994 Hawaii Ironman. So the sound brings me to a happy nostalgic place with a meditative ohm.

Overall, I’m sold on them. It feels great to be back running and getting stronger every day. (Note: I did start back slowly to let my plantar fascia get stronger. I felt immediate relief when walking in them all day long. I gradually worked up my distance and speed over two months and then finally running consecutive days. I’m up to 20 miles a week at this point.) Let me know if you have any other questions. 

Best Running Regards,

Kim Stempien

Redding CA

(Northern CA with the Sacramento River Trail system from Lake Shasta to the Sundial Bridge, and lots of single track dirt trails abound)

For their candor, and ESPECIALLY for the time and energy they called on to write such comprehensive narratives, everyone here at hq is indebted to Kathleen and Kim. Isn’t it awesome to read these letters? I’ve probably read these notes 20 times apiece, but every time I do I can’t wait for the next sentence. Believe me, when I next run into them, I am buying the beer.

And speaking for everyone in our audience, we would also love to hear–What do you think about running in OESH? Let us know…and you can bet, I’ll be psyched to fetch you a beer, too!

Why I love my shoes

OESH is always flattered beyond measure when you take the time to say “thank-you”. It means even more when you put it in the form of an email–and we try to post as many comments as we can on the ever-growing OESHers SAY page of testimonials.

But every once in a while, we want to give proper space to a unique OESHer–and today’s post is one of those neat opportunities. Overcoming flat feet, told previously that she over-pronates, and worst of all battling plantar fasciitis, Lisa Graziano not only loves her OESH, she wrote a blog about them on her website. Lisa is in the midst of training for Charlottesville’s 10-miler held every spring. And she credits OESH with so much love, we are beaming with pride.

Go Lisa!

America’s Podiatrist reviews OESH…”she threw the box away”

Dr. Michael Nirenberg of Crown Point, Indiana (just east of Chicago) has built a spectacular international reputation in podiatry, and especially so as a renowned forensics expert. Forensics is synonymous with detective work, and we loved the idea that he would investigate OESH for his wonderful America’s Podiatrist website.

Word for word, here is what Dr. N deduced–Watson would be proud to know him:

After more than 20 years of publishing breakthrough research on how humans walk and run, D. Casey Kerrigan, M.D. has redesigned the running shoe. She calls it the OESH—which is the word “shoe” upside down and inside out. To design the OESH shoe Kerrigan did not just think outside the box; she threw the box away: leaving the shoe’s midsole open on one side.

A shoe with an open midsole is huge a paradigm shift in footwear. While all the big name running shoe makers are figuring out what next to put inside the sole—air, gel, rubber, bubble gum etc. Kerrigan said: just leave the midsole open! In the shoe design world, Kerrigan’s decision to leave the midsole open is akin to Galileo saying the Earth revolves around the sun (not the other way around).  There is a striking elegance in the simplicity of the OESH design.

As an aside, I commend her for having the courage to follow through on this shoe. On the drawing pad, one had to think twigs and debris would lodge in this open area. However, this turns out not to be a problem at all in everyday wear.

OESH calls this open area the Void, and Dr. Kerrigan states that it is this absence of anything that allows the shoe the freedom to flex with your body. Because of the Void, the claim is that it does not matter if you supinate or pronate, the Void allows your foot the freedom to move naturally. And natural is always better.

In an ideal world the ultimate in natural is barefoot (or second best, a minimalist shoe), but if you choose to wear a shoe (and for now, most people do), OESH appears to be the shoe you should be wearing. I say, appears because OESH does not make my shoe size and thus, I have not had the opportunity to try the shoe myself. So the next best thing was to have my wife, who has smaller feet, wear them. She thought they were the most comfortable shoes she had ever worn. Given that she suffers with foot and ankle problems and has tried many styles of shoes over the years, this was surprising.

OESH claims that this revolutionary shoe eliminates the need for foot orthotics because it provides compliance at the critical time when the foot is maximally stressed. The shoe sole is made of carbon fiber cantilevers that are oriented in such a way that they flex downward only when the foot is fully planted on the ground. It is the orientation of the cantilevers that allows the midsole to compress and release in perfect harmony with the compression and release of the arch of the foot. This action ensures that the foot undergoes a complete, fully natural and uninhibited range of motion, while simultaneously providing compliance to the rest of the body.

As a podiatrist who has dedicated my life to alleviating pain often by making people custom made foot orthotics, I was skeptical. But, it appears that this remarkably designed shoe may replace the need for orthotics, and for that matter, arch supports, insoles, heel pads, heel cups, and anything else we may wedge into our typical running shoe… and believe me, I have seen a lot of people wedge a lot of different things into their shoes! When my wife wore the OESH shoe, she found that her painful, over-pronating, flat feet no longer required her custom-made orthotics for comfort.

Certainly, my wife not needing her orthotics is not scientific proof that OESH shoes can replace orthotics, but it is interesting. And OESH is an interesting shoe. The most interesting shoe we have seen in a long, long time.

Now, I just hope they would make an OESH shoe in my size!

Check out these amazing OESH shoes at http://oeshshoes.wpengine.com/

Guest Post by Paul Ingraham: Do something! Anything!

I’m underwhelmed by all the “cures” out there for chronic aches and pains. But there is, and always has been, that one thing that really does work… exercise. I asked Paul Ingraham, a health science journalist and copyeditor for ScienceBasedMedicine.org if he would write about exercise and more specifically to the point that even just a little can be hugely beneficial. Paul is a former Registered Massage Therapist in Vancouver, Canada, and the creator of a large and informative website, www.PainScience.com, offering hundreds of free articles and several more detailed self-help ebooks about common pain problems like muscle knots and low back pain, as well as overuse injuries of particular interest to readers here: runner’s knee, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis.

Do something! Anything! Exercise is easier and better for you than most people realize

by Paul Ingraham

What helps chronic aches and pains? How do you recover from injuries or prevent them? I’ve been helping clients and educating readers for over a decade now, and I’ve come to a disappointing conclusion: most of the best tips are the “boring” ones. There are lots of big promises and tasty myths out there, but it’s the unsexy options that are actually safe, cheap, easy.

Not every obvious option is worthwhile. Stretching doesn’t actually prevent injuries, or much of anything else that people hope it does. Drinking extra water is a pointless and even dangerous fad. Most vitamin supplementation and nutraceuticals have failed every test for benefit. Repetitive strain injuries aren’t even actually “inflamed”, and so popular treatments like ibuprofen are amazingly useless. And so on and on.

But other basics are vital: smokers really do need to quit smoking (it makes pain worse, like everything else). Insomniacs actually do need to fix their sleep. Obviously uncomfortable work stations need to be made more comfortable, hot baths are still the most basic comfort for muscle pain, and simple self-massage will probably do more for muscle knots than anything else.

And moderate exercise. Oh, exercise! Best of them all: the king of the self-treatment hill.

Less is not less: exercise in small doses

It’s simple and easy. Virtually any exercise will do. You don’t have to be “hard core”. I have fantastic news for you: exercise benefits are easier to obtain than you thought, and less is not much less, or not proportionately less. Nearly every stitch of science for ten years has confirmed this.

Here’s just one example: an excellent little Scottish experiment from 2009 gave us startlingly “good news”, showing that it may be possible to get really fantastic bang for your exercise buck. They found that only a few 30-second sprints on a stationary bike — intense but quick and only twice per week — may be nearly as effective at preventing disease as much more time-intensive traditional (cardio) exercise programs.

Exercise “nuts” are welcome to their nuttiness, but they have a serious diminishing returns problem: their first hour of exercise is getting them about 75% of their benefits for the week, maybe more. The rest is thin gravy.

So please do not avoid exercise because you think you have to do a lot to make it worthwhile. A short walk is a very great deal better than nothing. Training regimens and/or exercise classes are appropriate for athletes and the athletic, but if you are bit of a couch potato, those are probably the last things you want to do, and they’re doomed to failure. What, then? Basics: start walking or cycling to work, take the stairs instead of the elevator, take the batteries out of the remote, et cetera

Another great reason to keep it easy: repetitive strain injuries are a huge category of unnecessary injury, largely the result of amateur athletes doing more exercise than they need to. The plot thickens.

And why bother?

The evidence is overwhelming: moderate exercise is not just fantastic for your body and long term health, but your brain as well.

Which, in turn, means that (moderate) exercise is good for pain. Just as exercise science is relentlessly confirming that less is not much less, pain science has been busy confirming that the severity and chronicity of pain has much more to do with the function of the brain and spinal cord than we ever thought before. And exercise seems to help both the body and the nervous system.

A sedentary lifestyle is a major aggravating factor in many injuries and pain problems, and particularly problems caused or complicated by myofascial pain syndrome (muscle knots).

A lack of exercise or variety of activity generally impairs circulation and the vitality that is needed for healing, but it also constitutes an irritant in itself: sitting is stressful for many tissues, for instance. An increase in activity is an important pre-requisite and support system for healing.

So do something. Anything!