1998: Dr. Kerrigan publishes the first biomechanical gait study in a major medical scientific journal (The Lancet) showing that footwear (in this study, high heeled shoes) has a clear biomechanical effect on the body above the foot (in this study, at the knee).
1999-2001: Further biomechanical studies (in Dr. Kerrigan’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School) on the effect of all major types of shoes (and shoe modifications) on joint biomechanics. Found that virtually all existing shoe designs, not just high heels, increase peak joint torques at the knee and hip.
2001: Dr. Kerrigan develops concept for OESH and her first patent for cantilevered shoe construction is filed by Harvard Medical School/Partners Healthcare.
2002-2005: Dr. Kerrigan is recruited to the University of Virginia School of Medicine where she moves her research program. Prototype cantilevers made and tested in mocked up shoes. Funding for research and biomechanical testing supported by the National Institutes of Health.
2005-2006: Mechanical testing of prototype cantilevers, finite element analysis, and materials research to determine optimal materials and design to manufacture OESH on a commercial scale. Resultant material and design recommendations were carbon fiber and the current v-shaped cantilever with a non-compressed 5-degree angle.
2006: Partnership with shoe factories in China. A sole to accommodate the carbon fiber cantilevers was designed with the help of a friend, Craig Heisner (who has been an executive at several major athletic shoe companies), and Advanced Design Concepts in Massachusetts.
2006-2007: OESH prototypes with injected plastic compound cantilevers are made in China. Extensive wear-testing, refining, and re-testing protocols begin. Cantilevers crack after a week of rigorous wear, demonstrating beyond the mechanical engineering results, that the cantilevers MUST be made of carbon fiber.
2008: Re-connected with an old college friend, Karin Van Steenlandt of Vanstin Advertising, who coined the name OESH – the word shoe, upside down and inside out – as well as the OESH logo.
2008-2009: Continued refinement and wear-testing of OESH designs. Funding for this phase was supported by a major athletic shoe company, which was interested in licensing the technology. Ultimately, they wanted an exclusive agreement to make an alternate design using plastic instead of carbon fiber. That design was not biomechanically effective.
2008-2010: Dr. Kerrigan leaves her tenured position at the University of Virginia School of Medicine (but maintains her professorship of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the School of Engineering) to develop a feasible, automated, and repeatable process to manufacture carbon fiber cantilevers using a filament winding process. Developed specialized equipment and protocols and set up the current OESH factory in Charlottesville.
2010: Limited launch of OESH.
2011: OESH moves its cantilever assembling process from China to the Charlottesville factory. Launch of OESH Classic and Lizard shoes.
2012: OESH introduces sandals, making both the carbon fiber midsole and the entire upper in the Charlottesville factory.