Friday, January 13, 2012

Why I love my shoes

In the late summer of 2010, after I had been running pretty steadily for a few months, I started getting some heel pain.  It got increasingly worse (excruciating pain any time I stood up after being seated or sleeping for a while), until I finally had it diagnosed by a podiatrist--yep, plantar fasciitis.  No fun at all!  The podiatrist gave me inserts, had me tape my foot and stop running for a while.  I gradually felt better and incorporated short runs back into my cardio workouts, and while I could do a mile or so pain-free, any longer run than that caused a lot of pain.  I was very discouraged until an article appeared one Sunday in our local paper.  A doctor here at UVa, formerly at Harvard, had invented a new shoe that turns current shoe design on its head.  There is NO FOAM in these bad boys; instead, the bottoms are made of carbon fiber, and they are designed in concept on the cantilevered floor of the Harvard track.  When I read about this shoe, I wept (seriously), because I knew at last someone had made a shoe FOR ME.  I am flat footed.  I over-pronate.  I have plantar fasciitis.  When I heard that the factory (located right here in Charlottesville) was going to be open 3 days a week, it was all I could do to wait until the next open day to go.  And you know something?  This shoe has lived up to all of the promises it made.  I have had them since August and I absolutely LOVE them.  I have NO PAIN.  Hear that?  No pain!  This shoe actually stretches the plantar whatchamajiggy that was tightening up on me and giving me all that pain.  Orthotics unnaturally constricted this, but the OESH shoes let it flex the way it is supposed to.

The downside?  Well, they aren't the prettiest or daintiest shoes on the market.  Here are mine, in black (they also come in "Lizard"):

They are also a tad heavy, but I know there are folks out there who have run marathons in them.

Oh, here's another great thing about them.  You know, if you run, that you have to pay attention to your shoe mileage.  I even have an app on my iPhone that will track shoe mileage for me.  Guess what?  I don't need this feature!  Because there is no foam in here to wear out, these shoes are good to go for as many miles as I am (or at least as long as the uppers hold up).  I have been told that there are runners out there with over 2,000 miles logged on their OESH shoes!

Here's the link--go check them out for yourself.  Shoes are very personal and I'm not saying these are for everyone, but they sure did the trick for me!

Happy running!


  1. Enjoyed your blog posting about OESH. I wear them too and love them. Looking forward to the rest of the planet discovering these too.

    1. It will take time to convince people that this concept is worthwhile, but word of mouth is bound to help. Do you run in yours? Or are they your everyday shoe?

    2. I run 5X per week, 5 miles each time on a treadmill. Looking forward to the next round of styles and then perhaps I'll buy a pair as an everyday shoe.

  2. Hey there Lisa,
    Glad to hear you have had success with your OESH. I have been fighting plantar fasciitis for a year and half. I participate in a 5 day a week cross fit work out that includes some running. I have been going crazy not being able to do my best with the running because of my screaming feet. Mind you I am 56 years old and until I started working out with this group I had no idea I could run...even run fast! I would do anything to run without pain so I purchased a pair of OESH. I have had them a week. My question is, in your case, what kind of time frame did you find relief from your plantar fasciitis? Was it gradual? Did it take awhile to find your gait with the new shoes?
    Good job on your running! Your daughters have to be very proud of you. My daughter (31 years old!) is eager for me to heal so we can run a 1/2 marathon together sometime.
    Christine from Texas

    1. Christine,
      It did indeed take a bit of time for me to find the proper gait, and I realized very quickly why Bob advised me to take it SLOW the first week or two, since you use new muscles with the OESH. I had some discomfort (pain is too strong a word) along the front of my legs for a few days as previously unused muscles began bearing more of the weight. However, by the third week I had no discomfort at all. What I had to learn was not to fight the pronating that I was still doing--you should try to not "try" at all (if that makes any sense)--just let your feet hit as they naturally want to make contact with the ground. I still aim for a mid-foot strike and not a heel strike, but if I don't think too much about it, my foot lands where it needs to. I hope you grow to love them as I do!