OESH — From Sea to Shining Sea

It’s Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer, and you probably look at OESH and wonder how it handles all terrains.

For starters, a delighted wearer says:

“Your wonderful shoes took me through the volcanoes of Hawaii on my honeymoon. Thought you might like the picture.

 BTW I have had no more problems with the laces and wear your shoes constantly. Thanks for your wonderful personal customer service…. Also I keep telling everyone I know about them. 

All the best, Janet”

Thank you Janet!

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, on Tuesday this week, I was on an educational field trip with my daughter Kellyn’s 7th grade class to the remote Fox Island on the Chesapeake Bay. She attends a remarkable middle school of all girls in Charlottesville, founded and run by a brilliant faculty (education is a big part of the culture here, what with UVa the first public University and all). I was the appointed chaperone because my doctor’s degree might come in handy—which, as usual, it did. I’m also the P.E. teacher. I really adore these girls, which helps because we were going to spend 3 days rolling around in black marsh muck, using a composting toilet, and not taking a shower. Meanwhile, some other moms got to hang out together on the mainland in a cottage that had (1) alcohol and (2) showers.

So it turned out to be an outrageously great trip. We walked a lot along shell filled beaches, through swampy grasses and even cannonballed into some marshy muck. Marshy muck, by the way, smells poopy, but in the Chesapeake anyway, is really only dead plant and animal remains. At least that’s what I told myself and the girls when it was going up over our heads.

And for my OESH? Well, quicksand doesn’t stay in the Void for long. Dirt, mud and muck finds its way into the Void of course, but it’s fairly temporary–most of it just gets pushed back out with the next step.

Plus, they clean up well – as much as I enjoyed a nice hot shower I’m sure my OESH enjoyed their hose down, too. Over here in Virginia, Janet and a bunch of other OESH wearers are kicking off the summer wearing them today. Maybe when these OESH turn 21 I’ll enjoy a drink with them, too.

The start of something new

Ellen Goodman interviewed me about ten years ago and published what I thought was the best press coverage on my research on the effects of footwear on musculoskeletal health. It was far better and more in depth than the coverage of my work in the New York Times, USA Today, and even a full episode on ABC’s 20/20. Ellen’s article is the only one that I ever framed and hung up in my office. At the time, I did not know who Ellen Goodman was (I didn’t get out much). But since then, I read her articles regularly and found each one to be nothing less than inspiring. She delivered information in a way that led me to gradually change the way I wrote scientific articles, or at least wanted to write scientific articles.

There is a certain style to scientific writing which one has to adhere to consisting of four parts: (1) introduction, (2) methods, (3) results and (4) discussion. You are not cool with the journal reviewers if you go on and on in the introduction and the discussion about what motivated you to do the study and what you think are the implications of the study. But I always find those two things of any study to be the most interesting. A researcher could have done a million different studies– I care why he/she did that one particular study. And I care about what the researcher thinks insofar as the implications of the study, because often times, and certainly in my case, the researcher is the last person on Earth to accept and try to work around, the status quo.

Ellen said in her article what I had wanted to say in my research articles but couldn’t. I am looking forward to this blog being a direct means for me to discuss the motivation and implications of all the research I did on walking, running and footwear over the last 20 years – which led to the development of OESH. I often cringe when I read some of the interpretations of my research especially when it’s in the form of an advertisement for something that I don’t think is good. I’ve never blogged before and I’ve never made a single comment on any article or blog. But now in my journey to translate all that 20 years’ research into OESH, I think it is time I start blogging.