The Moral Wardrobe: Wear Anywhere OESH Shoes, 3-D Printed in Charlottesville

A few weeks ago, I was checking the StyleWise inbox when a familiar name caught my attention. I opened the email to discover that my friend, Maggie, writer of this piece on badass grandmas, had recently started working for a local shoe company called OESH, and that they were interested in doing a collaboration (they provided these sandals for review).

This would have been exciting regardless, but it gets better. Not only does OESH produce the bulk of their shoes less than ten minutes from my house (in a town not known for manufacturing), they 3-D print the soles! They recently won a National Science Foundation grant to perfect their custom printers, which use biodegradable pellets instead of the traditional cording, making the process more efficient and less prone to error. OESH is also a woman owned, woman operated company where employees like Maggie actually fabricate the 3-D printers, design the shoes, and program the printers on site. Basically, it’s the coolest!

Maggie and owner, Casey (that’s Dr. Kerrigan to you – she was a tenured professor before quitting to start OESH), gave me a tour of the operation one muggy Saturday afternoon, showing me the ins and outs of printer maintenance and design and letting me know why OESH products are superior to traditional footwear, namely because the shape and internal structure of all OESH shoes were designed with 20+ years of studies on gait (the way people walk) in mind.

OESH makes injection-molded sneakers, too, and they’re careful to avoid the super toxic glues used in traditional footwear. They’re working on developing the right 3-D printed design for flats that won’t require glue at all. Almost all base materials are sourced in the US, as well, with many of the sandal strap varieties made in neighboring Waynesboro. The exception is the sneaker tops – they source those from China – because high performance athletic textiles just aren’t available in the US.

I’m wearing the Athena Sandals in vibrant Snapdragon yellow, but this style comes in lots of other colors. The Athena sandal retails for $135.00. See another way I wore them here
I wore these every day for 7 days when I was out of town a couple weeks ago and my feet have never been happier. I’m serious. It’s tempting to wear them every day with everything. And somehow they work with everything, even boho maxi dresses.
OESH just released a new sandal style, the Artemis, and StyleWise readers will have a chance to win a pair in the color of your choice! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s giveaway post here and on Instagram!

Shop OESH here.

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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  1. I assume you mean Tevas. I find these more comfortable than any other athletic sandals I've tried. Even though there's no arch, the inside of the sole has a honeycomb pattern that ensures that no undue pressure is placed on your foot when you're walking or standing. And my ankles tend to roll inward when I walk, but they don't at all with these, which is fascinating. I can't yet speak to durability since I've only had these a month, but they're holding up perfectly well so far and I've gone on several long walks and stood up all day at my retail job with no strain.

  2. I was excited before, but I'm even more excited now that I can see something that isn't just a prototype. The future is herrrree.

  3. I know. It's unbelievable how many sustainability boxes they tick, too.

  4. So cool! Are these sandles comparable to Texas for durability/comfort when walking for exercise?

  5. Catherine Kowalik Harper

    This is really awesome. I'm excited about 3-D printing. My library has one and I would love to be able to print clothes there one day. 🙂 And your dress is beautiful. What a find!

  6. That is such a fantastic business! I love the idea of using 3d printers for things like this and the sandals are really awesome. Steph

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