A building is as good as its foundation. The same thought goes for shoes. The soles are an essential part of boots that determine their performance and overall durability. They allow the shoes to maintain an ideal grip over the surface.
As there are different types of shoes like leather, cotton, suede, velvet, etc., there are various types of soles. Each type of sole has a distinctive feature and texture. Soles go beyond rubber and leather. If you are unaware of the lesser-known type of shoe soles, you have arrived at the right place. Read along and educate yourself about the various types of shoe soles that you can get into!
9 Types of Shoe Soles You Need to Know About
Rubber soles are the most common type of shoe soles. They can either have an organic or recycled rubber construction. Such a variety of shoe soles have a versatile structure, making them useful in hiking boots as well as formal boots.
Rubber makes the soles flexible and waterproof. Furthermore, this increases its durability. Such features make it ideal for everyday use.
As they are bendable and flexible, no pressure is felt on the feet while carrying out varied movements. Moreover, you can wear the shoes for hours at a stretch without worrying about any heel pain.
Coming to its traction, rubber soles provide an enhanced level of friction to any kind of surface. You will not have to worry about slipping accidentally with these kinds of shoe soles.
- They are water-proof.
- High durability is guaranteed.
- It is easier to clean.
They Might Squeak on Wet Surfaces.
After rubber soles, leather soles are a common sight when it comes to dress shoes. The main selling point of leather sole shoes is their breathability. If your feet tend to get sweaty, leather shoe soles are the best alternative for you.
Cattleskins are mostly preferred in making leather shoe soles. Vegetable tanning is utilized in its manufacturing.
As it has an elaborate manufacturing process, they are water-resistant.
Leather sole shoes hit the mark when it comes to elegant appearance and looks. So, if you are looking for a fancy pair of footwear, you cannot go wrong by choosing sole leather shoes.
- They are breathable.
- It can be resoled quickly.
- It gives the shoes an elegant look.
- It can be rigid for some wearers.
Polyurethane Bottoms (PU)
Apart from rubber and leather soles, Polyurethane Bottoms (PU) is another excellent alternative due to their fine features. PU covers comfort, durability, flexibility, and more!
If your work requires you to be on your feet all day, you must go for this alternative to provide adequate comfort to the arches and the heels.
They provide resistance from wear and tear and accidental slipping.
Moreover, exceptional shock absorption prevents the feet from getting bruised or injured by any external factors.
Its waterproofing abilities keep the shoes dry and fresh, hence increasing the comfort levels.
- It has more durability than rubber and leather soles.
- They are resistant to constant wearing.
- More comfort is guaranteed with shock absorption.
- Such shoe soles lack breathability.
EVA stands for Ethylene Vinyl Acetate. It is best known for its shock-absorbing abilities.
Not only that, but it is also extremely lightweight, making it every major footwear’s brand favorite.
It has intensive flexibility and elasticity that makes foot movement easier and effortless. It offers best-in-class shock absorption properties, making it more useful for walking on uneven surfaces.
If you use your shoes for some intense outdoor activities like construction work, you must prefer shoes with EVA soles. They are made to endure frequent and comprehensive usage.
- They are light in weight.
- They have high elasticity and bendability.
- Its shock-absorbing properties are unbeatable.
- As it can pick up dirt very fast, they tend to get dirtier far too often.
TPR stands for Thermoplastic Rubber. It is a 100% recyclable material that is produced through the process of thermal injection molding. It was patented in the year 1975.
The substance is created by molding and compounding solid and concrete raw materials and rubber granules.
Shredded car tires are also used for their manufacturing.
The main highlight of this outsole alternative is its high slip-resistance and traction over uneven terrain.
Such features make it ideal for outdoor activities and rough work environments.
- It protects the feet and ankles from external jolts.
- They have reliable durability.
- They offer extreme resistance from accidental slipping.
- These sole options are not the best when it comes to comfort.
The full form of ABS is Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. Scientifically, it is a common thermoplastic polymer.
Such soles are made from plastic without the inculcation of any types of toxins. As it is plastic, the material is durable, challenging, and offers extensive stability.
You can easily opt for such sole shoes on coarse terrains to guarantee resistance from any external impacts. So, even if you use it to climb on steep slopes or rocky hills, your feet remain protected.
This material is specifically designed for heightened flexibility. As it can be molded in any shape, it is used by shoe manufacturers to produce a challenging range of footwear.
- They can handle external impacts effortlessly.
- Durability is guaranteed.
- There are no toxic substances present.
- They are not suitable for extreme weather conditions.
If you are into mountain hiking and similar outdoor activities, you must get shoes with commando soles.
The inventor of these soles, Vitale Bramante, was pushed to make such heavy-duty soles after his friends fell prey to mountain climbing.
These kinds of soles are mostly seen in hiking or utility boots. They have a rubber construction, making it a recommended choice for outdoor usage.
There is no adverse effect seen on the soles despite any weather conditions. This allows you to utilize such boots on slippery surfaces or muddy regions.
As they have thick lugs, they are also known as lugged soles.
They provide overall protection to the feet due to their thick construction and structure.
- They provide an excellent grip over any kind of surface.
- You can climb hills and mountains effortlessly due to the traction provides.
- Their thick build increases the durability.
- There is a quick accumulation of dust seen in the lugs, making them more susceptible to getting dirty.
Raw Cord Soles
In the early days, rubber was a rare find. Such a need and necessity gave birth to raw cord soles.
They were an instant hit due to their oil-resistant element.
During World War II, the soldiers required heavy-duty shoes with rough soles to walk long miles. Such sole shoes quickly fulfilled this.
These kinds of soles are weather and wear-resistant. Such outsoles were made for everyday use.
You can walk on uneven terrains with such boots without any trouble.
- They have a rigid construction.
- They have high durability.
- You can walk on uneven surfaces without compromising on the quality.
- They do not offer the same amount of comfort as the other shoe soles.
Cork is a lesser-known material that is harvested from the cork trees. Generally, it is a soft material.
The boots with these kinds of soles have a low profile. Most of the time, they are mixed with rubber to make them lightweight as well as durable.
Due to such a construction, they have increased durability.
The rubber structure makes them water-resistant.
If you are worried about your sweaty feet stinking up the shoes, the cork material has moisture-wicking technology that reduces the odor.
As the soles have a natural elasticity, it alleviates joint pains and ankle injuries.
- They are water-proof.
- They are suitable for people suffering from plantar fasciitis.
- It has ample ventilation.
- They are not suitable for people with high-arched feet.
Which is the better PU sole vs. PVC or TPR sole?
PU sole offers high durability, enhanced flexibility, and slip resistance. On the other hand, PVC provides oil resistance, lightweight, and endurance. Lastly, TPR soles help with better traction over rough surfaces. Hence, all of the soles have their own sets of merits and can be used according to varied purposes.
What are synthetic sole shoes?
Synthetic is an alternative to other materials like rubber or leather. They are not natural materials. Some of the best synthetic sole shoes are PVC. or EVA.
Are our rubber soles durable?
Rubber is one of the most durable options when it comes to shoe soles. They have the sturdiness to handle and endure extreme situations. As they are light in weight, no extra pressure is felt on the feet. Moreover, rubber has high elasticity that adds a touch of flexibility to the shoes. All such qualities make it a durable sole for shoes.
The bottom line
There you have it, some of the best shoe soles that you can opt for while going shopping. We hope that the article mentioned above has shed some light that could help you get better shoes. As all the shoe soles have their own share of advantages and disadvantages, you can choose your requirement and needs.
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.