How to Choose the Most Suitable Sole for Your Shoes
Shoes are a necessity for us. They protect our feet, shield them from injuries, provide comfort while walking, and best of all impart a nice style to our ensemble. Now imagine shoes without soles! It is just like walking barefoot. No more protection from the elements, sharp objects or pebbles, or from rain or snow. Soles are the fundamental part of the shoe. The concept of the shoe started with the concept of the sole. It started when a long time ago, one of our ancestors thought about protecting the underside of the feet while walking. It led to a rudimentary form of the sole which further led to the development of shoes. Different types of shoes require different soles. A sole that works well on a particular style of shoe may not be suitable for a different type of shoe. In this article we will discuss different types of shoe soles and what they are best suited for. Let us look at some of the widely available and popular soles below.
1. Leather Soles
Leather soles are associated with luxury and are generally used in dress shoes. These soles have excellent air permeability and keep the foot dry and cool. It means you will not sweat through your feet while wearing shoes with leather soles. This makes them an excellent choice to use in summer shoes. They also fit as per your foot shape with time. Leather soles are sturdy soles and have a long life if properly maintained. Avoid them from oil slicks or prolonged exposure to water, which may damage the leather.
2. Rubber Soles
Rubber is a favorite material in manufacturing a wide range of shoe soles. Rubber soles may be made from natural rubber, recycled rubber, or a combination with other materials and chemicals with improved features. These are water-resistant, durable, and good for use in work boots, hiking boots, and winter shoes.
3. Tunit or Resin Rubber Soles
These popular soles are also called artificial leather soles as they look similar to natural leather. These types of shoe soles are sturdy and made of vulcanized rubber mixed with styrene resin and synthetic SBR rubber. These are water-resistant with high resistance to severe cold and high heat. Tunit soles offer a good grip on the surface and are wear-resistant. Many high-end shoe manufacturers have replaced leather soles with Tunit due to the advantages it offers over the former.
4. TRP soles
TRP soles are made from thermoplastic rubber through molding and compounding solid rubber granules. These soles offer high shock absorption and slip resistance. These are generally used in hiking and outdoor shoes.
5. Commando Soles
Commando soles also known as lugged soles are made from thick rubber. These types of soles are rugged, heavy, weather-resistant, and come with thick lugs. All these features make them a preferred choice for using in hiking boots and work boots. Due to their heavy lugs, these soles attract dirt and mud and have to be cleaned regularly.
6. Dainite Soles
Dainite soles are a refined and thinner variation of rubber soles. These soles have distinct patterns having recessed and round lugs. This design ensures a cleaner sole without any dirt or pebbles sticking to it. These are comfortable and durable soles and are used in making formal and dress shoes.
7. Ridgeway Soles
Ridgeway soles are also a variation of rubber soles. These shoe soles feature protruding lugs and ridge channels. Their function is to provide stability and high traction to the surface. Ridgeway soles are used in creating hiking and outdoor boots as they are durable, have high weather resistance, and are also lightweight.
8. Crepe Soles
Crepe soles are rubber soles made from natural latex rubber also called ‘Crepe’. They are comfortable and waterproof but heavy. These soles are also dirt magnets due to their open pores and require regular cleaning.
9. Cork Nitrile Soles
Cork Nitrile soles for shoes are constructed of rubber mixed with cork particles. These are durable soles that are lightweight too as they are a composite of cork and rubber. These have great elasticity, are weather and oil resistant, and are very comfortable to wear. Cork nitrile soles are used to make shoes for everyday wear and work boots. The only disadvantage of these soles is that they cannot be worn in slippery conditions as they lack tread. So, avoid wearing them in snow or during rains.
10. Combination Soles
Combination soles are also called composite soles. As the name implies these soles are composed of different materials for different parts of the sole. The materials generally include leather with a rubber variation or other synthetic materials. The combination provides different functional advantages of separate materials combined in one sole. For eg, the sole may be of leather but the heel and front part of the sole be made of rubber. It provides durability, higher traction, and high air permeability. These are expensive shoe soles and are used to make high-quality formal and dress shoes.
11. Wedge Soles
Wedge soles are generally chunky soles without any heels. Due to this feature, they are comfortable, non-slippery, and have high traction. These are lightweight and generally used to make work boots.
12. Polyurethane Soles
Polyurethane soles are types of soles made from an organic polymer material. These are durable, low-density, water-resistant, slip-resistant with high shock absorption quality. These are also inexpensive to make. Polyurethane soles are used to make walking & jogging shoes and also safety shoes.
13. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) Soles
ABS soles are sturdy, offer great stability, and are abrasion-resistant. These are durable soles that are a popular choice for making formal shoes and for making indoor shoes. These soles are not weather resistant so are not used for creating outdoor or hiking shoes.
14. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Soles
Polyvinyl Chloride soles are also known as Plastic soles. These shoe soles are created from non-crystalline materials. PVC soles are glossy, semi-transparent, and have a yellowish appearance. These soles are resistant to a variety of elements and harmful materials like oil, water, acid, and corrosion. PVC soles also are fireproof, durable, and offer good insulation. The only downside is that they have poor weather resistance and air permeability. PVC soles are used to create summer shoes, sandals, and shoes for everyday wear.
15. TPR Soles
TPR soles are made from polymer materials. These are easy and affordable to make. TPR soles have high elasticity and provide a good grip. These are also resistant to cold temperatures. These soles are generally used to make walking & running shoes and shoes for everyday wear.
16. Ethylene Vinyl Acetate Soles
These soles for shoes are also known as EVA soles. These are made of polymer materials. EVA soles offer several advantages like high elasticity, shock-absorbing properties, are flexible and lightweight. These comfortable soles are used for making work boots, walking & jogging shoes, cross trainers, and for a wide variety of casual shoes.
17. TPU Soles
TPU or Thermoplastic Polyurethane Soles are made of linear polymer materials. These shoe soles are durable and flexible. These also offer high resistance to oil and water. TPU soles are used to make safety boots, baseball and golf shoes, soccer boots, ski boots, and high-quality women’s footwear.
18. MD Soles
MD soles are also called Phylon soles. These soles are made through high-pressure molding of EVA mixed with different materials. These materials include TPR, PU, or rubber. These soles are dense yet lightweight and highly elastic. MD soles are soft and distribute body weight evenly on the feet. These soles are used for making several varieties of sports shoes like tennis and basketball shoes and even for running & jogging shoes.
19. BPU Soles
BPU soles are constructed of a highly improved form of polyurethane materials that are bio-degradable and thus environmentally friendly. These are low-density soles that are highly sturdy with great plasticity and weather resistance. These soles are used to make outdoor and hiking shoes among a variety of other shoes.
So, these are some popular and widely used shoe soles for creating different types of footwear. All of these soles have various advantages suited for a certain type of environment or work. Choose the type of sole that is best suited for you based on the benefits you can derive from it in the present and future.