Shoes outsole materials

Shoes have always been items in trade. However, many importers tend to prioritize appearance and price while overlooking the significance of the sole. In reality, the material used for the shoe sole plays a role in providing comfort and durability.

The soles of shoes play a role in providing support and protection. It’s essential to use them to avoid any risks, which emphasizes their significance. When choosing the material for the sole, it’s necessary to have knowledge about options and leverage the unique qualities of each material.

There are materials for making shoe soles, each with its advantages. The selection depends on your shoe requirements. Now, let’s explore the sole materials to understand their advantages and applications. This will help you make choices for your shoe business.

Key factors to consider when selecting shoe materials;

shoes material

1. Grip Force;

Having a grip is essential for activities and environments. For sports like hiking, mountaineering, or running, it is advisable to opt for rubber or specialized rubber compound soles that offer traction.

2. Durability;

The longevity of soles is crucial to ensure performance over time. Materials with durability, such as rubber, can withstand friction and abrasion effectively, thereby extending the lifespan of the soles.

3. Shock Absorption;

The ability of shoe materials to absorb shocks is vital in reducing the impact on our bodies from walking on surfaces. Some high-performance materials, like EVA or PU, possess shock absorption capabilities.

4. Stability;

The stability provided by shoe materials directly affects foot support and balance during movement.

In sports that demand stability, like basketball, tennis, or football, opting for materials with enhanced strength, such as rubber or TPU, can offer improved support and control.

When it comes to activities or requirements, choosing shoe sole materials that are lightweight can enhance comfort. Reduce the strain and exhaustion. Materials like EVA foam are known for their lightness. It can effectively decrease the weight of the footwear.

There are materials for manufacturing high-quality shoe soles depending on the type and purpose of the shoes. I have compiled a list of shoe materials for your reference.

ABS soles

It provides more cushioning than rubber. It may need to be more durable. ABS is commonly used in the plastics and cosmetics industries. Running shoes and some casual dress shoes often feature ABS soles.

BPU Soles

BPU (Modified Polyurethane) is a type of polyurethane with low density giving it an ultra-lightweight feel. It has a surface crust toughness, resistance to breakage, and good weather durability. BPU can serve as an alternative for EVA outsoles, blown PVC bases, wooden shoes, and PVC foam bases, among others. This modified polyurethane material bears a resemblance to wood.

It’s a type of material that’s lightweight, showcases a lovely wood grain, can withstand different temperatures, and has a customizable degradation timeframe.

Rubber Sole Material

Rubber soles can be relatively heavy. Have a tire-like odor. These soles are commonly found in rain boots, hiking shoes, and outdoor footwear. 

Rubber is a material that offers grip, water resistance, abrasion resistance, and durability. Due to its gripping capabilities and waterproof nature, rubber is commonly employed for manufacturing. It provides cushioning and shock absorption while being lighter and more resistant to wear than PU or TPU.

Rubber soles are another option found in the market. These soles are usually made from natural rubber materials. Rubber soles offer durability and stability that others may lack. Many people prefer these because they are cost-effective, waterproof, and easy to break in. 

Another reason why people like these soles is that they maintain the appearance and comfort of the shoe, even though they may be less expensive.

Leather Sole Material

Leather soles offer an appearance and good breathability. They are commonly used in fashion and formal footwear. Compared to materials, leather soles tend to be more expensive and prone to wear. Additionally, they may lack traction—slip resistance on slippery surfaces. 

Leather, being a natural material that requires minimal upkeep, can be easily dyed in different shades. It offers comfort when worn. It demands some maintenance. Leather shoes can be polished. Generally require care. Although leather may be more expensive compared to materials, its durability ensures a lasting lifespan.

Leather soles have been famous for years. They are often associated with a luxurious appearance and feel, making them a preferred choice. They provide breathability compared to rubber soles, which is why many people opt for them despite the initial stiffness. However, this stiffness doesn’t last long. The shoes become comfortable enough. Leather soles are also beneficial for individuals who have foot-related issues like sweat or odor.

Another great advantage of leather soles is their ability to resist ground impact while regulating temperature. That’s why they are highly favored during the summer season. Additionally, leather soles cause problems as most people don’t have allergies, and they can be replaced at times. This allows you to enjoy a shoe that will last a long time.

EVA Sole Material

Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) soles are lightweight and provide foot support with shock absorption properties. However, one downside is that they can be slippery. It is lightweight. It has shock absorption properties, making it ideal for crafting shoe soles and other footwear. Slippers made from EVA retain their freshness after extended use without emitting any odors.

It’s worth noting that the famous brand Crocs often utilizes this material in their products.

In addition, they are frequently employed as part of running shoes to diminish foot tiredness and minimize the effects of impact.

PU (Polyurethane)

Polyurethane (PU), crafted from an organic polymer material, stands as one of the leading plastics globally. Its lightweight nature coupled with flexibility makes it resistant to wear while offering cushioning compared to rubber; however, it may not be as durable.


PVC, which stands for chloride, is an artificial polymer known for its rigidity and durability. It is a material that can be easily mass-produced. One of its qualities is its resistance to heat and chemicals, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

You can find PVC in the soles of these types of shoes. And flooring materials like vinyl floor tiles. Because of their durability and longevity, people who choose PVC shoes and boots can enjoy wearing them for periods.

TPR soles

On the other hand, TPR (Thermoplastic Rubber) is a type of plastic that can be molded into rubber soles. These TPR soles are pretty popular in shoes and hiking boots due to their nature, flexibility, and durability. Their lasting quality means you won’t have to replace your footwear frequently compared to other types of rubber soles.


Another material worth mentioning is TPU ( polyurethane), which shares properties with rubber but offers even more outstanding durability with higher tensile strength and stiffness. TPU is a material that combines the characteristics of rubber and plastic to enhance overall toughness. It finds usage in the production of shoes, hiking boots, and other outdoor footwear.

Raw Cord soles

Raw cord soles are crafted from cotton or linen. They have durability, ensuring long-term use. The material is also resilient and straightforward to clean, though it doesn’t offer waterproofing. To maintain these soles, it’s essential to keep them dry during storage.

Cork Soles

You’ll often come across cork soles in work boots. These soles combine cork with rubber, resulting in a weight without compromising durability. Like types of soles, they effectively resist odor and offer an additional advantage. Cork soles are more resilient and naturally strong, which helps alleviate foot or joint pain for the wearer.

People also prefer cork soles because they provide traction for boots. The combination of materials ensures an experience, which is not surprising given their benefits. However, if you’re looking for a sole that can withstand weather conditions, it’s best to opt for something better.


 When shopping for shoes and deciding on the type of sole you prefer, remember that each sole serves a purpose. Many claim to be the best. It ultimately depends on your needs and usage. If you’re still unsure, consider finding a compromise by selecting a sole that offers desired attributes like flexibility and comfort while keeping an eye out for qualities that may be necessary, such as durability, strength, and slip resistance.

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