Shoe soles explained
What is an outsole?
The outsole is the part of a shoe that comes in contact with the ground. It’s typically made from rubber or in some cases leather, and it provides traction and support for your foot.
Outsoles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the type of shoes they are used in.
Outsole for Hiking boots
The outsole for a pair of hiking boots or hiking shoes is designed to provide traction on a variety of surfaces, including rocks, roots, and mud. Normally made out of rubber.
The outsole on these types of shoes and boots usually have a lug pattern on the bottom. The lugs aid in gripping the surface and preventing you from sliding.
It’s also usually thicker and more durable than the outsole on other types of shoes, so it can handle the extra wear and tear that comes with hiking.
Outsole for Running Shoes
The outsole on a pair of running shoes is designed to be lightweight and to provide traction and cushioning as you run. This is why you will typically see a tread pattern on running shoes that is different from hiking boots.
Outsole for everyday sneakers
The emphasis with this type of sole is usually on creating a lightweight shoe that you can wear all day without feeling tired.
They tend to be quite similar to the outsoles of a pair of running shoes.
Outsole for classic shoes
The outsole on a classic shoe is typically made from leather. It doesn’t have any treads because they aren’t necessary, and it’s not as lightweight as other types of outsoles.
sometimes you’ll find that some leather outsoles might have rubber added to them in certain locations for a better grip on the surface.
The main purpose of this type of sole is to provide durability and support for your foot. However, most leather outsoles do not provide the same comfortable feeling as a rubber outsole.
What is a midsole?
The midsole is the part of the shoe that sits between the outsole and the insole. It’s main purpose is to provide cushioning and support for your foot. The most common type of midsole is the EVA midsole.
Air or Gel cushioning is also located in the midsole, often used by Nike and Asics.
The midsole on a pair of running shoes determines the pronation.
What is an EVA midsole?
You have probably come across “EVA midsole” when looking at the features of a shoe.
EVA is an abbreviation for ethylene-vinyl acetate, and it’s a type of foam that is used in many different types of shoes.
The main benefit of an EVA midsole is that it provides cushioning and support for your foot. It is also extremely lightweight and tends to be durable, and relatively inexpensive to produce, which makes them a popular choice for midsole construction.
What is a PU midsole?
PU is an abbreviation for polyurethane, and it’s another type of foam that is often used in shoes.
It has similar benefits to EVA foam, but often a bit more rigid and heavier. This makes it a good choice for shoes that need to provide more stability or support.
What is an insole?
The insole is the part of the shoe that sits closest to your foot. It’s main purpose is to provide cushioning and support for your foot, and it can be made from a variety of materials, including foam, gel, cork or leather.
Some insoles are removable so that you can replace them with your own.
Can insoles help you with pronation?
If you have pronation, you can get insoles that are specifically designed to help with this.
Pronation is when your foot rolls inward when you walk or run, and it can cause a number of problems, including pain in your knees, hips or lower back.
Insoles that are designed for pronation typically have a raised arch and a firm heel that helps to support your foot and prevent it from rolling inward.
EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) is a foam like material that is a popular choice for shoe manufactureres as it is lightweight and provide a high level of cushioning.
Ortholite is one of the leading manufacturers of insole foams and can be found in various brands like adidas, Asics, Brooks and Converse. Ortholite insoles provides a high degree of durability, comfort, and breathability.
Another great brand making insoles is SuperFeet. You can check out our guide for SuperFeet here.