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The sole – The underrated key component

The outsole is a key component in the development and production of a shoe. It protects the shoe against mechanical influences, gives it its form and shapes its character.

We only use high-quality soles that are produced by manufacturers who share our uncompromising attitude to high quality. There are good reasons for this; the sole is the component of a shoe that is exposed to the greatest stress. It is constantly under pressure, and exposed to friction and aggressive substances. In order to respond to these demands, it must possess a high level of resistance and also display good load distribution properties.

The main requirements for a sole: A high level of resistance and good load distribution properties.

Polyurethane – The multi-purpose material

In the early days of shoemaking, the soles were made of either leather or wood. Thanks to modern synthetic materials, soles can today be manufactured in all form and design variations. Despite the many different available materials, polyurethane (PUR) has established itself as the primary material in the production of outsoles. Polyurethane refers to a group of synthetic materials that have a similar chemical structure. Depending on the production requirements, PUR can be made to be hard or soft, and elastic or brittle. The polyurethane that is used in the production of soles is in a foam form; the PUR is a type of hard foam that has a dense cell-form structure.

In addition to polyurethane, rubber additives or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) are also used. Thermoplastic polyurethane is a synthetic material that can be formed using heat.

Structure and form

In addition to the material, the form and structure of the sole also plays a key role. The sole has to be very robust, be able to absorb shocks and impact, and at the same time, transfer the forces that we use when walking to the ground. Many soles have hollow areas or cavities at their thickest points, the heal area, and the remaining material therefore gives way when under serious pressure. This slight deformation allows it to absorb unwelcome shocks when walking on hard surfaces.

The profile is an important structural feature of a sole. Depending on the intended use, the sole may have a very rugged profile, or in extreme cases, none at all. The profile of the sole gives it stability when walking and prevents the shoe from slipping. In addition to this function, the profile of the sole also gives the shoe a certain character. A rugged offroad shoe also looks very tough because its sole has very strong profiling. One immediately notices when the profiling of a shoe does not suit it.