Best Sole Material for Running Shoes (with Pros & Cons)

Best Sole Material for Running Shoes

A running shoe is a light-weight shoe specifically designed for use by runners.

It needs to have the right cushioning for your foot and heel to absorb the weight of your body.

Major Parts of a Running Shoe

A typical running shoe has three major parts:

  1. Outsole
  2. Midsole, and
  3. Upper sole

The Upper Sole

The upper sole mainly acts as a protective barrier from rocks, debris, and dirt. It requires a sole material that can endure rough terrain. The best material to be used on the upper sole is the synthetic leather as it is sturdy and durable. The upper sole also contains a mesh to ensure maximum breathability in the shoes and reflective material that acts as safety gear.

The Midsole

The midsole is the part between the upper and outsole. It mainly provides cushioning and rebound and ensures mostly that your foot doesn’t feel any sharp or hard objects on the surface. They are three different types of materials that can be used to make the midsole; EVA, dual EVA, and polyurethane.

The Outsole

The outsole is used for traction and contains flex grooves for maximum flexibility. It is commonly made of two materials the carbon rubber and blown rubber.

Related Read: Best Running Shoes in India

Two Types of Soles for Running Shoes

It is correct to state that the sole of the running shoe is mainly made of two materials the EVA and rubber.

The two elements have their pros and cons. However, depending on the use of the jogging shoes it is possible to identify which content is better than the other.

Rubber Sole

Rubber is mainly found into two forms the natural rubber and synthetic rubber.

Both are used to make the sole of jogging shoes, but their qualities differ.

Natural Rubber Soles

Natural rubber is also known as caoutchouc or india rubber.

It is made up of polymers from the isoprene compound but also has impurities found in some organic compounds and water. The natural rubber is very soft and elastic.

Its properties make it very suitable for making high-quality running shoes.

However, it is not water-resistant and thus not durable. It can only be used to make the soles of indoor jogging shoes.

Synthetic Rubber Sole

Synthetic rubber is any synthetic elastomer that is mainly derived from synthesized petroleum products.

It is a human-made type of rubber and can be found in different forms.

  • Water-resistant rubber: It is durable due to its robust properties, and it is resistant to abrasion. It is mainly used to make jogging shoes that are used in rugged terrain.
  • Sticky rubber: It is very flexible and can prevent any slipping. It is mostly used to make soles of jogging shoes used for indoor activities.
  • Environmental rubber: it is formed from recyclable materials and is durable.
  • Air rubber: It has absorption properties. However, the sole material is not durable and as it will break down after some time of wearing it.
  • Hard rubber: It is very hard and has water-resistant properties and can be used to make jogging shoes for use in rough surfaces.
  • Carbon rubber: It is one of the most durable types of synthetic rubbers. It is used to make the outsole of jogging shoes as it is resistant to wear and tear.
  • Blown rubber: It is not durable, but it is highly flexible, cushioned and light in weight.

Pros and Cons of using rubber for making running shoe soles.

  • Rubber soles prevent slipping. This makes it adequate for wet areas.
  • Synthetic rubber is water-proof.
  • Very comfortable in solid areas. The rubber material is very heavy and will be quite comfortable in areas that have rough terrain.
  • Synthetic rubber resists wear & tear. You can use the same pair of footwear for a couple of years.
  • Can?t run for long distances. The synthetic rubber is a tad heavy and you will have to use more energy to lift the shoes. This quality makes them inconvenient for running long distances.
  • They slow down your speed if you want to run faster the rubber soles are not recommended as they are heavy to lift and will slow down your running speed.

Ethylene Vinyl Acetate(EVA) Sole

Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) is made from two compounds – vinyl acetate and ethylene.

It is also referred to as polyethylene-vinyl acetate, a compound known as a copolymer of vinyl acetate and ethylene.

EVA is now the most widely used midsole material for shoes.

It almost resembles the rubber material but it is more flexible and soft can mostly be used to make the midsoles of the jogging shoes.

EVA material is elementary to processing as you can compress it into many forms.

It can take different types of colors, and its properties can resist UV radiation. It can also resist cracking due to the weight of the feet. It can also be used to make sole liners, outsoles, and some manufacturers use it to make the entire shoe.

EVA contains a weight of 10 to 40% of vinyl acetate with the rest of the weight being made of ethylene.

There are three types of EVA and are mainly classified according to the content of vinyl acetate used in the compound. However, if the weight of the vinyl acetate is low, the material is lighter and less durable.

  1. Polyethylene modified with vinyl acetate: It has a low percent of vinyl acetate(average of 4%). It is processed like most thermoplastic materials and is mainly a non-toxic material.
  2. Thermoplastic ethylene: It contains around 4 to 30% of vinyl acetate and resembles mostly the features of rubber.
  3. Ethylene vinyl acetate: Includes more than 40% of vinyl acetate in the compound and is more substantial than the other two.

EVA that contains a higher percentage of vinyl acetate almost resembles rubber in its properties.

Pros and cons of using EVA for soles in running shoes

  • It is comfortable. The material provides cushioning features that ensure the shoe is comfortable while you are walking.
  • It’s flexible and soft. The material is soft to the leg, and you can wear the shoes for long hours.
  • It is tough and robust that prevents the shoe from cracking
  • It resists UV-radiation. EVA is a material that can withstand UV radiation and ensures that the temperature of the shoe is sustainable.
  • It’s water-resistant. It is also able to resist water making it durable.
  • It looks beautiful. It can be made to resemble different colors, and you can select one that suits you the most.
  • Great for running long distances. It’s lightweight and soft and you can run for long hours conveniently.
  • Great where high speed is required. For runners who are competing, the EVA is the most suitable as they are light and the weight you incur is almost insignificant.
  • Not adequate for rough terrain-if you are running in areas that are rocky your feet will be harmed as the material is light.
  • Not durable-unlike rubber the material is not durable and will wear out after a few times of wearing it. If you subject the shoe to rough surfaces, it will last a short time.
  • It is comfortable-the material provides cushioning features that ensure the shoe is comfortable while you are walking.

Conclusion – Which type of soles in best for running shoes?

The two materials are useful in running shoes.

However their adaptability differs depending on the surfaces you are running on, the speed you intend to achieve and the distance you want to cover.

If you are running for long distances and at a faster speed select soles made of EVA as they light-weight.

On the other hand, rubber soles are heavy and can be able to sustain rough surfaces.

Additionally, if you are making your purchasing decision depending on the durability buy running shoes with soles made of rubber.

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