Types of Shoe Soles

Although the sole of the shoe often gets the least inspection when making a purchase, it should be one of your top considerations. The sole is what gets the most abuse, so you should consider the different types available and choose one that works best for you.

What follows are the most common types of shoe soles. Understanding their attributes and possible issues will help you make the best-informed decision when selecting the right pair of shoes for your needs.

Single, HAF, & Double Leather

Although rubber has gained in popularity, single leather sole shoes are still the most common. The single sole is sewn into the welt of the shoe. A double leather is two separate soles sewn together. While the HAF is a cross between a single and double leather sole. There are a few different types of leather used, including super prime, prime, and oak barked. Single, HAF, and double leather sole shoes are high quality, stylish, and can be expensive. In addition, while the leather is durable, it generally does not last as long and requires more maintenance compared to a rubber sole shoe.

Nitrile Cork Shoe Sole

A common type of sole that is made from a combination of synthetic and natural materials. Nitrile cork is quite common in American shoes and boots. The combination of cork and rubber provides some traction and durability while being lightweight. Many nitrile cork soles do not have treads, so they are a bit slicker in wet conditions.

Rubber Shoe Sole

An outer layer of rubber is secured to an inner layer of leather. The result is better durability and grip compared to a standard leather sole. Rubber soles have treads for better grip under wet conditions. In addition, they trap more heat compared to leather soles and many do not consider them as fashionable.

City Rubber Shoe Sole

A rubber sole that looks like leather, city rubber is a good compromise for those who want the style that leather provides while having the grip and durability of rubber soles.

York Shoe Sole

This is a rubber sole with a leather insert found in the middle and back of the shoe. York soles are sleek and sturdy, making them suitable for wet conditions, although the hard rubber is not well suited for snow and ice.

Other types of soles include crepe, which is more for casual shoes and sneakers. While inexpensive, their ability to grip the surface is not consistent.
And finally, the treaded and studded soles such as Dainite, Medway, and Ridgeway which are designed mostly for outdoor use. The studs and treads make it easier to walk across grass and dirt. However, walking across snow is not recommended as the snow can pack into the treads and create slick spots.

Which Type of Soles to Consider?

The best way to answer this question is to consider the use of the shoe itself. For making the best appearance at your employment or gathering, leather soles are still the best. Leather is quite stylish and makes a strong impression while still being durable.

Rubber and City Rubber soles are more durable, practical, and often cheaper compared to their leather counterparts. They may not make as strong an impression as leather, but they are perfect for working conditions.