Who would’ve thought that buying your shoes goes beyond just knowing what looks good and feels nice on your feet? Shocker! How often do you think about the soles before you purchase your new pair? There are many shoe sole types, and knowing the ones that fit you best will improve your day-to-day life greatly.
After all, soles are one of the main parts of shoes! We shouldn’t take them for granted. They ensure you’re not in pain after working on your feet the whole day, and they keep you safe depending on the surface you walk over.
Knowing shoe sole types will help you find a lovely pair that will give you exactly what you’re looking for. So, on your next shoe hunt, think ahead: where do you plan to wear your new shoes? Once you know that, choosing the ones that will give you the most comfort and protection will be a breeze!
We get it, thinking about all these details you need to pay attention to can be pretty overwhelming. Luckily, we’ve decided to make you a sole expert in just a couple of minutes!
Together, we’ll go through the main shoe sole types, and answer all of your questions about them. Your next pair of shoes will be your favorite one!
10 main shoe sole types you need to know about
Yep, you’ve read that right – there are 10 main shoe sole types, and they all serve different purposes. To avoid spending money on a pair of shoes you’ll regret, let’s find out more about each type. You’ll learn what makes them a good choice, so you never buy the wrong pair again.
1. Rubber soles
Rubber soles are a classic. You can hardly go wrong with them! Although natural rubber was used to make soles for centuries, we’re now using synthetic rubber for the same purpose.
It’s not a huge shocker that rubber soles are loved by workers all over the world. They’re super durable! No matter the weather, your shoes with rubber soles have got your back! Wear them on the rainiest of days and your feet will stay dry!
Because they’re durable and waterproof, rubber soles are used for working, hiking, and winter boots. And hey, if you’d like to stay both fashionable and safe, don’t worry – they don’t look too bad, either. In fact, they look pretty cool since they’re a lot thicker than other shoe sole types.
Unfortunately, after some time, you’ll probably notice a few cracks on your rubber soles if you use them day after day. Still, even if you overuse them, you can still resole your pair and they’ll be as good as new!
2. Leather soles
If we found a time-traveling machine and traveled back to ancient times, we’d probably find people wearing shoes with leather soles. They gained popularity back then, and they’re still popular to this day. How cool is that?!
We’re not surprised, though. Shoes with leather soles are known for being extremely long-lasting, and they’re always a go-to choice for formal occasions. They do need a bit of extra care and maintenance, but they’ll probably make your shoes the most reliable pair you have.
People who have issues with sweating will find these soles to be their ideal match. They’re breathable and will keep your feet sweet-free. Say goodbye to that nasty odor! On top of that, they’ll mold to your feet, making them extra comfortable. Out of all shoe sole types, these are a perfect choice for a formal look.
3. Lugged soles
If you want the ultimate protection, while also looking kind of rebellious, lugged soles are your perfect match. They’re also made of rubber, which is why they’re great at fighting any kind of weather. Since they’re super chunky, they’ll provide you with incredible traction, too.
Lugged soles are usually found on hiking and utility boots, and for a good reason. They’re a game changer for rough and slippery terrains. Out of all other shoe sole types, these are a perfect choice for when your feet need some extra protection.
If you’re working in extreme conditions, don’t hesitate to invest in a pair of shoes with lugged soles. You won’t regret it one bit! Except for when it’s time to clean them, maybe… Their lugs collect a lot of dirt, so make sure you give them a quick wash every now and then.
4. Cork soles
If you are looking for soles that provide the same amount of durability as rubber, but are lighter, cork soles are the right choice for you. They’re made of cork and rubber and are an ideal balance between comfort and durability. What else could you ask for?
They’re a favorite choice for people who often deal with foot pain and discomfort that affects their work life. And, the best part is – they’re usually pretty affordable. Who doesn’t love a bargain that doesn’t influence quality?!
5. Christy soles
For those of you looking for lightweight soles that you will barely even feel on your feet, christy ones are the way to go. They’re a perfect choice for daily use, even if you spend your days on wheels.
You can recognize them by the fact that they have no defined heel! Christy soles work like magic – they’re lightweight, yet provide great traction and stability. For all our fashionable folks out there, adding a pair of christy soles to your wardrobe will be a game-changer.
Good stability, traction, plenty of comfort, and they’re stylish? That’s christy soles for you! Still, we wouldn’t recommend wearing them out on rough terrains. They’re ideal for your day-to-day life, and you should keep using your sturdier soles for extreme conditions.
6. Ridgeway soles
Another variation of rubber soles (we told you they’re loved), ridgeway soles are just as durable and strong. As their name suggests, they’re designed with ridge channels that will provide you with plenty of traction and stability.
Just like their rubber sisters, they’re also made for pretty much any kind of environment. If you spend your days working in harsh weather conditions and rough terrains – ridgeway soles will be your favorite work buddies.
On top of being durable and stable, they’re also super lightweight. You’ll spend the whole day working in them without feeling like you’re dragging your feet around!
7. Camp soles
We don’t want to bore you, but there are plenty of shoe sole types that are made of rubber. Don’t hate us, but we’ve might have got another one for you… Camp soles are, surprise, surprise, made of rubber, which means they’re water-resistant and offer plenty of traction.
Thanks to their incredible grip, you’ll be safe on pretty much any kind of slippery surface. If you’re looking for a casual-looking pair of shoes that can be something you turn to often, camp soles won’t let you down.
The best thing about camp soles is that you can wear them daily! They’re incredibly lightweight, which means they won’t strain your feet. You’ll mostly find them on loafers and moccasins, and they can be pretty cheap compared to other types we’ve mentioned.
If you’d like a budget-friendly pair of shoes, that will give you plenty of grip, protection, and stability – look no further. Camp soles are the way to go, and you’ll enjoy every moment of wearing them. Also, they look pretty great, too!
8. Combination soles
If you simply can’t make up your mind between two types of soles, we might have a solution for you. Made of both rubber and leather, combination soles are every indecisive person’s dream.
They’re becoming more and more popular lately, so they might be the youngest on our shoe sole types list. Still, that doesn’t make them any less worthy of your money. They’re classy and durable but, just like normal leather soles, they do need some special care.
9. ABS soles
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) soles come with some pretty unique characteristics. It’s quite a list, actually. They’re tough, durable, super stable, can easily mold to your feet, and they have abrasion resistance… They’re definitely a full package.
If you’d like a pair of shoes that will last you for a long time, definitely go for the ones that come with ABS soles. Unfortunately, no matter how long their list of pros is, they have some downsides, too. The main one is the fact that they’re not really weather-resistant.
Plus, they’re pretty sensitive to extreme heat or cold. Because of that, they’re most suitable for people who spend a lot of their time inside.
10. Polyurethane soles
Just like rubber, polyurethane also comes in a variety of forms, but we won’t go into too much detail here. The main thing you should know is that they’re one of the most popular choices when it comes to shoe sole types, and for a good reason.
They’re flexible, waterproof, comfortable, and super durable – and can last you for a really long time. On top of that, polyurethane soles have incredible characteristics that make them loved by many workers.
They’ll provide you with a good grip and they’re slip-resistant, shockproof, and suitable for all kinds of surfaces. Sounds good to us!