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Which Sole Material Is Best for Running Shoes?

running-shoe-sole

Proper equipment is for any type of exercise, and it doesn’t matter if it is as simple as running. A good pair of running shoes are designed to provide proper support and cushioning to your feet and heels while you run. So, it is important to know which sole material is best for running shoes.

Parts of a Running Shoe

It is important to know which sole material is best for running shoes because sole support your feet, which in turn supports your whole body. However, the sole is further broken down into three parts, the upper sole, the midsole, and the outsole.

Outsole

The outsole is the bottom part of the shoes. It is supposed to have grooves so that it can provide a good grip, and it also needs to be flexible. Generally, the ideal outsole is made out of two materials, blown rubber, and carbon rubber.

Midsole

The midsole, as the name suggests, comes between the outsole and the upper sole. The main function of the midsole is to provide additional protection to your feet, especially when you walk on any uneven or sharp object while running. A midsole can be composed of three materials, which are EVA, Dual EVA, and polyurethane.

Upper Sole

The upper sole is important as it is the part of the shoe that protects your feet from rough terrain, rocks, and other things that could hurt your feet. Due to its function, the upper sole is supposed to be extremely durable, and therefore, the upper sole is made of synthetic leather, which is flexible as well as durable. Another important feature of the upper sole is the mesh that allows your feet to get some air circulation. Often times, the upper sole also comes with a reflective material that allows others to see you in the dark.

Which Sole Material Is Best for Running Shoes?

In simple terms, the sole of a running shoe is made of EVA and Rubber. These two materials have different advantages and disadvantages. So, which sole material is best for running shoes depends on your running style.

Rubber Soles

Rubber soles can be further broken down into two categories, which are natural Rubber and synthetic Rubber.

Natural Rubber, which is also called India Rubber, is made out of polymers from the isoprene compound. However, it contains traces of impurities that are present in organic compounds and water. This type of rubber is very soft and highly elastic. Due to its properties, Natural Rubber is used to make high-quality running shoes. One of its downsides is that natural rubber isn’t water-resistant. So, mainly the shoes made of natural rubber are used for indoor running such as on a treadmill.

Synthetic Rubber

Synthetic rubber is made out of synthesized petroleum products. This rubber is designed by humans so that it can have different properties based on the requirements.

  • Blown rubber is light-weight, flexible, and provides excellent comfort. However, it lacks durability.
  • Carbon Rubber is one of the most durable artificial rubbers. Most jogging/running shoes have an outsole of carbon rubber as it is highly resistant to wear and tear.
  • Air Rubber acts as an absorbent but offers little in terms of durability.
  • Hard Rubber is one of the strongest artificial rubbers and is water-resistant too. It is used for making running shoes that are to be used in rough terrain.
  • Waterproof rubber is used to make shoes that are going to be used in places that have rough terrain and high rainfall.
  • Environmental rubber is one of the most eco-friendly rubber as it is made of recyclable materials. However, it lacks durability.
  • Sticky rubber offers the best grip and is used to make shoes that are to be used indoors where the floor is slippery.

EVA Soles

Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) soles consist of two materials, which are vinyl acetate and ethylene. EVA is used to manufacture the midsole of the shoes. EVA can be processed into many forms and can take multiple colors, and it is also resistant to UV Rays and doesn’t crack under heavyweight. EVA is, therefore, also used to make the sole liners, outsoles, and sometimes even the entire shoe.

Types of EVA

EVA can be broken down into three categories depending on the concentration of vinyl acetate used in the production of the compound. Generally, higher vinyl acetate content makes the shoe more durable but heavy.

  • The polyethylene that is modified with vinyl acetate (in small quantity around 4%) is made like thermoplastics and is non-toxic in nature.
  • Thermoplastic ethylene contains up to 30% vinyl acetate and behaves identically to rubber.
  • Ethylene-vinyl acetate has over 40% vinyl acetate and is much durable than the other two compounds but is significantly heavier.

EVA vs. Rubber

As we are talking about which sole material is best for running shoes. Let us compare the two primary materials used to manufacture soles before deciding the result.

  • EVA running shoes provide more comfort than Rubber shoes but are not suitable for rough terrain.
  • Rubber shoes are significantly heavier than EVA shoes, making them unsuitable for use when running long distances.
  • EVA shoes are not as durable as Rubber shoes, which means you need to replace them more often than rubber shoes.
  • The Rubber shoes are not as comfortable or breathable as EVA shoes making them uncomfortable if you keep them on for a while.

Conclusion

Now that we know about the materials used to make running shoes. It is time to decide which sole material is best for running shoes.

Out of the two materials, Rubber and EVA, which sole material is best for running shoes, depending on the type of running you prefer.

So, if you are planning to run long distances at speed, then EVA would be the best option for you. They are also more suited for indoor use.

If you are running outdoors and encounter rough terrain, then going with the rubber soles would be a good option as they are more durable and provide better protection to your feet.


Running Shoe Sole FAQs

Which Sole Material Is Best for Running Shoes?

Depending on whether you are running outside or indoors and whether you are jogging or running, you can choose between rubber and EVA shoes, respectively.

Is It Okay to Wear Running Shoes Instead of Everyday Shoes?

Yes, it is totally fine to wear running shoes instead of regular shoes, unless it’s a formal occasion.

Which Shoe Size Should I Choose for Running Shoes?

Generally, running shoes should be a size larger than your regular shoes. This is recommended because the increased blood flow and swelling due to running make your feet a bit larger. Thus, a larger shoe would be more comfortable.

What Is the Difference Between Running And Walking Shoes?

A running shoe has a stiffer sole as compared to a walking shoe. Running shoes are also lighter than walking shoes.

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