Q: What are the various elements of a boot sole?
A: The outsole is the bottom of the boot and comes in direct contact with the ground; it provides a measure of protection, depending upon the material it is constructed out of, and is made out of a variety of materials with different tread designs. The midsole is the middle layer or layers that go on top of the outside; it helps provide strength, durability and comfort to the boot. The insole is the comfort layer that goes on top of the midsole and comes in direct contact with the wearer’s foot.
Q: What is the strongest outsole construction?
A: Cement – where the outsole is bonded to the leather upper with an adhesive – is the strongest type of outsole construction. Goodyear Welt – where the outsole is sewn on to the leather upper and the boot can be resoled – is the next strongest type of outsole construction. Direct attach – where the sole in injected into the leather upper in a liquid state and dried onto the boot – is the weakest type of outsole construction.
Q: What outsole type is the most durable?
A: The Goodyear Welt is the most durable type of outsole construction; Cement is the next most durable type, while Direct Attach is the least durable type.
Q: What is the most comfortable outsole construction?
A: Direct Attach is the most comfortable type of outsole construction, Cement is the next, while Goodyear Welt construction is the least comfortable.
Q: What types of materials are used in midsole construction?
A: The types of materials used in midsole construction include dual density foam (the most durable but provides only average comfort), polyurethane, rubber, ethyl vinyl acetate or EVA (the least durable but most comfortable).
Q: What are the materials used in insole construction?
A: Polyurethane and ethyl vinyl acetate or EVA are two of the most common types of materials used to construct the insole of a boot or shoe.
Q: What is the shank?
A: The shank is a metal or heavy composite plastic strip in the midsole for reinforcement of the wearer’s arch, providing support to the bottom of the boot. A full shank goes from heel to toe, while a ¾-shank goes to the ball of the foot. The shank is glued, whipstitched or tacked in place.