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The Importance of the Right Sneaker Material

No matter what your game, no matter how you live, the sneakers you choose have to give you the comfort and style you deserve. Not just any sneaker will do. Style, color and a great look are definitely important aspects of the selection process but performance is crucial too. The materials used in the sneakers are paramount to your comfort and your success whether you are a runner, a golfer or even just a kid.

The Uppers

The upper part of a sneaker is the part that catches peoples' eyes. It is where the bold designs, shoe laces and bright colors combine to bring the rest of the shoe together. Uppers are made of three basic materials: canvas, leather and mesh. Which material is chosen relates to the purpose of the shoe. For example, a running shoe should offer support and airflow.

The Midsoles

As the name suggests, the midsole is in the middle of the shoe. It is here that support and protection are provided for your feet. Some of the best shoes use a combination of basic materials such as Phylon, polyurethane, Phylite, and EVA. The features each material provides add value to the sneaker. Phylon is lightweight whereas polyurethane is the most durable material. Phylite is a blend of rubber and Phylon which is lighter than solid rubber but heavier than Phylon. It can be used to make a one-piece midsole and outsole. This dramatically reduces the weight of the shoe. EVA is the least expensive material available for midsoles. It is lightweight, flexible and soft.

The Outsoles

This is the part of the shoe where the rubber meets the pavement, so to speak. It is your foot's first line of defense against the ground, pavement or basketball court. The sneaker material used here is some form of rubber. Five different types are most commonly used: gum rubber, Duralon, durable rubber compound, carbon rubber or solid rubber.

Gum rubber has a distinctive tan color and is a natural and synthetic rubber blend. It provides great traction on indoor surfaces such as basketball and volleyball courts but is not recommended for outdoor surfaces.

Duralon is a blown synthetic rubber that incorporates air pockets and provides a soft cushion, usually for the area in the front of the foot. It is commonly found in running shoes.

Durable rubber compound takes solid rubber and incorporates additives that give it extra durability. It has a hard finish and is suitable for rough, outdoor surfaces.

Carbon rubber combines natural rubber with carbon to create a durable outsole primarily used in running shoes.

Solid rubber is a blend of both synthetic and natural rubbers which provide excellent durability and traction but is not quite as good on rough outdoor surfaces.

When you choose sneakers make sure that you are getting the best possible materials and performance as well as a pleasing design and style.