We usually talk about the shoe material including the lining material. The common characteristics of shoe materials should be soft, breathable (dissipate moisture and absorb air), reduction and elasticity, light, wear-resistant, water-resistant, and easy to process and non-fading.
Natural leather and leather sports footwear materials
Natural leather has many types. Cowhide is the most commonly used material for sports footwear, with a small amount of sheepskin, pigskin, and other materials. Over 80% of footwear use cowhide as upper material. Natural leather usually has the advantages of softness, good breathability, warmth, fold resistance, and durability.
Artificial leather sports footwear materials
It is made by foaming or covering various different formulations of PVC, PU and other materials on textile or non-woven fabric base. It can be processed into various colors, gloss, patterns, and other requirements of different strengths. Artificial leather has the characteristics of diverse varieties, good waterproof performance, neat edge, high utilization rates, and relatively low price compared to leather. However, most artificial leather cannot match the touch and elasticity of natural leather.
Mesh sports footwear materials
Mesh material is used for outer covering areas of sports footwear, lightweight and has good breathability, softness, wearing comfort, and bending resistance. However, it is not warm. Sandwich mesh is a good example. Mesh material has the characteristics of being lightweight and breathable, which is very suitable for making running shoes, training shoes and upper materials.
Foam sports footwear materials
Foam has good elasticity, light weight, good resilience, and bending resistance. It is usually used at the collar (behind the heel) and tongue of shoes to improve comfort. Many footwear designs also use 2mm foam in the waist lining to increase the comfort and breathability of sports footwear, and to enhance the three-dimensional feel of the waist section. The quality of foam is usually expressed by the degree of tightness. Higher foam quality means smaller gaps inside, and the density is greater. Since the friction resistance and tear strength of foam are poor, foam is usually not used for exposed areas, but needs to be combined with other materials. Usually, in the manufacturing process, self-adhesive (glued and adhered to the release paper) is applied first, and it is easy and quick to combine with other components by tearing off the release paper.
Non-woven sports footwear materials
Also called non-woven fabric, it is a type of fabric that does not require spinning and weaving but is formed by directing or random arranging short fibers or filaments and then reinforced by mechanical, thermal bonding, or chemical methods. Non-woven fabrics do not have warp and weft threads, and it is relatively easy to cut and sew. In addition, non-woven fabrics have the characteristics of being lightweight, breathable, flexible, moisture-proof, and low-priced. They are usually used as reinforcing materials in shoe materials.
TPU sports footwear materials
TPU is a hard but easily bendable plastic material, which has good support and protective properties. It is mainly used on various types of shoe uppers to provide good support for sports footwear.