Polyurethane is a polymer extracted from hydroxyl bases combined with diisocyanates, making it an ideal material for the manufacture of safety and sports footwear, as it is a light and resistant material that effectively protects against damage caused by heavy weights.
This is why this material is generally used in the production of soles for this type of footwear, as it absorbs shocks very effectively and is highly resistant to high temperatures, as well as being non-slip.
But let’s take a closer look at its advantages.
5 advantages of polyurethane soles
Lightness and resistance
As we mentioned, polyurethane soles are very light, due to the fact that it is a thin material. Normally, if a material is light, it offers little resistance, but in the case of polyurethane, the opposite is true.
Despite being a light material, polyurethane provides great resistance to deformation and wear caused by contact with the ground, making footwear last longer.
Thermal insulation and slip resistance
Polyurethane soles maintain an ideal temperature inside the shoe. This characteristic is due to the gas trapped in the chambers created in the inner web of the polymer. They also offer high resistance to high temperatures.
It is also highly resistant to slipping, helping to maintain balance in unstable or wet areas, which makes this material ideal for the production of safety footwear.
Polyurethane also provides flexibility, adapting to the footprint, making footwear more comfortable and comfortable.
In addition, this flexibility helps to absorb shock or impact, protecting the foot.
Another of the great benefits of using polyurethane for footwear soles is that it allows for very versatile finishes which can be adjusted to different styles and shapes.
Polyurethane can be processed by colour, pad printing, brushing or embossing, among others, thus achieving a complete personalisation of the sole.
Polyurethane is a simple material to work with as it can be used in different densities to suit different types of footwear or finishes.
A polyurethane sole made for a work boot does not require the same density as one for a wedge sandal, as neither the use nor the finish will be the same.
These characteristics make polyurethane the most widely used material for safety footwear.
Disadvantages of polyurethane soles
Although polyurethane soles have more advantages than disadvantages, the effect of hydrolysis on the material must be taken into account.
This process is caused by the attack of water, usually in the form of steam, which causes the disintegration of the material, causing the sole to lose its properties over time.
Hydrolysis occurs when footwear is stored for long periods of time in places with high levels of humidity, although this can be relatively easy to avoid if certain hygiene and maintenance measures are followed.
What is the durability of polyurethane soles?
The durability of polyurethane soles depends on many factors, such as the frequency of use of the footwear or the risks to which it is exposed, among others, although as a general rule this type of sole tends to resist more than other types of materials, thus extending the useful life of the footwear.
If the footwear is kept in the right conditions and basic maintenance is provided, it is possible to extend the durability of the footwear much longer than expected. Here, you can find some basic tips for cleaning and care.
Did you know about polyurethane material and its application in the safety footwear industry? Do you want to learn more about this and other types of materials and manufacturing processes? Find out more interesting information in our blog.
Remember! At GPI we design, develop and manufacture high quality custom-made safety footwear based on the current prevention measures.
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