Making your own shoe sole can be a challenging task because of the materials and expertise required starting from planning to molding and even casting. However, a custom-made shoe sole can be beneficial both in terms of being economic and profitable.
If you’re aiming to start mass producing shoes or just want a custom sole that fits you, this is the way to go. All the hard work and fine crafting can lead to the most satisfying shoe you have ever work.In this article we are going to discuss about how to make rubber shoe soles.
Things We Need to Make Rubber Shoe Soles
Before we begin, we need to understand the different parts of the shoe. Segmenting each part of the structure will help you to customize and understand what types of material you need and what kind of a sole you are making.
The segments can be defined as follows:
- Outsole: The bottom part of the shoe. The actual sole that contacts the ground and gives traction. This part is usually rubber, EVA Foam, or leather for formal shoes
- Midsole: The component that is between the ‘Last’ and the Outsole. It provides cushion and comfort. Mainly uses plastic materials for the structure and EVA foam for the cushions
- Last: The center of any shoe design. The Sole must be catered specifically for the last that is being used. It is the foot shaped plastic part on which you form the ‘upper’. It also provides foundation when the shoe is glued down.
- Upper: The materials which holds the foot in place. Acts as a stabilizer and prevents unnecessary movements for the foot.
Therefore, depending on what type of a shoe you are making, you will need materials. PU & EVA foam for Rigid & Flexible soles, TPU & petroleum rubber for more elastic builds. This can create molds that can be very soft or very hard depending on the intent of use of the molded shoes.
You will also need Modelling Clay, Sealant, a release Agent, and an insole board. Most of these items can be found and bought from Molding companies
How to Make Rubber Shoe Sole
Making soles depend on the type of use you intend for that type of sole. For example, a running shoe is best with an EVA or PU. Even then, shoes may be barefoot (3-4mm between the sole and feet) or maximum cushion to provide softness. More making rubber shoe soles you have to find best paint for rubber shoe soles.
Preparing the Insole
Sketch and cut out your desired material with your sole shape. Keep in mind to a bit larger than your own feet as the sole will fit both your shoes and the surrounding structure. So, it needs to be a bit larger than the shape and size of your feet.
The bottom part of the last is the starting point. The top surface will need to be about 2 mm bigger all around. This is needed so that the lining to firmly attach. Apply adhesive over the side that will face up. A layer of fabric is to be added acting as the base. Cut out the fabric leaving up-to an inch on all sides so you can press the fabric under the sole for support.
Sketch out and cut your previously designed sole shape on a similar material for the outsole. This will act as the contact point with the ground. Prepare one side to be smooth and add any personalized design as the grooves.
On another sheet of your material, cut off a piece big enough to put your sole on. Prepare the sheet with adhesive. This will be the thickness between the insole and the midsole. There are no specifics to dimensions. Add the previously prepared soles on the new surface. This surface will not be the contact point so place your soles accordingly. Similarly, cut the newly extended sole with an inch extra on every side for when you place the upper after you finish.
Rubber Mold Design
For a rubberized sole, you will need to prepare a mold and apply the layers in order.
Think of this as the cavity of the sole, not the sole itself. A project like this requires no pointers on how to design a custom mold. Basically, feel free to design your own shape. The recommended procedure is to divide it up into a few parts and to start from the bottom. Our example is using a rubber mold
For example, if your mold is split into 3 parts, it will be easier to pour rubber into the mold. It also depends on which types of material you are using, and your may have to carve your design if you are using a hardboard kind of material. For a rubber mold, you can add multiple layers and fill it up as you go so create your desired.
Finally, prepare a top layer with holes to pour in the liquid. This will go over all the segments and will not contribute to the finish product, only as a mean to build the mold.
Building the Mold
- Before starting, check the mold structure. You need to able to pull of the mold to separate it from the rest of the sole. Also, you must keep all the layers in order and symmetry. To help in doing this, you may add screw holes to keep every layer in place for the duration of the building process
- Add all the layers together and make sure everything lines up. Otherwise, the liquid may leak, or your design may be off-center. Add adhesives to all the pieces you want to come off and the leave the surrounding area to be peeled off once complete.
- Add sealant and seal the mold wherever it will contact the rubber. Be cautious because some of it will leak due to the nature of the material. You must make sure that the leak is minimal.
Use the releasing agent to slowly peel off the layers. Make sure you have a good coat all over the structure. Use a tool to mix the rubber well. You need to fairly quick because the rubber will harden (follow instructions of the container) and it will ruin the mold if not spread & applied correctly.
Overfilling the mold is better than underfilling it and leaving an incomplete sole.
Other than that, the sole should be completed. Clean off any excess materials and process to add the upper structure of the shoe on your newly formed shoe soles.By following these steps you will know how to make rubber shoe soles.
How do you make gum soles?
Gum soles are mostly rubber that are made from a tree that is called a rubber tree. The white fluid that is milky in concentration inside the tree is the main ingredient for the rubber and this fluid needs to be extracted and processed for you to make gum shoe.
You can say that this is also a type of latex that be heat-treated to break down the proteins and turn the chemical component harder, that makes the rubber turn into gum soles.
What Rubber is Made of?
Rubbers are made of a tree that grows naturally in the wild. This tree is commonly known as rubber tree and this the fluid that is extracted from this tree and is the basis of the rubber.
The white milky fluid is the main basis of the rubber and when it is chemically processed, then the proteins are broken down and it makes the basic component of the rubber. This rubber is then used to in different heat-process treatments that makes the rubber harder.
Can You Paint Rubber Soles?
Of course, you can definitely paint rubber shoes and in fact, painting your rubber shoe can easily add personality to your products and the things that you use. If you want to give a good quality paint, then tire paint is one of the best options that you can find from your local hardware stores.
Tire paints are famous for their paints that are friendly to the rubber and in fact, it doesn’t wear off by friction when you walk. As a result, you can definitely say that using tire paints can be a great source of personalizing your rubber shoes.
With all said and done, you should have a sturdy pair of shoe soles that caters to your exact fit as well as your own idea of comfort & stability. You do require a bit of knowledge about what you are doing here. But just like everything else, you will get better the more you practice. We are hoping that by reading this article you understand that how to make rubber shoe soles.
Your first pair may not be up the mark. However, your own creation will always be a step ahead of anything you buy off the shelves because solely off the fact that you made it all by yourself! So, enjoy your creation and take your time designing the upper and the rest of your shoe.
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