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Need help picking material for shoe sole!

  1. Feb 28, 2012 #1

    I am currently working on creating a portable rollable ballerina flat which can be easily transported in a women's purse and utilized as a backup pair of shoes when pain resulting from wearing high heeled shoes occurs. The reason for my inquiry is I am looking for a material to use to create a sole which can be both very thin and flexible while providing protection to the foot while walking outdoors. The material must be low cost as well, as this product is an inexpensive one.

    At this link you can find a picture of a rollable ballerina flat, so you have an idea of what I am talking about.

    Anybody's help is greatly appreciated!!!

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 29, 2012 #2


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    Hello Dave, welcome to PF :)

    I think polymers are the best candidate, they're known to be flexible, strong and cheap. These characteristics vary depending on the polymer itself, there are too many each with its own advantages/disadvantages. Look them up, and I'm definitely gonna have a couple of those shoes once they're available. :biggrin:
  4. Feb 29, 2012 #3
    Hi Gad,

    Thanks for the reply :)

    I am somewhat of a newbie to materials, so could you help point me in the right direction? I was recommended to try Nylon 6,6 and have it coated in 1/8 inch of rubber, how does that sound? Is nylon the way to go in the polymer group?

    I will send you a free pair once they are developed for the insightful help!

  5. Mar 1, 2012 #4
    Ok, I have done some research into the topic now, and I have come to the preliminary conclusion that the best option may be using:

    Aramid fabric (Kevlar) coated with 1/8" of either BUNA-S or neoprene rubber (used car tires would be nice!). I have some questions, as I said i'm a beginner with this, and would appreciate any help to any of the questions!

    1) Which rubber is better for this application BUNA-S or Neoprene? Is 1/8" a good thickness of rubber to protect the foot and provide traction while still easily rolling up?

    2) How thick of a aramid fabric do I need to provide protection to the foot from sharp objects from puncturing through? I see it is made anywhere from 0.08mm to 0.4+mm thick. Since this material is used to make bulletproof vests I would imagine a thin piece would provide ample protection, but I could be wrong!

    3) Will a rubber coated aramid fabric be able to roll up compactly?

    4) Is it normal to find one manufacturer who can both make the fabric and coat it with rubber, or is this usually done by two separate companies?

    Thank you very much for any assistance!
  6. Mar 2, 2012 #5


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  7. Mar 2, 2012 #6
    How about a TPR Rubber or EVA?
  8. Mar 2, 2012 #7


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    as an alternative to synthetics, you might also consider cork
  9. Mar 2, 2012 #8


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    Rollable flats with neoprene soles will be very uncomfortable for the wearer on gravel (especially crushed-stone walks). Having worn neoprene diving-suit booties in cold weather when dragging my kayak through the snow to do some white-water boating, I can attest to this. Also, neoprene wears very quickly and has to be coupled with nylon (or some other fabric) inside and out. Nylon fabric is not very skid-resistant and can be a hazard on smooth surfaces. Just stuff to consider.
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