Anatomy of a Boot
21stcentury footwear is a marvel of engineering, built from high-tech materials, delivering extreme performance while minimizing weight and maximizing durability. All of this is all possible thanks to a combination of four primary components: Upper, Insole, Midsole, Outsole.
The Upper comprises most of the exterior, above the sole. Ballistic nylon and lightweight mesh are now the preferred materials, providing an excellent combination of lightweight, durability, easy maintenance and breathability. Some uppers make use of synthetic overlays to form a supportive “exoskeleton” to add strength and support to breathable mesh. However, leather is still commonly used in combination with modern materials, both for its durability and its aesthetic properties. Nothing beats a polished leather toe for a professional look. Of course, traditional all-leather uppers are still preferred by many and continue to perform as reliably as ever.
Inside the, the Insole is the piece that makes direct contact with your feet. The insole provides the first layer of comfort and cushioning to keep your feet comfortable over long hours. Many incorporate anti-microbial properties to reduce odors and promote foot health. Insoles are high-wear components are often removable and replaceable, aftermarket insoles allow easy customization to meet your specific needs.
Providing heavy-duty cushioning and shock absorption, the Midsole forms the layer between the insole and outsole. EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) is the most common material for midsoles, however the exact formula can vary, depending on its intended purpose. Most footwear takes a middle-ground approach, balancing factors like weight, durability, flexibility and shock-absorbing ability. This makes for a versatile piece of footwear that’s up to almost any task.
The Outsole is arguably the most important part of any footwear. Like the tires on your car, the outsole makes contact with the ground to provide grip and keep your moving. Common outsole materials include various compounds of natural and synthetic rubber, polyurethanes and PVC. Outsoles are sometimes optimized for certain properties, but most provide a versatile combination of grip and slip-resistance over multiple surfaces.