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How Rubber Shoes Are Made

Published at 03/24/2012 15:32:15


The foot contains more bones than any other part of the body. Feet have been instrumental in the survival of mankind – over time, they have adapted to different kinds of environments and climatic conditions. They have withstood freezing temperatures as well as extreme cold. They have helped man to navigate deserts, mountains and forests. The feet are designed to withstand a lot of stress – still they are vulnerable to extreme temperatures and certain types of terrain. Thus, we wear shoes to protect them. Shoes have been worn since 8000 BC. Earlier, shoes were mostly manufactured from animal hide. However, such shoes were expensive and were not worn by a majority of the population. Shoes became available to the general public only after they began to be mass produced. Today, shoes are manufactured using a variety of materials – including rubber. Let us take a look at the process of manufacturing of rubber shoes.


Rubber shoes can be manufactured by natural of synthetic rubber. Natural rubber is derived from the sap of certain trees (hevea brasiliensis) which are predominantly found in the southern Asia. Natural rubber is also called India rubber. Synthetic rubber is produced from different kinds of monomers (a molecule which attaches itself to other molecules of the same kind to form a polymer)) which are a by product of the extraction of petroleum. Natural and synthetic rubbers are known as polymers. Polymers are arrangements of monomers. This chemical composition of rubber is what makes it so durable and elastic. Natural rubber is often fortified by a process known as vulcanisation. Vulcanisation is a chemical process which was developed in 1939 by the legendary Charles Goodyear. Vulcanisation involves the heating of natural rubber and then combining with additives (mostly sulphur). This brings about a significant improvement in the strength and elastic properties of the. The first patent for rubber shoes heel was issued in 1899 to a man named Humphrey O’ Sullivan who was of Irish-American origin.


Rubber shoes are manufactured using up to fifteen different parts while rubber boots are made up of almost 25 different parts. Different types of polymer sheets are ordered depending upon the purpose of the rubber shoes. These sheets are cut up using machines specifically designed for the purpose. The machines are connected to each other using conveyor belts. The cutting machines are controlled by a computer program and this minimises any chances of error and ensures that all the pieces have exactly the same measurement. The different parts are them assembled to form rubber shoes – the assembly is partly automated and partly manual. Quite a lot of skill, expertise finesse and practice are required to assemble rubber shoes.

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Once the rubber shoes are assembled – they are taken to the department of varnishing. This is where they receive their sheen and upmarket, glossy, leather like look. After varnishing, the shoes are transported to vulcanisation chambers. Here, the rubber shoes are subjected to high heat for a period of six to seven hours. This process is said to improve the durability of shoes. After vulcanisation, the shoes move onto the quality control department where they are closely scrutinised for any possible faults. Once, the shoes passed the quality checks, they are shifted to the packaging department where they are packaged and sent out to stores and warehouses.

Rubber shoes are much treasured because they are much more durable than leather and fabric shoes. Polymer shoes are becoming increasing popular all around the world. unlike leather or canvas shoes, leather shoes are resistant to water and extreme climatic conditions.