Suppliers combine curved layers of foam, gel and fabric to withstand impact and bacteria.
Under efforts to enhance foot care properties, China makers of insoles are adopting diverse inputs and shapes.
Bamboo charcoal is employed because its breathability reduces perspiration. Consequently, bacteria and odor buildup is prevented.
Cork absorbs moisture and resists mildew growth, while latex staves off moths and germs. The latter is also shock-absorbent.
EVA and silicone rubber are preferred for their flexibility and light weight. TPE, PU or silicone gel inserts are usually positioned on parts of the shoe exerting pressure on the feet. Magnets are sometimes embedded on acupuncture points for a therapeutic effect.
Many models are covered with fabric. Cotton and T/C are the common choices, but fleece and felt are utilized for winter designs to add warmth. High-end styles are sheathed in pigskin or cowhide.
Moreover, mainland China suppliers are creating structures for specific activities. These have different layers that address multiple needs. For example, releases meant for hiking shoes boast a PU foam bottom tier, which provides insulation and dissipates 50 percent of impact. TPE or PU gel offers extra cushioning. Poliyou, a brand of breathable, and moisture- and odor-absorbent foam from Kun Huang of Taiwan, is adopted for the midlevel. A sheet of velour or mesh is placed on top for softness. The arch is curved to impart support and stability.
Versions for sports footwear use a rubber or cork base and core. These are perforated to reduce sweat. Heel cups are incorporated for balance. The uppermost stratum is in mesh.
Orthotic types for flat feet are three-fourths in length and made of low-density foam, TPU sheet and mesh.
Diabetic insoles are ergonomically designed to prevent pain in the shin, heel, knee, ankle and Achilles' tendon. They incorporate heel cups and arch supports. Some layers employ Poron from US-based Rogers, or Durapontex, a soft EVA. The former is available in several variants, including those that wick moisture, absorb shock and rebound slowly for a custom fit.
China-made insoles are either sold as finished products or intended for assembly at footwear factories. Both types utilize the same materials and have identical functions, but minor flaws in the appearance are tolerated in the latter. This is because imperfections may be covered by other parts of the shoe. As a result, prices of the component are 5 to 8 percent lower.
Companies that focus on providing models for downstream applications generally offer only basic styles quoted at $0.20 to $1 per pair. These employ only one layer of T/C, EVA, cork, bamboo charcoal, latex or silicone. Sewing machines are used to attach a fabric or leather cover.
Suppliers targeting the midrange market allot an equal share of capacity to designs for retail and those for further assembly.
Multilayer insoles with special properties are part of the selection.
Businesses concentrating on high-end manufacture devote up to 90 percent of yield to orthotic, diabetic and leather insoles.
Prices are influenced by materials, shape and functions. Following current input valuation trends, quotes for fabric models are expected to rise, while those for EVA and PU will remain stable.
Model: PFM 0026
Model: PGel 0007
Model: EVA 0134
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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