State footwear tech institute commercializes new outsole production technique

By Park Sae-jin Posted : February 17, 2023, 16:10 Updated : February 17, 2023, 16:10

[Courtesy of K2 Korea]

SEOUL -- A joint research team led by a footwear technology institute operated by the trade ministry has developed and commercialized an outsole production technique that saves time and costs. Outsoles made using the technique is about 27 percent lighter than conventional soles.
Normally, an outsole, the most-outer layer of a shoe foot sole, is manufactured through seven or eight steps that involve the molding, cutting, buffing, cleaning and drying of the rubbery layer before it is glued to the shoe to protect the foot and provide traction. Many of the processes are done autonomously while some factories still rely on human workers.
The Korean Institute of Footwear and Leather Technology said that a joint research team involving researchers from the footwear technology institute, domestic outdoor wear maker K2 Korea, and electronics maker Future tech developed the new outsole manufacturing technology. The four-step production process does not need the buffing, cleaning, and drying sequences before gluing outsoles onto shoes.
According to the institute, outsole makers can save manufacturing costs by more than 10 percent because it takes less material to create the ultra-light outsole. K2 will release products made with the new outsoles soon.
"This is an environmentally-friendly manufacturing technique that can reduce the weight of the outsole and increase its grip to prevent its wearer from slipping over," the footwear technology institute said in a statement on February 17. 
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