Comment from: Mountain Evan Chang [Visitor]  
Mountain Evan Chang

Man I wish I read this months ago when I was picking an outsole for our new boots out of Vibram's huge catalog =P Great article!

In the end, I chose the zig zag Newflex as it was the best all-arounder, for similar reasons to yours =)

I do find the Cherry to be more dense, less flexible, and more durable than the Newflex though, in my experience.

05/07/15 @ 14:18
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Mountain Evan Chang,

Please share your shopping experience! I have looked at the Vibram catalog many times and have found their descriptions to be somewhat vague, which is why Justin and I put together this article.

This was written as my own subjective take on each sole material, given the different physical--objective--properties and their application.

While Cherry is, technically, the most dense--it's basically the same TC-1 rubber that Vibram uses for their own soles (Thanks, Bedrock Sandals for that info)--I have personally found its use to be less versatile as Newflex and Gumlite and its function (due in large part to its tread design) to be less useful for off-road use, which makes it more on par with Morflex in terms of activities, properties, and application.

In my own experience and research, Cherry is used for road and casual shoes in the same manner as Morflex (usually 2-3mm for Cherry and 5-6mm for Morflex), so they are similar in terms of applications and activities, just not properties but the differences in the "usual" thickness applications of each evens things out a bit.

As anther example Woodstock is actually a bit soft when pressed, but it is usually used in thicker soles, so it works more as an all-terrain shoe than Morflex or Cherry because of its treads and thickness, which is great for new runners.

Between Gumlite and Newflex, I found that Newflex wears more evenly and its treads do not "cake" dirt as much as the little nubs of Gumlite, so that's why I consider it more versatile, though from a compositional standpoint, Gumlite is the denser sole.

-Jarvis

05/07/15 @ 17:29
Comment from: adam [Visitor]  
adam

great post. Are you able to buy sheets of these soles on your own and not in bulk? I ask because I've been trying to resole shoes with these vibram soles and have not had any luck with shops carrying them.
I settled on resoling with birkenstock soles, which are flat and sort of similar to the Woodstock. I put them on a pair of Clarks desert Treks and it make them zero drop and it looks great. I plan on doing this to more shoes in the future so I can be a little more fashion conscious but still have zero drop shoes..

05/10/15 @ 15:30
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Adam,

You can purchase materials from a number of locations, including Amazon, eBay and direct from Vibram, but these are all typically either large orders or big slabs of Vibram (a 35x11 slab of Cherry from Amazon costs 60 bucks, a bit too much for sandals)

diyfootwear.com has more manageable sizes of material in terms of amount and price and they have a bunch of tutorials and what appears to be a helpful community.

05/10/15 @ 23:22
Comment from: Kim [Visitor]  
Kim

Are these soles conductive...i.e. do they allow the true grounding to the earth? Most rubber soles are not.

10/28/15 @ 23:08
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Kim

Rubber soles do not allow for conducting, but Earthrunners prides themselves on having conductive sections, including the lacing systems and toe posts, that make contact with the ground.

We have many reviews of Earthrunners on our website. Check them out!

10/29/15 @ 08:53
Comment from: Nicolas [Visitor]  
Nicolas

Hi!

I am confused, are all these outsole based on rubber? If yes what type of rubber is best for outdoors?

Thank you

03/16/16 @ 13:42
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

These soles are patented rubber compound from Vibram. Each has its own special properties and typical thickness, but I recommend Newflex and Gumlite for trails and Morflex and thinner cherry for road running.

Vibram's TC-1 rubber (Cherry) is a good choice, as well as the foam/rubber mix (VLite) that they use for the Bikila EVO and V-Run is a great choice for roads as well.

-Jarvis

03/16/16 @ 14:36
Comment from: Mitch [Visitor]
Mitch

Hi Jarvis,
I've been wearing barefoot style foot wear for a few years now. I'm in a search for a flat light weight sole that Absorbs shock and has reliable traction. I stand on hard floors and concrete/asphalt for hours. But I can't go back to ordinary shoes. I've tried the vibram newporter sole and though it's flat and has good traction, it lacks the shock absorbing properties. What would you suggest ?

07/19/16 @ 20:04
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Mitch!

My favorite road and walking-around sole is definitely Morflex.

The only catch is that it does not have any treading, but I never really noticed it as an issue on roads.

The next step up would be Woodstock, but I would recommend finding a thinner sheet as they usually are in the 10mm range. Perhaps cut off 1/3 to 1/2?

Then you have Newflex, which is denser than the other two, but still gives you a little softness. Usually in the 5mm range.

07/20/16 @ 09:44
Comment from: Tina [Visitor]
Tina

What about rubber toxicity? Especially from upcycled tires and any chemicals used in the sandal making process.

08/06/16 @ 19:35