What’s Inside a Sneaker?
This is the first article in our series on shoe anatomy. We will cut-up some expensive shoes made by Nike, Adidas, Converse, Vans, and Under Armour. Slicing open shoes is the best way to see and learn exactly how to make sneakers. We hope you enjoy it. To see more cut-open shoes, check out the Shoe Material Design Guide.
The Curry 2.5 is an upgraded version of the Curry 2, Stephen Curry’s second signature shoe with Under Armour. Built for the 2016 NBA Playoffs, the Curry 2.5 debuted on May 28th, 2016, for $135. California’s Bay Bridge, which links San Francisco to Oakland, is the inspiration for the shoe. Let’s see what’s inside this sneaker!
Under Armour loaded the Curry 2.5 with some great shoemaking technology. First, let’s look at the anatomy of the outsole unit. The Curry 2.5 outsole is made from three components; an EVA midsole, an injected plastic support shank, and a molded rubber bottom. The rubber bottom part is simple; single color, without any logos. The real technology is in the shank and misdole combination. The shank runs from the forefoot to the heel of the shoe, providing stiffness under the arch, lateral support, and a stable platform for the heel.
Curry 2.5 Upper Design
Under Armour introduced a very interesting upper mold for the Curry 2.5. The plastic lattice that covers the upper looks like plastic injection, but it’s NOT. These fine lines cannot be made by traditional injection as plastic cannot flow into such a thin, complicated structure.
This shoe is made using a PU open mold process. The lattice design is cut into the surface of a metal plate. The plastic material (in a liquid state) is poured over the design. Any extra material is cleared away, leaving just the liquid plastic in the metal plate’s grooves. Next, the upper fabric is pressed down onto the plate with a heated press. The heat allows the plastic to expand and bond to the fabric surface.
This amazing process is explained in the Shoe Material Design Guide,
Chapter 16: Plastic Parts.
Do you want to be a professional shoe designer? You must learn how to select and specify each shoe material correctly. The Shoe Material Design Guide details all the shoe materials you need to make modern athletic, classic casuals, and high-fashion footwear. Learn more about the materials used to make shoes.