Firewalker's Shoe Store


Polymers have a lot going for them, but they get walked on all the time. Nowhere is that more evident than here. Every shoe in here is made from some sort of polymer. Many are made from leather, which is one of many natural polymers that were around before we ever started making them. This running shoe (or is it a cross trainer?) has panels made of leather, and also of nylon. The sole is made out of a hard rubber called SBS rubber. A lot of the same stuff goes into these hiking boots, including insole padding made from polyurethane foam.

Shoe laces are made from things like nylon and cotton. Cotton is a form of another natural polymer called cellulose.

Pricier dress shoes are made of leather, but inexpensive pumps like this are often skinned with PVC, the same "vinyl" that used to be found in vinyl car tops and vinyl siding.

Here's something weird. This shoe is made of natural leather, but the outside has been covered with PVC to make it look synthetic. One is left with one question. Why?

Retro is unfortunately in style right now, and that explains these tacky rainbow shoes. They're made of polyethylene. But unbeknown to the kids who eat this stuff up, there was nothing this tacky even in the seventies, which was the golden age of bad taste.

I don't know what the proper name is for this kind of boot. I've always called them duck shoes, and I suppose that's as good a name as any. Duck shoes are good at keeping your feet dry on rainy days because they're made out of natural rubber, polyisoprene.

High heels do horrible things to the spine of the wearer, and they're incredibly uncomfortable. I have no idea why people wear them, especially ugly ones like this sandal, which is made from leather. Today we can achieve levels of tackiness using natural materials which in previous generations would have only been possible using synthetics. Now that's progress!

It's said that Albert Einstein never wore socks, but for those of us who do, we wouldn't have them without polymers like cotton, and synthetics like polyester and nylon. Also, they stay up with the help of elastic thread, which contains another natural polymer, natural rubber.

This elevator boot, made of PVC, reminds one of the boots that KISS used to wear, and now wear again, on stage. But no, not even KISS's boots were this ugly.

And these Dutch klompen are made of wood, which is another form of cellulose. For your own safety, we recommend that you don't try firewalking while wearing klompen.


Return to Level One Directory


Return to Macrogalleria Directory





Copyright ©1995,1996 | Department of Polymer Science | University of Southern Mississippi