Little girl playing in the rain wearing natural rubber shoes and holding an umbrella.

Natural Rubber VS Synthetic Rubber Shoes for Kids

In the rubber industry, natural and synthetic rubber play a significant role. Both are highly demanded and play a big part in our lives due to their widespread use. 

Natural rubber vs. synthetic rubber has its own advantages and disadvantages; however, they are both useful for different applications. For example, regarding kids’ shoes, this material is one of the main compositions of their everyday footwear.

Thus, in this blog, we will see the main difference between these two types of rubber, which one is better, and which one to choose for kids’ shoes. Stay tuned!


Natural Rubber

Natural rubber is derived from the sap of the rubber tree. For this purpose, they use the tapping process to harvest it.  It involves slicing the bark of the tree and collecting the fluid. 


The most common source of natural rubber is hevea brasiliensis, also known as the pará rubber tree. 

But this process can be done using other plants, such as:

  • Common dandelion
  • Rubber figs
  • Panama rubber trees

Overall, a lot of people and industries prefer Hevea brasiliensis as a commercial product.


Latexwhich is the natural rubber’s liquid form, is refined to create rubber for commercial use. The greatest thing is that the trees that produce latex don’t have to be cut down in order to make latex. Besides that, latex is recyclable material which is a great choice for crafting sustainable shoes!

Additionally, natural rubber is an elastomer because you can stretch it before returning to its original shape.

Most people and companies use it for crafting different types of footwear, including vegan shoes. Alongside the production of shoes and tires, Latex products are great for preventing and treating diseases such as AIDS and other diseases transmitted from one individual to another.  

Overall, the production of natural rubber, as well as technology to expand the number of natural rubber applications, have sustained the industry’s growth.


Synthetic Rubber

Synthetic rubber is produced artificially. It is derived from monomers that are polymerized into polymers. 


This can be done in two ways:

  • Via emulsion polymerization 
  • Via solution polymerization  

Several types of synthetic rubber exist, usually composed of several monomers before the polymerization process begins. As a result, synthetic rubber is useful for a wide range of applications. 

In fact, synthetic rubber is present in many products we use daily, such as:

  • Wetsuits
  • Rubber bands,
  • Balloons,
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Shoe soles


Natural Rubber vs. Synthetic Rubber 

We will compare natural rubber and synthetic rubber used for different types of shoes for kids. Let’s check their properties and their pros and cons.

Natural Rubber Pros:

  • Abrasion-resistant 
  • Pretty flexible
  • High elasticity
  • High tensile strength
  • Insoluble in solvents including, water, and alcohol
  • Protects against wear and tear 

Natural Rubber Cons:

  • A low-temperature property
  • Affected by oils, fats, grease, ozone, and strong acids
  • Incompatible with power transmission systems
  • Do not withstand exposure to sunlight
  • Pretty expensive when it is in raw form
  • Soluble in ether, carbon tetrachloride and carbon disulfide, turpentine, and petrol

When we talk about synthetic rubber, there are different varieties, thus; its properties vary for each. However, let’s take a look at some basic pros and cons:

Synthetic Rubber Pros:

  • A great weathering effect
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Insulating properties for electrical systems
  • Resistant to high and low temperatures
  • Resistant to ozone and sunlight
  • Very durable 

Do not forget that synthetic rubber is artificial, which gives it another advantage. You can create custom formulations to improve certain material qualities. It is, therefore, perfect for applications with very particular needs.

Synthetic Rubber Cons:

  • Bad mechanical characteristics
  • Inadequate tensile strength
  • Poor tear resistance
  • Since it is a crude oil derivative, it is not good for the environment

Which One is Better?

It is evident that both natural and synthetic rubber has their own pros and cons. They are both abrasion-resistant, have great flexibility, and have high tensile strength. Therefore, it is almost tied.

However, according to our needs and preferences, natural rubber wins this case. Natural rubber has a lower odor, higher tensile strength, and higher tear resistance, and most importantly, it is a great choice for our environment! 

Bear in mind that the type of rubber that is used relies heavily on how the shoe is made.

For instance, natural rubber creates a better grip; thus, it is much more suitable when it comes to baby shoes.

On the other hand, synthetic rubber is less durable but more lightweight and bouncy. These features are great for different kinds of toddler shoes. 


Why is Natural Rubber Better for Kids’ Shoes?

Let’s see the main advantages of natural rubber against synthetic rubber. 

Natural rubber provides a good grip

Thanks to the great properties of natural rubber, these soles are great for different kinds of surfaces, including wet and slippery floors. This means that your kid will have a good grip and stable balance, no matter the ground.  

Natural rubber soles offer great traction on slippery areas because the rubber stays soft even in extreme temperatures. Conversely, the plastic hardens when it’s cold outside, making shoes incredibly slippery.

There is a solution if you ever doubt about shoe size when buying shoes with natural rubber soles. Whether you are looking for bathing sandals or running boots for your little one, measure their foot simply with the Footmeter. This way, you can get the precise size easily in one step!

Rubber is not simply rubber, though. It is available in various hardnesses and varied compositions. Moreover, many statements say the heaviest and hardest rubber gives the best grip. Unfortunately, this is not always the truth due to its increased flexibility and non-slip properties; the somewhat softer rubber grips the surface better.

Besides that, it is also recommended to look out for kid’s footwear with a crease pattern in the rubber soles. This will guarantee that kid has a stable grip regardless of the surface. 


The natural rubber has great durability

Natural rubber is, as the name implies, natural material made from the rubber tree (latex). This type of rubber does not break or weaken easily, making these soles very durable. Thanks to its natural properties, it delivers great longevity and quality compared to synthetic rubber. 

Many people identify natural rubber with rubber boots because it is particularly used in crafting waterproof shoes. However, this great material is also suitable for hiking shoes for both adults and our active youngsters.


The natural rubber has great maintenance 

To maintain your kid’s natural rubber shoes, they should be stored in a darker place, like a closet or a basement. It is also recommended to spray it with silicone spray from time to time. 

This will really help with the longevity of the shoes, plus it requires very little and easy maintenance. It is also good to keep away from direct sunlight and heating cables since direct heat can cause cracks in the rubber.

If your kiddo has natural rubber boots, a gray-whitening coating might occur. This indicates that a “blooming” has occurred. Blooming means that some of the raw rubber has reached the boot’s surface and has begun to interact with the oxygen. You do not have to worry about this thing because it can easily be fixed with silicone spray

This usually happens on high-quality boots due to the high percentage of natural rubber; hence, a sign of good quality boots


Natural Rubber is Environmental Friendly

The last but not least, natural rubber is great for our environment! Due to the lack of heavy machinery as well as the lack of need for cutting trees during the harvesting process, its production has less of an impact on the environment

Alongside that, this type of rubber is also recyclable and biodegradable.

Besides these four main advantages, natural rubber has certain qualities that synthetic rubber does not have. As mentioned above, this type of rubber is resistant to different types of chemicals and fluids and possesses ozone and electrical resistance.

Furthermore, natural rubbers can have better heat aging, great temperature resistance, and excellent heat tolerance. On top of that, this type of rubber features proteins like Hev b1 and b3, which helps in preventing allergic reactions on kids’ delicate skin. 

All these advantages are nowhere to be found in synthetic rubbers



This article had an aim to help all beloved parents that were ever in doubt about natural rubber vs. synthetic rubber shoes for kids. We wanted to state all their pros and cons and objectively pick the winner according to its advantages. 

Remember, natural materials are almost always a good choice! In this situation, natural rubber has environmental and health benefits and is also great for are little ones since they provide a great grip and can withstand kids’ play!



  • Petra Moskatelo

    Petra is the main editor and writer here at Footmeter. She is passionate about helping people find the right solution. She holds a university Master's degree in pedagogy, and she knows a lot about children and learning.