Pipe supports: What is a pipe shoe?

April 20, 2016

Pipe shoes are one type of rigid pipe support that provide rest and guidance for pipes. APP manufactures two pipe shoes made of tough, durable, corrosion-resistant composites: ProTek Composite Pipe Shoe and the CryoTek Pipe Shoe.


APP offers two types of composite pipe shoes: ProTek Composite Pipe Shoes and CryoTek Pipe Shoes.

As we discussed in our previous blog about pipe supports, there are two main factors to consider when selecting a support system: load and conditions. Load includes weight (both contents and piping system), expansion or movement (taking into account thermal forces or stresses), and thrust loads (anticipated flow changes). Conditions refer to the environment (everything from earthquakes to humidity) and contents that come into contact with piping and support materials.

We also mentioned the three types of pipe support systems that meet the needs presented by common load/condition combinations:

  • Rigid Support Systems which limit movement and provide a rest and guidance for pipes
  • Variable or Spring Systems which use a compression spring to accommodate conditions such as thermal expansion
  • Snubber or Shock Absorber Supports which absorb energy shocks from earthquakes or pressure changes to prevent pipe displacement

Let’s go into some detail about pipe shoes, part of the Rigid Support System. We offer two products in this category; ProTek and CryoTek pipe shoes.

ProTek Composite Pipe Shoe

APP’s ProTek pipe shoe is a UV-resistant, non-metallic solution for elevated or insulated piping systems at the support points. It has 150,000 lbs. of compressive strength, a temperature range of -320°F to +400°F and is resistant to chemical attack. It provides optimal support for insulated or elevated piping systems in plants or refineries, both onshore and offshore.

3-D Animation of APP’s ProTek Composite Pipe Shoe

There are two reasons for using an elevated or insulated pipe shoe. One is to prevent existing insulation from being torn when the pipe moves due to expansion and contraction on the I-beam. The second is to prevent temperature variations (keeping heat in or out of the system).

Historically companies welded metal t-slides on the piping system and then insulated around the t-slides. This process is detrimental to the piping system not just because of the use of dissimilar metals but also due to point loading the piping systems — which results in corrosion under the insulation.

For example, let’s say you're using stainless steel and your environment contains chlorides. Every single point welded on the pipe will be more susceptible to chloride stress cracking. If the metal t-slide extends through your insulation and rests on the I-beam, this can result in a heat sink with a loss of energy every single hour of the day.

When we designed the ProTek pipe shoe, we were determined to eliminate these inherent problems by using a composite material that is corrosion resistant and compatible with all metal alloys. Its compression strength is an incredible 150,000 pounds, making it suitable for almost any application.

The ProTek’s non-conductive properties also ensure there is no heat sink, conserving your precious energy. This versatile pipe shoe has been used in a number of applications and project types ranging from petrochemical and refining to off-shore and cryogenic service. They are resilient to chemical attack and do not promote heat transfer. And did we mention — they’re light weight and easy to install using stainless steel bands.

CryoTek Pipe Shoe

As much as we love the ProTek for certain cryogenic applications, we developed the CryoTek shoe for absolute extreme conditions. It’s a cutting-edge, non-metallic pipe shoe with unparalleled, reliable performance in temperatures between -320°F and +400°F. This product is ideal for cryogenic piping systems that involve gas liquefaction, LNG terminals, carriers, and ethylene plants. We also like to brag that it has a maximum compressive strength of 27,500 lbs. per square inch.

3-D Animation of APP’s CryoTek Pipe Shoe

Current methods of supporting cold piping systems involve very large and expensive pre-insulated pipe supports or costly stainless steel shoes required for stainless steel piping used in cryogenic applications. Here again we have a very expensive and inefficient way to support insulated piping. Using highly conductive metals promotes heat transfer and ice formation in the piping system, but our non-conductive composite technology eliminates the need for costly stainless steel supports, not to mention the problems associated with welding dissimilar metals.

Our supports are easy to transport. Installation is also easy with our resilient epoxy system in combination with stainless steel bands. CryoTek shoes do not promote heat transfer or support combustion, they prevent ice formation and fluctuation in piping system temperature, and have a compressive strength of 20,000 PSI.

If the Shoe Fits…

APP’s full line of highly engineered pipe support components prolong the life of piping and connected equipment while reducing energy consumption, noise and costs. When your pipes last longer, your business flows smoothly.

Get Fitted for Composite Shoes TodayContact Us


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