What is a Shoe Block?

Alexis W.

A shoe block is used in concrete construction and masonry applications as a means of providing stability and support for concrete slab work that serves as the foundation for any type of building. The shoe block is placed underneath the concrete slab, usually around the edges, and consists of reinforced concrete. The shape of the shoe block allows the formation to support a weight being placed over it.

Batter boards may be used to mark the corners and sides of the foundation so that a show block can be installed.
Batter boards may be used to mark the corners and sides of the foundation so that a show block can be installed.

The slab or the foundation walls rest on one portion of the shoe block, referred to as the weight bearing portion. It may also rest on another portion underneath and outside the foundation slab. This provides inward support for the structure’s vertical weight distribution.

There are generally two different types of shoe blocks that can be used in these construction applications. One is of solid construction and the other is of hollow form. The solid construction type of shoe block is used in instances where the weight of the foundation will be extensive. In most cases, this means that the building being constructed on top of the foundation will be of significant size.

The hollow forms, however, are generally used as a means of securing a floating concrete slab so that it is not allowed to shift or heave outward as the weight of the building being built on top of it becomes heavier while the construction takes place. These hollow shoe blocks also allow for the fastening of anchor bolts during the construction of the primary framework on top of the concrete foundation. Such bolts are used as a structural means of tying the foundation to the building’s support system. Using hollow form blocks also provides stability to the concrete foundation. Since the building is secured, this prevents any outward shifting of any part of the foundation.

Regardless of whether hollow or solid shoe blocks are used in an application, the use of any concrete shoe blocks for any construction purpose is subject to inspection by a state or regional construction inspector. It is imperative to the efficiency of the construction project that the shoe block used to support the slab be rated to support the weight of the slab. If the shoe block has been deemed insufficient, the inspector could go so far as to order the removal of the slab to replace the shoe blocks.

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