What is Guide Shoes In Elevator?


What is Guide Shoes In Elevator?

Guide shoes in elevators are the low-friction sliding parts of any elevator that allow the car to move freely. They work at keeping both the elevator car and the counterweight secure on their rails, by preventing swinging during movement.

Functionally, guide shoes prevent the car elevator from tilting within the shaft. They ensure everything moves smoothly. They also work at reducing friction by minimizing the resistance between either of the car or the counterweight and the rails.

Number of Guide Shoes On An Elevator

In most standard elevators, the number of guide shoes used is usually 8, split between the car and the counterweight.

The elevator car is usually fitted with 4 guide shoes, where they are positioned one on each side at the top and bottom of the car frame. These shoes come in contact with the vertical guide rails installed within the elevator shaft.

On the other hand, the counterweight, while the counterweight works slightly different to the car, it also comes with 4 guide shoes. These are located at the top and bottom of the counterweight frame, two on each side.

While eight guide shoes are the standard configuration in most elevators, sometimes, there are exceptions.

For example, in high-speed elevators, there are usually 6 guide shoes for both the car and the counterweight. This is to ensure an added level of stability.

Also, certain specialized elevators might have a different number of guide shoes depending on specific requirements for the design. However, this number would still be targeted towards ensuring stability during movement.

Types of Elevator Guide Shoes

there are two main types of guide shoes:

Sliding Guide Shoes

These shoes are the most common type of shoes used in elevators. This is because they come with very designs and are not as expensive as the other types. Sliding guide shoes are generally made from wear-resistant material like rubber or polyurethane, and this is because they make full contact with the rails. They also are relatively easy to maintain, which makes them generally more accepted.

They are found mostly in elevators that operate at speeds of 1.7 meters per second.

Elevator Car Guide Shoe

Elevator Counterweight Guide Shoe

Roller Guide Shoes

Roller guide shoes, on the other hand, are designed with wheels or rollers. This difference from the sliding guide shoes goes a long way to reduce friction, and results in a quieter and smoother ride. Due to this advantage, they are often the preferred choice for elevators that move at faster speeds. The use of rollers help to increase the stability of the elevator car, as friction is reduced greatly. They are also more expensive and require more frequent maintenance than the sliding guide shoes.

Elevator Guide Shoe Structure

The structure and components of an elevator guide shoe is the same irrespective of the type, and these are:

Shoe Body: This refers to the main body of the guide shoe, and is usually made from very strong and durable materials like steel or cast iron. This is to make sure that the shoe can withstand the wear and tear of constant friction with the guide rails.

Wearing Surface: This refers to the side of the shoe that makes contact with the guide rail. This area is often made from a wear-resistant material like nylon or a special type of plastic. These materials are used to minimize friction, and to reduce noise and vibration during elevator movement.

Mounting Hardware: This refers to the device that is used to fasten the guide show to either of the car frame or the counterweight frame. This could either be bolts or brackets.

There are other components that are optional in guide shoes:

Dampening Mechanism: In some guide shoe designs, a dampening mechanism is incorporated. This can either be a spring system or a wear-resistant material like rubber. The purpose of the dampener is to absorb vibrations and shocks that may occur during the elevator movements.

Lubrication System: This system is usually present in some high-performance guide shoes. This is usually a small reservoir with a wick or felt pad that produces a constant supply of lubricant to the wearing surface, also reducing friction.

Elevator Guide Shoes Price

The price for an average set of elevator guide shoes can go from $3 to $10.

While there isn’t a one size fits all price, the prices of elevator guide shoes are dependent on the following:

Type of Guide Shoe: Depending on the type of guide shoe you’re going for, the price will be different due to the material used in production and design complexity. The car guide shoe is also more expensive than the counterweight guide shoe.

Manufacturer and Brand: Products from different manufacturers and brands also have their different prices. For example, for the same quality of guide shoes, branded guide shoes such as Kone, Thyssen, Sigma, will be more expensive than those from other manufacturers.

Quantity: Also, elevator guide shoes are usually sold in sets (usually eight for a standard elevator). As such, if you’re buying in bulk, the price would dip significantly.

How to Install and Maintain Elevator Guide Shoes

When installing elevator guide shoes, the first step is usually preparation, where the technician will first ensure the guide rails are properly positioned and clean. He then takes measurements to determine the exact placement of the guide shoes.

After this, the appropriate guide shoes are chosen based on the elevator type, speed, and weight capacity, and then mounted. This is typically done with bolts to ensure they are well secured and properly aligned with the guide rails. Here, the technician might work at ensuring that both the upper and lower guide shoes are in line with the center of the safety jaw.

Once installed and all adjustments have been carried out, a last thorough check will be conducted to ensure that all things are in order.

As for maintenance, technicians often inspect the guide shoes for signs of wear and tear, cracks, or excessive noise during operation. Specific types of guide shoes, like roller shoes, might require lubrication to further reduce friction and wear. However, this doesn’t mean a monthly oiling like the sliding guide shoes would require, due to their plastic inserts.

Slight adjustments might also be needed to maintain optimal contact between the guide shoes and rails. Guides shoes that are equipped with springs would have to be checked to ensure that the springs are not too tight or too loose. If the spring is too tight, pressure is built within the system, leading to a malfunction. If it is too loose, vibrations would be felt in the car leading to a very uncomfortable experience for users.

Generally, elevators are required to be serviced and fixed at specific intervals. This would help extend the life span of the guide shoes. Also, the guide shoes inserts are expected to be replaced every 8 months.


At Dazen , we are committed to ensuring that our customers are provided with the best elevator and escalator parts.

From elevator guide shoes to elevator doors, safety components and shaft components, we have a track record of delivering the best and satisfying our customers.

Reach out to us today, and you’ll be partnering with a company that is trusted by over 500 clients in more than 50 countries, with a track record of no missing parts during deliveries, capability for the different spare parts brands, and a competitive price that would leave you satisfied.

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