Brake Shoes vs. Brake Pads


If you take a look under your truck, you’ll either see a disc or drum brake setup and might wonder, “Which one is better”? The truth is there’s no simple answer, as your ideal brake choice will depend on how you’re using your truck. So, we put together a guide to brake pads and brake shoes so you can gain a better understanding of how each type can be right for your ride.

Brake Shoes

  • Brake shoes are the friction elements of a drum brake system
  • They’re made out of steel that’s curved in shape and coated with friction material on one side
  • Unlike brake pads, brake shoes can be “re-manufactured” or recycled for future use

How Brake Shoes Work

Why Brake Shoes are Still Used

  • Because drum brake systems have been around for so long, manufactures can build them cheaply. As a result, it’s not uncommon to find a replacement set of shoes for half the cost of a set of brake pads
  • While drum brake systems don’t cool as efficiently as disc brake systems, they work great when used on the rear axles of vehicles. That’s because braking systems in general send most of their braking effort to the front axles. Simply put, your car’s rear brakes will most likely never get hotter than brake shoes can handle

Brake Pads

What are Brake Pads?

  • Brake pads are the friction elements of a disc brake system
  • They’re made from a flat piece of steel with a thick friction media applied to one side
  • Unlike brake shoes, brake pads come in a wide variety of friction materials that are tailored to different driving styles

How Brake Pads Work

What are the benefits of brake pads?

  • Brake pads provide a distinct advantage over brake shoes in wet weather and have the tendency to direct water away from the friction surface
  • Disc brake pads come in different pad formulations, so you can tailor your braking experience to your driving style and your vehicle

Why AutoAnything is your 1 Stop Shop for Brake Pads?

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Mike Cote
My 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road Access Cab 4x4 offers bed space to camp in, haul my dirt bike around, and it's been done up to take on the trails. Favorite mods include my Icon coilovers to soak up the bumps. My Walker Evans 501 Legend wheels wrapped in Toyo RT tires give me the clearance from my upper control arms to fit (and they look darn good) and the over-sized tires take on rocks with plenty of traction. My Rigid Industries fog lights have kept me out of a ditch or two when night wheeling. Growing up going to car shows and helping my dad work on the family vehicles ignited my passion. My best memory was the first time I flushed the coolant. My dad forgot to tell me to keep my face out from under the drain plug. Never made that mistake again!


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