Are Brake Pads and Brake Shoes the Same?

Simply put, brake pads and brake shoes are not the same things. Their differences are important for every driver to know. While they both support similar functions, their structures and locations are distinct. Typically, a vehicle can have one or the other or both. 

Brake Pads

Brake pads are a part of a disc brake system. Therefore, the brake pads get pressed together against a rotor disc to create the friction necessary to stop your vehicle. And brake calipers are responsible for squeezing the brake pads. Most front-wheel automobiles have a disc brake system. 

Brake Shoes

Brake shoes are a part of a drum brake system, the original design for vehicle braking systems. The shoes are shaped like crescents, and they rely on the hydraulic pressure of brake fluid to generate friction to stop the car. The shoes themselves are housed inside of a drum. 

All-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive cars, SUVs, and trucks have the drum-cylinder system with brake shoes. Whereas, most cars today have disc brakes with brake pads or a combination of both.


If you drive an older model vehicle, either brake pads or brake shoes will be able to stop your vehicle efficiently. If you need brake system maintenance or repairs, please call or visit the brake specialists at The Auto Doc in Houston, TX, today.