The outsole is the outer most portion of the shoe that contacts the ground and provides traction [2].  It is the most durable part of the shoe and it’s the most versatile. Just like a tire, the ousole provides traction durability and the first level of cushioning in the shoe.

Traditionally made from a variety of materials, the outsole is constructed in different thickness, shapes and degrees of flexibility. Ideal materials used must be waterproof, durable and possess a coefficient of friction high enough to prevent slipping. Leather has poor gripping capabilities and synthetic polymers are much preferred-such as rubber.

There are also an infinite variety of surface designs currently being used by every different shoe company. Extra grip properties can be incorporated in the form of a distinctive sole pattern with well-defined ridges. These ridges can also be moulded with cavities to reduce the weight of the sole and ultimately the shoe. These cavities need to be covered with a rigid insole or can be filled with light foam to produce a more flexible sole. In some cases two or more materials of different densities can be incorporated into the sole to give a hard wearing outer surface and a softer, more flexible midsole for greater comfort. Synthetic soling materials will off the physical property of dampening down impact levels (shock attenuation) [1,2].





image: http://www.asics.co.uk/running/knowledge/anatomy-of-a-running-shoe/.  Accessed 3/27/2012

[1]http://allaboutshoes-toeslayer.blogspot.com/2009/10/anatomy-of-shoe-according-to-mcphoil.html.  Accessed 3/27/2012

[2] http://solecollector.com/Sneakers/News/Sneaker-Parts-and-Proportions/.  Accessed 3/27/2012


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