The outsole is the outermost layer of the shoe that is in direct contact with the ground. Common outsoles are made of leather, rubber, natural rubber or a synthetic material like Polyurethane [1]. The outsole may comprise a single piece, or may be an assembly of separate pieces of different materials. Specialized shoes will often have modifications on this design: athletic or so called cleated shoes like soccer, rugby, baseball and golf shoes have spikes embedded in the outsole to grip the ground.

The outsole of a shoe varies depending on the surface, environment and activity.  Certain types of outsoles provide more traction than others, by using specific materials or designs. A ballroom dancer might prefer a shoe with a smooth leather sole, as it’s easier to turn and glide in, while a hiker needs an outsole that is thick, durable and waterproof.






[1] Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoe.  Accessed 3/28/2012

Image: http://www.tradekorea.com.  Accessed 3/28/2012


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