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Glossary of Shoe Terms: Outsoles

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Definition: The outsole is the bottom part of the shoe. Also referred to as the "sole" of the shoe, this is the part that comes in direct contact with the ground.

Soles can be made of a variety of materials, including leather and rubber. 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.

The outsole of the shoe is often the part that will wear out first, but some shoes can be resoled by a shoe repair shop.

Also Known As: sole

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