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Glossary of Shoe Terms: Sole


Young apprentice making a pair of leather shoes
Nicola Tree/Taxi/Getty Images

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

Outsoles can be made of a variety of materials, including leather and rubber. Certain types of soles provide more traction than others, by using specific materials or designs. A ballroom dancer might prefer a shoe with a smooth leather outsole, as it's easier to turn and glide in, while a hiker needs an sole that is thick, durable and waterproof.

The sole 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: outsole

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