Deconstructing a running shoe. Part 3: The outsole

In part 3 of our series deconstructing the shoe, we look at the outsole, the poor cousin to the upper and midsole.

The outsole is kinda like Ronnie Woods of the Rolling Stones.


He has all the chops and does all the hard work, but Keith Richards gets the credit! I bet most people think of the outsole as primarily the shoe component responsible for grip. Granted this is a big and important role, but the humble outsole is, and can be a lot more than that.

The outsole is largely responsible for the flex characteristics of a shoe, how durable it is, how it grips on a myriad of surfaces, how much feedback the shoe provides to the athlete, the weight of the shoe, AND, it can have a huge role in pressure, shock and impact attenuation. In short, the outsole rocks, baby!

Okay, so let’s break it down a bit in relation to this veritable symphony of usefulness.

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical