Firstly it may be useful to define what the outsole is. The outsole
is the part of the sole which directly touches the ground. The outsole
- when it comes to sneakers - is usually made of rubber and contains
the grooves which provide grip.
The Waffle Outsole is a pattern of grooves designed by Nike. Nike
were formed in 1964 by two men; one of which was Bill Bowerman,
an athletics coach at the University of Oregon. Bowerman was the
man responsible for developing Nike's early running shoes.
It is generally believed that he created the rubber sole of these
early shoes by pouring liquid rubber into a waffle iron. Due to
using a waffle iron, the pattern created resembled the pattern of
a waffle, hence the name "Waffle Outsole".