The controlled degradation of extracellular matrix is crucial in physiological and pathological cell invasion alike. In cultured cells, degradation occurs at specific sites where invasive cells make contact with the extracellular matrix via specialized plasma membrane protrusions termed invadopodia. Considerable progress has been made in recent years towards understanding the basic molecular components and the ultrastructural features of invadopodia. This current knowledge will be reviewed here together with some of the most important open questions in invadopodia biology. Considering the substantial interest and momentum in the field, the need for an operational framework to correctly define and identify invadopodia will also be discussed.