Abstract The 16O + 16O optical potential is obtained by using the folding method together with a previously defined complex effective nucleon-nucleon force closely related with the heavy-ion collision dynamics. This type of force allows the computation of both the real and the imaginary parts of the optical potential. Through the use of the folding method, finite-range effects are correctly incorporated. In that respect, the present results improve upon those obtained with the local density approximation. They also compare favourably with the phenomenologieal optical potentials.