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GLOSSARY OF SHOE TERMS

Alum-tanning: way of treating insole which sterilizes inner portions of shoe

Baboosh: Turkish flat-soled shoe with upturned toe

Back-strap/strip: strip of leather covering back-seam of shoe quarter

Bar Shoe: shoe with instep strap or button

Boot: a shoe that extends considerably above one's ankle

Bottom: underside of shoe composed of: sole, insole, middle, welt, heel

Box toe: compared with a narrow, tapered toe box, a box toe better maintains the style shape of the shoe, and allows for toe space in the shoe.

Bracing: threading used to last an upper to an insole

Brannock device: a measuring tool used to determine a person's shoe size based on the length from heel to toe, from heel to ball of foot and width of foot at ball.

Brocade: heavy fabric interwoven with rich, raised design

Brogue: closed laced shoe made of many sections

Buckle: fancy way to close shoes often denoting status, especially for men

Built Heel: same as stacked heel

Buskin: a low linen or silk stocking; or a type of high boot

Button: used to close shoes

Calcagnetti: one of many Italian words for chopine; other variations include callagnieti, calcagniegi

Caleghero: Italian word for a shoe-maker, as opposed to Zavatero, a cobbler

Cambridge: low-cut slipper with elastic gusset on each side for men

Channel: row of holes where stitching is made

Chopine: English word for a platform shoe popular in Renaissance Italy, Spain and England; possibly of Eastern origin

Ciabattine: one of many Italian words for chopine

Clog: wooden simple shoe worn indoors or outdoors, often synonomous to 'patten'

Closed Seam: two upper sections stitched together then flattened

Club Shoe: modern-day chopine worn to clubs

Cobbler: one who repairs shoes using secondhand materials

Cordovan: heavy leather, often used for men's shoes

Cordwain: term used for leather from Cordoba of sheep, goat then cow hide

Counter: cupped stiffener in the back heel of the shoe. Helps to retain shape and is important for heel's fit.

Counter: stuffing between outside and lining; or s.t. used to stiffen heel

Damask: rich patterned fabric of silk or wool used in the upper of a shoe

Eyelet: small hole through which laces run

Flexibility: a flexible shoe is one which bends easily at the shank. The more flexible the shoe, the more comfortable it should be for walking, since it will bend with the foot at each step.

Footbinding: Chinese tradition practiced to keep women's feet small (from ca. 1000-1949 AD).

Geta: platformed Japanese style shoe often made of wood with simple strap.

Golden Lily: (see Lotus Foot)

Heel: raised part of shoe under heel of foot

Insole: the layer of material between the outsole and the bottom of the foot. Nearly all other pieces of a shoe are attached to the insole, so a good construction is essential. Some shoes have soft, cushioned insoles for greater comfort.

Insole: inside part of shoe on which foot rests

Instep: imprecise area between toes and ankle

Kabkab: Turkish women's high platform bathhouse clog

Kid Leather: leather made from goatskin

Kiltie: decorative fringe on the vamp of a shoe.

Lace: strings used for closing a shoe

Lapped Seam: seam when two pieces are sewn together, one on top of other

Last: form shaped in the outline of a foot, over and around which a shoe is made. Different brands usually have different lasts. However, quite often different styles of shoes by the same manufacturer have different lasts, so it's incorrect to assume that you will take the same size and width in all shoes of the same brand. If we carry the shoe in our store, we can give you an idea if it's "true to size", or if the syle runs a little small or wide.

Last: wooden shoe-shaped block around which shoe is designed and made

Lasting Margin: lower edge of shoe upper turned under and fixed to sole

Lasting: operation of shaping the upper to the last

Latchet: top front of quarter extended into straps

Lift: same as heel

Linings: linings protect the outside upper from the foot, help to hold the shape of a shoe, absorb foot moisture and prevent staining, and lend a polished look to the inside of a shoe.

Lotus Foot: ideally a three-inch foot created by intensive footbinding in China, a populartradition from ca. 1000-1949 AD.

Lotus Slipper: intricately embroidered shoe worn over tiny Lotus Foot

Louis Heel: introced in 1600s; downwards extension of the sole

Middle or Middle Sole

Moccasin: The moccasin is the oldest style of shoe; the leather wrapped around and under the foot, secured with hide thongs, dates back around 15,000 years. The Native Americans used this method to make their moccasins, though they also adopted the "plug", a small piece of leather sewn over the toe front. This is where the "classic" moccasin look came from: sewing on the leather plug created a seam at the front of the shoe. Today's moccasins are usually not handsewn, but are popular for their comfort.

Moccasin: simply made shoe where vamp and sole are made of one piece

Monk shoe or strap: shoe with a buckling strap from one side to the other

Mule: heeled shoe with open back

Muslin: any of various sturdy cotton fabrics of plain weave

Nailed Construction: when shoe components are nailed together

Nubuck: leather hide whose top layer has been buffed off with a grinder's wheel. Has the appearance of a cross between leather and suede, though it's more easy to care for than suede.

Outsole: the layer of material-- usually leather or rubber-- on the bottom of the shoe, touching the ground. A good quality outsole will not wear quickly and will help to absorb shock from walking.

Overshoes: same as patten; worn under or around shoe to keep it clean or dry

Oxford: man's traditional shoe with closed front

Pantofole: one of many Italian words for chopine

Patent Leather:made from cattle hide and given a hard, glossy surface finish

Patent: shiny surfaced leather which has a surface coat of urethane applied.

Patten: worn under/around shoe to keep it clean and dry when outside

Peau de soie: special type of fabric, used in particular for dressy women's shoes.

Pianelle: most common word for chopines in the Italian language

Pinafore: heel contiguous with sole of shoe; ‘earth shoe;' ‘unit bottom'

Pitch: distance between heel and front part of shoe that touches the ground

Platform: literally a platform under sole of shoe, often accompanied by a higher heel

Poulaine: stunning men's medieval shoe with long, pointed toe, possibly from Poland

Quarter: area behind sides and back of shoe

Quarter strap: typically found in sandal styles, the two straps, on each side of the heel, that come from the sole to the strap that extends around the ankle or back of heel.

Rand: leather strip used to level off sole before heel is mounted

Reticella lace: Maltese lace; a kind of metal mosquito-net screen lace

Round: inside of the heel and underneath it/under the arch on outside part

Sandal: simple soled shoe with supporting straps; earliest shoe produced

Satin: smooth, glossy fabric used in upper or as external decoration on shoe

Shank: same as waist; under arch of foot and often made of metal for support

Shankpiece: a flat piece of material located between the outsole and insole of a shoe. The "shank" is the arch area, where the foot naturally raises. The shankpiece serves as a reinforcement for the space between the heel and ball of the foot.

Sheepskin: kind of leather used for linings and slippers

Side Leather: most versatile leather for making shoes from the side of cow

Sole: the bottom outside layer of the shoe.

Sole: the bottom part of shoe which touches the ground

Solee: another Italian word for chopine

Spectator: shoe with a different colored toe. For example, a black shoe with the front top in gold.

Spool Heel: stacked heel made of large individual, often rounded parts

Stiletto: high (3+ inches), very narrow heeled shoe. In style in some fashion circles this season, it's also been lambasted by podiatrists and even some editorial columnists for the inherent risks to health, safety, and comfort that accompany its wear.

Suede: leather made by buffing inner surface to produce a napped finish

Tacks: ways of attaching pieces of the upper, especially used by Italians

Tapine: another Italian word for chopine

Tassel: added decorative element to shoes

Throat: opening of the shoe, where the foot slips in

Toe box: front tip of the shoe where the toes fit. Usually referred to in terms of being square, narrow, wide, pointy, etc.

Toe Cap: reinforced or decorated layer over tip of toe part

Tongue: part of shoe behind a slitted vamp that resembles a tongue

Top Lift: area of heel that touches the ground

Turnshoe Construction: when the shoe is made inside out first, then turned

Turn-Welt: turnshoe with wide rand as part of seam

Upper: top of the shoe, not the sole of the shoe

Upper: portion of shoe which covers top of foot

Vamp Wings: sides of vamp extending backwards

Vamp: complete forward part of a shoe upper which is attached to the sole or welting.

Veldtschoen: shoe in which upper is turned outward to form a flange

Waist: narrow part of shoe under arch

Walled Toe: shoe forepart which rises vertically

Wedge Heel: kind of heel that looks like a wedge between sole and ground

Wellington: knee-length riding boot introduced by Duke of Wellington.

Welt: narrow strip sewn between upper and sole

Zavatero: Italian word for cobbler, one who repairs shoes using secondhand materials

Zibroni: another popular Italian word for chopines

Zoccoli: one of the most popular Italian words for chopines