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
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
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