Glossary - Shoes and Boots
Parts of the Shoe or Boot:
Aglet - The metal or plastic tag at the end of a shoelace. (Bet you didn't know that!)
Arch - The high, curved part of the sole of the foot, located between the ball of the foot and the heel. Also, the raised area of the insole of the shoe, which pads and provides support for the arch of the foot.
Collar/Rim/Top Line - The part of the shoe where the foot enters.
Eyelet - A hole for a lace to be threaded, often reinforced with a metal ring or grommet.
Footbed/Insole - Where the foot rests in the shoe.
Heel - The solid part of a shoe that supports the heel of the foot.
Laces - A strip of material strung through the eyelets of a shoe in order to pull the shoe closed and adjust its girth. Usually made from strong woven cotton or raw hide leather.
Midsole - The part of the shoe between the outsole and where the foot rests, usually cushioned.
Outsole/Sole - The very bottom of the shoe that contacts the ground.
Shank - A metal strip extending from the heel to the ball of the foot to strengthen shoe and add support. This can not be seen in a finished shoe.
Snaffle - The term comes from a horses bit. In footwear, it is a metal designed augmentation across the top of a loafer.
Tongue - A strip of leather or other material sewn into the vamp of a laced shoe and extending to the throat of the shoe.
Upper - The upper part of the shoe, not including the sole.
Vamp - The front part of a shoe upper that covers the toes and part of the foot.
Welt - A strip of leather sewn between the insole and the outsole to create greater durability. The welt can be made to ‘stick out’ from the sole and further ornament the shoe.
Styles of Shoes and Boots:
Boat/Deck/Yacht Shoe - Originally meant to be worn on a boat, usually with a siped, non-slip outsole, often with side lacing details.
Brogue - A shoe or boot that has perforations and zig-zag detailing.
Chelsea Boot - A boot, usually ankle height, in a pull on style with elastic side panels, or "double-gore" construction.
Chukka Boot - Ankle height boot with laces and usually a plain toe.
Derby(/Blucher/Gibson) - A shoe with two side panels or "quarters" laced together over the tongue. The lacing is 'open-throat' (not stitched together at the bottom).
Driving Shoe - A type of casual slip on ideal for driving, with a flexible, pedal-gripping sole and a wrap around protected heel.
Flip-Flop - A thong/toe-post sandal with a lightweight foam outsole that makes a flip-flop sound as you walk.
Jodhpur Boots - A low-cut boot used primarily for equestrian activities. May be laced (Chukka) or a twin gore pull-on (Chelsea) style.
Loafers/Moccasins - Slip-on shoes noted for their comfort. The shoe's construction tends to be simple and 'roomy', and are constructed completely without fasteners.
Moccasin/Tru-Moc/Full Moccasin - A construction developed from methods used by North American Indians, producing a very light, flexible and comfortable shoe, where the foot is enclosed by a single piece of leather stitched to an upper.
Mule - A closed toe shoe with no back.
Oxford(/Balmoral) - A style of shoe where the two flaps of leather with the piercings for the laces ("quarters") are stitched together at the bottom underneath the vamp. The laced area opens in a closed-throat v-shape.
Penny Loafer - A slip-on style shoe with a slit over the instep where a penny traditionally was placed for good luck.
Slip-On - A style of footwear which is simply slipped on to the foot with no further adjustment.
Slipper - A flat shoe that is easily slipped on, usually meant for indoor wear and lined for comfort and warmth.
Terms you'll hear about leather:
Calf Skin - The skin of very young cattle which offers fine grain, suppleness and exceptional durability. Often used as a shoe lining.
Full Grain Leather - Leather tanned so that the natural texture, or grain, of the animal skin is visible.
Nubuck - A grain leather that has been slightly brushed on the surface to create a very fine velvet-like appearance. The texture of Nubuck is finer than suede because the natural grain pattern is left intact.
Pull Grain Leather - A natural process to temper the hide using river stones. The result is a leather with an irregular grain that's soft to the touch and flexible.
Pull Up/Waxed/Oiled leather - a type of leather coloured with aniline dyes that are sealed using natural oils and/or waxes instead of paints, pigments and top coats.
Rawhide - Usually laces, where the leather surface is unfinished and naturally rough.
Suede - Leather sanded or roughed to produce a surface with a soft texture or "nap". Suede leather is made from the underside of the skin, primarily lamb, although goat, pig, calf and deer are commonly used.
Vegetable Tanned - Leather that has been tanned using a vegetable process. Ideal for those with allergies to chromium or other tanning chemicals.
Terms you'll hear about Soles:
EVA Heel Cup - A foam-based insole, lending itself naturally to supportive properties. Ideal as a shock-absorber, protecting the foot from impact with the ground and helping to protect the joints and ligaments in the foot.
Goodyear Welt - A shoe construction in which the upper and sole of the shoe are stitched together, resulting in greater durability. The resulting seam is visible and runs around the outside of the shoe, where the upper and outsole meet.
Lug/Country/Deep Tread Sole - A sole with a heavy three dimensional traction pattern.
Non-Marking - Usually referring to a deck or boat shoe, the sole is designed not to create marks, protecting the surface of a boat deck.
Non-Slip - Usually referring to a deck or boat shoe, the sole is designed not to slip on the surface of a boat deck.
Siped/Razor Cut - A type of sole with narrow grooves or channels, often found in boat shoes, that help to disperse water and prevent slipping.
Tread - Refers to the design of a shoe's sole.
Other terms you might like to know about:
Break - The natural crease created across the vamp of the shoe from everyday wear.
Canoe Seam - An extra layer of leather around the base of a moccasin shoe.
Last (but not least) - The wooden block around which the shoe is formed. The last represents the shape and size of the intended wearer's foot. Last's can be standard sizes or bespoke.