Types and Kinds of Shoes


ankle boot
army boots
athletic shoes


ballet shoes
beach shoes
boat shoes
bowling shoes


climbing shoes
court shoes
cowboy boots
cycling shoes


deck shoes
dress shoes


elevator shoes

figure skates

golf shoes

high heels
high-top sneakers
hiking boots

ice skates
inline skates

jump boots



Mary Janes

open-toes shoes

penny loafers
platform shoes
pointe shoes

riding boots
running shoes

saddle shoes
skate shoes
ski boots
steel-toe boots
stiletto heels
swim fins

tap shoes
tennis shoes
toe shoes
track shoes


wedge shoes
Wellington boots
wingtip shoes
work boots


And here’s some shoe terminology for you:

    Alum-tanning: way of treating insole which sterilizes inner portions of shoe
    Back-strap/strip: strip of leather covering back-seam of shoe quarter
    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
    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
    Caleghero: Italian word for a shoe-maker, as opposed to Zavatero, a cobbler
    Channel: row of holes where stitching is made
    Closed Seam: two upper sections stitched together then flattened
    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;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.
    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; inside part of shoe on which foot rests
    Instep: imprecise area between toes and ankle
    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; 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.
    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
    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
    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
    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; the bottom part of shoe which touches the ground
    Spool Heel: stacked heel made of large individual, often rounded parts
    Suede: leather made by buffing inner surface to produce a napped finish
    Tacks: ways of attaching pieces of the upper, especially used by Italians
    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; 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.
    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
    Welt: narrow strip sewn between upper and sole
    Zavatero: Italian word for cobbler, one who repairs shoes using secondhand materials