Glossary of Shoe Terms


A have compiled a glossary of shoe terms.

This is very much a "work in progress".

Please feel free to add your own words, with description if possible. Or simply contact me if there is a term you would like me to explain.

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Albert side-laced boot with five buttons and usually a cloth top.

Artois buckle shoe buckle of enormous proportions, fashionable in the 1770s and 1780s. Named after the Comte d'Artois, later Charles X of France (1824-30)

Balmoral closed-front ankle boot with galosh. Worn by men and women, named after the country seat of Queen Victoria.

Blucher short, front-laced leather boot, named after the Prussian General Von Blucher who played a decisive role in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815

Brogue a laced shoe with punched decoration

Brothel Creeper shoe, usually of suede with thick crepe sole.

Bulldog or Boston toe bulbous toe shape on men's shoes, popular in the United States during the late 19th Century and in Britain in the early 20th Century.

Buskins boots reaching to the calf or knee, usually made of supple or lightweight material.

Chape the prolonged part of a buckle through which the strap is secured.

Chelsea Boot ankle boot with pointed toe and elastic sides. Popular during the 1960's and associated with the fashionable King's Road in Chelsea, London. Also known as the Beatle Boot.

Chopine see mule

Chukka Boot man's lace-tied ankle boot. Originally worn by polo players; adopted for general wear in the 1950's

Clog leather-overshoe with straps across the instep

Court shoe a low-heeled, slip-on shoe

Cromwell medium or high-heeled shoe with decorative buckle

Cuban heel heel of medium height with slightly curving back.

Derby lace-tied shoe with eyelet tabs stitched over the vamp.

Desert Boot front-laced suede ankle boot with crepe sole, a refined version of those made in Cairo during World War II for General Montgomery's Eighth Army.

Eyelet tabs front facings of the shoe through which the laces are tied.

Fastenette small buckle used to fasten the strap over the instep, often decorated with pastes. Served the duel purpose of a working buckle and an ornament.

Gaiters cloth or leather coverings for leg and ankle, buttoned or zipped at the side and often held on by straps under the foot.

Galoshes/goloshes/galoches overshoes worn to protect the boot or shoe.

Ghillie shoe of Scottish origin, with lacing through loops instead of eyelets

Horned toe 16th Century shoe with two small horn shapes at the toe.

Instep the raised area on the top of the foot above the toes.

Jackboots a) a heavy, hard leather boot often worn with bucket tops to cover knees, worn for riding or outdoors. b) lightweight boots with back of kneed scooped out to allow for bending

Jelly shoes shoe made of soft plastic, with the bright, translucent look of jelly.

Jockey boot (later known as top boot) leather boot with a turnover top and cloth straps. Originally worn for horse-racing, and adopted as fashionable wear during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Langtry shoe of medium height, similar to the Cromwell but with a strap fastening or a large bow instead of a buckle. Named after the actress Lilly Langtry.

Last carved or moulded form on which the shoe is made.

Latchets straps which fasten across the instep by means of a shoe-tie or buckle.

Loafer casual slip-on leather or suede shoe, originating in the United States.

Louis heel heel of medium height, sharply curving inwards at the back, front and sides, and flared slightly at the base. Named after Louis XV

Mule/pantoble/chopine types of shoe without heel quarters.

Oxford lace-tied shoe with eyelet tabs stitched under the vamp.

Patten overshoe with a wooden sole raised on an iron ring.

Pinked decorative cut with saw-toothed edge.

Pump shoe with thin sole, soft or patent uppers and flat heel.

Quarter part of the shoe upper covering the sides and back of the foot.

Rand narrow strip of leather between the upper and sole, sometimes used as a decorative feature.

Spats soft cloth or leather gaiters

Spool heel a heel composed of convex layers resembling the top and bottom outer edges of a cotton reel.

Stacked heel heel built up of horizontal layers of leather.

Straights shoes not shaped to distinguish between left and right, so can be worn on either foot.

Throat shaped part of the vamp resting on the instep of the foot.

Tongue part of the vamp which extends under the latchets or eyelet tabs.

Trainer sports shoe which has developed into a fashion industry.

Two tone or co-respondent type of two-colour shoe originally worn for golf. It was adopted for more general wear in the 1930s and became known as the co-respondent because of its association with 'flashy' men of the type then cited in divorce cases.

Upper the part of the shoe upper covering the toes and part of the instep.

Vandyked edge a serrated edging of lace or other material

Wellington leather boot similar to the top boot but without the turnover top. Named after the 1st Duke of Wellington, famous for his part in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Welt a narrow strip of leather sewn around the edge of the upper and insole to help attach the sole

Winklepicker shoe with excessively pointed toes.

This glossary of shoe terms is very much a work in progress. If you have any definitions you would like to add please complete the form below. Many thanks.

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