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Glossary of Terms

Action Leather
Suede cow leather that is covered with a thin coating of Polyurethane. The coating can be any color and can be embossed with a roller. The final product is generally a solid color leather looking product. This material is still classified as leather for import duty. Almost all white sneakers are made with action leather.
Active Air
A type of midsole found in Clarks shoes, Active Air features hundreds of air pockets in a honeycomb-like design which offer fantastic levels of comfort while sacrificing none of the shock-absorbing properties found in traditional whole-piece midsoles.
Active Air Vent
Found in men’s Clarks shoes, Active Air Vent technology is exactly what the name suggests. Hidden in the heel of all shoes in this range is a tiny-yet-powerful pump that sucks out the warm air from within the shoe and pulls in cool air from the outside, helping to keep the foot dry and the shoe smelling and feeling fresh for considerably longer.
Aglet
The plastic sheath at the end of a shoelace which makes the lace easier to thread through the eyelet holes of the shoe.
AirWair
Dr Martens’ trademark outsole technology, AirWair was invented by the brand’s creator Dr Klaus Märtens who needed a cushy rubber sole to help a sprained ankle. The use of air pockets in the outsole for added comfort and impact absorption was recognised as one of the design’s key benefits when the shoe was first imported to the UK, and it remains an iconic part of the Docs brand to this day. You can read about Dr Martens’ history here.
Alcantara
Microfiber Synthetic Leather.  These high quality micro fiber suede materials can be expensive but they are great for use on shoes, gloves, linings and trim.
Algonquin Toe
Named after the Algonquin Indian tribe for having designed it in the eighteenth century, the 'Algonquin Toe' (also referred to as the Split Toe) is constructed by joining two pieces of leather together at the 'vamp' and 'welt' of the shoe.
Alligator Skin
A reptile hide featuring a wide, boxed print.
Amara
Microfiber Synthetic Leather.  These high quality micro fiber suede materials can be expensive but they are great for use on shoes, gloves, linings and trim.
Amortization or Amortize
A factory customer and the factory agree to pay for shoe tooling piece by piece.   The tooling is amortized ,but adding a small charge to each pair of shoes.  For Example a $10,000 tooling bill make be payed by adding $.50 to the first 20,000 pairs sold.
ANATOMICUSH™
The latest piece of midsole technology from FitFlop. Whereas the MICROWOBBLEBOARD™ and SUPERCOMFF™ boast triple- and dual-density technology, respectively, ANATOMICUSH uses single density, meaning it offers the wearer the same levels of comfort that the brand are famous for while also providing a more slimline silhouette.
Aniline Leather
A type of leather in which high quality hides have been treated with aniline dye to create a delicate, soft, supple finish. Aniline dye colors the leather while keeping the natural variations blemishes on the surface visible.
Ankle Strap
A strap attached at the rear of the shoe that encircles the ankle.  Usually features an adjustable buckle or elastic.
Ankle Wrap
Found most often on relatively formal sandals, an ankle wrap is a strap generally attached toward the back which loops round the wearers ankle, helping to secure the foot to the footbed as well as offering some extra aesthetic appeal.
Antiqued Leather
A type of leather which is dyed a darker color over an existing lighter color to create a contrasting, rubbed-off, and artificially-aged appearance.  This is also referred to distressed leather.
APMA
The APMA stands for the American Podiatric Medical Association.  It is comprised of America's Premier Foot & Ankle Physicians.  The seal was created to inform both physicians and consumers about products whose quality, safety and effectiveness allow for normal foot function and promote good health.
Approach Shoe
A grip-soled athletic shoe meant to aid rock climbers on the path to and from the climbing area.
Apron Front
Similar to a plain toe but with a seam that runs across the top (somewhat similarly to a moc toe). Relatively rare among formal shoes.
Apron Toe
Unlike many shoe terms, an Apron Toe is actually what it sounds like. It can be recognized by the visible edges or stitching that finishes off the toe and forms a sort of apron along the shoe's front.
Arch
The high, curved part of the sole of the foot, located between the ball of the foot and the heel.  This term can also refer to the raised area of the insole of the shoe, which is meant to pad and provide support for the arch of the foot.
Arthritis
A medical condition involving the inflammation of the joints, which can cause pain, swelling and stiffness.
Athleisure Shoe
Athletic-inspired, trendy footwear meant for casual, urban wear.
Athletic Shoe
Athletic footwear meant for performance of a specific sport.  Basketball, cross training, golf, hiking, running, tennis and walking are some examples.
Atsu
A special insole found in Clarks shoes, the Atsu features strategically placed beads which provide a massaging effect on the foot, keeping them comfortable and promoting blood circulation.