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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.
The plastic sheath at the end of a shoelace which makes the lace easier to thread through the eyelet holes of the shoe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Baby Louis heel
More common in modern footwear than the taller Louis heel, as the name suggests the baby Louis is simply a shorter version.
Back Seam
The vertical seam at the center of the back of a shoe or boot.
The padded area of the foot between the big toe and the arch of the foot.
Ballerina Flat
A ballet-style flat meant for everyday wear. Also known as ballet flats or simply flats, Ballerinas are a very simple style defined by their thin outsole, lack of heel and the frequently ornate detailing on their toe box.
Balmoral Shoe
A shoe construction featuring a laced "V"-shaped panel across the foot.
Beatle boot
Beatle boots are a hybrid style of Chelsea boots with Cuban heels. They are named for the band after Paul McCartney and John Lennon commissioned pairs before the explosion of Beatlemania took the style into mainstream consciousness.
Bellows Tongue
A shoe tongue that is attached at both the top and the sides of the shoe.
A truly bespoke shoe is made on a last that has been custom-made for an individual, rather than one of the standard lasts that used for 99.999% of the shoes in the world. In addition, a bespoke shoe customer gets to choose most every detail of construction, from major choices like the leather to details like heel type.
Bicycle Toe
A type of toe characterized by two stitched straight line accents, so named because of their similarity to professional bicycling shoe detailing.
Biker boot
Encompassing a wide remit, biker boots tend to be black leather boots of at least medium (thigh high) length. Their defining feature is the presence of heavy buckles and straps.
Biomimetix™ midsole
Predominantly found in FitFlop’s FF2 collection, the Biomimetix™ midsole is essentially a slimline version of the technology found in FitFlop sandals, the MICROWOBBLEBOARD™ midsole. The Biomimetix™ midsole makes use of vertically segmented, triple-density EVA to offer ergonomic pressure diffusion across the entire foot for incredible comfort.
Blake welting
The most common style of welting on leather or formal shoes, blake welting involves folding the material used on the upper round and sewing it onto the sole on the inside of the shoe. Blake welting is advantageous over goodyear welting in terms of production costs and by offering a slimmer profile shoe. However, shoes that have been blake welted are potentially less waterproof and harder to re-sole.
A shoe construction featuring two side flaps of material that are joined across the foot with lacing.
Blucher Toe
A Blucher toe is typically described as 'an Apron Toe in reverse', as the toe's overlay in tuned-in to create a smooth 'apron-less' look.
Boat Shoe
A kind of casual shoe that can normally be slipped on and worn with or without socks. Boat shoes are typically made with non-slip soles (so as to avoid slipping on a wet boat deck) and they are often featured ornamental side-lacings.
A style of footwear extending to the height of the anklebone and above.  May extend as high as the thigh.
Boot Heel
Typically found on boots, this is a wide, stable type of heel that usually is not very high
bottoming refers to the process of attaching the Sole to the Upper. The basic methods of sole attachment include cementing, molding / vulcanizing, and sewing.
Bouldering Shoes
A specific type of climbing shoe that is used for low to the ground, difficult routes that are not rope protected. Those who practice the technique of bouldering are called ‘boulderers’.
Box Leather
A type of leather that is dyed on the top layer of the leather only and coated with polyurethane to create a finish that is resilient to spills from liquids.
Brannock Device®
The Brannock Device® is a 1925 invention by Charles F. Brannock, designed to offer highly accurate foot size information. The Brannock Device® measures the foot’s length, width, and the from the heel to the widest point. Brannock measurements are in the format of a number followed by a letter, with the number denoting the foot’s length, and the letter its width, with E being the standard fit. The calculation used for Brannock’s length measurement is the foot’s length in inches multiplied by three, minus either 21 (for women’s sizes) or 22 (for men’s sizes), and takes into account ⅔ inch of wiggle room.
oper shoe fit.
The natural crease created across the vamp of the shoe from everyday wear.
A heavy oxford-style shoe featuring pinked and perforated detailing.
A term that refers to the perforations or small punches that can be used to decorate a shoe. All those holes on a wingtip? That's brogueing.
Brothel creeper
Most popular in the 1950s, brothel creepers are characterised by their combining of a suede upper with a thick crepe sole.
A clasp at the end of a length of fabric or leather that joins one end of the material to the other.
Buff or Buffing
To remove material by a sanding or roughing process. For example, EVA midsoles are buffed before assembly to help break the smooth surface for better adhesion to the upper. The shoe factory will use a metal or stone wheel.
Buffed Leather
A type of leather where the top surface has been removed using abrasion. This type of leather is often referred to as suede or nubuck.
A painful swelling at the base of the big toe, frequently leading to permanent enlargement of the toe joint.
Burnished Leather
The process of buffing the surface to achieve an antiquing effect on the leather.
Leather created from the skins of very young cows. Calfskin is typically very supple and soft.
A firm, rough patch of skin that develops from overuse or irritation.
A durable, breathable, synthetic material that helps wick away moisture and gives added warmth.
Cap Toe
An additional piece of leather covering the toe of a shoe. May be in several different shapes or patterns. Also known as a Tip.
Cemented Construction
A shoe construction in which the upper of a shoe is cemented, rather than stitched, to the sole of the shoe. Cement construction results in a lighter, more flexible shoe.
Cementing is one of the most common ways in which the upper is attached to the sole. Rather than using the traditional stitching methods, the two parts are connected with industrial strength glue. The advantage is that it reduces the production cost of the shoes, but the downside is cemented shoes rarely boast the same durability as those which have been welted.
Chelsea Boot
Popularized in England during the 1960s (purportedly due to the Beatles' fondness for the style) and also referred to as a 'Jodhpur Boot'. It is a slip-on, heeled, ankle-heigh boot most easily identified by the elastic side panels that reach from the shoe's heel to its top.
Chelsea welly
A hybrid style that combines the Chelsea boot with the traditional sealed rubber exterior of the wellington boot. You can read more on this style here.
Chisel toe
Named as it resembles the tool, chisel toe shoes are relatively long and then taper into a relatively sharp square finish. - See more at:
Chukka Boot
A boot style with laces, usually with a plain toe, and is the height of the ankle.
The measurement around the shaft of a boot taken at the widest part near the top of the boot shaft.
A durable lining that is quick-drying and extremely breathable.
A footwear style featuring a closed toe, open back and a platform sole traditionally fashioned from wood.
Closed lace
A type of lacing structure, closed laces are created when the vamp overlaps the quarters creating a narrow and restricted set of eyelets. Closed lacing is the defining feature of Oxford shoes.
A strip of material stitched to the opening of a shoe or the topline. The collar can be padded for extra comfort.
Combination Last
A footwear last in which the heel is two sizes smaller in width than the widest part of the shoe, producing a shoe with a narrow heel and a wide toe box.
Commando sole
Used exclusively in reference to men’s formal shoes, commando soles are made from rubber and feature a lug pattern for extra grip. They are afforded the name as formal shoes traditionally featured leather soles which tend to perform less well in poor weather and need changing more frequently.
Contoured Footbed
An insole that molds to the shape of the foot.
Leather from a horse's posterior. When tanned it becomes a rich black cherry color; so it has evolved into common usage as a color name.
A traditional material used in the creation of footbeds and outsoles, cork has in some cases been replaced by EVA or PU composites, but is still used, particularly on high end sandals such as Birkenstocks. It is buoyant and can be made wet without any significant long term damage, as well as offering some shock absorption.
A small, hard formation usually found on the toe. A corn is usually the result of continuous friction or pressure in one place.
Corrected Grain Leather
A type of leather that has been buffed to remove any blemishes, then covered with an artificial grain using finishes such as pigments, embossing, antiquing, buffing, waxing, waterproofing, etc.
A stiff piece of material placed at the heel of a shoe between the lining and upper in order to retain the shape of the shoe.
Cowboy boots
Popularised as much by their use in big screen Westerns as they were by those that actually wore them, cowboy boots remain popular today, particularly in the US. They're characterised by their leather upper (which often feature ornate decorative patterns), tall shaft and Cuban heel.
Crepe Rubber
A crude natural rubber with a crinkled texture, used in shoe soles.
Crepe Sole
A kind of sole typically cast from rubber and made to resemble the texture of wrinkled crepe paper. These soles are almost exclusively seen on casual shoes.
Cuban heel
Widely popularised by the Beatles (who had the heels added to Chelsea boots to create the style known as Beatle boots), a Cuban heel is a relatively short (usually around two inch) thick heel typically found on men’s footwear.
A type of rubber outsole, cupsoles are comprised one one single piece of molded rubber, unlike traditional rubber soles which feature several pieces glued or cemented together. Because of this, they tend to be tougher to break in and slightly chunkier but offer greater durability and protection for the foot.
The application of chemicals to animal hides in preparation for the tanning process.
 Padding on the insole or outsole of a shoe for added comfort and stabilization.
A style of pump featuring one or both sides cut-out.
Dainite sole
Found on a range of shoes, but particularly men's formal shoes, Dainite soles are smooth rubber soles that feature small circular dimples rather than a lug pattern. Dainite soles are intended to replicate the look of leather soles while adding durability and suitability in wet weather.
Demi Boot
A style of boot whose shaft is generally no taller than the anklebone.
A term sometimes used to describe shoes that features 'Blucher' style lacing. Derby brogues are defined by their open laced eye stay structure. This occurs when the quarters of the shoe overlap the vamp. Derby brogues are normally considered less formal than Oxfords.
Desert boot
Technically a sub-style of the chukka boot, desert boots have gained such a following since their introduction by Clarks that they’ve essentially become a style in their own right. The chief difference between desert and chukka boots is that the upper of the former is made from suede, while the outsole is crepe rather than leather. As the name suggests, these boots were created for desert-based infantrymen in the Second World War, who needed a shoe that was both lightweight and grippy.
Distressed Leather
 This is another term used for antiqued leather.
Double lasting
Double lasting is when a single shoe undergoes two lasting operations during assembly. The lasting operations maybe to pull a leather lining tight with no wrinkles or to pull a water proofing lining tight. The second lasting operation would be the shoe upper. Double lasting is often used to “hide” a molded foam midsole inside the shoe.
The application of polish or gloss to a shoe to maintain its finish and appearance.
A dual layered configuration composed of a moisture-absorbing hydrophilic nylon fiber and a moisture-resisting hydrophobic polyester layer knitted together.
Driving shoe
Most commonly a suede moccasin design, driving shoes are characterised by their comfort and the presence of small rubber spots or pads on the sole, to provide traction and comfort.
DryFast - DrySoft™
The special leather used on Dubarry’s range of high quality boots, DryFast-DrySoft™ does what it says on the tin. In the knowledge that their boots frequently get wet through everyday use in the countryside, Dubarry have created a leather which dries quickly and retains its natural softness and luster for longer than regular leather.
Duck boot
Also known as waders, duck boots take their name from the duck hunters who they were originally adapted for. They are known for their striking appearance as well as their practicality; the lower portion of the upper is made from vulcanised rubber, while the upper part is made with leather, to offer both comfort and complete water tightness when walking in shallow waters.
Durabrush is made of synthetic suede and micro-fiber materials to create a smooth, soft upper.
Duty Shoe
A health care professional or service industry shoe.
E.V.A. (Ethylene Vinyl
A synthetic compound used for outsoles. E.V.A. provides cushioning to the foot and is easily shaped by heat and pressure.
Refers to a climbing technique in which the inside or outside edge of the climbing shoe is placed on a sharp hold. For climbing shoes to have the best edging performance, they need to be tight but not painfully so.
An elastic fabric made from segmented polyurethane that adds stretch.  It's stronger and more durable than rubber.  Similar to spandex. Also known as Lycra and Spandex, elastane is a man-made composite of polyester and polyurethane that is known for its incredible elasticity. While it is rare to find a shoe that features wholesale elastane (it is occasionally used in flexible openings and sports trainers), it is frequently combined with other materials - such as wool - in luxury socks to offer the wearer some added elasticity.
Elastic Gore
An flexible, elastic fabric that is sewn into the shoe's lining in order to provide a snug fit.
Embossed Leather
A design that is imprinted onto leather and often simulated exotic skin - i.e., croco or snake.  May also be a random pattern.
Epsom Salt
A magnesium sulfate used to draw toxins from the body through the skin. Commonly used in bath and foot soaks as it is believed to reduce swelling and relax muscles.
A shoe or sandal style that has a woven rope or similar material covering the wedge or sole. Also known as an alpargata, the espadrille originates in the mountainous Pyrenees region between Spain and France. The shoes became popular thanks to their lightweight, breathable construction, with a canvas upper and a jute rope sole.
An outsole compound that is up to three times later than comparable constructions, Extralight is found on certain styles of men’s shoes by Clarks. The reduced weight it offers the wearer has a huge bearing on the comfort of the shoes.
A hole through which a lace is threaded; may be reinforced with a metal ring or grommet.
The part around the lace opening (throat of the shoe). Can feature webbings, eyelets, etc.
Where the outsole connects to the upper.
A material made primarily of wood pulp which is used for counters, insoles and heel lifts.
The process by which the final appearance of a shoe is created. The finish can include the application of polish to create a high-gloss finish, or a contrasting polish to create a rub-off finish like "antiquing".
Finishing Room
The area of a shoe factory where the shoe is finished, including the removal of the last, insertion of the insole, completion of the outsole and final application of polish.
Fisherman sandal
A type of sandal characterised by its ribbed strap structure designed to keep the shoe secured to the wearer's foot in wet, slippery conditions.
Flat Foot
A condition in which the arch of the foot is collapsed and the entire foot rests on the ground.
A flatform shoe features a platform sole, rather than just a heel, creating a level platform on which the wearer walks.
The name used for any men’s and kids’ Clarks shoes that weigh in at under 400 grams, FlexLight shoes are known for their incredibly flexible soles and their footbed, which stays fresh thanks to a built in biocide that kills germs and helps to prevent odour.
Probably the best-loved sandal style in the world, the flip-flop combines a foam or rubber footbed with a thong strap that usually begins with a toe post by the big toe and stretches either side of the foot.
Another term for insole.
The area of foot between the ball and the toes.
A strip of rubber joining the upper and sole of a shoe. Typically found on canvas sneakers.
French Binding
A way of detailing a shoe's 'topline' by sewing, or binding, an additional strip of material along the shoe's topmost edge. This style of finishing is often produced with a contrasting material from the rest of the shoe's upper.
Most often found on loafers and moccasins (particularly those made from suede), fringes are decorative features found on the upper.
Full Grain Leather
The most genuine type of leather which has not been altered beyond removing hair. This type of leather retains all of the leather's natural texture and markings.
An individual's style of walking.
Waterproof (typically rubber) overshoes or boots meant to protect the foot and footwear from inclement weather.
Pronounced "gil-ee", this is a style of footwear in which the laces pass through fabric or leather rings or loops attached to the front opening of the shoe, rather than eyelets.
The circumference of a shoe last measured around the ball of the foot.
Glazed Leather
Using Aniline-dyed leather, this type of leather is polished to a high luster by passing through greatly-pressured glass or steel rollers to create a smooth and shiny finish.
Glove Leather
A very soft leather such as lambskin which is typically used for gloves.
Leather made from the hide of a goat.
GOga Mat®
GOga Mat® technology is used on the insoles of certain styles of Skechers, offering comfort and shock absorption.
GOimpulse pillar sensors
Used on the outsole of Skechers’ trainers and bearing a slight resemblance to Dainite soles, the GOimpulse pillars are designed to offer the wearer vital sensory feedback as they run in order to achieve the optimum running style.
Goodyear welting
The goodyear welt construction method is a machine based process named after Charles Goodyear Jr., the inventor of the process, typically found on formal dress shoes. The welt (a strip of leather or rubber that runs along the outsole) is sewn to the upper and is then cemented to the welt. Because of the complicated, multi-part design, the shoe can be re-soled many times extending their life exponentially. The increased difficulty of producing goodyear welted shoes does mean they often cost more than regularly welted or cemented equivalents.
An elastic panel stitched into either side of a shoe's vamp in order to make it more comfortable and easier to put on and take off.
GORE-TEX is a marvel of modern textile innovation. It is a waterproof fabric that still has the properties of a breathable membrane. Therefore it has the ability to repel liquid water, while allowing water vapor to pass through, making it a lightweight, waterproof fabric suitable for all-weather use. It was actually invented by a Mr W.L. Gore in 1969. It is a registered trademark and if you see the familiar GORE-TEX symbol appear on your product you know it's ready to see you through some of toughest conditions the weather can throw at you.
Grade is the quality of an item. A-Grade is good. B-Grade has flaws can be sold at a discount. C-Grade can’t be sole, must be destroyed or repaired if possible.
Grading or Size Grade
Making different shoe sizes. The sample size or development size is usually Men’s 9 and Women’s 7. Once the sample is confirmed, extreme sizes are made  size 5 and size 12. Then all the sizes are graded. The word is a noun and a verb. Can I see the size grade? or, the pattern master is grading the pattern. The pattern grade is now done by computer then checked by the pattern master.
The inherent surface pattern of leather, differentiated by the animal from which it came.
Green Rubber™
Used in the soles of certain styles in the Timberland Earthkeeper range, Green Rubber™ is an environmentally friendly rubber compound material created with recycled scrap rubber. Green Rubber™ soles boast all of the rugged durability typically associated with Timberland’s wares, but thanks to being made with 42% recycled material, they are much kinder to the planet.
Fleurville brand fabric made of environmentally friendly PVC-free polyurethane laminate which provides moisture-repellency, UV resistance and durability.
A kind of calfskin leather which maintains the calf hide's soft furry texture.
A condition in which the toe is bent in a claw-like position, occurring most frequently in the second through fifth toes. Hammertoes are usually caused by an imbalance of muscle tissue, but can also be aggravated by arthritis and poorly-fitting shoes.
Heel" can refer to both the rear, padded area of the underside of the foot, as well as the solid part of a shoe that supports the heel cup. The standard measure for heel heights is as follows: an 8/8 (low heel) is 1" high; a 16/8 (medium heel) is 2" high; and a 24/8 (high heel) is 3" high.
Types of shoe heels include:
Baby Louis - The same shape as a Louis heel but a 12/8 or shorter.
Built Heel - Created from layers of leather or fiber with contrasting tones.
Continental - A higher heel with a slightly curved back and flat front.
Cuban - A thick, stacked heel with little or no curvature and tapered at the bottom; usually medium in height.
Louis or French - Features a curved back and ranges in height from 16/8 to 24/8.
Stacked - Similar to the built heel but typically can be created from synthetic and leather materials. Often found on spectator shoes.
Wedge - A heel of any height that is as wide as the shoe itself and follows the shoes contour from toe to heel.
Heel break
Most commonly listed as a feature of hiking boots, a heel break is where a sole has a distinct area formed under the heel to offer added traction on slippery surface. Sometimes features a different lug pattern to the rest of the sole.
Heel Breast
 The forward-facing side of the heel.
Heel counter
Most commonly found on trainers, the heel counter is a piece of plastic which sits at the back of the rim to offer the wearer additional support. Heel counters range in how flexible they are; stiffer ones are better for wearers who need support, while more pliable ones are ideal for those who like to have a full range of movement
Heel Height
Heel height is measured on a vertical line at the breast of the heel, and goes from the bottom surface of the sole (where it meets the heel) to the floor.  Heel height is traditionally measured in increments of 1/8th inches, so for example an 8/8 heel is 1" high.
Heel Lift
The heel lift of a shoe or shoe last is the dimension specified for the heel height above the ground. This is determined by the last if a shoe. A normal sport shoe will generally have a heel lift of 6 to 8mm above the ball of the foot. This is a standard ergonomic stance that will allow the shoe to have more cushioning under the heel. A causal shoe or sandal may have a lift of zero, then of course a high heel women’s shoe last can have a heel lift of 4 inches or more!
Heel Notch
At the back or shoe shoe’s top line, above the heel counter the shoe may have a dip in the center. This is the heel notch.
Heel Seat
The part of the shoe directly below where the heel of the foot rests, and where the sole and the heel are joined together.
Heel Spurs
Soft deposits of calcium that grow on the "plantar fascia", a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, and are typically very painful.
Heel stabilizer
The shoe heel stabilizer is can be rubber, plastic or leather. The stabilizer is bonded to the upper and midsole on the outside of the shoe as a functional and style part. Very common on the classic cut and buff style midsole type.
Heel tab
A common feature of certain styles such as Chelsea boots as well as particularly brands, most notably Dr Martens, heel tabs are designed to help get boots on and off by offering an extra area on which to gain purchase.
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.
Hidden Gore
 An elastic panel at the front of a shoe that is covered by the shoe's tongue and provides added comfort.
The skin of a large animal that is treated, tanned or finished for use in boots, shoes, handbags, and clothing.
High heel
A classic style also sometimes referred to simply as “heel”, high heels are characterised by - you guessed it - the height of their heel
High top
High top refers to a shoe without a heel (usually trainers or other casual shoes) which has an upper that extends to reach the ankle.
Hiking boot
Also known as walking boots or hikers, hiking boots are known for their sturdy construction, deep lug patterns and use of hard-wearing materials
Hook & Loop
A method of keeping something closed, using 2 pieces of fabric. One piece has small hooks, to attach to the other piece which has 2 loops.
A flat sandal or shoe with a woven leather upper.
Imitation Leather
Any synthetic material made to look like leather.
Industry Footwear
Work/industrial footwear with OSHA and A.N.S.I. ratings. If you need industrial footwear, you will find it here. View the Industry Collection
Ingrown Nail
A nail edge or side that digs painfully into the skin. They are frequently caused by improper nail trimming, but also by shoe pressure, injury, fungus infection, heredity, and poor foot structure.
Injection Molded Construction
A type of sole unit construction created by injecting melted PVC or a similar material into the sole mold. Injection molded construction is an efficient way to mass-produce footwear.
Injection molding
Pioneered by Timberland in the 1960s and now an industry standard, injection molding - the process of creating shoes using high powered molds - enabled the company to produce one of the first guaranteed waterproof boot, due to the perfection of the seals created by the technique. It also helped to ensure durability and extremely consistent production standards, which remain cornerstones of the company’s success.
The hidden seam of a welted shoe holding together the welt, upper, lining, and insole.  Also, in clothing it is the seam that binds the length of the inner pant leg.
Also known as the footbed, the insole is the part of the shoe on which the foot rests. Insoles are sometimes orthopaedically contoured to provide added support for the wearer.
The upper, center section of the foot, between the toes and ankle.
Jelly Shoes
Shoes made entirely of PVC.
Jodhpur Boots
A low-cut boot used primarily for equestrian activities. May be laced or a twin gore pull-on style.
Jute rope
A common feature of traditional espadrilles, jute rope is a hardwearing twine which was typically wound around a last and then used for the outsole. It can still be found on espadrilles from certain brands such as TOMS, and is occasionally used on boat shoes due to the nautical sensibilities that the two styles share
Kid Skin
A soft, porous leather created from the hide of young goats
A decorative, fringed tongue over the vamp of a shoe.
Middle-grade leather created from the skins of young cattle that are larger than calves, yet not fully grown.
A low heel found on many women's styles, such as Mary Janes
Lace Loop
Usually made of Nylon webbing. A very common way to attached laces also called a ghilly loop. This style can be sewn under the eye stay to make a hidden lace loop
A strip of material strung through the eyelets of a shoe in order to pull the shoe closed and adjust its girth.
Leather created from the skin of young sheep.
Lapped Seam
Created when two pieces of material are attached by being sewn together, one on top of the other.
A metal, wood or plastic form used to create the shape of a shoe.
Last gauge
The pattern shape of the last bottom. This will usually be a paper card.
The process of pulling and shaping a shoe on a last.
Lasting board
A fabric or paper board sheet used to make the bottom of the shoe upper.
Lasting Margin
The section of the upper that is tucked under and attached to the shoe's sole.
Lateral Side
The lateral side is the out side or the non-arched side of the shoe.  The inside outside is the shoe.
An animal hide which has been treated and dried to form a durable material. Most commonly cow hide, leather is perhaps the most commonly used material in the construction of shoes, and is standard across men’s and women’s shoes. Different production processes result in different grains and styles of leather, which are explained below.
Leather - Full-grain leather
Full-grain leather is largely untreated and still displays any imperfections present on the hide, which means it tends to be the highest quality leather available.
Leather - Burnished
Offering a deliberately worn look, burnished leather has been buffed in order to replicate the aging process. Due to this process, the leather tends to be smoothed, and sometimes offers slightly varying shades, as is common in aged leather.
Leather - Nubuck leather
Nubuck leather A defining feature of famous work boots from the likes of Timberland and Caterpillar, nubuck leather is been sanded down to offer a short nap finish and is both extremely tough and very smooth. Nubuck is created through a similar production method to suede, although performed on the exterior of the hide, not the inside.
Leather - Patent leather
Patent leather is produced with an extremely glossy finish, and is often coated in plastic to both increase the glossiness and imbue the leather with added resistance to water. Typically used in very formal shoes for men, but across a range of shoes for women.
Leather - Pebble-grain leather
Pebble-grain leather features a distinctive “bumpy” pattern, achieved by being pressed. It is generally high quality leather, due to the need for the leather to be largely free of blemishes.
Leather - Suede
Suede is created using the inside of the hide, which is sanded down to a short nap. Suede sacrifices some of the ruggedness and waterproofing of normal leather for an extremely soft and luxurious finish.
Leather - Top-grain leather
Top-grain leather has generally been treated to help remove imperfections, and is often encased in a thin layer of plastic for added protection and waterproofing. Possibly the most common type of leather used on formal shoes.
Leather - Waxed leather
Waxed leather has been treated with a wax-based product, and tends to feature a slightly glossier finish than other leathers (although less so than patent leather). Often found on shoes and clothing designed for wet outdoor wear, as it offers an extra layer of water-resistance.
Leather sole
Traditionally used on men’s formal shoes, leather soles are made from particularly hard-wearing leather, although it rarely offers the same durability as modern rubber composite soles. Leather soles also lack grip, making them impractical for outdoor wear.
One of the several layers of leather or leather-board used make a heel.
The inside material of a shoe. May be composed of leather, fabric or synthetic material.
Leather made from the skin of a lizard, typically with a specked, grainy appearance.
A slip-on shoe, completely without fasteners.
Longwing brogue
Found on men’s formal shoes, the longwing toe cap features “wings” which extend back to the midfoot. Due to the ornate level of detailing that goes along with such a design, longwing brogues tend to be relatively informal. - See more at:
Louis Heel
Developed in the seventeenth century, it is a heel fashioned from an extension of the shoe's sole.
Trademark name of a type of acrylic resin/plastic consisting essentially of polymerized methyl methacrylate.
Lug pattern
The lug pattern is the series of divots cut into a rubber outsole to offer the wearer enhanced grip. The deeper the pattern, the more long- lasting it tends to be.
Lug Sole
A heavy-tread, rubber sole.
A type of yarn fabric that has a metallic appearance. Typically, it's a synthetic fiber which an aluminum layer has been vaporized.
A premium stretch fiber found in garments made from natural and man-made fibers.
Fibers produced from wood pulp cellulose. Tencel® is Lenzing's brand name for lyocell.
The overarching term used for the various pieces of technology found in Merrell’s brand of trail runners and hiking boots, which are explained individually below:
M-Select™ Dry
Merrell’s membrane technology, which both wicks away external moisture and allows moisture from within to escape, ensuring the foot stays dry and the shoes remain fresh.
M-Select™ Fresh
Working in conjunction with M-Select™ Dry and X Dry, M-Select™ Fresh helps to keep Merrell footwear smelling great and hygienic for longer by lining the insole with microbes that break down bacteria.
M-Select™ Grip
Merrell’s own outsole lug pattern is specifically designed to be able to tackle a range of rugged terrain types, with angled lugs at the center of the sole to ensure purchase no matter what the terrain and consistent flat lugs around the outside to enable easy lateral movement.
M-Select™ Ice Grip
As the name suggests, M-Select™ Ice Grip is used for the lug patterns on the outsoles of Merrell’s range of footwear designed specifically to tackle slippery, icy conditions. The angled inner lugs are made from a tough rubber compound capable of biting into ice in order to generate traction.
M-Select™ Move
The midsole in many Merrell shoes, M-Select™ Move incorporates Return Foam™ that both cushions the foot and gives it a firm base from which to push off from and is ergonomically designed to match the natural contours of the foot.
M-Select™ Warm
Merrell’s own brand insulation system is specifically catered to the needs of their users. Lightweight and easily compressible while still offering loft, it is the perfect for ensuring that the wearer’s foot remains a comfortable temperature irrespective of the conditions.
M-Select™ X Dry
Found on certain Merrell boots and designed for those who expect to be outdoors in wet conditions frequently, M-Select™ X Dry is similar to M-Select™ Dry but with an extra bit of external waterproofing.
Mary Jane
The style of low heeled shoe with a strap across the instep. The strap can be attached with elastic or a buckle, making it easy to slip on and off. Mary Janes are a simple women’s style. They feature a closed design, meaning most of the foot is covered, and a strap which extends across the instep for added security. Although originally referring only to flat shoes, Mary Jane is now used for heeled designs as well.
Particularly found in Merrell’s range of trail runners, MBound™ is a layer of cushioning found in the midsole of the shoe which is designed to offer the wearer instantaneous sensory feedback as they move across terrain, enabling them to improve both their agility and their stability.
The ornamental details that are created by 'perforating,' or brogueing', the toes of dress shoes in varied, but always symmetrical designs.
Medial Side
The medial side is the inside or arched side of the shoe.   The outside is the lateral.
Memory foam
A special kind of polyurethane, memory foam is viscoelastic, meaning that when met with body heat, it molds to the shape impressed upon it, and over time it gradually “remembers” the imprint and takes the form permanently, hence the name. Recently, it has become a popular material to use for insoles due to the enhanced fit that it offers, and is often found in Skechers and Butterfly Twist products.
Merino wool

Since back in the Middle Ages, the wool from Merino sheep has been highly valued due to the breed having the finest, softest wool of any sheep in the world. Footwear lined with Merino wool is the height of luxury.

Mersey Boot
Similar to the Chelsea or Jodhpur boot, but zipped along the side (instead of elasticated) and often fitted with a slightly raised heel.
Metatarsal Bones
Five long bones in the foot that help to move the body forward when walking or running. They form the top slope of the foot, from the instep to the toes.
An extremely fine synthetic fiber that can be woven into textiles with the texture and drape of natural fiber cloth.
Found in FitFlop sandals, the MICROWOBBLEBOARD™ midsole is made from triple-density EVA which is designed to help distribute the weight of your body when walking across the whole of your foot rather than focusing it on the ball and the heel, as well as helping to absorb shock.
The layer of material between outsole and innersole used for reinforcement or cushioning.
Minimalist Shoes
Running Barefoot is the oldest form of exercise. Minimalist shoes allow for a barefoot-like experience, with some protection from the elements. Natural running does just that − allows your feet to work naturally, while strengthening your muscles.
A lightweight, synthetic lining. It is backed to an open cell foam rubber to provide a trimmer fitting lining that still provides warmth to the wearer.
A shoe in which the bottom is a single piece of leather, stitched around a last. The vamp is usually attached by whip stitching to the bottom of the shoe so it encloses the foot. Also known as Tru-Moc construction.
Monk Strap
A closed shoe, usually a blucher pattern, with a wide strap across the instep that buckles at the side. Also known as a monk strap.
Mossy Foot
A painful soil transmitted disease also known as Podoconosis – a noninfectious form of elephantiasis. Causes the foot and leg to swell massively, accompanied by rough and bumpy skin that changes to look like moss. In instances of infection, an offensive smell is also present. Affects 5% of populations living in highland tropical areas and that to be a result of working in silicate rich soils barefoot (for more info. visit
Motion Control Shoes
Motion Control shoes are for runners who generally have a low or flat arch and are moderate to severe over pronators. These shoes employ extra support devices on the medial side to slow excessive pronation and tend to have wider and flatter outsoles. Heavier runners who need extra support and durability may also want Motion Control shoes.
Designs or devices found in athletic shoes that control the inward rolling (pronation) of the foot.
Motorcycle Boot
Boots designed with a thicker, more durable sole with motorcycle riding in mind.
The Muguard is the shoe pattern part along the forward part of the shoe alone the edge of the outsole.
Backless, closed-toe slippers or shoes.
The Mustache is the shoe part attached to the shoe above the heel counter part. The classic sneaker will have a Mustache
Nailed Construction
Refers to shoes that have their pieces nailed together, instead of sewn.
A supple version of sheepskin leather.
Natural Grain Leather
A type of leather which displays the leather's original grain.
Negative Heel
Popular in comfort footwear, a type of footbed with a lowered heel area designed for more natural foot placement
Neuroma (Or Morton's Neuroma)
A benign, soft tissue mass which forms on the nerve which runs between the metatarsals, in the ball of the foot. When two metatarsal bones are squeezed together, they pinch the nerve that runs between them. This squeezing together of the metatarsal bones is usually a result of narrow shoes, high-heeled shoes, injury, or a biomechanical defect of the foot (such as loose ligaments, pronation, or arches which are too flat or high).
Neutral Cushioning Shoes
A Neutral Cushioning shoe is best for runners with a high arch who do not pronate effectively. These shoes do not have medial supports but are more concerned with midsole cushioning. The midsole will provide the extra shock absorption that the lack of pronation is missing. Along with a runner who does not over pronate, Neutral Cushioned shoes also work well for midfoot and forefoot strikers.
Nu-Buck leather
This is the top, full grain layer of the hide, but the outer surface has been “brushed” away leaving a very soft nape suede like surface. Nu-buck is top-grain cattle hide leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, or outside, to give a slight nap of short protein fibers, producing a velvet-like surface.
Lightweight, supple leather used on the upper of the shoe. Buffed to a suede-like appearance.
Oil Tanned Leather
A type of leather that is tanned using oils creating a soft and pliable finish.
Open lace
An open lace structure is created by the quarters of a shoe overlapping the vamp, creating two rows of eyelets which can be pulled apart. Open laced shoes are classified as Derbys, and are typically considered less formal than Oxfords.
Ortho-lite is brand name for a crystallized PU foam footbed. Lite, Flexible and comfortable.  This footbed came be found in High end running shoes.
Found in Skechers’ Go Walk range, as well as some Lacoste, Clarks and Timberland shoes, Ortholite™ is used in the insole and lining to offer a memory foam-like effect as well as being anti-microbial, keeping the shoes fresher for longer.
An orthopedic insole designed to cushion and stabilize the foot.
Along with the midsole and the upper, the outsole is one of the three major parts of a shoe. Also known simply as the sole, it is the part of the shoe which comes into contact with the ground, and therefore must provide grip as well as being durable. Most often made from rubber or a rubber-PU combination.
The embellishment on a shoe made by the layering of material over other material.
A traditional term describing a low shoe laced or tied over the instep. The most formal type of brogue, Oxfords boast a closed lace system created by the vamp overlapping the quarters. This means they tend to have a sleeker, more minimalist silhouette, and thus are favoured in black tie formal situations. - See more at:
Refers to foam or other material usually inside the collar or tongue to add thickness/cushioning and improve fit. Usually this will be polyurethane, latex, EVA or PE foam.
Patent Leather
A glossy leather that has a shiny appearance. Patent leather is typically created from cattle hide.
A luster that develops on quality materials due to natural aging.
The design of the shoe’s cut parts. Just like clothing. The shoe pattern is fitted to the last. Designer and developers often make pattern corrections when creating a new shoe.
Peau de soie
A soft satin weave of silk or rayon, with a grainy and dull luster.
Pebble-grain leather
Pebble-grain leather features a distinctive “bumpy” pattern, achieved by being pressed. It is generally high quality leather, due to the need for the leather to be largely free of blemishes.
Refers to the care of the nails on one’s feet through shaping and cutting to improve their appearance. A similar service is the manicure, which is the care of the nails on the hands.
Peekaboo toe
Also known as a peep toe, a peekaboo toe features a slight cut out in the toe box that means one or two toes are visible for a visually striking effect.
Penny Loafer
A slip-on style shoe with a slit over the instep where a penny traditionally was placed for good luck.
A pattern of small holes punched or bored into the trim of a shoe, for the purpose of decoration or ventilation.
Pigskin Leather
Leather made from the skin of pigs.
Saw-tooth shaped edging applied to the trim of shoes for decoration.
A decorative, narrow strip of leather that typically follows the seam of a shoe.
The angle of the back part of the heel where it meets the sole, compared to the front part of the heel where it meets the sole. On a high-heeled shoe the pitch should be at a larger angle, in order to stabilize the heel.
Plantar Fasciitis
A tearing, either large or small, of the connective tissues in the arch of the foot known as the plantar fascia, causing inflammation. Characterized by pain just under the heel.
Platform can refer to both a type of outsole and a type of heel. In the former case, the entire shoe is elevated, with an added elevation at the heel. In the latter case, the back of the shoe is pushed up by a thick, chunky heel. In both cases, they are differentiated from flatform shoes by the fact that the heel is always raised above the toe.
Platform Shoe
A style of shoe featuring a thicker sole at the front; the heel is typically high to accommodate the higher height of the sole.
Plus Technology
A feature of various women’s Clarks shoes, Plus Technology is a biomechanically-engineered system that promotes comfort through the shoe’s midsole. The midsole features a dual density construction, which both cushions the foot and is conducive to the natural motion of walking, meaning the wearer has a sturdy-yet-soft platform on which to step.
A branch of the medical profession dealing with the prevention and remedy of foot diseases.
Polyamide is the overarching phrase that applies to natural and man-made fabrics that are characterised by their strength and durability, including silk, wool and nylon. Found in a variety of high quality products, particularly items from Barbour.
Polyurethane (PU)
A synthetic material frequently used as an alternative to leather in the manufacturing of footwear. PU is light, flexible and durable.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
A semi-rigid plastic material, often used in heel counters and outsoles for added support.
Pool slides
A quintessential ‘90s style enjoying a resurgence in the 2010s, pool slides - like flip-flops - feature a foam or rubber sole. The foot is secured to the footbed via a thick strap that runs across the instep.
Typically used in Timberland footwear and accessories, PrimaLoft® is an environmentally-friendly collection of extremely fine fibers that together form insulation that is both fantastically warm and compression resistant.
also known as foundation primer. A cream or liquid that creates an invisible barrier between your makeup and skin, helping the foundation to go on more smoothly and last longer. There are different formulations for different skin tones available.
The inward rotation of the foot as it strikes the ground, causing shoes to wear on the inner line of the outsole.
The commonly used acronym for polyurethane, PU is used in some soles that need to be extremely hard-wearing and durable. PU soles are often combined with rubber in order to still provide the wearer with some added bounce and shock-absorption when walking.
Pull-Up Leather
A type of high-quality, stretched leather that has been treated with oils, waxes, and dyes to create a finish that is lighter in the stretched areas.
A prototype sample shoe upper for checking pattern and fit. When a shoe is made the first thing you will see is a pullover with no outsole and usually made without logos or art. The pullover will not be made with color correct materials, it will be made with an over stock color. During the development shapes you may made several pull overs to get the pattern correct. You will also see pullovers made of each size during the pre-production phase. The pullover will also be sent to the outsole factory to insure the shoe bottom will fit correctly.
Also known as a court shoe, “pump” simply means a shoe with a relatively open front and no fastening or laces. They’re differentiated from flats by virtue of their tendency to feature small heels.
Another word for broguing a shoe (usually a relatively formal leather dress shoe) that features punching has had small sections of the upper literally punched out, either by hand or mechanical press.
PVC leather
A man-made material often a composite made of two layers.  A backing layer made of woven or non-woven polyester fibers combined with an external surface by “dry” lamination process or by liquid “wet” processes.
Q-Form® Comfort
After finding women were more liable to injury when wearing shoes intended for men, Merrell set about developing a midsole that specifically catered for the contours of a woman’s foot. The end result was the Q-Form® Comfort midsole, found in many of their women’s trail runners and hiking boots.
The rear portion of a shoe, covering the heel and sides and often joined at the back seam.
Quarter Lining
The lining of the rear part of a shoe, typically made from leather or fabric.
Quarter Panels
The side components of the shoe, which run from its heel to its toe.
An insole that provides thermal reflection to keep your feet warm and cozy.
A style of sleeve that has a diagonal seam on front and back, extending from the neckline to the underarm.
A piece of leather used to even-out the shoe's sole before attaching the heel.
Fleurville brand fabric made by processing recycled plastic water bottles combined with nylon and polyester, to make a lightweight, environmentally friendly fabric.
Resalyte™ Midsole
Resalyte™ is a lightweight material using in the midsoles of Skechers shoes (specifically their running trainers) that offers enhanced shock absorption.
Pick any time in footwear history, and chances are TWC has something from that era.
Riding Boot
A boot designed specifically for equestrian activities. Usually knee-high with goring and a low heel. This term can also describe boots that are designed to look like riding boots.
The part of the shoe where the foot enters. Another term for collar or top line.
More common in women's footwear, it is a kind of finishing detail created by gathering and stitching together material in a pleated, or bunched manner.
Saddle Oxford
An oxford-style shoe featuring a saddle across the vamp, often in a contrasting color.
Saddle Shoes
Also known as a co-respondent shoe, saddle shoes tend to be brogues that feature two distinct colour tones on the upper. Typically, the middle of the shoe is coloured differently to the heel and toe - this look is said to be similar to that of a saddle on a horse's back, hence the name of the style.
Safety Shoe
A shoe or boot designed specifically for wear in an industrial setting. This style of shoe often includes protective features such as steel-toe reinforcement and waterproof and oil-resistant materials.
An extremely broad term, sandals are characterised by their open design and their use of straps to secure the wearer’s foot to the footbed. Most modern sandals feature a foam or rubber sole for durability and comfort purposes.
Scalloped, Scalloping
Like pinking, but a wavy cut instead of a jagged, saw-toothed cut.
Scotch Grain
The embossing of leather to create a heavy, pebbled look.
Technically part of the upper, the shaft is the part of a boot or welly which extends up the leg. Shafts vary greatly in length depending on the style and brand.
Shaft Height
Shaft height of boots are measured from middle of the arch up the inside of the boot to the top of the boot shaft.
The supportive part of the shoe connecting the heel and the wide part of the sole. It sits under the arch of the foot and gives the shoe structure.
Sheepskin or lambskin with the wool still attached. Used often as a lining for shoes and boots.
Skin from sheep, either with or without the wool attached.
Shoe Anatomy
A diagram depicting the parts of a shoe.
Shoe Horn
A curved metal or synthetic device used to aid in slipping the foot into a shoe.
Shoe Sizes
A variation between full sizes is one-third of an inch, while the difference between half sizes is one-sixth of an inch.
Shoe Tree
A device resembling the shape of a foot. It is used to preserve the shape of the shoe and to stop it from developing creases by placing it into the shoe.
Shoe Width
The width of a shoe is typically measured in letters (AAA, AA, A, B, C, D, E, EE, EEE, EEEE) and refers to the width of the shoe last as measured at the ball of the foot. Widths are defined in increments of an eighth (1/8) of an inch.
Side Leather
Leather from the sides of cattle, divided by the backbone.
A slippery polymer material used to waterproof shoes. Silicones are also used as sealants, lubricants and insulation.
A specific, razor-cut pattern in the outsoles of the deck shoes that help to disperse water and prevent slipping.
Found in Skechers’ trainer range, Skech-Knit is a woven texture mesh which is both lightweight and extremely breathable, making it ideal for footwear used for exercise.
Stock Keeping Unit. A unique model/style/colorway/size. Commonly used to refer to a unique colorway. For example, if there are 2 models each with 5 colorways, there are 10 SKUs total.
Sky Effect System™
The Sky Effect System is a special insole that possesses all of the characteristics of a normal Primigi insole as well as some unique features such as: flexible, lightweight, shock-absorbing, breathable, and anti-bacterial.
A shoe featuring an open toe and open back with a band across the toe. Can be flat, mid-heel or high-heeled.
A shoe held on the foot with a strap at the back of heel. The strap is typically elasticized or buckled for adjustment.
Slip Last
A lasting process where the insole board or Strobel sock (usually canvas or non-woven) is stitched around the last bottom edge to complete the upper. Usually used for more lightweight, flexible shoes such as running shoes.
A style of footwear which is simply slipped on to the foot with no further adjustment.
Slippers are light shoes in a variety of different designs that are used exclusively for indoor comfort use.
Found in Timberland’s range of winter footwear, Smartwool® is a specially adapted type of Merino wool perfect for winter wear. Smartwool® takes the natural thermoregulatory properties of the wool and enhances it, imbuing it with additional moisture wicking abilities to help keep the feet perfectly dry as well as the perfect temperature.
Smooth Leather
Any leather that is smooth on the surface, without pebbling, or noticeable grain.
Leather made from the skin of snakes, with a rough, scaly texture.
An athletic shoe, typically made of canvas with a rubber sole. The term "sneaker" comes from the wearer's ability to walk in the shoe without making noise.
Sock Liner
A sock liner is the insole in the interior of the shoe that the foot rests on.
Found in women’s Clarks shoes, Softwear is the name for their combined outsole - midsole - insole technology designed to offer incredible comfort to the wearer by focusing on the traditional pressure spots on the foot. Foam, leather and bubble cushion beads are combined to provide soft-yet-sturdy platforms for the ball and heel of the foot.
Fashion for the 30 something. Not the shoes your parents used to wear but not so wild you look a teenager again. From dress to casual, the shoes you will find in this collection will keep you up-to-date with the current trends in a most tasteful way. Remember, you're too old to look cheap!
The bottom part of the shoe, not including the heel.
Sole Leather
Any heavy leather (usually cattle-hide), used for the soles of shoes.
A shoe design that is characterized by 2 materials, often of different colors or materials, with an edge of the dominant color having a pinking edge exposed, and a perforated design on the toe.
Split Leather
Typically used in the form of suede, split leather is made from the lower layers of the hide which have been split away from the upper grain layers.
Stability Shoes
Stability shoes are for runners who have normal or medium arches who are mild to moderate over pronators. These shoes have some medial support and good midsole cushioning. Because normal or medium arches are the
Stacked heel
Typically distinguished by a number of horizontal lines running across it, a stacked heel is made from multiple layers of material (normally leather) stacked on top of each other
Static Dissipating
Boots and shoes are rated SD Type 1 to protect against the hazards of static buildup in the workplace.  Static dissipating shoes regulate the buildup of electrical charge in a peron's body.  Static dissipative shoes are commonly used in manufacturing of computer components, solvent based paints, explosives and plastics.  Static dissipating products reduce the risk of static shock to people and to the manufactured product.
Steel Toes
Steel toes are most frequently found in industrial-style footwear that is meant to prevent injury in the workplace.  Steel toes are tested by the A.N.S.I. (American National Standard Institute) for their ability to maintain a minimum clearance when compressed by different weights.
A type of high heel featuring a narrow, often rounded heel. Also known as a “spike heel”.
Stitch down Lasting
A seam which is stitched to join two parts then flipped inside out so the stitch is hidden. The stitch and turn seam is nearly alway found where the collar of the shoe meets the shoes inner lining. This seam type is also used to hide material edges. To make the seam thinner the edges are often skived before stitching and then the fabric may be hammered flat.
Straight Lasted
A type of last used to create a very straight shoe that helps to prevent severe pronation.
Many Merrell trail runners and walking boots boast partially mesh uppers in order to help the foot breathe. Stratafuse™ is the name for their patent-pending process of injecting the more rigid foot cage into the mesh, lending it added stability and durability.
Strike plate
Many lighter boots use a strike plate or protection plate to protect against sharp trail debris and provide torsional support. This can be in the toe between the upper and the lining.
Strobel Sock or Strobel board
The strobel is the fabric or non-woven material used to finish the bottom of a shoe upper. The worker uses a Strobel machine to make a strobel stitch to attach the strobel board to the upper.  It was invented by a guy named Strobel.
Suede leather is leather created from the fibrous part of the hide left once the top-grain of the rawhide has been separated from the hide. During the splitting operation, the top grain and drop split are separated. Suede is “fuzzy” on both sides.
The SUPERCOMFF™ midsole is used in FitFlop’s FF2 collection, and is similar to the Biomimetix™ midsole, the slimline version of the MICROWOBBLEBOARD™ midsole used in most FitFlops. The major difference between SUPERCOMFF™ and Biomimetix™ is the former utilises double- density EVA, while the latter uses triple-density EVA.
The outward rolling of the foot while walking.  The opposite of over pronation.
Synthetic leather
These man-made materials are often a composite made of two layers.  A backing layer made of woven or non-woven polyester fibers combined with an external surface by “dry” lamination process or by liquid “wet” processes.
Synthetic Materials
Materials other than genuine leather, but which are designed to look or function like leather.  Also known as man-made materials.
The process of converting raw hides or skins into finished leather.
The attachment of a leather or metal partial sole over the existing sole of a shoe.
A rope and knot ornament typically found on the vamp of a loafer or moccasin.
A cellulose fiber made from wood pulp that is environmentally friendly to produce.  This fiber offers comfortable, soft wear and has ideal moisture wicking properties.
Boasting hollow-core fibres inspired by the quick-drying, incredibly warm fur of the polar bear, Thermolite® insulation is particularly useful on items which are liable to get wet, such as gloves, and features prominently in Timberland products. The unusual design of the fibers not only promotes thermoregulatory insulation but also means that they dry considerably quicker than natural materials such as cotton, making them ideal for winter wear.
Thermoplastic Rubber (T.P.R)
A plastic material used by many manufacturers in the injection molding process.
Thermoplastic Urethane (T.P.U.)
A plastic material that gives support through the midfoot or medial side of a running shoe.
Maintains or has an unchanging temperature.
Found in the footwear and accessories of several brands, including Timberland, Thinsulate® is a brand of insulation known for its effective and inventive use of space, ensuring the parts of the body that are most prone to losing heat are well insulated, while allocating less insulation to the areas that lose less. Thinsulate® is typically found in the linings of shoes or boots, as well as gloves and hats.
A sandal featuring a v-strap that connects to the sole of the shoe between the big toe and second toe and at the sides of the foot.
Thong strap
Refers to any type of sandal which has some sort of strap or material which divides the toes in order to secure the sandal to the foot.
The main opening of a shoe extending from the vamp to the ankle.
Toe Box
This is the term used to describe the portion of the shoe that holds the toes. It is the forward tip of the upper and provides space and protection for the toes.
Toe caps
Although a range of shoes feature different styles of toe caps, the phrase is most commonly associated with men’s formal shoes, due to the sway they hold over a shoe’s formality. The following toe caps styles are the main ones:
Toe post
Normally associated with rubber strapped flip flops, the toe post is the part of the strap which lies between the big and second toe and keeps the foot on the right part of the footbed.
Toe Ridge
A molded ridge found along the top of the footbed in certain sandals.
A strip of leather or other material sewn into the vamp of a laced shoe and extending to the throat of the shoe.
Trail runner
A type of low cut hiking boot, trail runners are ideal for those trekking without a backpack and thus in no need of the added ankle support that comes with boots. For more information on trail runners, you can read our guide
An all-encompassing term for shoes designed with sporting performance in mind. Trainers come in a huge range of materials, cuts and silhouettes.
May refer to the design of a shoe's sole or the way in which a shoe's sole is worn.
A shoe in which the bottom is a single piece of leather stitched around a last.  The vamp is usually attached by whip stitching to the bottom of the shoe so it encloses the foot.  Also known as moccasin.
A design feature of particularly men's shoes, Twin-Gore shoes tend to be slip-ons or other laceless designs such as loafers where, instead of a traditional closure, the vamp features a small elasticated gusset on each side of the foot to make them easy to slide on or off.
Found in Merrell’s range of trail runners and walking boots, Uni-Fly™ is the name of their shock absorption system found in the midsole and outsole of their footwear, helping to promote comfort and greater stability.
Unit Bottom
A single shoe bottom made from a mold of rubber or plastic.  It includes the sole, platform heel or wedge.
The upper part of the shoe, not including the sole.  May be made from leather, fabric or synthetics.
Upper Leather
Any leather used for making shoe uppers.  The principal leathers used for shoe uppers are calf, kid, horsehide, goat, sheep and leathers made from the skin of reptiles.  All of these may be made in a wide variety of finishes, such as smooth, suede, patent, embossed and glossy.
Used on the outsoles of certain styles of Skechers, V-Stride technology promotes a natural walking motion through an angled outsole.
The front part of a shoe upper that covers the toes and part of the foot. The upper is one of the three main areas of a shoe, in addition to the outsole and the midsole. “Upper” refers to the main visible part of the shoe, and includes the laces and the shaft if on a boot or welly.
Vegetable Tanned Leather
A type of leather which has been tanned using natural materials such as bark or other plant-based components rather than chemicals.
Vegetarian Shoes
Shoes made from non-leather or synthetic materials.
Registered trademark of Velcro Industries BV.  Brand hook-and-loop fasteners are often used as straps to provide adjustable fits for shoes.
Venetian Loafers
Loafers that lack the ornamentation often found across the middle, or as one source stated 'loafers with nothing to put a penny in'.
Vibram sole
A brand known for their outsoles, Vibram's soles use an exclusive rubber compound for extra grip. They can be found on shoes from hiking brands such as Merrell and work boots from the likes of Red Wing, and often come in the unusual colour choice of white.
A type of durable, non-slip outsole typically found on hiking boots.  Vibram is a registered trademark of Vibram S.P.A.
Short for polyvinyl chloride (P.V.C.), vinyl is a shiny plastic often used for coating shoes.
A man-made fiber (specifically, a type of rayon) that's derived from wood pulp cellulose.
Vulcanised rubber
Pioneered by Charles Goodyear (father of Charles Jr., who inventing the goodyear welting technique), vulcanised rubber is rubber which has been cured and combined with various agents in order to make it more durable and pliable. The patent for the invention was taken to France by Hiram Hutchinson and the UK by Henry Lee Norris, who founded Aigle and Hunter, respectively
The process of heating raw rubber to cure it. This process creates cross links inside the rubber compound bonding it together. Before the rubber is vulcanized it is stretchable, gummy and easy to tear. After being Vulcanize it’s tough and ready to wear.
The part of the foot or shoe located between the ball and the instep, also known as the shank of the shoe.
Waterproof Leather
Shoes that have been specifically treated to prevent the entry of water.
Wave Walk
A type of outsole produced by Clarks, the Wave Walk features a curved bottom designed to help gently propel the wearer forward as they walk, utilising the natural momentum achieved through walking to help take the strain off the ball of the foot. Wave Walk outsoles are found on both men’s and women’s Clarks shoes.
Normally associated with women’s sandals but also used on shoes and boots, a wedge provides a consistent platform for the heel, unlike traditional high heels or stilettos.
Wedge Heel
A heel which extends from the back of the shoe to the ball of the shoe, following its contour.
A style of pull-on boots with no trim, often made of rubber for inclement weather.
The shortened name for a wellington boot, a welly is a rubber thigh-high boot with the primary purpose of offering the wearer a waterproof seal around their foot in damp weather. Generally created using vulcanised rubber.
A strip of leather sewn between the insole and the outsole to create greater durability.
Whole cut
While not technically brogues due to their use of one single piece leather for the upper, rather than multiple pieces for the vamp and quarters, bluchers do share many characteristics; they’re traditionally formal, realised in black leather, and worn by men. Whole cut shoes are generally considered to be among the most formal styles of dress shoes available.
Wing Tip
A wing-shaped toe cap.
Considered the most informal style of cap after longwings, wingtips are extremely popular on smart-casual brogues. Wingtips have extensions that run along both sides of the toe, which is where the reference to 'wings' comes f
Particularly popular in the 1950s, winklepickers are boots with a long toe which culminates in a sheer point.
A natural fibre found most commonly on sheep as well as certain other animals. Typically, wool is used to line the inside of shoes due to its softness and its naturally imbued thermoregulatory properties, meaning it keeps the foot at the perfect temperature whether it’s warm or cold outside. Certain types of wool, such as Merino wool, command a higher price due to their higher quality.
Work boot
An overarching term for boots intended to be worn day in, day out in blue collar occupations. These often feature steel toe caps, rugged leather uppers, durable and deep lugged rubber soles, as well as various comfort features like padded ankles due to the long hours the wearer spends in them.
This is a style of stitching that is unique to classic Dr. Martens. The stitch joins the welt, upper and insole of the shoes and is traditionally yellow. If you see a 'Z' follow the style name or code you know it will come the yellow stitching. eg '1460z'. If you don't see a 'Z' then the stitching will usually be hidden and concealed within the welt itself.
Zero Drop
refers to the thickness of the sole which features a heel that is less than a half inch in height, allowing the forefoot and heel to be the same distance from the ground. This allows for natural running experience in which footfalls are in the mid to forefoot area instead of the unfavorable heel strike.