From Aglets to Zoccoli, the world of fashion is full of unique and beautiful concepts. The fashion experts at gothamcityonline are pleased to share this comprehensive guide of shoe and footwear terms and definitions. So whether you're buying boots, pumps, wedges, plaforms, mules, sandals, sneakers, heels or clogs, our guide will help you buy with a bit more confidence. Visit our eBay store anytime to put your knowledge to the test! This guide continues on other pages due to space limitations.
Achilles Dip - A dip in the heel lining of a shoe that cushions the achilles tendon.
Aerobic Shoe - A shoe with cushioning and support specific to the high impact motions associated with aerobic activities, usually with a non-marking shoe.
Aglet - The plastic covering the end of a shoelace which allows the lace to be easily threaded though an eyelet.
Airport Friendly - A shoe that does not contain any metal and therefore will not effect airport metal detectors; can also be used to describe a shoe that slips on an off the foot easily for ease at airport security checkpoints.
All Terrain Sandal - A shoe with a strap used to secure the shoe to the foot meant for outdoor use, with a rugged outsole; often treated to be water-resistant or waterproof.
Alligator Skin - The hide of an alligator - a large reptile from China or the southeastern US with a broad head; usually featuring a pattern of multiple box shapes in various sizes.
Alum-Tanning - A sterilization process applied to the insoles of shoes.
Ankle Boot - A shoe covering the entire foot up the ankle, with or without a heel added for height; also known as a bootie or demi boot.
Ankle Strap - A narrow, usually flat strip of a flexible material that secures or wraps around the ankle; may be used to secure the shoe to the foot or for decorative purposes.
Antiqued - A type of finish that gives the appearance of age to an item; often used to refer to shoes when they are made of leather.
Apron Toe - A closed toe style where a large piece of material is overlapped at the front of the shoe at the toe, usually with visible stitching.
Arch - The narrowest part of a shoe when viewed from the sole, located underneath the arch of the foot between the heel and the toes; also known as the waist, instep, or arch.
Athleisure Shoe - A type of casual shoe with details or form inspired by athletic shoes; usually refers to mens shoes.
Athletic Shoe - A type of shoe designed for wear while playing a specific sport, usually with cushioning and support specific to that activity.
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Baboosh - A soft, flat shoe with a pointed, turned up toe; also known as a Turkish slipper.
Baby Louis Heel - A low heel that tapers in at the middle of the heel before becoming wider at the base of the heel where it touches the floor; a lower version of a louis heel.
Baby-doll Shoes - A type of women's shoe, usually with a closed toe, that features a strap across the vamp or instep; also known as mary janes.
Back Seam - The line of vertical stitching down the outer back of the shoe.
Back-Strap - A strip of material, usually leather, covering the seam on the outer back of a shoe; also known as a back-strip.
Back-Strip - A strip of material, usually leather, covering the seam on the outer back of a shoe; also known as a back-strap.
Ball - The horizontal area of the bottom of the foot directly behind the toes and before the arch of the foot.
Ballerina Flat - A type of slip-on style shoe with no heel, and usually a rounded toe; can also have straps that wrap around the ankle or none.
Ballet Flat - A type of slip-on style shoe with no heel, and usually a rounded toe; can also have straps that wrap around the ankle or none.
Ballistic Mesh - A high abbrassion, tear resistant material woven or knotted with open, evenly spaced holes.
Balmoral - A type of lace-up shoe where the two sides that lace together close tightly at the top of the shoe and with a wide gap at the bottom, towards the toe of the shoe, forming a "V" shape.
Bar Shoe - A shoe with an strap or button over the instep.
Baseball Shoe - A shoe, or cleat, designed for the sport of baseball with cushioning and support specific to that activity and spikes along the bottom of the shoe for traction. Unlike soccer cleats, baseball cleats also have a spike on the toe area.
Basketball Shoe - A lace-up shoe designed for the sport of basketball with cushioning and support specific to that activity and a non-slip, rubber sole.
Beatle Boot - A type of closed toe shoe that extends up to just past ankle height, featuring a low cuban heel, and often 2 large, visible elastic panels, one extending down either side of the shaft, or a zipper closure; also known as a mersey boot.
Bellows Tongue - A piece of material that is connected to the shoe at the underside of the eyelets towards the toe of a lace-up shoe and at the sides of the shoe. The material then extends past the eyelets at the top of the shoe; however, can also be used with shoes that close via other methods such as velcro.
Bicycle Toe - A type of shoe detail with two vertical lines of stitching running from the toe of the shoe towards the shoe's opening; named because professional bicycling shoes often have this same detail.
Blucher - A lace-up shoe where two pieces of material, which the lace joins, are attached to either end of the outer of the shoe.
Board-Lasted - A shoe that is constructed with a piece of fiberboard guled between the midsole and the inner sole of a shoe; usually done to create firmness.
Boat Shoe - A type of casual shoe usually made of a quick-drying fabric such as canvas, with a non-slip, usually rubber, sole and often a lace-up closure. Also known as a deck shoe.
Boot - A covering for the foot with a protective sole, usually completely enclosing the toes, and extending above ankle height.
Boot Heel - A solid thick heel, which may or may not be stacked, and a height of at least one inch; also known as a chunky heel.
Bootie - A shoe covering the entire foot up the ankle, with or without a heel added for height; also known as an ankle boot or demi boot. Can also be used to refer to an indoor-wear slipper.
Border - The end or edge of something.
Bottom - The underside of a shoe including all the portions the underside of the shoe is made of: the sole, insole, middle, welt and heel.
Bowling Shoes - A closed toe, lace-up shoe with a non-marking sole specially designed for the sport of bowling; often with a heel for breaking and a smooth sole for sliding.
Boxing Shoe - A shoe designed for the sport of boxing with cushioning and support specific to that activity and a non-slip sole; often in a high-top lace-up style.
Bracing - The threads used to sew the shoe's upper to the insole.
Brannock Device - A measuring tool used to match the length and width of a foot to the appropriate shoe size.
Break - A crease formed from the natural wear of a shoe, usually across the middle of the upper, behind the toe box.
Brocade - A rich, heavy, silk fabric, usually gold or silver, with a raised pattern or interwoven design.
Brogue - A closed toe, lace-up shoe made of many sections; a stout oxford shoe with perforations and usually a wing tip; similar to a spectator style shoe.
Buckle - A type of fastening for two loose ends, can also be used for decorative purposes.
Built Heel - A heel of any shape made up of visible layers of pressed material, usually leather or wood, with contrasting colors or tints; similar to a stacked heel.
Bull Dog Toe - A round, bulbous shaped toe box area, popular from 1908 to 1920 in North America, and thought to be healthier for the foot because of the additional wiggle room for the toes provided by this toe box style.
Burnish - The buffing of a shoe to create an antiqued effect, usually a process applied to shoes made of leather.
Buskin - A laced boot reaching at least halfway to the knee or higher.
Button - A type of fastening for two loose ends where a disk or knob is secured to one end and fastens through a loop or button hole on a the other end.
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Calcagnetti - An Italian word for chopine - a term used in the 16th and 17th centuries for a women's shoe with a very high sole; a platform shoe.
Calfskin - A soft leather made from the hide of a young cow.
Cambrelle - A brand of synthetic material often used for hiking boots and athletic shoes because of it's ability to wick away moisture, add warmth and breathe.
Cambridge Shoe - A type of slip-on shoe, usually for men, featuring a low rise and elastic gussets on each side.
Cap Toe - A closed toe style with a straight line of horizontal stiching across the width of the shoe above the toe box; often with the material at the toe in a contrasting color or material; also known as a tip.
Casual After Sport - A type of shoe designed for use after participating in an athletic activity, usually with styling similar to an athletic shoe.
Cement Welt - A type of welt in which the outsole is bound to the upper by an adhesive and stitched or cemented to the top edge of the insole.
Cemented Construction - A shoe that is constructed with the upper guled to the sole instead of being stitched together; usually creating additional flexibility.
Channel - A row of holes made to facilitate stitching.
Cheerleading Shoe - A lace-up shoe designed for the sport of cheerleading with cushioning and support specific to that activity and usually with indents in the sole where fingers can firmly grasp the shoes during aerial moves. Cheerleading shoes are also usually solid white in color with interchangeable color accents for the sides.
Chelsea Boot - A closed toe, pull on shoe, usually ankle height or a little higher, with 2 large, visible elastic panels, one extending down either side of the shaft; also known as a jodhpur boot.
Chopine - A term used in the 16th and 17th centuries for a women's shoe with a very high sole; a platform shoe.
Chukka Boot - A closed toe, ankle height shoe, with a plain toe and blutcher-style closure.
Chunky Heel - A solid thick heel, which may or may not be stacked, and a height of at least one inch; also known as a boot heel.
Ciabattine - An Italian word for chopine - a term used in the 16th and 17th centuries for a women's shoe with a very high sole; a platform shoe.
Circumference - The measurement of the distance around the circular length of the opening of a boot; the perimeter of a circle.
Cleats - A shoe with spikes attached to the sole for extra traction; usually used with shoes created for sports played on grass.
Climatrac - A brand of quick-drying and breatheable material often used as a lining for shoes and boots.
Clog - A type of slip-on shoe with an open heel, usually with a chunky platform sole or wedge made out of wood.
Cloth - A material that resembles fabric; a material usually made by weaving or knitting natural or man-made fibers and threads.
Collar - Material layered and stitched around the outer of the opening of the shaft of a boot; often filled with padding for comfort. Can also refer to just the basic opening in a shoe's upper where the foot enters, in which case it can also be known as the rim, throat, or topline.
Column Heel - Any heel that is cylindrical in shape.
Combination Last - A three dimensional form used to mold the shape, size and dimensions of a shoe's upper, where the width of the heel is much narrower than that of the toe box.
Cone Heel - A heel that is slightly cylindrical in shape, but much wider at the top portion of the heel attached to the sole of the shoe than at the bottom portion of the heel that touches the floor.
Continental Heel - A type of high heel featuring a flat shape on the side of the heel facing the toe of the shoe and a curved shape on the side of the heel facing away from the shoe.
Contoured Footbed - An insole pre-formed to the shape of a foot, often with toe-shaped indents.
Cordovan - A heavy leather made from the inner layers of horsehide.
Cork - The outer tissue of a cork oak tree; often used as a lightweight material for shoe heels and soles.
Corporate Casual - A casual shoe that is still appropriate for a work environment; usually a closed toe flat for women or non-leather shoe, that is not a sneaker, for men.
Counter - A piece of material added to the upper of a shoe at the heel, between the lining and outer; often used to retain shape in the heel area.
Court Shoe - A closed toe, low cut, slip-on women's shoe with any heel shape or height. The name is derived from a similarly styled men's shoe worn at court in the early 19th Century.
Covered Heel - A type of heel that is covered by fabric or leather. This term can be used along with a description of most types of heels except stacked heels.
Cowboy Boot - A closed toe shoe that extends above ankle height and features a dip in the top of the shaft towards both the front and the back of the shoe. These shoes often also feature a chunky, stacked heel and pull straps attached to the top of the boot shaft; also known as a western boot or roper.
Crepe Rubber - A natural, minimally-processed rubber with a crinkled texture usually used for shoe soles; also known as a crepe sole.
Crepe Sole - A sole made out of natural, minimally-processed rubber with a crinkled texture; also known as crepe rubber.
Croc Embossed - Leather that is pressed or stamped into a pattern similar to crocodile or alligator skin; usually featuring a pattern of multiple box or circle shapes in various sizes.
Croco Embossed - Leather that is pressed or stamped into a pattern similar to crocodile or alligator skin; usually featuring a pattern of multiple box or circle shapes in various sizes.
Crocodile Skin - The hide of an crocodile - a large reptile found in tropical and subtropical waters; usually featuring a pattern of multiple box shapes enclosing circular shapes in various sizes.
Cross Trainer - A type of athletic shoe designed for cross training (usually running, weight training, and aerobics) with cushioning and support specific to that activity.
Cuban Heel - A thick medium to high heel that tapers at the bottom of the heel in an angular way; unlike a louis heel which curves in and out of it's center tapered area.
Curing - A process of treating animal hides, usually with various chemicals, as a preparatory step before tanning, which turns a hide into leather.
Cushioning - A soft padding that protects against force and provides comfort; usually added to the insole of a shoe.
Cut-Out Detail - A usually decorative element for a shoe, made by cutting and removing pieces of a shoe's upper.
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Damask - A firm lustrous fabric (usually linen, cotton, silk, or rayon) made on jacquard looms with flat, rich patterns; also a grayish red color.
Deck Shoe - A type of casual shoe usually made of a quick-drying fabric such as canvas, with a non-slip, usually rubber, sole and often a lace-up closure. Also known as a boat shoe.
Demi Boot - A shoe covering the entire foot up the ankle, with or without a heel added for height; also known as a bootie or ankle boot.
Denim - A usually cotton fabric woven with colored warp and white filling threads; the fabric blue jean pants are made of; a blue color. Also a CSS color for computer programming, HEX #1560BD.
Desert Boot - A closed toe shoe with a shaft at least knee high; often with an upper made of suede and a lace-up closure.
Distressed - An effect, usually applied to a material such as leather, created by deliberately treating that item to give it the effects of age.
D'Orsay - A style of shoe with un-attached heel and toe areas.
Dressing - A layer applied to a finished shoe in order to maintain the shoe's appearance; usually via a polish or gloss.
Dri-lex - A brand of material that is used to absorb and resist moisture.
Driving Moc - A type of slip-on shoe with moccassin styling and rubber grips on the sole, often also featuring an extended sole that follows up the back of the shoe for added protection.
Dual Density Midsole - A section of cushioning foam inserted as the shoe's midsole that is more dense at the ball of the foot.
Duty Shoe - A shoe designed for jobs within the heath care field with cushioning and support specific to that activity.
Dyeable - A shoe, usually originally in a plain, white color, made of a material that can easily absorb dye to become another color.