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.
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Eel Skin - The skin of an eel - a fish with a long, snakelike, bony body, smooth skin, and often very sharp teeth; sometimes used as material or trim for fine apparel and shoes.
Elastic Gore - A piece of stretchy material sewn into an open space usually cut out of the upper of a shoe for fit and/or comfort.
Embossed Leather - Leather that is pressed or stamped into a pattern; often used to replicate the patterns of exotic animal skins.
Embroidered - Having ornamentation/decoration from needlework by machine or hand.
Energy Return - The propulsion created after the foot strikes the ground, which aids in maintaining an effective stride.
Envelope Front Toe - An open toe style shoe where the upper of the shoe on one side, above the opening at the toe, folds over the upper on the other side; often seen with peep-toes.
Equestrian Boot - A type of closed toe shoe, extending to at least knee height, with a low, chunky heel and often made of leather for durability; also known as a riding boot.
Espadrille - A type of shoe of any height with a sole made out of or covered by a woven, rope-like material; usually raffia, straw or jute.
Evening Shoe - A shoe designed for formal wear, often with embellishments.
Eyelet - A hole that guides shoelaces, usually reinforced by a metal or plastic ring.
Eyestay - The reinforced stitching around the lace holes of a shoe.
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Fabric - A material that resembles cloth; a material usually made by weaving or knitting natural or man-made fibers and threads.
Faux - Fake, or an imitation of something else.
Faux Lace-Up - A type of slip-on shoe that has the appearance of attaching to the foot via eyelets and laces.
Faux Leather - A man-made, non-animal material made to look and feel as identical to leather as possible.
Felt - A non-woven cloth usually made with wool, cotton or synthetic fibers or fur, and created via a process of heat, moisture, friction, pressure and/or chemicals.
Fiberboard - An inexpensive material made from compacted wood fibers; often used for shoe insoles, heel lifts, and counters.
Field Boot - A knee-high, close-fitting, lace-up military style boot, usually made of leather with a rugged sole.
Finish - Specifically referring to the final surface of the shoe, but generally used to refer to a polish, gloss or antiqued treatment.
Fisherman Sandal - A type of closed toe, flat shoe with an upper made of wide strips of material woven in crisscross patterns; similar to a huarache.
Fitness Shoe - A type of athletic shoe with cushioning and support specific to gym activities.
Flange - A material with a projecting edge, usually used as a decorative element on clothing or shoes.
Flare - A curve of a last to the medial or lateral side at the toe box that mimics the contour of the foot.
Flat Heel - A type of shoe with no heel; can also be used to refer to a shoe with a heel less than 1 inch high.
Flats - A type of shoe with no heel; can also be used to refer to a shoe with a heel less than 1 inch high.
Fleece - The wool of a sheep; or any soft, wool-like fabric.
Flip-Flop - A type of open-back, slip-on, thong-style shoe, usually made with a lightweight sole.
Footbed - The inside portion of a shoe which the foot rests directly on top of; also known as the insole.
Force Lasting - A step in the "Slip Lasting" process in which the upper is pulled onto a last or moulding foot.
Foxing - A visible length of rubber wrapped around the perimeter of a shoe's outer in order to join the sole to the upper.
French Heel - A medium to high heel that curves into a tapered section at the middle of the heel before becoming wider at the base of the heel where it touches the floor; also known as a louis heel.
Fringe - A decorative border made up of pieces of string or material all attached at one end and hanging loose at the opposite end.
Full-grain Leather - A type of material made from the top-layer of the hide of an animal, typically cowhide, where the natural texture of the skin is visible.
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Gait Cycle - The cycle of movements of a person's foot when walking or running.
Gaiter - An overshoe with a fabric upper that can be drawn closed around the leg, usually for protection from the elements or high water; can also refer to just the piece of material or leather that is attached to a shoe and extends over the leg.
Galosh - A type of pull-on, knee high boot, often made of waterproof rubber. Originally a boot used for riding named for the Duke of Wellington; also known as a Wellington boot or wellies.
Gardening Clog - A type of backless, slip-on shoe, usually made of rubber or another waterproof material.
Garment - An article of clothing.
Gathered - A fabric that has been manipulated by pulling it along a single line of stiching, creating loose folds or wrinkles.
Geta Sandal - A type of open toe Japanese platform shoe, usually made of wood, with a simple strap. Often there is a single platform underneath the ball of the foot and another underneath the heel of the foot. The front heel is usually slightly tapered to make the wearer lean forward while walking. A form of Geta sandals are often also a part of Geisha dress.
Ghillie - A type of shoe where loops of fabric, metal or leather, function in the place of eyelets.
Ghilly - Fabric loops instead of eyelets to guide the laces on a shoe.
Girth - A measurement of the distance around an item. In shoes this is used to measure the instep, heel, waist, and ball of the foot.
Glossy - Having a smooth, shiny surface or luster.
Goatskin - A type of leather made from the hide of a goat.
Golf Shoe - A shoe with cushioning and support specific to the sport of golf, often with spikes attached to the bottom for traction, but increasingly including a new type of rubber "spikeless" spike to protect the integrity of the green.
Goodyear Welt - A visible length of stitching around the perimeter of a shoe's outer in order to join the sole to the upper.
Gore - A piece of elastic sewn into an open space usually cut out of the upper of a shoe for fit and/or comfort.
Gore-Tex - A brand of lightweight, waterproof, breathable material.
Grain - The natural, visible pattern of the top-layer of the hide of an animal. Typically different animal hides have different and distinct grains.
Grommet - A loop of usually metal or plastic, that provides fastening, reinforcement or support.
Gum Rubber - A type of material, generally used for shoe outsoles, made of a high percentage of natural rubber.
Gusset - A piece of material, usually elastic, inserted into a seam or a space cut in a solid piece of material, and used for expansion or reinforcement.
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Haircalf - A material made from the skin of a young cow, usually with a soft, furry texture.
Half Harness Boot - A closed toe shoe that extends above ankle height and features a single strip of a material, usually leather, layered across the instep, often with a buckle detail.
Harness Boot - A closed toe shoe that extends above ankle height and features 2 or 3 strips of a material, usually leather, layered across the instep, behind the heel, and sometimes below the arch of the outsole. The 2 or 3 strips of material usually connect at the sides of the shoe via a metal ring. Also known as a motorcycle boot.
Heel - The solid attachment of a shoe at the back of the sole under the heel of the foot; also known as a lift.
Heel Breast - The side of a shoe's heel facing the toe of the shoe.
Heel Height - The measurement of a shoe's heel from the bottom of the heel that touches the floor to the top of the heel where it connects with the shoe's outsole.
Heel Seat - The part of the shoe that the heel of the foot rests upon.
Herringbone Tweed - A rough woolen fabric with a pattern of alternating upside down and right side up V shapes.
Hessian Boot - A type of shoe popular in the 18th century and originally created for military use; the shoe featured a low heel, a knee high shaft, a pointed toe for ease when fitting through horse stirrups, and a decorative tassel at the top of each shaft.
Hidden Gore - A piece of elastic sewn into an open space usually cut out of the upper of a shoe for fit and/or comfort that is covered by one or two pieces of material sewn over it, often in a V shape.
Hide - The skin of an animal that has been cured and tanned.
High-Top - A type of shoe whose upper extends above ankle height; usually refers to a style of lace-up sneaker.
Hiking Shoe - A shoe designed for extensive walking and light climbing on rugged terrain with cushioning and support specific to that activity; often designed in a boot style for additional protection.
Houndstooth Check - A broken check pattern woven into a material.
House shoes - A slip-on shoe, with or without a back, generally meant for indoor use; also known as slippers.
Huarache - A type of closed toe, flat shoe with an upper made of narrow strips of material woven in crisscross patterns; similar to a fisherman sandal.
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Imitation Leather - A man-made, non-animal material made to look and feel as identical to animal hide (leather) as possible.
Injected-molded EVA - The insertion of EVA foam into molds of shoes to make them uniform and long lasting.
Injection Molded Construction - A type of shoe sole created by heating the material for the sole into a liquid and pouring it into the mold for the sole; a common sole found in mass-produced shoes.
Innersole - An unsecured strip of thin material placed in a shoe for cushioning and support.
Inseam - The hidden line of stiching in a shoe that connects the upper, welt, insole and lining to one another.
Insole - The inside portion of a shoe which the foot rests directly on top of; also known as the footbed.
Instep - 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 shank, waist, or arch. Can also be used to refer to the upper front section of a boot where the foot of the boot connects to the shaft.
Insulated - Usually referring to a lining in a shoe or boot that keeps the foot and/or leg warm.
Interlace - To join two separate pieces together by weaving a third material between them.
Inverse Cone Heel - A heel that is slightly cylindrical in shape, but much wider at the bottom portion of the heel that touches the floor than at the top portion of the heel attached to the sole of the shoe.
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Jelly or Jellies - A type of sandal made out of a rubbery, plastic, man-made material that is often transparent.
Jodhpur 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 chelsea boot.
Jute - The fiber of an Asian plant; usually woven to be used as the sole of an espadrille or for decorative purposes.
Juttis Shoe - A shoe worn by royal persons of ancient India during the Mughal period; handmade flat leather slip-on shoes from India, sometimes with a small dent at the tip of the toe, usually with beading or sequin ornamentation.
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Kabkab - A tall platform clog for women, usually used in Turkish bathhouses.
Kanebo - A man-made material that is soft, durable, flexible and very easy to clean; also known as microfibre.
Kangaroo Leather - A lightweight material made from the skin of an Australian kangaroo or wallaby.
Kid Leather - A type of material made from the hide of a young goat; can also refer to any goatskin.
Kidskin - A type of material made from the hide of a young goat; can also refer to any goatskin.
Kiltie - A type of shoe with a rectangular piece of material layered over the instep or vamp that has been cut vertically at regular intervals to create a fringe-like detail.
Kipskin - A soft leather made from the hide of a young adult cow.
Kitten Heel - Any heel that is less than 1.5 inches high, usually in a tapered, narrow shape.
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Lace - A cord or string used for drawing together two pieces, such as to closing a shoe over a foot; also a type of fabric constructed to show openings through it, usually ornamental and with a specific pattern.
Lacquered Heel - A heel of any shape with a smooth, glossy appearance.
Lambskin - A type of material made from the hide of a young sheep.
Lapped Seam - The joining of two pieces of material by sewing them on top of one another; can also known be known as an overlay when used for decorative purposes involving two or more pieces of material.
Last - The three dimensional form that is used to mold the shape, size and dimensions of the shoe's upper.
Lasting - A procedure in which the midsole of the shoe is joined to the upper by fitting it around the shoe last.
Lasting Margin - The seam created when the bottom edge of a shoe's upper is turned under and attached to the sole of the shoe.
Latchet - The top of a shoe's quarter extended into straps.
Lateral - The side of a shoe's outer that would not face the shoe on the other foot.
Latex Crash Pad - A pad made of Latex that provides cushioning from impact. Usually found in athletic shoes.
Leather - A type of material made from the hide of any animal; but typically referring to cowhide.
Lift - The solid attachment of a shoe at the back of the sole under the heel of the foot; also known as a heel.
Light Hiking Shoe - A shoe designed for walking and approach climbing on rugged terrain with cushioning and support specific to that activity, but not ideal for extended use; often designed in a boot style for additional protection.
Linen - A type of cloth made from a flax plant; usually noted for it's breathability and strength. Also a CSS color for computer programming, HEX #FAF0E6.
Lining - A material used to cover the inner surface of a shoe.
Lizard - The skin of an lizard, though generally not used to refer to crocodile or alligator skin; usually featuring a pattern of small circles.
Loafer - Any type of closed toe, flat, slip-on shoe, with or without decorative elements and usually made of leather.
Logger Boots - A shoe whose upper extends above ankle height, and is made of a sturdy leather or rubber often treated to be resistant to hot water, fats, mild alkaline and acid solutions. May also contain a steel toe.
Lotus Slipper - An intricately embroidered, ideally 3 inch long shoe worn over a foot that had been bound into that size according to Chinese tradition ca. 1000-1949 AD.
Louis Heel - A medium to high heel that curves into a tapered section at the middle of the heel before becoming wider at the base of the heel where it touches the floor; also known as a french heel.
Lucite - A type of transparent acrylic or plastic; often used for shoe heels or to create "invisible" shoe straps or portions of the upper.
Lug Sole - The part of a shoe that touches the floor when walking, made from heavy rubber and often with treading.
Lycra - A brand of stretchy material; often used for shoe uppers.