Shoes: A Glossary of Terms
Crepe, throat, vamp… What does it all mean? Even the most passionate shoe lovers can find footwear lingo challenging at times, so we created this nifty glossary for learning the ins and outs of some lesser-known terms surrounding shoes. If you’re not sure what something means while eyeing those cute shoes in the window or online, we hope this guide provides you with the necessary information to ensure a satisfying purchase each and every time.
A cap, usually made out of plastic or metal, that covers the tip of a shoelace.
A type of shoe tip that features a soft, round shape resembling an almond.
Stylish straps that wrap around the ankle and leg to keep feet connected to the sole of the shoe.
The upwardly curved area in the bottom-middle of the foot.
Fabric sewn in the back and center of a shoe.
The area of the foot located between the arch and the big toe.
A large, rectangular-shaped heel, also known as a chunky heel.
A style of shoe without the upper portion typically found with regular boots.
The front section of the heel where the arch begins.
A silky fabric used to create a unique texture, pattern, and gleam.
Leather that has been purposely buffed for a classic appearance.
A sturdy, but flexible cloth often found in casual sneakers.
Decorative leather located at the toe area of a shoe.
An ankle-height boot designed for easily slipping onto the foot.
A style of shoe with a closed-toe, open back, and platform heel.
A type of high heel that features a thick, cylindrical heel.
A material used to reinforce the heel of a shoe in order to retain the shape of the upper portion.
A strong, yellow type of rubber used in the sole of a shoe.
Athletic shoes designed for exercise purposes.
A type of shoe that features openings on one or both sides between the heel and toe areas.
An abrasion treatment often used for leather and denim to create a worn appearance.
A shoe style that features straps that wrap around the ankle.
A hole above the tongue of a shoe that holds the shoelace in place.
An adjective used to define materials that substitute animal products for man-made synthetics.
The part of a shoe where the sole and upper edge join together.
A reference to the final processing of the shoe wherein the footwear has been given a particular glossy or polished appearance.
A shoe style that does not include a raised heel.
Vertical strips of fabric typically made from suede.
Authentic leather with little to no marks or blemishes.
Strappy sandals inspired by those worn by gladiators in ancient Rome.
The rings around the eyelets where shoelaces are threaded.
A wedge heel that is hidden from the exterior design of the shoe.
A sandal or tennis shoe featuring a distinct strap in the back of the heel and sometimes around the ankle.
The padding on top of the sole.
The top of the foot between the ankle and ball.
An outer tongue made with fringe that sits above the vamp of a shoe.
A small, rounded heel usually about 1 inches in length or less.
A type of shoelace threaded through the eyelets and up around the ankle.
A strap that goes over the instep of a shoe.
The middle layer of a sole for added comfort.
A shoe design featuring a toe that appears similar to moccasins due to its particular construction.
A buckled strap used for footwear in lieu of shoelaces.
A closed-toe shoe with a backless heel.
Soft, full-grain leather.
High-quality leather that has been treated to create a smoother texture.
The exterior sole of a shoe.
OVER THE KNEE
Tall boots that extend beyond the knee.
Fabrics attached to a shoe’s materials for extra detail.
An adjective used to describe something, often leather, as being hard and glossy.
A type of leather that has been treated to create a distinct, grainy texture.
A shoe style that features a small open-toe.
Lines of trim used to create contrast in a design.
Shoes comprised of a thick sole and high heel.
POINTED TOE PUMPS
Closed-toe high heels that create a pointed look around the toes.
The part of a shoe that provides support and shape for the toe area.
Traditional high heel shoes.
The back and sides of a shoe.
Fabric that has been ruffled.
An effect used to create a wavy look along the upper edges of a shoe.
A heel that is oddly shaped when compared with traditional heels.
The part of the shoe where the heel of the foot is situated.
The part of a boot that surrounds the ankle area.
A high heel with a thin sole for greater shoe flexibility.
Small cuts made into the bottom of a rubber sole to improve traction.
A slip-on, open-toe shoe with a band that straps over the foot just above the toes.
A type of shoe that features a strap along the back instead of a traditional enclosure.
Boots that create a slouchy effect with natural folds or ruffles around the ankle area.
A tapered-toe shoe with a flat frontside.
The bottom, exterior part of a shoe.
A shoe style that includes contrasting tones and/or perforations.
A heel crafted from multiple layers of leather material.
A strong piece of leather or metal layered on top of the outer sole’s existing material.
The part of a shoe that opens at the top.
Padding located above the foot and beneath the shoelaces.
A T-shaped pair of straps featuring one strap running vertically along the vamp where it meets a horizontal strap at the ankle.
The part of a shoe that covers the top of the foot between the toe and throat.
Often referred to in shoe terminology as a descriptor for synthetic materials that do not use any animal products.
The instep and arch section of the foot.
A type of shoe that features a thick, wedge heel that spans the entire bottom length of the shoe.