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Glossary of Shoe Terms
Everything you always wanted to know about shoes but didn't know who to ask! 

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  • Feed Bag
  • A roomy handbag designed to resemble the style of bag used to feed horses and cattle.  Features a single shoulder strap and drawstring closure.
  • Fiberboard
  • Wood pulp material used for counters, insoles, and heel lifts.
  • Finish
  • Various applications to create the final appearance of a shoe.  Can include a glossy polish to produce a high-sheen finish, or a contrasting polish to create an antique, rubbed-off look.
  • Finishing Room
  • Area of a shoe factory where the final steps of shoe production are completed, including the removal of the last, insertion of the insole, completion of the outsole, and application of polish.
  • Flat Feet
  • A heriditary condition in which the arch of the foot is collapsed and the entire foot rests on the ground.
  • Footbed
  • A lining that runs the entire length of the inside of the shoe; also known as the insole.
  • Forefoot
  • The area between the ball of the foot and the toes.
  • Gait
  • An individual's style of walking; it differs from person to person and accounts for the differences in wear from left to right shoe.
  • Ghillie
  • A footwear style in which the laces pass through fabric or leather loops attached to the front of the shoe, rather then through eyelets.
  • Girth
  • The circumference of a shoe last, measured around the ball of the foot.
  • Goatskin
  • Leather made from the hide of a goat.
  • Gore
  • An elastic panel stitched into either side of a shoe's vamp or a boot's shaft to make it more comfortable and easier to put on and take off.
  • Grain
  • The surface pattern of leather, which is specific to the animal from which the leather was made.
  • Hammertoes
  • A condition in which the toe is bent into a claw-like position, which can result from poorly-fitting shoes as well as by medical conditions such as arthritis.
  • Heel
  • Can be either the rear, padded area on the underside of the foot, or the solid part of a shoe that supports the heel cup.
  • Heel Cup
  • The forward-facing side of the heel.
  • Heel Height
  • Measured in a vertical line from the bottom surface of the sole where it meets the heel to the floor.  Example
  • Heel Seat
  • The part of the shoe directly below where the heel of the foot rests; also where the sole and the heel are  joined.

  • Hidden Gore
  • An elastic panel providing added comfort, stitched into the front of a shoe and covered by the shoe's tongue.
  • Hide
  • The skin of a large animal that is treated for use in footwear, accessories, and clothing.
  • Hobo Bag
  • A large, rounded, unstructured handbag featuring a single top zipper and shoulder strap.
  • Huarache
  • A woven leather flat shoe or sandal.
  • Insole
  • A lining that runs the full length of the inside of the shoe, also known as the footbed.
  • Instep
  • The upper, center section of the foot between the toes and the ankle.
  • Jelly
  • Shoe made entirely from PVC, a semi-rigid plastic material.
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