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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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  • Patent Leather
  • A well-varnished leather typically made from cattle hide that has a shiny appearance.
  • Pebbled Grain
  • An embossed leather grain finish resembling a pebble surface.
  • Penny Loafer
  • A slip on footwear style with a slit over the instep; a "good luck" penny or other coin is traditionally placed in the slit.
  • Perforation
  • A pattern of small holes punched into the trim of a shoe for decoration or ventilation.
  • Pinking
  • A saw-tooth shaped edging on the trim of a shoe.
  • Piping
  • A decorative, narrow strip of leather that usually follows the seam of a shoe; can be of contrasting color or material.
  • Pitch
  • The angle of the back part of the heel where it meets the sole, compared to the front.  On a high heeled shoe, the pitch should be at a larger angle to stabilize the heel.
  • Platform Shoe
  • A footwear style featuring a thick sole at the front; typically has a high heel to balance the higher height of the sole.  Example
  • Polyurethane (PU)
  • A light, flexible synthetic material frequently used as an alternative to leather in footwear and accessories.
  • Pouch Bag
  • A soft, rounded handbag typically featuring a drawstring closure; especially popular for bridal and evening wear.  Example
  • Pronation
  • The inward rotation of the foot as it strikes the ground, causing shoe wear on the inner side of the outsole.
  • Pump
  • A low-cut, closed women's shoe style in all heel heights from flat to sky high.  Example
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • A semi-rigid plastic, typically used in heel counters and outsoles for extra support.
  • Quarter
  • The rear portion of a shoe, covering the heel and sides of the back, and often joined by a back seam.
  • Quarter Lining
  • A leather or fabric material lining the inside rear part of a shoe.
  • Rim
  • The part of the shoe where the foot enters, also known as the topline or collar.
  • Saddle Oxford
  • An oxford style shoe featuring a contrasting-color strip of fabric across the vamp,
  • Safety Shoe
  • Footwear constructed for use in an industrial setting, often designed with safety features such as steel-toe reinforcement and water and oil proof treatments.
  • Sandal
  • A simple footwear construction consisting of a footbed, heel, and strips of leather or fabric.  Example
  • Satchel Bag
  • A structured handbag with a wide, flat bottom, locking hardware, and double handles.
  • Shaft Height
  • The measurement of the shaft of a boot taken from the inside seam where the instep and sole meet to the top of the boot shaft.
  • Shearling
  • Sheepskin or lambskin with the wool still attached, often used as a warm lining for boots and slippers.  Also used decoratively.
  • Shoe Horn
  • A curved metal of synthetic tool used to aid in slipping the foot into a shoe.
  • Shoe Sizes
  • Uniform increments of one sixth inch between half and full sizes, based on a decree by King Edward of England in 1324.
  • Side Leather
  • Leather from the sides of cattle, divided by the backbone.
  • Silicone
  • A slippery polymeric material used in waterproofing.
  • Sipes
  • A razor pattern cut in the outsoles of deck shoes to help prevent slipping and disperse water.
  • Slide
  • A footwear style featuring an open back and open toe, with leather, synthetics, or fabric across the front of the foot.  Example
  • Slingback
  • A shoe held to the foot by a strap across the back, usually adjusted by a buckle or elasticized for secure fit.  Example
  • Slip-on
  • A footwear construction designed to be slipped onto the foot with no further adjustment.
  • Snakeskin
  • Rough, scaly textured leather crafted from the skin of snakes.
  • Sock Liner
  • The insole inside of a shoe that the foot rest on.
  • Sole
  • The bottom part of a shoe, not including the heel.
  • Sole Leather
  • A heavy, cattle hide leather used for the soles of shoes.
  • Split Leather
  • A soft, suede like leather that is made from the lower layers of a hide that have been slip away from the upper.
  • Straight Last
  • A last used to create a very straight shoe for the purpose of preventing severe pronation.
  • Suede
  • Leather that has been abraded to create a nappy, soft surface.
  • Supination
  • The outward rolling of the foot while walking, in contrast to overpronation.
  • Synthetic Materials
  • Materials other than genuine leather that are designed to look and function like leather.
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