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

A-E      F-J      K-O     P-S     T-Z

  • Tannage
    The process of converting raw hides or skins into finished leather to be used in making footwear, accessories, and clothing..
  • Tap
  • An additional, partial sole made of leather or metal that is attached over the sole of a shoe.
  • Tassel
  • A knotted rope-like ornament usually made of leather strips and found on the vamp of a moccasin or loafer.
  • Thong
  • A sandal featuring a V-strap connected to the shoe between the big toe and second toe, and at the sides of the footbed; also known as a flip-flop.  Example
  • Throat
  • The main opening of a shoe, also known as the collar or topline.
  • Tongue
  • A strip of leather or other material sewn into the vamp of a laced shoe to provide coverage between the sides of the vamp.
  • Tread
  • Refers to the pattern on the outsole of a shoe; also refers to the wear pattern on the shoe.
  • Unit Bottom
  • A shoe bottom made from a mold of plastic or rubber, including the sole and heel (wedge or platform) in one piece.
  • Upper
  • The top part of the shoe that does not include the sole, fashioned of leather, fabrics, or synthetic materials.
  • Upper Leather
  • Any leather used to make shoe uppers; mainly calf, kid, goat, sheep, horse, and reptile.  These leathers are further refined by a variety of finishes, such as suede, patent, pebble grain, and embossed.
  • Vamp
  • The front of a shoe upper that covers the toes and part of the foot.
  • Vegetarian Shoes
  • Shoes made of non-leather materials; includes natural fabrics such as silk and synthetic materials, and must have a non-leather sole.
  • Wedge Heel
  • A heel that extends from the back of the shoe to the tip of the toe, and may include a platform sole.  Example
  • Welt
  • A strip of leather sewn between the insole and outsole for greater durability.
  • Width
  • Typically measured in letters (AA, B, C, D, EE or N, M, W, XW) and refers to the width of the shoe last as measured at the ball of the foot.  Widths increase by one-sixth of an inch.
  • A-E      F-J      K-O     P-S     T-Z

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