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Glossary of Terms

Shoe Diagram
Algonquin Toe
A style originated in the 1700s by the Algonquin Indian tribe, featuring a moccasin front and stitching that extends to the bottom of the toe. Also known as a split toe.

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Algonquin Toe
Backstay
A short strip of leather that connects the quarters down the back of the shoe.

Backstay
Bal
A front-laced shoe in which the quarters meet and the vamp is stitched at the sfront of the throat. Bal is short for "Balmoral", the Scottish castle where this style was first introduced.

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Balmoral
Blucher
A style where the quarters flap open at the vamp, giving extra room at the throat and instep in fitting. The opposite of the balmoral style, which has a sewn, closed vamp.

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Blucher
Boat Shoe
A shoe designed to be worn on a boat deck, featuring an anti-slip rubber sole. Generally considered to be a moccasin-type shoe, with two or three eyelets and side lacing.

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Boat Shoes
Boot
Any type of footwear that extends over the ankle.

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Boots
Cap-Toe
The part of the upper covering the toe.

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Cap-Toe
Formal Shoe
A shoe usually made from patent leather in a plain-toe style.

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Formal Shoes
Foxing
A piece of leather trimming fitted into or on top of the rear quarters.

Gore
A piece of woven, elastic fabric used to connect the sides of a slip-on shoe, enhancing the fit.



Gore
Kiltie
A decorative fringed section of leather, often found on the vamp area of loafers.

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Kiltie
Lace Stay (Eyestay)
The part of an oxford shoe into which eyelets and laces are inserted and used to adjust the fit.



Lace Stay
Loafer
A casual form of slip-on shoe, originating on college campuses.

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Loafer
Last
The molded form, shaped like a human foot, over which shoes are made and repaired.

See our lasts >
Last
Medallion
The decorative perforations found on the toe of some styles.

Medallion
Midsole
A layer of the sole between the outsole (the part that touches the ground) and the insole (the part that touches the foot).



Moc-Toe
A type of shoe that has a seam around the forefront of the vamp.

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Moccasin
A style with the sole brought up around the foot on all sides and sewn to a U-shaped piece forming the top of the shoe.

Monk Strap
A style that fastens with a strap and buckle instead of laces to hold the foot in place.

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Monk Strap
Outsole
The bottom surface of a shoe that comes in contact with the ground.

Outsole
Oxford
A low-cut, laced shoe of balmoral or blucher design.

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Oxford
Patent Leather
A lacquered leather with a smooth, mirror-like finish.

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Patent Leather
Perfing
"Perforations," small holes punched into shoe uppers to form some kind of design for decorative effect.


Perfing
Pinking
Decorative edging in a saw-toothed design used on the uppers of some footwear.
Pinking
Plain-Toe
A style that uses a single, continuous piece of leather for the vamp.

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Plain-Toe
Quarters
The part of the shoe that begins at the laces and passes beneath the ankle bone and around the heel. Or, in high-top shoes, passes around the heel and over the ankle.
Saddle
A leather strip that starts from both sides of the sole and goes over the instep.

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Saddle Shoes
Shell Cordovan
A select leather made from the inner layer of horsehide with incredible softness and durability. Possesses a very fine grain, giving it a unique luster and long-wearing characteristics.

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Shell Cordovan
Slip-On
A style designed without laces, meant to slip on the foot.

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Slip-On
Spectator
A low-heeled, oxford, semi-brogue or full brogue constructed from two contrasting colors.

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Spectator
Split-Toe
A style that features two pieces of leather joined together at the vamp and welt of the shoe; see Algonquin toe.

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Split-Toe
Suede
A soft leather with a napped surface.

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Suede Shoes
Tassel
A decorative roll of bound leather that is secured on one end and loose at the other, used as an ornament on some footwear.

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Tassel
Throat
The top area of the vamp just at the start of the instep rise. The throatline is the top edge of the throat.

Throat
Top Lift
The part of the heel that touches the ground. Often made of rubber or a combination of leather and rubber.

Top Lift
Two-Tone
A shoe made from two different colors of leather.

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Upper
Various assembled parts of shoe tops including foxing, quarters, vamp, toe cap, backstay, tongue and saddle.

Vamp
The portion covering the instep of the shoe and sometimes extending over the toe.

Vamp
Welt
A long strip of leather that secures the sole to the upper leather.

Wing-Tip
A style where the vamp and toe are joined together with a decorative piece of leather shaped like a wing.

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Wing-Tip
Woven Leather
A leather formed by braiding or weaving different pieces together.

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Woven Leather