Glossary of Terms
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.
Backstay: A short strip of leather that connects the quarters down the back of the shoe.
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.
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.
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.
Boot: Any type of footwear that extends over the ankle.
Formal Shoe: A shoe usually made from patent leather in a plain-toe style.
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.
Lace Stay: The part of an oxford shoe into which eyelets and laces are inserted and used to adjust the fit.
Last: The molded form, shaped like a human foot, over which shoes are made and repaired.
Loafer: A casual form of slip-on shoe, originating on college campuses.
Moc-Toe: A type of shoe that has a seam around the forefront of the vamp.
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.
Outsole: The bottom surface of a shoe that comes in contact with the ground.
Oxford: A low-cut, laced shoe of balmoral or blucher design.
Patent Leather: A lacquered leather with a smooth, mirror-like finish.
Plain Toe: A style that uses a single, continuous piece of leather for the vamp.
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: Contrasting leather strip that starts from both sides of the sole and goes over the instep.
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.
Slip-On: A style designed without laces, meant to slip on the foot.
Split-Toe: A style that features two pieces of leather joined together at the vamp and welt of the shoe; see Algonquin toe.
Suede: A soft leather with a napped surface.
Throat: The top area of the vamp just at the start of the instep rise. The throatline is the top edge of the throat.
Toe Cap: The part of the upper covering the toe.
Two-Tone: A shoe made from two different colors of leather.
Uppers: 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.
Welt: A long strip of leather stitched into a shoe between the sole and upper.
Wing-Tip: A style where the vamp and toe are joined together with a decorative piece of leather shaped like a wing.
Woven Leather: A leather formed by braiding or weaving different pieces together.