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Glossary list

Abrasion resistance

The ability of a footwear material to withstand wear, due to abrasion.


A substance added to a rubber mix to accelerate the process of vulcanizing and to improve the bottom of footwear in other ways.


The fastening at the ends of laces that prevents fraying.


The part of the upper covering the central upper surface of the foot at the forepart.


The long framework of the foot extending from the heel to the toe.

Arch Stiffening

Effect given on the inside waist of footwear to give support to the arch of the foot.

Arch support

A built up support positioned under the arch of the foot on the inner side.

Artificial grain

A grain appearance given to a flesh split by use of a pigment finish, with or without embossing on the outer side.


 The abbreviation of Australian Standard.

Automatic Sewing Machine

Sewing machines that sew a predetermined pattern rapidly and consistently. Used for topstitching uppers, tacking, shadow topstitching, etc.

Back Seam

The vertical seam at the back of a shoe or boot.


Bottoming refers to the process of attaching the Sole to the Upper. The basic methods of sole attachment include cementing, molding / vulcanizing, and sewing.

Braided Thread

A thread where the ply are braided rather than twisted together so they have very good ply adhesion. A&E’s brand for this item is our Poly Braid which comes in Sizes 4 and 6. This product is generally used for stitching the outsole.

Brannock Device

A device used to measure the length and width of the foot in order to ensure proper shoe fit.


The natural crease created across the vamp of the shoe from everyday wear.


A clasp at the end of a length of fabric or leather that joins one end of the material to the other.


The process of buffing a shoe surface to achieve an antiquing effect of the leather.

Cemented Construction

A shoe construction in which the upper of a shoe is cemented, rather than stitched, to the sole of the shoe. Cement construction results in a lighter, more flexible shoe.

Column Heel

A type of women's high heel that's round and column-shaped.

Combination Last

A footwear last in which the heel is two sizes smaller in width that the widest part of the shoe, producing a shoe with a narrow heel and a wide toe box.

Contoured Foot bed

An insole that molds to the shape of the foot.


A stiff piece of material placed at the heel of a shoe between the lining and upper is order to retain the shape of the shoe.

Crepe Sole/Crepe Rubber

A type of crude natural rubber sole characterized by a crinkled texture like crepe paper


The application of chemicals to animal hides in preparation for the tanning process.


Padding on the insole or outsole of a shoe for added comfort and stabilization. Cylinder bed sewing machine: A sewing machine having a horizontal cylinder arm or post which allows a closed upper to be moved feely around the working area.


The application of polish or gloss to a shoe to maintain its finish and appearance.


A dual layered configuration composed of Hydrofoil, a moisture absorbing nylon fiber as a under layer, and a moisture resisting outer layer knitted together.

Dual Density Midsole

Seen in running shoes, a midsole that employs two different densities of cushioning foam, with denser foam where the foot would normally tend to roll.

Elastic Gore

An elastic fabric panel inserted into shoes to provide stretch.

Energy Return

In running and athletic shoes, it is the response after the foot strikes the ground, a sort of propulsion that helps maintain an effective 'gait' or stride E.V.A.: (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) A synthetic compound used for outsoles. E.V.A. provides cushioning to the foot and is easily shaped by heat and pressure.


A hole through which a lace is threaded; may be reinforced with a metal ring or grommet.


This is the operation where the eyelets are attached to the upper. The machine punches and spaces the lacing holes, feeds and sets the eyelets in proper alignment.

Fair stitch

The stitching of the Welt to the Midsole.


A material made primarily of wood pulp which is used for counters, insoles and heel lifts.


A strip of rubber joining the upper and sole of a shoe. Typically found on canvas sneakers.

Foot bed

The insole of the shoe, where the foot rests. Often removable, the foot bed is contoured and provides foot positioning, comfort, and insulation. Aftermarket foot beds can improve boot fit and upgrade performance.


The circumference of a shoe last, as measured around the ball of the foot.

Goodyear Welt

a shoe construction, in which the upper and sole of the shoe are stitched together, resulting in greater durability. The resulting seam is visible and runs around the outside of the shoe, where the upper and outsole meet. The feature that distinguishes this construction from all other is the insole rib to which both the welt and upper are secured by a strong, flexible stitch. The Goodyear welt construction is unique in the position of its two seams in the shoe bottom. There is a hidden seam holding together the welt, the upper, the lining and the insole, which, in cross section, is almost horizontal in position. This is stitched with a Goodyear Welt machine.


"Heel" can refer to both the rear, padded area of the underside of the foot, as well as the solid part of a shoe that supports the heel cup.

Heel Breast

The forward-facing side of the heel.

Heel Counter

Counters provide support and help the upper wrap around the foot. They also help protect the heel from impact.

Heel Height

Heel height is measured on a vertical line at the breast of the heel, from the bottom surface of the sole where it meets the heel, to the floor.

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 together.

Hidden Gore

An elastic panel at the front of a shoe that is covered by the shoe’s tongue. Provides added comfort.

In seaming

The stitching together of the welt, upper, lining and insole with a heavy durable thread.

Injection Molded Construction

A type of sole unit construction created by injecting melted PVC or a similar material into the sole mold. Injection molded construction is an efficient way to mass-produce footwear.


The hidden seam of a welted shoe holding together the welt, upper, lining and insole.


The part of the shoe that the foot rests upon, usually cushioned.

Insole Rib

The part of the Insole that is used when stitching a Goodyear Welt.


The area of the foot between the toes and the ankle, or the top front part of a shoe.


A metal, wood or plastic form used to create the shape of a shoe.


The process of pulling and shaping a shoe on a last. This can be done by pulling and tacking the upper to the last or by string lasting.


One of the several layers of leather or leather-board used to make a heel.


The material inside a shoe. Literally, the "lining" on the inside of the shoe or boot.

Little way lasting

In the stitch down construction, the sole stitching appears on the foot side of the insole and on the outsole bottom. The seam may sometimes be hidden in a groove on the sole’s bottom to minimize abrasion of the stitching. The machine that does this stitching is very specialized and requires a special little way bobbin.

Lug Sole

A sole with a heavy rubber sole.


A blend of stretch fabric and neoprene rubber, ideal for a waterproof and sporty soft lining.


The part of the shoe between the very bottom and where the foot rests.  The midsole is a cushioning layer between the outsole and the upper. Various rubber and foam compounds are used for shock absorption. Generally, heavier-weight materials will be firmer and more durable.

Mock Toe

A type of toe design with a seam and stitching details, originally seen in moccasins.

Negative Heel

Popular in comfort footwear, a type of foot bed with a lowered heel area designed for more natural foot placement


The very bottom of the shoe, the part that contacts the ground.


Detailing on a shoe made by layering material on top of other material.


A pattern of small holes punched or bored into the trim of a shoe, for the purpose of decoration or ventilation.


Detailing characterized by a saw-tooth edge applied for decoration.


A type of manmade material that can be made to have the look and feel of leather.

Post sewing machine

A special sewing machine having a small raised working area to allow for easier fitting and stitching on partially closed uppers.


The commonly used abbreviation for polyurethane Polyvinyl Chloride.


A semi-rigid plastic metal, often used in heel counters and outsoles for added support.

Quarter Lining

The lining of the rear part of a shoe, typically made from leather or fabric.

Quarter Panel

The sides of the shoe from the heel to the toe.


Thin rubber bindings that run around the junction of the upper and sole and part way up the boot. Add to a boot's overall water-proofing and protect the upper from abrasion.


The part of the shoe where the foot enters. Another term for collar or topline.


The curvature of the sole from the heel to the toe of a boot to facilitate walking.


A type of detailing characterized by gathered or pleated material with stitching accents.


A type of detailing characterized by round wavy edges.

Scree collar

Lightly padded cuff at the top of the upper that keeps out debris.

Sculpted Heel

A type of high heel molded in one piece, usually out of high-impact plastic.

Shaft Height

The measurement of the shaft of the boot. Measurement is from the inside seam.


A strip or plate in the sole that adds rigidity and support. Full-length shanks offer additional torsional rigidity and protection.


A slippery polymeric material used to waterproof shoes.


A type of outsole with narrow grooves or channels, often found in boat shoes.


A type of outsole with narrow grooves or channels, often found in boat shoes.

Slip Lasting

Where the sock lining is stitched to the upper prior to inserting the “last” giving the upper a partial shaping. After the upper and sock lining have been stitched together, the platform cover is sewn to this unit. The sole is then attached and finished in the same way as other shoes using the cement attaching process.


A sock liner is the insole in the interior of the shoe that the foot rests on.


A sock liner is the insole in the interior of the shoe that the foot rests on.

Stacked Heel

A heel that has horizontal lines, indicating that it is made up of stacked layers of leather, or a heel with that appearance.

Steel Toes

Steel toes are most frequently found in industrial-style footwear that is meant to prevent injury in the workplace. Steel toes are tested by the A.N.S.I (American National Standard Institute) for their ability to maintain a minimum clearance when compressed by different weights.

Straight Lasted

A type of last used to create a very straight shoe that helps to prevent severe pronation.

Strike plate

Many lighter boots use a strike plate or protection plate to protect against sharp trail debris and provide torsional support. This can be in the toe between the upper and the lining.

String Lasting

The process of surging a string or tape to the lower edge of the upper so once the upper is placed on the “last”, the string can be pulled tight helping to form the upper on the “last” prior to bottoming operations.

Thermoplastic Rubber (T.P.R.)

A plastic material used by many manufacturers in the injection molding process.

Thermoplastic Urethane (T.P.U.)

A plastic material that gives support through the mid-foot or medial side of a running shoe.


A plastic material that gives support through the mid-foot or medial side of a running shoe.


An additional piece of leather covering the toe of a shoe. May be in several different shapes or patterns. Also known as a Cap.

Toe Ridge

A horizontal ridge added into the foot bed of some sandals to anchor and provide support and cushioning for the toes.


Strip of leather or other material sewn into the vamp of the shoe extending to the main opening. Not only provide padding for the top of the foot, but gusseted tongues keep out grit and debris between the sock and liner. Asymmetric tongues add support and comfort.

Top Line

The opening in the upper through which the foot enters. To reinforce the top line, an adhesive- coated fabric tape is often applied to the upper near the top edge.


Describing the design of a shoe’s sole.

Turf Cleats

Permanent or removable plastic or rubber cleats on athletic shoes.

Unit Bottom

A single shoe bottom made from a mold of rubber or plastic. It includes the sole, platform heel or wedge.


The part of the shoe that covers the top part of the foot, from heel to toe.


The front center part of a shoe's upper.


A type of durable, non-slip, outsole typically found on hiking boots. Vibram is a registered trademark of Vibram S.P.A. 


Short for polyvinyl chloride (P.V.C.), vinyl is a shiny plastic often used for coating shoes.

Vulcanized Rubber

Rubber that has been converted from its crude state to one of durability and strength.


The process where a thermoplastic or rubber sole is joined to the upper using heat.

Wedge Heel

A heel which extends from the back of the shoe to the ball of the shoe, following its contour.


A strip of leather sewn between the insole and the outsole to create a greater durability.


The width of a shoe is typically measured in letters (AAA, AA, A, B, C, D, E, EEE, EEEE) and refers to the width of the shoe last as measured at the ball of the foot. Widths are defined in one-sixths of an inch.

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