Glossary

Click one of the letters above to advance the page to terms beginning with that letter.

A

Adelaide Boot search for term

A side-laced cloth ankle boot with a small heel, named after the Queen Consort of William IV. Introduced in Britain in the 1830s and becoming popular in the 1840s. In the US, more commonly known as the gaiter boot.

Albert Slipper search for term

Slipper with the vamp extending upwards to form a tongue which rests on the instep.

Alpargata search for term

A Spanish shoe with a rope sole and canvas upper. Laces are threaded through the top edge of the shoe, crossed, and tied around the ankle.

Ankle Strap Shoe search for term

A shoe fastened by a strap buckled around the ankle. The strap can be either of the bracelet type, passing through a loop at the back of the shoe, or two straps, one on either side, crossing in front or back of the foot, and buckling around the ankle.

Apron Front search for term

A boot or shoe with an oval-ended apron on the top front. Derived from the moccasin.

Arctic Boots search for term

1) waterproof rubber boots worn over regular shoes. Usually with zipper closing. Popular in 1940's, and revived in 1970's.

2) Over the shoe boots introduced in the late 19th century. Made of fabric and lined with rubber, this boot had moulded rubber soles and fastened at the front with a series of metal hooks and slotted fasteners. Also known as galoshes.

B

Babydoll Shoes search for term

Low-heeled shoes with wide rounded toes, sometimes with straps around the ankles. Similar to the Mary Jane shoe. Popular for women in the late 1940's and revived in the 1960's.

Ballerina Shoe search for term

A soft, low shoe with a thin sole and flat heel, sometimes with a drawstring throat. Inspired by shoe worn by ballet dancers and popular in the 1940's for schoolgirls.

Balmoral boot search for term

A closed front ankle boot with a galosh.

Bar shoe search for term

A shoe with straps to button or buckle over the instep.

Bellows Tongue search for term

A pleated tongue stitched in on each side under the lace holes.

Birkenstocks search for term

A brand name that came to describe one of their products - the Arizona, an open sandal with two wide leather straps across the top of the foot. Birkenstock now has hundreds of colours and styles available.

Blucher search for term

Open tab front lace boot with a straight side seam. Originally made with the quarters in one piece with no back seam.

Boating Shoe search for term

Canvas shoe similar to a tennis shoe, but made with a non-skid rubber sole for walking on slippery decks. Also called the deck shoe.

Body Boot search for term

A woman's long, tight fitting boot, reaching to the thigh. Introduced in late 1960's.

Bottom search for term

The under part of the shoe.

Brogue search for term

A laced shoe with many sections, which are punched and serrated around the edges.

Buskins search for term

Calf length boots which laced up the front, resembling a laced half boot.

C

Carriage Boot search for term

Women's fur-trimmed boot for winter. Made of fabric or leather, and worn over other shoes to keep feet warm in unheated carriages or automobiles in early 20th century.

Chain Loafer search for term

A moccasin type slip-on shoe with a low heel, trimmed with metal links over the instep. Popular in mid and late 1960's.

Chelsea Boot search for term

An ankle boot with a triangular elastic insert on both sides. Popularized by the Beatles in the early 1960's, causing this boot to be eventually known as the Beatle boot.

Chopine search for term

A shoe with a raised sole, worn first by the courtesans of Venice during the Renaissance and quickly spreading to the rest of Europe. They were worn over a slipper shoe, giving height to the wearer. Chopines were made of wood, and reached heights of up to 30 inches.

Chukka Boots search for term

An ankle high boot for men and boys, laced with two sets of eyelets and made of unlined sueded cowhide with thick crepe-rubber soles. Originally worn by polo players, but adopted for general wear in the 1950's.

Clogs search for term

Footwear made either completely of wood, or having a wooden sole to which a leather, rubber, or cloth covering may be attached. Until the end of the 18th century, clogs were what the majority of people wore on their feet, as they were inexpensive and protective.

Co-respondent search for term

Two-toned oxfords made of coloured leather. Also known as spectator shoes.

Coburg Boot search for term

A half boot with side slits that soon developed into the side-lacing boot. Also known as the Oxonian.

Colonial Shoe search for term

Medium heeled slip-on shoe with a stiffened tongue over the instep. Frequently decorated with a large ornamental buckle. Worn in 17th and 18th centuries, and revived often.

Combat Boots search for term

Ankle-high laced boots worn by the United States armed forces and adopted by other countries and for street wear. Made of waterproof leather.

Construction Boot search for term

A laced boot of heavy leather with a heavy rubber sole, reaching to the ankle or just above.

Counter search for term

A piece of stiffening material between the upper's outside and the lining at the back of the shoe.

Cowboy Boot search for term

High-heeled, mid calf-high boot, usually for men. Can be highly ornate, often in two tones.

Creedmore Boot search for term

Calf high laced work boot with two buckled straps at the top. Popular during late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Creole Shoe search for term

Heavy work shoe with elastic side gores. Worn by men in early 20th century.

Cromwell Shoe search for term

A shoe inspired by the fashions of the 17th century Puritans. These had a high tabbed front and a buckle and enjoyed popularity from 1885-1900.

Cuban heel search for term

A fairly straight sided heel.

D

D'Orsay Shoe search for term

A pump with a closed heel and toe, cut down to the sole at the sides leaving the shank bare.

Derby search for term

A boot or shoe with the eyelet tabs stitched on top of the vamp. Similar to the blucher or gibson.

Desert Boot search for term

A type of chukka boot introduced in the 1960's. Made primarily of suede cowhide or calfskin, usually lined. Laced through eyelets, with a rubber sole and heel.

Doc Martens search for term

A brand name for boots and shoes that became popular street wear for sub-culture groups in the late 70's. By the end of the century, they were available in hundreds of colours and styles.

Domed Sole search for term

A sole that is rounded up at the sides.

E

Elevators search for term

Man's shoe with extra wedges inside the heels to give the wearer added height. Popular in the 1940's and 1950's.

Engineer Boot search for term

Man's straight-sided boot with a low heel and strap across the instep. Some have a leather or elastic gusset at the top on the outer sides.

Escaffignons search for term

Flat, light shoes which were slashed at the top. Also known as eschapins.

Espadrille search for term

French canvas shoe with a rope sole. The toe and vamp are cut in one piece and seamed to the quarter at the sides. May have laces around the throat which are wrapped around ankle. Similar to the Spanish alpargata.

Evening Slipper search for term

Delicate shoe worn with evening clothes. Women's styles include pumps or sandals. Men usually wear a patent leather pump.

F

Flat search for term

Any shoe with broad low heels. Worn by women and children for school or general wear.

Floats search for term

Similar to chukka boot, but having a thick crepe sole and thick pile lining. Worn mainly by men and boys in early 1960’s.

G

Galosh search for term

1) an overshoe
2) an extension of the vamp wings seamed at the back. (see Balmoral)

Ganymede Sandal search for term

An open toed sandal derived from an ancient Greek style, with vertical straps coming from the sole up the legs, crossed at intervals.

Ghillies search for term

A shoe of Scottish origin with the lacings through loops instead of eyelets.

Gladiator Sandal search for term

Flat sandal with several wide cross straps holding the sole to the foot, with one wide strap around the ankle.

Granny Boot search for term

A women's boot laced up the front in imitation of the high-topped shoes of 19th century.

H

Heel search for term

The raised part of the shoe under the heel of the foot.

Heel Breast search for term

The front edge of the heel of a shoe.

Huarache search for term

Mexican sandal consisting of closely woven leather thong forming vamp, with a sling back and flat heel.

Hush Puppies search for term

Trade name for casual oxford or slip-on shoes with suede leather uppers and crepe soles.

J

Jockey Boot search for term

A high leather riding boot.

Jodhpur Boot search for term

An ankle high boot fastened with one buckle at the side, worn for horseback riding and later adopted for popular wear.

Jungle Boot search for term

A type of combat boot used by the United States Army in the Vietnam War. Made with a heavy steel shank and tiny drainage holes in sides and heel.

K

Kiltie Shoe search for term

A shoe with a fringed tongue folded over front of the shoe, covering the laces. Adapted from a Scottish golf shoe.

L

Latchet search for term

The top fronts of the quarters extended into straps.

Loafer search for term

Slip on shoes with a moccasin toe construction and slotted straps stitched across vamps. Can be decorated with metal chains or tassels.

Louis Heel search for term

A heel with the breast covered with a downward extension of the sole.

M

Mary-Jane search for term

Child’s low heeled slipper made of patent leather with a blunt toe and one strap over the instep, buckled or buttoned at the centre or side.

Moccasin search for term

A shoe made of one piece of material drawn up and around the foot. Served as a basic foot covering for people in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Today describes the popular shoe that retains the one-piece wraparound leather construction but may have added a separate hard sole.

Monk Shoe search for term

A shoe with the quarters extending over the tongue, usually fastened with a strap and buckle.

Mousers search for term

Women’s leather stocking-pants reaching to waist with attached chunky shoes made of shiny wet-look leather. Introduced in late 1960’s.

Mule search for term

A backless shoe for indoors or out.

O

Open-shank Sandal search for term

A sandal shaped like a D'Orsay Pump with a strap around the ankle or over the instep.

Open-shank Shoe search for term

Women’s shoe with closed toe and heel, but open on sides down to sole.

Open-toed Shoe search for term

Women’s shoe with the toe section cut out.

Opera Pump search for term

A plain, undecorated women’s pump with a medium to high heel. Cut from a single piece of leather or fabric.

Oxford search for term

A closed tab lace shoe, with eyelet tabs stitched under the vamp.

P

Penny Loafers search for term

Loafers with a slash in the strap across each vamp, into which a coin may be inserted.

Platform Shoe search for term

Shoes with a thick mid-sole, made of cork, wood, or leather and covered with the same material as the upper. Popular for women in the 1940’s, revived in the 1960’s and 70’s, and again in the 1990’s for both men and women.

Pumps search for term

1) Since mid 16th century, a soft, flat shoe with thin soles for men and women.
2) Closed slip on shoe with low cut rounded throat and medium to high heels.

Q

Quarter search for term

The area of a shoe covering the sides and back of the foot.

Quarter Lining search for term

A lining for the rear part of a shoe upper.

R

Rain Boot search for term

Lightweight plastic or rubber stretch galoshes that may be folded and carried in the purse.

Riding Boot search for term

A boot reaching up to the knee, made of high-quality leather. Worn with breeches for horseback riding.

Rubber Boots search for term

A moulded rubber waterproof boot, with or without insulated lining. Worn over the shoe or in place of it for protection against rain or shoe. Popular for children.

Rubbers search for term

Low cut rubber shoes to pull over regular shoes for protection against water.

S

Saddle Oxford search for term

Oxford with plain, rounded toe, usually made of white buck calf with brown or black smooth leather section across laced portion.

Sandal search for term

Believed to be the world’s first crafted foot covering, the sandal was the basic footwear of ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Greece and Rome. A firm sole protects the soles of the feet, while minimal uppers allow air to circulate freely. In the 20th century, the sandal was reintroduced in North America and Europe for fashion footwear.

Shank search for term

The area including the ball and instep of the foot, where the body’s weight falls when the foot is in motion.

Shell search for term

A very low cut pump for women with shallow sides set on low or flat heels.

Side-gore Shoe search for term

Slip on shoes with triangular insertions of elastic at the sides.

Sling Back search for term

A shoe with a strap around the back of the ankle in place of the quarters.

Sling Pump search for term

Pump with an open back, held on the heel by a slender strap, sometimes buckled at the side.

Sling-back Shoe search for term

Any shoe or sandal with an open back and a strap around the heel or the foot to hold it in place.

Slip On search for term

Shoe with no fastening which slips onto the foot easily.

Slipper search for term

A soft and lightweight covering into which the foot is easily slipped. Worn indoors by men and women.

Sneaker search for term

Canvas oxford with rubber soles. Used for athletics and general sportswear.

Sole search for term

A shoe’s bottom or ground contact piece of material.

Spanish Heel search for term

A high thin heel with a curved breast.

Squaw Boot search for term

A boot falling just below the knee made of buckskin with a fringed turned down cuff, soft sole, and no heel. Worn by Native American women and popular with young people in the 1960’s,

Stadium Boot search for term

A calf-high fur or pile lined boot worn over shoes. Popular for football games in the 1950’s.

Stiletto search for term

A thin heel, usually with a metal support down the centre.

Straights search for term

Shoes made symmetrically, for either foot, with no distinction between left and right.

T

T-Strap search for term

A shoe with a strap coming up from the vamp to join a second strap across the instep, forming a T shape.

Tap Shoe search for term

Any shoe with metal plates at tip of toe and back edge of heel to increase sound. Men’s style is usually patent leather pump or oxford, while women’s style is usually patent leather pump with a ribbon instep tie or buckle.

Thong search for term

A flat, often heel-less sandal held to the foot by narrow strips of leather, plastic or fabric coming up between first and second toes and attached at either side.

Toe Cap search for term

A reinforcing or decorative layer at the toe of the shoe.

Tongue search for term

An extension of the shoe vamp beneath the lacing.

Top Lift search for term

The layer of a shoe heel that actually meets the ground.

U

Upper search for term

The part of the shoe covering the top of the foot.

V

V-Strap search for term

A sandal with a strap around the heel, attached to the sole by vertical straps at sides, and then meeting at the centre front of the vamp forming a V.

Vamp search for term

The forward part of a shoe upper that comes over the toe and is attached to the sole.

W

Waders search for term

Rubber boots for fishing, made of rubber or lightweight flexible vinyl pressed to cotton jersey. Waders come in three heights, mid-calf, to the hip, or chest high with suspenders over the shoulders.

Wedge Heel search for term

A heel extending under the waist of the shoe to the forepart.

Wellington search for term

A man’s boot usually made of water repellent leather with oak-tanned soles and rubber heels. The Wellington may have a bootstrap.

Welt search for term

A narrow strip of leather stitched to the shoe between the upper and the sole.

Wing Tip search for term

Oxford with appliquéd leather on the toe, reinforcing and decoration the tip.

Winkle Pinkers search for term

British slang for exaggeratedly pointed shoes worn in the early 1950’s.