Not all terms will apply to all footwear. Remember footwear includes trainers, sandals wellington boots etc. Plus specialist footwear used for Ballet, Football, Golf etc.

LAST
The last is the shape in plastic or wood around which the shoe is shaped. It is not an exact replica of the foot as it will be smoothed over the toe area to give a pleasing shape and follow the dictates of fashion and style.

UPPER
The name given to the complete parts of the top of the shoe when stitched together

VAMP
The part of the upper which covers the toe area

TOUNGE
(if present) is the material behind the fastening

QUARTERS
The side parts of the upper.

BACK PART
The material in the upper which protects the heel of the foot

TOP LINE
The stitched edge of the upper finishing the edge under the ankle bone

TOE BOX
The area of the upper covering the toes – usually stiffened for appearance and to protect the toes.

STIFFNER/COUNTER
Inserted into the toe box for the shape and presentation reasons. Also used in the back part to help hold the shoe on the foot

HEEL
Used to elevate the shoe off the ground which can range from ½” to 7”

SOLE
The part of the shoe in contact with the ground. Its composition can be very wide ranging from leather to plastics to rubber to rope. Properties looked for in soling material include – low slippage in wet/snow, light weight, good wear, and compressibility to aid comfort, flexible and good appearance.

MID SOLE
(when present) lies between the sole and insock. Used to attach the upper prior the fixing the sole/heel in place. Its properties can contribute to comfort of the shoe.

INSOCK/INSOLE
The insert the foot stands on. Mostly of paper printed to look like leather.A good quality shoe will use leather insock. It will ofter carry the maker’s brand name.

SHANK
An internal part of many shoes to provide a rigid line from the heel to the middle of the shoe.

SHOE
A shoe will terminate below the ankle bone. It can fasten on the foot with laces, zip, Velcro or by tightness of fit as in court shoes.

BOOT
A boot will extend above the ankle bone and may reach over the thigh. Fastening can be any of the above and in combination.

SANDAL
A type of open footwear with minimum straps at mid foot and ankle. Wide range of styles and often a high fashion input.

CLOG
Footwear constructed on a wooden sole which may also form the upper. The upper will be attached with pins or nails

TOP PIECE/TOP LIFT
On the end of a stiletto heel the top piece is subject to high wear and tear.

WELT
A strip of leather used to attach the upper to the sole. Found in better quality shoes – mostly men’s. Can be stitched by hand or machine.