Here is a short glossary list to help describe some of the technical terms used on our site. Some terms might apply to all shoes, boots or socks and some will only apply to certain styles.
The strip of leather or other material that joins the upper to the sole.
Is the top edge of the upper.
The top part of the shoe that covers the foot.
The majority of footwear has a lining on the inside of the shoe or boot, etc. The lining can improve comfort and also extend the longevity of the footwear.
The counter is the stiff piece of material at the heel positioned between the lining and the upper. The counter helps maintain the shape of the footwear as well as strengthening the back of the shoe or boot.
The insole is a layer of leather or material between the sole and foot, adding comfort whilst hiding the join between upper and sole.
The Mid-Sole, not found on all shoes, it is a layer of material between the Insole and Outsole.
The outsole is the underneath of the shoe that touches the floor providing grip and traction as well as water resistance. The outsole, made from various materials including leather and rubber.
This is the part of the shoe below the foot and can be made from a variety of different materials. The Sole is generally made with a number of layers. The sole and Upper make up the whole of the shoe.
The heel of the footwear is the higher part of the sole at the back of the footwear.
The heal seat, the top part that touches the upper, typically shaped to match the form of the upper.
This is the part of the heel that is in contact with the ground.
The Shank, a piece of metal inserted between the sole and the insole that lies against the arch of the foot.
The Vamp, part of the Upper where the shoe ends on the top of your foot.
This is where the back and sides of the Upper cover the heel behind the Vamp. The heel part of the quarter usually reinforced with a stiffener helps support the back of the foot. Some footwear designs have one whole piece of leather for the Vamp and Quarter.
The Toe-Cap found across the front part of the Upper. Toe-Caps come in a number of different guises, from stitched over that add an extra layer to the Upper to solid metal Toe-Caps for protection. The Toe-Cap can also add strength to the front of the footwear.
The Waist is the arch and instep of the foot.
The Argyle pattern, a multi-coloured knitted diamond pattern against a solid colour background.
Welt of a Sock
The welt of the sock is the top of the sock that fits around the calf, more commonly known as the cuff.
Cotton, a soft and heat-resistant vegetable fibre used in garments since 3,000 B.C. It absorbs and retains moisture as well as being readily washable. Cotton is a premier fibre in socks due to its abrasion resistance, it keeps its shape and above all is a natural fibre.
Bamboo 100% naturally grown and 100% sustainable. It thrives naturally without using any pesticides or fertilisers and the fibre is 100% biodegradable. Bamboo socks ensure a much better moisture absorption and ventilation than other fibres, they are 2-3 degrees cooler in warm weather and also very warm in cold weather and never stick to the skin, and are 3-4 times more absorbent than cotton. It wicks moisture away from the skin which then evaporates, keeping you naturally drier and more comfortable. Socks made from bamboo have particular natural anti-bacterial and deodorisation functions.
Test results show over 70% of bacteria perished when incubated on bamboo fibre. In addition, tests by the Japanese Textile Inspection Association found that, even after fifty times of washing, the bamboo fabric still possessed these functions. Bamboo also allows socks to help keep feet fresher for longer and healthier as the fabric naturally stops bacteria from spreading. At a microscopic level, bamboo fibre has a round and smooth surface. Because of this, it’s very smooth and sits perfectly next to the skin. Bamboo is also a great choice for sensitive or allergy-prone skin, made from fibres that are round and smoother than other fabrics causing less irritation.
Cushioned, any construction with a terry pile surface on one side and a ribbed or plain knit surface on the other. In most cushioned athletic socks, eg, the terry forms the inside of the foot portion of the sock. Some of the more sophisticated styles feature added layers of cushioning under certain areas of the foot, depending upon the sports activity for which the socks are intended.
Cushion constructions often used in men’s and women’s athletic and also casual socks of all types provide added comfort. Terry cushioning normally fulfils a functional purpose of reducing the shock of running or jumping. Cushion constructions in a sock increase the thermal qualities. The cotton-cushion-soled sock is the most versatile all weather purpose sock.
Socks made with Hand-Linked toes are socks with practically no seams. The seam, linked with a single thread so there is no bulkiness.
Nearly all hosiery now has a Lycra in it, socks containing Lycra are stronger and fit better on the leg. The more rows of knitting that contain Lycra the better the result as well as a more comfortable fit. Lycra is the registered brand name of Du Pont for elastane fibre.
Neoprene Wellington’s and lined wellingtons have grown in popularity over the last ten years. Thanks to the insulating properties of neoprene which is designed to keep you warm down to arctic temperatures as low as -40C. Essentially the same material used to make wetsuits, neoprene traps bubbles of warm air inside the material, keeping your feet and legs warm even when you’re standing or sitting still for long periods of time in cold conditions.
A cordwainer is a shoemaker who makes new shoes from new leather. The cordwainer’s trade can be contrasted with the cobbler’s trade, according to a tradition in Britain that restricted cobblers to repairing shoes. The word cobbler is widely used for tradespersons who make or repair shoes, but this use is not universally observed. A major British dictionary says that the word “cordwainer” is archaic, “still used in the names of guilds”, for example, the “Cordwainers’ Company”; but its definition of cobbler mentions only mending, reflecting the older distinction.
An Oxford shoe is characterized by shoelace eyelet tabs that are attached under the vamp. A feature termed “closed lacing”. Originally, Oxfords were plain, formal shoes, made of leather, but they evolved into a range of styles suitable for formal, uniform, or casual wear. On the basis of function and the dictates of fashion, Oxfords are now made from a variety of materials, including leather, faux and genuine patent leather and suede.
A derby style shoe or boot is characterized by quarters, with shoelace eyelets that are sewn on top of the vamp. This construction method, also known as “open lacing”, contrasts with that of the Oxford shoe.