Footwear Terminology Glossary
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-- A --
ABduction - Movement of a body part away from the median plane of the body.
ADduction - Movement of a body part towards the median plane of the body.
Anterior - Front, As front portion of a shoe or foot.
-- B --
Balance - to support or arrange to equalize opposing forces
Bal, Balmoral - Front laced shoe in which the
meeting of the quarters and the vamp is stitched or continuous at the distal end
of the throat.
Ball - with of the sole at the metatarsal heads.
Ball Girth - circumferential measurement encompassing the first to fifth metatarsal area.
Bilateral - pertaining to right and left sides
Biomechanics - the science of locomotion of the human body.
Bisect - divide into two equal parts
Blind Eyelet - a metal or plastic eyelet concealed beneath the top surface of the shoe leaving only a small rimless hole.
Blucher - front-laced shoe in which the quarters are not attached distally to the vamp, giving more allowance at the throat and instep for fitting
Boot, High Top - high quarter shoe in which the quarters cover the malleoli
Bottom Filler - material that fills the cavity between the outer and inner soles
Break - creasing formed at the vamp of the shoe when the metatarsal-phalangeal joints are in dorsiflexion
Breathability - the ability to allow air exchange to the foot through the material of the shoe
-- C --
Calfskin Leather - leather made from the skin of calves
Certified Pedorthist - one who is certified by the American Board For Certification in Orthotics Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABC)
Chrome Tannage - tannage using chrome salts to convert hides to leather.
Chukka - three quarter blucher boot with two or three eyelets.
Collar - narrow strip of material stitched around the topline of the shoe, sometimes padded.
Combination Last - last that deviates from standard proportions; the heel is two to three widths narrower then the ball in exact proportions.
Composition - various materials which are pulverized, compressed and held with a binder to form a sheet material for insoles, midsoles, heel bases, and other components
Conformability - ability of a material to mold to the shape of a foot
Cookie - longitudinal arch pad
Cork - Made from the bark of a cork tree. cork may be combined with other materials; available in various forms such as sheet cork, natural cork, cushion cork, and thermo cork; different names are given to the cork according to the binders used
Counter, Long - counter extended distally; lateral counter is extended to the lateral metatarsal region; medial counter is extended to the medial metatarsal region.
Crepe, Rubber - neoprene rubber (artificial latex) compounded for use as soles and heels.
Custom Molded Shoe - shoe molded from a full dimensional cast of patient's foot.
-- D --
Deerskin - Leather made from the skin of deer.
Distal - part farthest from the central portion of the body.
Dorsiflexion - Upward movement of the feet toward the ankle.
Dorsum - top aspect of the foot.
Doubler - interlining placed between the vamp and the vamp lining for additional reinforcement.
Dutchman - lateral sole wedge.
-- E --
Elevation - material added to the plantar aspect of the shoe for leg length discrepencies.
Eversion - turning away from the midline of the body.
-- F --
Flare - widened heel or sole base.
Full Grain - outer surface of a hide with smooth skin intact
Functional Shoe - shoe designed to change the biomechanics of a person's gait
-- G --
Girth - circumferential dimension measured around the last
Ghille - shoe with lacing that passes through loops over the instep
Glove Leather - leather tannage generally used for gloves and now used with modifications, for some footwear uppers; has a soft feel and a dull waxy surface.
Goodyear Welt - shoemaking process in which the upper, inner, and outer sole are joined with a welt.
Goring - elastic fabric inserted in the front or side(s) of an upper so that the opening expands to accommodate the foot.
-- H --
Heel Elevation - Material added to the heel only to accommodate equinus position or limb length discrepancy.
Heel Breast - anterior margin of heel
Heel Height - Vertical measurement from the plantar surface to the heel seat at the anterior surface of the heel, usually in eights of an inch.
Heel Pitch - vertical slant at the posterior aspect of the heel.
Heel Seat - Area of the shoe upon which the foot rests.
Heel, Thomas - heel with anteriorly extended medial border.
Hindfoot - the tarsus region or back part of the foot.
-- I --
Inflare- last or show whose distal region provides more medial then lateral surface area.
Injection Molded - shoe construction whereby a heat softened plastic is injected into a mold, then compressed against the matting surface of a concentric mold and allowed to cool and harden to form the sole and heel unit.
Inlay - material or device inserted into the shoe.
Inner Sole - material conforming to the size and shape of the last bottom upon which the foot rests; an insole
Instep - portion of the upper over the middlefoot
Internal - inner part, as inside of a shoe
Inversion - turning inward
Iron - term used to represent 1/48th of an inch; used in measuring sole thickness, for example six iron sole is 1/8 inch thick
-- J, K, L --
Lace Stay - portion of the upper containing eyelets for lacing
Lace to Toe - low or high quarter shoe laced to the toe
Last - model approximating the shape and size of the foot, which a shoe is made, usually made of wood or plastic or plaster
Lasting - fitting and shaping of the upper to the last
Last System - methods of sizing last dimensions: arithmetic, geometric, dynametic and europoint.
Lasting Allowance - extra material on shoe patterns to fit around and under the bottom edge of the last, lasting margins.
Lateral - pertaining to the side; away from the median
Length - dimension on the center of the last bottom from toe point to heel point.
Levy Mold - full length inlay that conforms to the contour of the plantar foot.
Littleway Construction - Shoe construction involving a lock stitch in which the upper is fastened to the insole with staples
Longitudinal Arch - arc of hindfoot and midfoot from mid-calcaneus extending proximal to the first metatarsal head
-- M --
Metatarsal Bar - rubber, leather or synthetic bar applied transversely to the sole of the shoe with the apex immediately behind the metatarsal bends
Malleoli - bony prominence at the distal portion of the tibia and fibula.
McKay Construction - shoe construction in which the upper is tacked, stapled, or cemented, and the sole is attached with chain stitches from inside the shoe through the insole and outside.
Medial - pertaining to the middle; toward the median
Metatarsal Pad - a device placed approximal to the metatarsal heads to relieve pressure and redistribute weight.
Midsole - sole placed between the inner and outer sole
-- N --
Negative Heel - heel whose plantar surface is lower or the same as the ball of the heel
Neoprene - extremely durable, oil resistant synthetic, rubber like material used for outsoles, heels and other components
-- O --
Orthosis - supportive device for the body
Outflare - last or shoe whose anterior area provides more lateral then medial surface area
Outer Sole - bottom, ground contacting portion of the shoe, outside
Oxford - low quarter, laced shoed
-- P, Q --
Pedorthics - Allied foot health profession concerned with the design, manufacture, fit, and modification of foot wear and related appliances.
Plantar - bottom aspect of the foot.
Platform - Elevated Sole
Polyurethane - Plastic used for uppers, soles, top lifts, and other components.
Polyvinyl chloride - thermoplastic material with various applications such as soles and heels; also known as PVC; can be used as a coating for uppers and linings.
Posterior - back, as in the back portion of a shoe or foot.
Prescription - legal order requesting specific treatment, stating diagnosis and signed by a medical practitioner.
Pronation - tri plane motion of the foot consisting of eversion, dorsiflexion, and abduction.
Proximal - near the point of origin or attachment.
-- R --
Rocker Bar - sole bar with the apex beneath the metatarsal shafts causing, rocking instead of flexing action.
Rocker Bottom - a modified sole apexed at various at various positions to assist the gait cycle and relieve or transfer pressure from the designated areas of the foot and ankle.
-- S --
Shank - firm, stiff, inflexible area of the shoe between the heel breast and ball.
Sock Lining - material covering the dorsal surface of the inner sole.
Splint, Dennis Browne - rigid bar between both shoes used to abduct or adduct the feet.
Splint, Friedman-Counter - flexible strip attached to both counters; used to limit internal rotation.
Straight Last - form for constructing a shoe that can be worn on either foot or a shoe whose medial border approximates a straight line.
Sulcus - long, narrow groove or furrow on the plantar surface of the foot proximal to the phalanges.
Supination - a tri plane motion consisting of the simultaneous movement of the calcaneus and the foot in the direction of adduction, inversion and plantar flexion
-- T --
Tanning - process of converting raw hides and skins into leather by a combination of chemical and mechanical means.
Tarsus - the seven bones that form the hind portion of the foot.
Thermoplastic - synthetic material that can be repeatedly softened by heat and hardened by cooling.
Throat - entrance of the shoe where vamp and quarters usually meet
Toe Box - reinforcement used to retain the original contour of the toe and guard the foot against trauma or abrasion
Toe Crest - convex cushion under the plantar phalangeal-sulcus.
Toe Spring - space between the outer sole and horizontal treading surface measured vertically at the the toe, allowing rocker effect for shoe function.
Toplift - replaceable outer layer of a shoe heel.
Transverse Arch - the arch formed by the metatarsal bones
Tricot - knitted synthetic fabric commonly used for linings in women's shoes.
-- V --
Vamp - forepart of the shoe upper over the metatarsal shafts.
Valgus - condition where heel turns out abnormally, the motion of the foot rolling in this position is known as pronation or eversion
Varus - condition where heel turns in abnormally, the motion of the foot rolling in this position is known as supination or inversion
Velcro - Nylon material in the form of hook and loop tape that fastens to itself; often used in place of laces and other shoe closures.
Vegetable Tannage - process of converting hide to leather that uses materials derived from plant life such as oak, chestnut, quebracho, myrobalans or divi-divi.
Vulcanizing Process - Bonding of the outer sole to the upper from a sole mold in which the soft rubber molds to the shoe, then is allowed to cool and harden; common in footwear such as sneakers.
-- W, X, Y, Z --
Waist - section of the last or shoe between the ball and instep.
Wedge - tapered leather, rubber, or other material used to elevate one side of the sole and/or heel.
Wedging - insertion of wedges inside the shoe or on the sole and/or wheel.
Welt - narrow strip of leather or other material used to join the upper innersole and outersole by means of stitching.
Width - linear measurement from the medial to the lateral border of the foot.