Footwear Terminology
A to Z of footwear technical terms, construction methods, part names, and more.

To remove material by a sanding or roughing process. For example, EVA midsoles are buffed before assembly to help break the smooth surface for better adhesion to the upper.

Cement/Board Lasting
A lasting process where the insole board (carboard or texon) is inserted onto the last bottom and the lasting margin (excess) material of the upper is lasted onto the board and cemented to the insole board. Shoes of this type are usually more stiff and heavier.

A nonwoven reinforcement material that is impregnated with a chemical hardener that sets with application of heat or another chemical. Used commonly for counter or toebox reinforcement.

Compression Molded EVA. A foamed midsole material that offers good cushioning and compression set.

The opening area of a shoe at the top.

A color/material combination.

An type of non-woven upper lining and reinforcement material used commonly on cross training and hiking boots that provides a stiffer (compared to Tricot) lining and support for the shoe.

The back/heel of the shoe.

A hole through which you lace up a shoe.

The part around the lace opening (throat of the shoe). Can feature webbings, eyelets, etc.

Firm Ground. Refers to football/soccer boots/outsoles designed for use on hard, natural surface.

Insole Board
The bottom part of the lasted upper.

Anatomical representation of the foot for constructing a shoe

The process of stretching the preassembled upper around the last, by machine or by hand.

Lasting margin
The upper material part that when lasted folds over the edge of the last onto the bottom, overlapping the insole board.

The component of a shoe between the upper and outsole used to provide cushioning, fit, comfort and support.

The bottom component of a shoe that provides grip and traction.

An upper part which is over another part.

Refers to foam or other material usually inside the collar or tongue to add thickness/cushioning and improve fit.

PU (upper material)
PU upper materials usually use a thin layer of PU foam with a non-woven or fabric backing for reinforcement and strength.

PolyUrethane. Synthetic (plastic) material with minute bubbles or cells and a skin like surface. Used for upper materials, and in a different form for midsoles or padding foam.

A prototype sample for checking pattern and fit.

The side of the shoe. Can have many subcomponents and parts.

Soft Ground. Refers to football/soccer boots/outsoles designed for use on soft (wet) natural surfaces.

Stock Keeping Unit. A unique model/style/colorway/size. Commonly used to refer to a unique colorway. Ie, if there are 2 models each with 5 colorways, there are 10 SKUs total.

Slip Lasting
A lasting process where the insole board (usually canvas) is stitched around the last bottom edge to complete the upper. Usually used for more lightweight, flexible shoes such as running shoes.

Special Make Up. A special request by a customer (ie. distributor, retailer, etc.). It is normally just a different colorway of an existing shoe, but in some cases can also be a whole new shoe. There is not much more to it, really, just that it is requested directly. In some cases it may be part of a special marketing campaign (ie. one of those "exclusives" for Foot Locker you see), or might just be a product to better serve a particular niche covered by the market demographics, location, etc. (ie. maybe some country/market sells more brown colored shoes, but there are none in the main collection).

Stitch and Turn (seam)
A seam which is stitched to join two parts then flipped inside out so the stitch is hidden.

Toe Cap
Upper part on the toe, usually and overlay.

Part which covers the top of the foot. Usually a separate component stitched inside the shoe at the bottom of the throat.

Thermoplastic PolyUrethane. Synthetic (plastic) material usually used for molded details and components on a shoe such as a molded eyestay, logo, counter reinforcement or waist stabilizer.

Tricot (a brand name, used to refer to a material, also Cambrelle)
Upper lining material, usually used on running shoes that is made from a sandwich of mesh type fabric, that allows a lightweight, breathable construction.

Refers to football/soccer boots/outsoles designed for very hard/round natural surfaces like dirt or turf and also synthetic grass surfaces.

A part of a shoe upper that is under another part.

The part of a shoe created around the last.

Area of the shoe/last on the front/top.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really glad that I've found this blog of yours. Because I can hardly find a website that's specifically for footwear makings. (Or is it because that I haven't googled hard enough?) I've been working under the development dept. of a shoemaking factory for almost two years. But this is a mostly Taiwanese / Chinese and Vietnamese speaking environment, which I find it hard to acquire the right terms for shoe making. It's quite frustrating at times. I can speak the language but when it comes to talk about shoe making in English, I'm like a three-year-old who's only able to utter what I've heard people said before. So, your publishing a series of essays on shoes comes mostly useful and beneficial. (Though all the samples I'm in charge of are vulcanized shoes.) Still, I wish I get to see more terminologies been listed and interpreted here.

5:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about translations of these words into italian, chinese, portuguese or french. That would be great.

4:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog.

How about...

Lateral - The outside half of the shoe
Medial - The inside half of the shoe

5:04 PM  

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