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Footwear Glossary

Over 300 shoemaking terms as defined by A Manual of Shoemaking and Leather and Rubber Products, written in 1912 by William H. Dooley, which remains an authoritative and relevant technical manual over 100 years later. Now part of the public domain, we updated this glossary with additional contemporary terms and removed certain anachronisms.
Ankle Piece
A large piece of light sheeted gum, which goes around the ankle and extends about halfway up the leg.
Includes the following operations: tacking the insole to the last, putting in the box and counter of the shoe, and putting the upper of the shoe on the last.
Back Stay
A piece cut out of sheeted gum, on the under side of which is placed a counter form or a piece of frictioned sheeting.
Back Strap
The strap by which the shoe is pulled on the foot.
A term used to denote a strip of leather covering and strengthening the back seam of a shoe. English backstay means the strip of leather that meets the quarters on each side and is sewed to them, forming the lower part of the shoe. California backstay is a term applied to piping caught in the back seam.
An abbreviation of the word “Balmoral”—a front lace shoe of medium height, as distinguished from one that is adjusted to the ankle by buttons, buckles, rubber goring, etc.
Refers to the ball of the foot—the fleshy part of the bottom of the foot, back of the toes.
Barbour Welting Company
Since 1892, a notable manufacturer of welts in Brockton, Massachusetts, United States.
Means folding in the edges of the upper leather instead of leaving them raw, or wheeling any impression around the sole to the heel. It is called seat wheeling in many shoe factory rooms.
Beating Out
The same as leveling. It is the term used in turn-shoe work.
Bellows Tongue
A broad tongue sewed to the sides of the top, seen in waterproof and some working shoes.
The term applied to the usual back tanned cowhide, used in various thicknesses for machinery belts.
Between Substance
That part of the sole that holds the stitch.
A mass of grease and lampblack, formerly used by shoemakers on edges of heels and soles; sometimes called “cobbler’s botch.”
Blacking the Edge
Blacking or dyeing edge of sole, welt, or that part of the edge which cannot be blacked so well in the making room.
See McKay
The cutting or chopping of a sole in such a form or shape that it can be rounded.
A term often applied to the grayish white deposit that gathers on shoes in stock. It can be wiped off readily.
The name of a shoe or half boot, originated by Field Marshal Blücher of the Prussian Army, in the time of Napoleon I. It became very popular and has since received occasional favor, being used with high tops as a sporting or hunting boot. Its distinguishing feature is the extension forward of the quarters to lace across the tongue, which may be an extension upward of the vamp.
Leather legging extending between knee and ankle, usually of Russian calf,—a riding boot originating with the English.
Bottom Filling
The filling that goes in the low space on the bottom in the forepart of the shoe. It is either ground cork, tarred felt, or other filler.
Bottom Scouring
Sandpapering the parts of the sole, except the heel.
Box Calf
A well-known proprietary leather having a grain of rectangularly crossed lines.
Box Toe
Used to hold up the toe of the shoe so as to retain the shape. It is generally of sole leather, but often made of canvas or other material and stiffened with shellac or gum.
A term used to designate the stiffening material placed in the toe of a shoe to support it and retain the shape; such as leather, composition of leather and paper, wire net, drilling (a cotton fabric) stiffened with shellac, etc.
Brannock Device
Designed in 1927, The Brannock Device’s foot-measuring accuracy, quality construction, and simple, functional design have made this tool the standard in the footwear industry.
A heavy pegged or nailed work shoe, medium cut in height.
The final finish of the top edge, heel, and bottom, by means of a brush.
A soft leather, generally yellow or grayish in color. One way of preparing it is by treating deerskins in oil.
A split side leather, coarser than glove grain, but otherwise similar. It is used for cheaper grades of shoes, principally for men.
The same as bottom scouring.
A tanned sheepskin of superior finish used for shoe stock. There are sheep with wool not far removed from hair in texture, which produce a skin of greater tenacity and finish than the ordinary sheep.
A sole leather bottom without a heel. An infant’s shoe is called a cack.
Hides of meat cattle of all kinds, weighing up to fifteen pounds, are usually included in this term. They make a strong and pliable leather. Calfskins were formerly finished with wax and oil on the flesh side, but can now be made so as to be finished on the “grain,” which is the hair side of the skin.
A cardboard box intended for one pair of shoes.
This is the operation of placing cement on the outsole and the bottom of the welt shoe so that the outsole is held to the shoe by the cement.
A leather made from the skins of chamois, calves, deer, goats, sheep, and split hides of other animals.
Channel Screwed
A process by which the sole is fastened to the uppers. After a channel is cut and laid over on the outside of the outsole, the outsole and insole are fastened together, holding the upper and lining between them by means of wire screws, which are fastened in this channel. The skived part is then smoothed down over the heads of the screws, entirely covering them from sight, and preventing the screws from easily working up into the foot.
Channel Stitched
A method of fastening soles to the uppers, either by McKay or welt process, in which a portion of the sole’s outer side is channeled into, and the stitches afterwards covered on the lower side by the lip of this channel.
Channel Turning
Turning a lip or flap of sole leather (called channel), so that the stitching can be done in the proper place; or it may mean turning up the flap or lip of the channel, that is, the part that is to cover the stitch.
Cutting into the sole in such a way that the thread or stitching is away from the surface. In the outsole department it means preparing a place for the stitch. In insoles and turn soles, channeling is done so that soles are prepared to hold the stitching.
A term applied to the edges of heels or soles that have cracked, or have been injured in process of construction.
An ankle-high leather boot with suede or leather upper, leather or rubber sole, and open lacing with two or three pairs of eyelets. The name chukka possibly comes from the game of polo, where a chukka is a period of play.
Cleaning Inside
Cleaning the lining.
Cleaning Nails
Scraping the blacking off the tops of the heel slugs.
Cleaning Shoes
Removing dirt, wax, cement, etc., from them.
Cutting the uppers of shoes.
Putting two or more pieces together.
Closing On
Stitching the lining and outside together.
A name given to a woman’s low shoe, with vamp extended into a flaring tongue, with a large, ornamental buckle across the instep. The buckle and tongue are the distinctive features of the shoe, whether the shoe fastens with a lace or strap.
The skin of a colt is thin enough to use like calfskin in its entirety, with such shaving as is given all hides in tanning. Coltskin makes a firm basis needed for patent leather. Russia is the chief source of supply.
Combination Last
One with a different width instep from the ball. It may be one or two widths’ difference, such as the D ball with a B instep. Combination lasts are generally used in fitting low insteps.
A term used to denote the small scraps that accumulate about tanneries and factories, which are ground up and mixed with a paste or a kind of cement, and flattened into sheets which are used as insoles, and in other parts, in various grades of shoes, where wear is not excessive.
Congress Gaiter
A shoe designed especially for comfort, with rubber goring in the sides which adjusts it to the ankle, instead of laces, and sometimes made with lace front to imitate a regular shoe.
Originally a Spanish leather made from horsehide. The Spaniards were, for a great many centuries, the best leather makers. The term is applied to a grain leather from the best and strongest part of a horsehide.
The stiffening in the back part of a shoe, often called stiffening, to support the outer leather and prevent the shoe from “running over” at the heel. It is made either of sole leather, shaved thin on the edge and shaped by machinery, as in the best shoes, or composition or paper, in cheap shoes. Metal is occasionally used on the outside of the shoes in heavy goods for miners and furnacemen.
Coupon Tag
A tag from which a coupon is cut for every operation. Operatives hold part of the coupon and the holders of the coupons are paid for the part named.
Refers to hides of cattle, heavier than kips, which run up to twenty-five pounds each.
Creasing Vamp
Making hollow grooves across the front of the vamp to add to its looks.
A man’s heavy lace shoe, with gusset, blucher cut.
A heavy congress work shoe. This shoe, the creedmore, and brogans are usually made of oil grains, kip, or split leather, sometimes pegged, sometimes “stitched down.”
Shaping any part of the upper so that it will conform to the last better.
Cut-off Vamp
One cut off at tip for economy when tip is to be covered by a cap.
An eyelet with tie-down metal ring shaped like the letter D used primarily as a lacing point.
Cutting soles to fit the last, outsoles, insoles, heel lifts, counters, or half soles, with a machine and a die.
Dom Pedro
A heavy, one-buckle shoe, with gusset or bellows tongue. Originally it was a patent name for certain shoes made of fine material, but is now applied to cheap grades.
A heavy, plump goatskin, tanned with a semibright finish.
A process for giving the upper its original finish by means of liquid put on with sponge.
Edge Setting
The finishing edge of the sole—polishing it.
Edge Trimming
Trimming the edge of a sole smoothly to conform to last.
Leather that is given a shiny finish on the grain side. The process is similar to that of patent leather, only that patent leather is finished on the flesh side, or the surface of the split.
A small ring of metal, etc., placed in the holes for lacing; the eyelet holes are sometimes worked with thread like a buttonhole.
Putting on eyelets.
The bleached calf or sheepskin used around the top of the shoe, and down the eyelet row and inside of the upper.
Fair Stitch
Term applied to the stitching that shows around the outer edge of the sole, to give the McKay shoe the appearance of a welt shoe.
Putting a gloss on any part of the bottom of the shoe.
The small parts of a shoe, such as blacking, cement, nails, wax, tacks, thread, etc.
Any last or form put in a shoe from which the original last has been pulled.
Forepart Finishing
The staining and polishing of the forepart of the shoe.
A term applied to a filler last. It may be of wood, papier-mâché, leather board, or any similar material, and is used to enhance the appearance of sample shoes, in salesmen’s lines or in window displays.
Having the lower part of the quarter a separate piece of leather or covered by an extra piece; “slipper foxed” is a term sometimes applied to women’s full vamp shoes.
The name applied to that part of the upper that extends from the sole to the laces in front, and to about the height of the counter in the back; being the length of the upper. It may be in one or more pieces and is often cut down to the shank in circular form.
A process to which chamois and wash leather are subjected, after the skins are unhaired, scraped, “fleshed,” and raised. It consists in rubbing the skins with pumice stone or a blunt knife till the appearance of the grain is entirely removed.
A term used for part of a congress toe.
A term usually applied to a separate ankle covering or to a congress shoe.
The operation of making gem insoles.
Genuine Handsewn Construction
An American footwear construction method originating in New England where the vamp and plug are sewen by hand with a needle and thread. Commonly used for moccasins, loafers, and boat shoes. The handsewn toe is sometimes referred to as a "moc toe" or "moc-toe" and the stitching itself is referred to as a "moc stitch" or "moc stitch."
Glazed Kid
See Kid.
Glove Grain
A light, soft-finished, split leather.
See Kid.
Goodyear Welt Construction
A footwear construction method which involves stitching a welt to the upper and a strip of preformed canvas like a "rib" that runs all around and bottom (known as "gemming") cemented to the insole of a shoe as an attach-point for the outsole or midsole (depending on the Goodyear welt variant). The space enclosed by the welt is then filled with cork or some other filler material (usually either porous or perforated, for breathability), and the outsole is both cemented and stitched to the welt. Shoes with other types of construction may also have welts.
A rubber elastic used in a congress shoe. It is also applied to the long, wedge-shaped piece of leather set in an upper to widen it.
The sorting of outsoles and half soles to get uniform weight in edges of finished shoes.
Gum Counter
A piece cut out of sheeted gum, on the under side of which is placed a counter form or a piece of frictioned sheeting.
A patch of joining material that provides structural support.
Hand Lasting
A completed upper is drafted (moulded) to the last by hand, using a pair of pincers to position and secure the upper by a series of ordered stretches or pulls called 'strains.' While this method requires a highly-skilled laster or shoemaker with considerable time and patience, it is the best way to ensure the upper is true to the shape of the last and prevent the leather from excessively stretching with wear. A shoe or boot lasted in this way is said to be 'hand-lasted' or 'benchmade.'

Hand-Lasted Goodyear Welt Construction
A completed upper is drafted (moulded) to the last by hand, using a pair of pincers to position and secure the upper by a series of ordered stretches or pulls called 'strains.' While this method requires a highly-skilled laster or shoemaker with considerable time and patience, it is the best way to ensure the upper is true to the shape of the last and prevent the leather from excessively stretching with wear. A shoe or boot lasted in this way is said to be 'hand-lasted' or 'benchmade.'

Once lasted, a welt is then stitched to the completed upper and an insole, midsole, and outsole are bound to the welt using a welting machine according to the Goodyear Welt Construction process. This process is known for water resistance and allows for shoes and boots to be repeatedly re-soled or re-crafted.
Harness Leather
Similar to belting, and is made from hides heavier than kips.
Made of layers of leather or wood called liftings, and attached to rear part of shoe (heel seat). There are different varieties of heels. The French heel is an extremely high heel with a curved outline in back and front (breast). It is sometimes made of wood covered with leather, with thicknesses of sole leather, or all sole leather. The Cuban heel is a high, straight heel, without the curve of the French or “Louis XV” heel. Military heel is a straight heel not as high as the Cuban. A spring heel is a low heel formed by extending back the outside of the shoe to the heel, with a slip inserted between the outsole and heel slat. Wedge heel is somewhat similar to a spring heel, except that a wedge-shaped lift is tacked on the outside instead of a slit. Slugging heels is the process of affixing the made-up heel by one operation of the machine.
Heel Finishing
Blacking and polishing the heel edge.
Heel Lining
The lining to cover heel nails inside the shoe; it is often known by other names.
Heel Pad
In the manufacture of shoes, is a small piece of felt, leather, or other substance fastened to and covering the full width of the insole at the point upon which the heel rests. A heel cushion is sometimes called a heel pad.
Heel Scouring
Sandpapering the edge of the heel, except the front or breast portion.
Heel Seat
That part of sole on which heel is fastened.
Heel Seat Nailing
Nailing the heel part of sole.
Heel Seat Trimming
Trimming the rear or heel part of sole.
Heel Shaving
Shaving the heel, shaping it.
Hemlock Tanned
A process of tanning leather by hemlock bark.
Distinguished from skins, in the trade. Hides refer to skins of animals which are over twenty-five pounds in weight. Skins refer to smaller animals; as skins of goats, calves, sheep.
Ornamental hardware made to resemble a horse's bit.
A trimming of the upper by an insertion of the same or different kind of material than that of the body in which it is inlaid. It is used for decorative purpose on a shoe.
Short for "inner sole." Usually made of felt or sheeting coated on one side with rag stock. In lasting up, the bottom edges of the lining (which have previously been cemented) are pulled under and adhere to the inner sole.
Inner Sole
Usually made of felt or sheeting coated on one side with rag stock. In lasting up, the bottom edges of the lining (which have previously been cemented) are pulled under and adhere to the inner sole.
Inseam Trimming
Cutting off the surplus leather; term is also applied to pulling sole tacks.
Sewing sole on turn shoe. Welting and inseaming are practically the same operation.
The first sole laid on the last, and is the foundation of all shoes with insoles. It is an important though invisible portion of a shoe. This inner sole is the part to which the upper and outsole are sewed or nailed in the McKay and welt shoes.
The examination of shoes to see that the work is perfect; it is sometimes called crowning.
Inspecting Insole
The operation of looking inside of the shoe for tacks.
The top of the arch of the foot.
A term indicating the thickness of sole leather; each unit is approximately one thirty-second of an inch in thickness.
Ironing Uppers
Taking wrinkles out of the uppers and smoothing the same with a hot iron.
A woman’s house slipper which is cut a little above the ankle in front and back, and cut down on the sides is called a Juliette.
The skin of the animal of that name, which makes a splendid leather, of firm texture. It is quite expensive, hence substitutes are on the market under the same name.
A term applied to the shoe leather made from the skins of mature goats.
A term applied to leather made from hides weighing between fifteen and twenty-five pounds.
Lace Hook
An eyelet extended into a recurved hook, around which the lace is looped.
Lace Stay
A strip of leather reënforcing the eyelet holes. Also called "eyestay"
The operation of putting laces in shoes.
A wooden or composite form over which the shoe is constructed, giving the shoe its distinctive shape.
The process of making the uppers conform to the last in all respects. The operations of assembling and pulling over are parts of lasting.
Laying Channel
Turning down the lip or flap to cover the stitching.
Leg Cover
A piece of sheeted gum rolled upon a piece of frictioned sheeting called the leg form.
Leg Lining
The lining, usually of felt or wool netting, for the leg.
Shaping the sole to the bottom of the last.
The name given to one thickness of sole leather used in the heel. Top lift is the bottom lift, when the shoe is right side up, and is the last piece put on in manufacture.
The inside part of shoe, generally of cloth, deerskin, or sheepskin.
Lining Cutting
The operation of cutting the cloth linings.
The operation of putting lining inside of the shoe to cover insole or part of insole.
Loading Leather
Filling the pores of the leather with glucose to increase its weight.
A low slip-on shoe.
Making Linings
Consists of closing up heel of lining; putting on top and side or eyelet stay.
A term applied to a dull finish kid as distinguished from glazed.
Match Marking
An operation performed on colored uppers, except black, to get different parts of the upper the same shade and color, and both shoes in the pair alike.
McKay Construction
A shoe in which the outsole is attached to the insole and upper by a method named for the inventor.

Also known as 'McKay Sewed' and 'Blake-McKay Construction.'
McKay Stitch
Sewing through and through so that thread is seen inside of shoe.
Middle Sole
Any sole between outsole and insole.
Mock Welt
McKay-sewed shoe with a double sole and having a leather sock lining. It is fair stitched to imitate a welt.
Shaping the sole to fit the bottom of last.
Monkey Skin
A peculiar grained skin, and is considered in the trade as a fancy leather. It is often imitated.
A name applied to leather originally made in Morocco. It is a sumac-tanned goatskin, red in color, and is used in book binding. The name is also applied to a leather made in imitation of this, and to heavy, plump goatskins used for shoes.
An additional piece of leather to reinforce the vamp and provide additional water-resistence in Genuine Handsewn Construction.
The name applied to slippers with no counters or quarters.
The woolly side of hide, cloth, or felt.
Smoothing up the bottom with fine sandpaper. Sometimes the buffing grain.
A shoe with high vamp and quarter, dropping low at the sides, made with a short rubber goring for summer or house wear.
Oak Tanned
A process of tanning by means of a substance obtained from oak bark.
Oil Leather
Leather prepared by currying hides in oil. The hides are moist, that the oily matter may be gradually and thoroughly absorbed.
A chrome tan calfskin treated on the flesh side in such a manner that the long fibers are loosened and form a nap surface; made in many colors.
Outer Filler
A filling sole cut from rag-coated or frictioned sheeting, and designed to fill up the hollow on the bottom caused by bringing the edges of the gum vamp and counter underneath.
Outside Cutting
Cutting the leather parts of the shoe, as vamp, tip, top, etc.
Outside Tap
The tap used outside of men’s or boys’ heavy shoes.
The sole next the ground, on which all wear comes.
A low-cut shoe no higher than the instep lace, button, or goring.
Packer Hides
Hides taken off in the large slaughterhouses. They are rated slightly higher in price, because great care and skill are used in taking them off.
Placing a pair of shoes in a carton.
Coverings for the feet made of good quality calfskin, similar in form and appearance to the Indian moccasin. They do not have sole leather bottoms. If properly made, they are waterproof.
A term applied to one of the many artificial leathers formed from leather scraps, shaved thin, and cemented together under heavy pressure.
A name given to rubber from Brazil.
Short for "parachute cord," paracord is now used as a general purpose utility cord, including as a lace for outdoor footwear.
Partially-Structured Toe
A box toe of a thinner, less rigid material such as Silastic®, which provides enough structure to a toe box that it will not as easily collapse.
Pasted Counter
One that is cut from two pieces of sole leather pasted together. It is sometimes called a two-piece counter.
Patent Leather
Varnished leather.
The model by which the pieces comprising the upper of a shoe are cut, applied collectively to upper as modified by the differing shape of these pieces.
A term used in the process to bring out the grain of leather and give it a roughened or rubbed appearance.
Lasting out soles with pegs.
Making very small holes around parts of upper. It is performed mostly for decoration.
Strips of frictioned sheeting used to join the lining together over the instep and up the back, and also to hold the lining up on the tree by passing a strip over the top.
The name of ladies’ or misses’ front-lace shoe of higher cut than “bal,” and named from Poland, where it originated.
This skin is sometimes used for leather and boot laces, but porpoise hides are ordinarily obtained from the white whale.
Consists of a flat-press pressure for heels and soles, to prevent cracking of edges and to make parts adhere.
Pulling Lasts
Removing the lasts from shoes.
Pulling Over
Pulling upper on the last and tacking it in position.
A low-cut shoe originally having no fastenings, such as laces or buttons. A pump is cut lower than the instep.
Pump Sole
An extra-light single sole, running clear through to the back of the heel. A pump sole in former years was distinguished by its flexibility and was hand turned.
Putting on Tap
Sticking half sole to the outsole.
The rear part of upper when a full vamp is not used.
Rag Counter
Quarter stiff is a counter piece cut out of rag-coated or frictioned sheeting, which gives stiffness to the counter.
Rag Sole
A sole stiffening cut out of a sheet of rag stock, which covers the whole bottom. The edges are skived to make a perfect edge.
Made of sole leather about as wide as a welt, but thin at one edge. It is tacked to the heel so as to balance the heel evenly on the sole and fill any open space around the edge between sole and heel.
Rapid Stitching
Sewing the sole to welt.
A hide or animal skin that has not been exposed to tanning. It is similar to parchment, much lighter in color than leather made by traditional vegetable tanning.
The process of refurbishing a shoe or boot which usually includes new welting, outsoles, heels, laces, and conditioning of the upper.
Consists in putting lasts in shoes from which the original lasts have been removed.
A term applied to filling slight cracks in patent tips or patent leather.
Sheepskin tanned with sumac. The process is similar in its details to that employed for morocco leather, but lacks the graining given to the morocco by the grooved rollers in the finishing. It imitates ungrained morocco.
The process of passing leather between rolls to make it firm and hard. Rolling consists in polishing the bottom on roll and brush.
Rollmoc Toe
An additional piece of leather or other material which covers the seam between the vamp and plug in Genuine Handsewn Construction.
Rough Rounding
Rounding outsole to the shape of last, and cutting channel in the welt-channeled shoes.
Sums paid for the use of machines to machine companies.
Russet Calf
Russet-colored calf is made from calfskins.
Russet Grain
Russet-colored grain is made from a split cowhide.
The name of a one-piece wooden shoe, carved from a block of basswood. A novelty to Americans, but worn by people in the rural and manufacturing sections of Holland, Germany, and France.
Sack Lining
The lining inside the shoe and insole.
A strip of leather, often with a die-cut crescent or sliver, covering part of the plug and vamp in Genuine Handsewn Construction and most common in penny loafer.
Strap slipper, or a sole worn by children. Originally fastened on the foot by straps.
Satin Calf
A grain split, stuffed with oil, and smooth finished.
Scouring Breast
Sandpapering the front part of the heel.
A shoe having the sole attached with screws, as in cheap or working shoes.
Seal Grain
Usually a flesh split, with an artificial grain which is stamped or printed on the finished leather.
Second Lasting
The same as relasting. Term used most in turn work.
The middle position of the bottom of the foot. Shank supports are placed in shoes to stiffen that part of the bottom. They are of steel, of wood, or of a combination of leather board and steel, and can be placed in the shoe any time before the outsole is laid.
Shank Burnishing
Polishing a black shank with hot iron.
Shank Finishing
Finishing the shank with blacking or in colors. The top lift is generally finished at the same time.
Shanking Out
Means making the edge of the shank thinner than the other part of the sole, and making it smooth.
Sometimes used for linings, it is often considered too soft and weak in texture for heavy wear, and liable to split and tear.
Shell Cordovan
Shell Cordovan is a rare and uniquely exquisite equine leather made from the connective tissue beneath the hide on the rump. The leather is thin and flexible but also extremely dense, characteristics which combine to resist creases and cracks, even after many years of wear (with proper care). This density also reduces the size of pores and other surface characteristics, resulting in a grain so fine that pores and other surface characteristics are all but invisible to the naked eye.
Short Vamp
A foreshortened vamp. The distance between the extreme tip and the throat of the vamp shortened for appearances.
Side Lasting
Lasting the side of the shoe only.
Side Stay
A spike-shaped piece of frictioned sheeting, placed on each side of the ankle.
Leather made from hides which are split into two sides down the back.
Silastic is a trademark registered in 1948 by Dow Corning Corporation. Silastic is a silicone composite used as a supportive material often used in a toe box.
A term used to represent the skin covering of small animals, such as goats.
The outer parts of leather (hide), such as shanks, bellies, necks, etc.
Making the sole the same thickness in all parts. Skiving means cutting or shaving down to a thin edge. This operation may be done in the cutting department or stitching department.
Driving slugs in heels, on part or all of the heel.
Sock Lining
The lining for insole, inside of shoe.
Soft Tip
A term applied to a shoe on which no boxing is used under the tip.
Sole Laying
Sole laying is the operation of laying the outsole.
Soles and Sole Leather
Name applied to pieces of leather of various thickness on the bottom of a shoe, usually made from heavy hides of leather. There are many varieties of soles: a “full-double” sole has two thicknesses of leather extending clear back to the heel; “half-double” sole is a full outer sole, with slip extending back to shank; single sole is self-defining; “tap” is a half sole.
The process of selecting and sorting soles, so that they may be put up in different qualities.
Shoes in stock sometimes become coated with a grayish white, powdery substance, that looks like mildew. This formation on leather that is not fully seasoned is called spewing, and the deposit is called bloom. It can readily be wiped off, and does not indicate any serious defect or trouble with the leather. It is not a mildew or growth, but apparently an exudation of materials used in tanning.
A name applied to split leather, that is, two or more parts of the hide.
Spring Heel
Consists of one or more lifts used between the outsole and upper. It is seen mostly in children’s shoes and is often called wedge heel. It can also be put on outside instead of under the outsole.
The operation of putting size and width on the inside of the shoe. Parts of the uppers are often stamped or marked so that the whole are put together properly in the stitching room.
Stamping Bottoms
The operation of stamping name on bottom. It is often performed in finishing rooms.
Stamping Carton
Putting the size, width, and other marks on carton.
Stamping Sizes
Stamping sizes on heel part of the sole.
Nailing bottom on standard screw machine.
The name given to any piece of leather put in the upper to strengthen it or to strengthen a seam.
Putting on a stay, generally heel stay.
Stitch Down
A term applied to a flexible shoe used in the army, in which the top is turned out instead of under and stitched through the sole.
Stitch Separating
Marking between stitches so as to make them show to good advantage.
Stitchdown Construction
A footwear construction method which will typically make use of both a Goodyear-welting machine and a Rapid stitcher. Similar to the Goodyear construction, the welt stitch is not visible from the outside of the shoe, and the two exterior stitches are both connected to mid- and outsole respectively, making for a sturdy construction often used in hard wearing work boots
Stitched Aloft
A term used to indicate that the sewing stitches show on the bottom. No channel is necessary in this sole. It may be a slight groove. In stitching, the shoe is held bottom up, therefore the name “stitched aloft.”
Storm Welt
A welt similar to that of a Goodyear Welt but wider. The extra width allows the welt to be bent upwards, creating a seal around the junction between the upper and the mid-sole which provides additional water resistence.
Straight Last
One that is neither right nor left, and a shoe made over such a last can be worn on either foot. This term is sometimes applied to right and left shoes that have a barely perceptible outside swing.
Consists of cutting in strips wide enough to cut soles all of equal size in length.
A trade term applied to kid skins, finished on the flesh side.
A term applied to the curve of the outer edge of a sole.
Tack Pulling and Trimming Out
Consist of preparing bottom for welting. It also makes it better for the operation.
Tacking On
Consists in laying the outsole on McKay’s lasted shoes.
A variety of goat skins coming from the province of Tampico, Central America.
Tan is a sort of brownish leather.
Tanning is the process of converting hides or skins into leather.
Half of a complete sole, often called half sole when used under outsole.
Tap Trimming
Shaping the tap to conform to the sole.
A dangling ornament made by laying parallel a bunch of cords or threads of even length and fastening them at one end.
The process of making leather by soaking hides in a solution of salt and alum, or by packing them down with dry salt and powdered alum. Used to prepare skin rugs and furs.
The operation of wetting the leather in water to take hardness out and make leather “mull,” so that it may be worked easier.
The toe piece which is stitched to the vamp and outside of it. Stock tip is a tip of the same material as the vamp. Patent tip is a patent leather tip. Diamond tip refers to the shape extending back to a point. Imitation tip-stitching across the vamp is imitation of a tip.
Tip Cutting
Cutting the tip which goes on the toe of the vamp.
Toe and Heel Lasting
Lasting heel and toe.
Toe Filler
A rag-stock filling sole to fill up the hollow on the bottom caused by attaching the lining to the inner sole.
Toe Lining
The lining for the vamp, of the same material as the leg lining.
Toe Piece
A piece attached to cut-off vamp to lengthen it.
A narrow strip of leather necessary on all laced shoes.
The part of the upper above the vamp; tip of shoe.
Top Cutting
Cutting the top only.
Top Facing
The strip of leather or band of cloth around the top of the shoe on the inside is called the top facing. It adds to the finish of the lining, and is sometimes used to advertise the name of manufacturers by a design of letters woven or sewed on it.
Top Lift Scouring
Sandpapering top lift of heel to make it smooth.
Top Stitching
Consists of stitching across the top and down the side.
The lift which is next to the ground.
Shaping the shoe, making it smooth. Produces the same effect as ironing, although no hot iron is used. It makes the upper plump and gives it a good finish and “feel.”
Trimming Cutting
Cutting stays, facings, and other small parts of the upper.
Trimming Vamp
Cutting off hanging or surplus thread.
Turned Shoe
A lady’s fine shoe that is made wrong side out, then turned right side out, which operation necessitates the use of a thin, flexible sole of good quality. The sole is fastened to the last, the upper is lasted over it wrong side out, then the two are sewed together, the thread catching through a channel cut in the edge of the sole. The seam does not come through to the bottom of the sole where it would chafe the foot on inside.
To turn shoe right side out. Also turning upper right side out.
Smooth surface.
Unstructured Toe
A toe box without additional supportive material to retain its shape.
A term applied collectively to the upper parts of a shoe.
"Vachetta" or "Vacchetta" is a bovine veg tan (vegetable-tanned) leather produced according to an ancient process which may include animal or mineral oils, popularized (and possibly originating) in Central Italy's region of Tuscany. Typically tanned from bull shoulder, vachetta is notable for its firm hand, durability, and even finish. Its consistent grain and longevity contribute to its versatility and make it a popular choice for luxury handbags and fine footwear.
The lower or front part of the upper of a shoe. It is the most important piece of the upper and should be cut from the strongest and cleanest part of the skin. “Cut-off” vamp is one that extends only to the tip, instead of being continued to the toe and lasted under with the tip. Whole vamp is one that extends to the heel without a seam.
Vamp Cutting
Cutting vamp with or without the tip.
Vamp Form
A piece of frictioned sheeting cut to the shape of the vamp, and put on over the toe lining.
Vamp Lining
The inside part of shoe, generally of cloth, deerskin, or sheepskin.
Stitching the vamp to the top.
A name for skins that are made into a variety of parchment.
A finish for calf leather. It is the French name for velvet and is used in the shoe trade for a patent chrome-tanned calf leather. It is an excellent leather and has a smooth and velvety finish.
Consists in making soles, whole or part, heavier, by means of leather-board or other material fastened to the sole by an adhesive.
A material originally designed for making vests. As used in shoes, it is made with fancy-figured weave, having a backing of stiff buckram or rubber-treated tissue to strengthen it.
A patent trade name for a brand of chrome-tanned kid.
A patent method of waterproofing sole leather by the use of partly emulsified oils with a water-resisting tendency. Viscolized soles are used in hunting and sporting boots.
Wash Leather
An inferior quality of chamois.
Web Straps
Straps put on with the joined ends between the leg lining and the leg cover, and forming a loop on the inside of the boot to pull it on with.
A narrow strip of leather that is sewed to the upper of a shoe with an insole leaving the edge of the welt extending outward, so that the outsole can be attached by sewing through both welt and outsole, around the outside of the shoe. The attaching of the sole and upper thus involves two sewings, first the insole, welt and upper, then the outsole to the welt. The name is applied to the shoe itself when made in this way to distinguish it from a turned, or McKay sewed shoe. This is the method used by cobblers in the production of hand-sewed shoes to fasten the sole and upper together. Goodyear welt is a welt in which the sewing is done by a machine named for the inventor. There are very few hand-welted shoes made.
Welt Beating
The flattening out of the welt, making it smooth.
Sewing the welt to shoe.
Means folding in the edges of the upper leather instead of leaving them raw, or wheeling any impression around the sole to the heel. Also called beading.
White Alum
Bleached leather tawed with white alum.
Wooden Case
Large box for twelve or more pairs.