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Types and Terms

Types of shoes


A classic debonair shoe for daytime use, featuring a sturdy upper and embellished with a series of perforations arranged in a wingtip pattern on the toe and around the visible edges. What are merely decorative features for us today were a necessity in the olden days. Brogues were once a work shoe worn by Irish and Scottish peasants in the sixteenth century, when they used to toil in the peat bogs. The holes on the shoe allowed the water to drain out more quickly. The Gaelic word for shoe is 'Brog', which comes from the Old Norse 'Brok'. The most typical decorative style is the wingtip patterning. The Brogue can be a Derby, an Oxford or simply a lace-up shoe, but it always features a stout heel in leather or rubber. In its two-tone version, it is known as a spectator shoe.

Chelsea boot

This laceless boot is close-fitting around the ankle with elasticated side panels which are its signature feature. Sometimes, it comes with a rear loop or tab in leather, making it easier to pull on. It dates back to Victorian times, when tradesmen came from outside London with their wares.

Chukka boot

This is an ankle-high boot with a lace-up closure. It is also known as a Desert Boot because the version in unlined khaki-brown suede was part of the British Army’s uniform for the Western Desert campaign in the Second World War. It can be worn with sporty jackets, jeans or mismatched separates. It can be donned with an elegant suit if the weather is bad.

Derby lace-ups or Blüchers

It is an open-lacing shoe with an eyelet flap for the laces on top of the tongue in a vamp spreading out in a single piece over the foot arch. It is also called a Blücher in tribute to the Prussian general and arch enemy of Napoleon Bonaparte; it appears that he invented this type of shoe to make it easier for his soldiers to march in. No wonder they were on the victorious side at Waterloo. Much like Oxfords, Derby lace-ups can be decorated or plain. If they have decorative perforations, they are known as Brogues.

Mocassino o Loafer

A chic legacy model which exudes an easy modern vibe. Easily customisable, it can be adapted with unforgettable details such as band details, tassels and a variety of other embellishments so it always reveals a new versatile version of itself

Monkey Boots

These are classic ankle-high hiking boots featuring a sturdy lace-up upper set on a rubber outsole with a lug tread. They are called 'Pedule' in the Eastern Dolomites and are worn in summer and winter over thick wool socks.

Monkey Shoes

hese are a low-top version of the hiking boot. They can be worn in the city as well.


A practical and versatile shoe - a sort of Derby without laces with a single or multiple-strap closure. It is well suited to tight trousers.

Oxford shoes

Dating back to 1830, this is the most classic men's shoe. Also known as a Balmoral, it has six pairs of lace eyelets and closed lacing. This shoe is especially suited for formal engagements, either by day or in the evening, and it can be also be donned under a sporty-looking jacket.


Either elegant or laid-back, slip-on shoes can have these two completely different aesthetics depending on the materials used for the upper and the type of outsole. With a rubber outsole and an upper in canvas, suede or leather, a slip-on exudes an informal vibe, but can also be set on a leather sole with an upper in satin, patent leather or brushed calfskin, and thus perfectly suited to a sophisticated soirée.


A shoe with sporty and curated aesthetics which is meant to be worn for leisure pursuits, but not for doing sports.


The curved part of the sole, situated between the heel and the ball of the foot.

Heel Base

The surface of contact between the heel and the back of the shoe’s sole.


The width of the footwear or of the last, measured at the widest part of the foot in relation to its length. Reveals whether the foot is narrow or wide. The best shoe manufacturers produce shoes in a variety of widths for each length, in order to satisfy the requirements of the most difficult fits.


Support that is applied to the narrowest part of the insole, positioned between the heel and the ball of the foot, parallel with the arch.


A support which is inserted between the upper and the lining, in the front part of the shoe, relative to the toe.


The point of the foot which is most arched, which in the shoe will be the narrowest part.


A support which is inserted in the heel between the lining and the upper to stiffen the latter.

Flesh-split and Crusting

The lowest layer of split leather is called the flesh-split, whilst the tanning process which creates it is called crusting.


A trim which consists of a tuft of slender strips of leather secured by a knot at the top.


The the outer layer of the dermis. The top-grain is the layer of the hide on which we find the epidermis and hairs, as opposed to the flesh-split. For each animal species the top-grain will offer a particular grain.


Inner part of the upper which is in direct contact with the foot.


The whole of the separate components which make up the sole, which rests between the foot and the ground, opposite the upper.


Series of cuts of the same length, or of a length determined according to a specific decorative design, situated on the edge of an ornamentation attached to the upper between the instep and the toe of the shoe.

Heel Breast

The front part of the heel that forms a gap which may be more or less accentuated.

Quarter Panels

Each of the two rear parts of the upper, generally symmetrical, that overlap the vamp in the Derby style and sit underneath it in the Francesina style. At times they are also called Quarters.


Made from flexible leather which follows the outline of the sole; the upper and insole are stitched onto one side whilst the sole is stitched onto the other.


Strip made from the same material as the upper. Stitched to the vamp it runs parallel with the closure and protects the instep.


Front part of the upper consisting of the toe-box and any ornamentation. We use the term toecap when a supporting piece of material is stitched over the toe-box (this often has an ornamental function) or false toecap when stitching is used to imitate the joint of a reinforcement. The vamp is instead smooth when no ornamentation is present.

Arch Support

A plate, made of metal or other material, shaped and curved as required and placed underneath the insole to correct a flat foot.


The perforations in the leather, which result from the use of an awl, and cord in the resulting holes.


Piece of leather or other material which may be generally applied between the lining and the upper in the areas which come under most stress.

Gathered-toe or Puckered-toe

The ornamental cut (or stitching) in the shape of a horseshoe on the vamp. Used primarily for Moccasins.


This is the part of the quarter panels which corresponds to the heel of the foot. It can also be used as a synonym for Counter.


Slender layer of leather or cork placed between the insole and sole from the toe as far as the attachment of the shank to account for the difference in height created by skiving and stitching.


The upper part of the shoe, including the lining and accessories, in contrast to the sole.