Ever wanted to know what to call every single part of a shoe? Of course you did! So…here you go:

Vamp

The upper part of the shoe. That part that goes over the foot and holds it to the sole. Love this name. WAY better than ‘upper’. For instance, I can say, “I’m looking for shoes with a leather vamp.” Grrrrrr.

Tongue

Pretty simple…if your shoe has laces, it probably (but not always) has a tongue to rest below the laces in order to protect your foot from chaffing.

Lacing

As I wrote about in a previous post on lacing types, there are sometimes laces and sometimes not.

Heel

High, low, kitten or block. Every shoe has a heel…unless it doesn’t. Then it is a ballet flat. ;)

Outsole

The very very bottom of the sole of your shoe. But it doesn’t stop there.

Midsole

Usually the part that gives you some spring to your step, the midsole gives you that cushion you need to walk around in comfort.

Insole

While the outsole aborbs the pavement and the midsole absorbs the impact of your step, the bit that absorbs the sweat of your foot is the insole. I know. Kind of gross. But these are very useful.

Lining

To prevent the vamp from rubbing against your foot (especially if a course fabric…wait…all of that sounded so dirty!), the lining keeps everything comfy.

Welt

Not all shoes have this bit, but if you have stitching of the sole to the vamp and it gives a bit of a platform, it is called a welt. Try this next time someone walks by you with a sturdy stitched heel, “Nice welt!” See how that goes over. ;)

Just in case it wasn’t clear, here is a diagram:

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