The average person may not know anything regarding the complexities involved in making shoes. With so many different components, knowing what to ask when buying a pair of bespoke shoes can be difficult. Here is a glossary explaining the different parts of a handmade shoe.

Back

  • Heel: part of the shoe where your foot rests, typically made of leather and easily replaced
  • Backstay: the leather strip that runs vertically up the back of the shoe to offer stability
  • Heel Counter: part that supports the heel of the wearer’s foot

Top

  • Eyelet: holes in the top of the shoe that allow for lacing
  • Throat: part of the shoe where the instep of your foot sits; the two available styles are bluchers (open-throat) and balmorals (closed-throat)
  • Tongue: material lying under the shoe’s throat, allowing the shoes to be laced up; helps redistribute pressure from laces to the rest of the shoe
  • Quarter: section on the back of each shoe under the ankle in low-top shoes and over the ankle in boots; the part of the shoe that holds eyelets

Front

  • Vamp: part of the shoe covering the forefoot; if the shoe doesn’t have laces, this goes where the tongue typically resides
  • Toe Box: area at the toe-end of your shoes
  • Welt: leather strip attached to the perimeter of the shoe’s insole attaching the top and bottom
  • Sole: part of the shoe that makes contact with the ground while walking
  • Shank: material in the shoe’s waist meant to reinforce the shoe; usually a piece of metal

At Hive & Colony, we are in the business of making our customers look their best. We can help you understand the different parts of a handmade shoe so that you can find the perfect fit for you. Come into one of our locations today to get fitted for your new pair of custom men’s dress shoes.