17 Parts of Your Shoes That Actually Have Names

Whether you’re going bespoke or just want to impress your shoe guy, these terms will help you speak fluent footwear.

Manual Shoes Diagram1. Backstay

Stiff panel behind the heel that adds shape and stability to back of shoe.

2. Counter

Rear portion of the shoe.

3. Eyelet

Metal or rigid leather perforations through which laces are fed.

4. Gore

Elastic or mesh panel that ensures a snug fit for slip-on styles.

5. Heel

Made of stacked leather or rubber, pads the heel and adds height to back of shoe.

6. Insole

Part of sole that cradles and pads the foot, often removable.

7. Medallion

Perforated decorations found on toe cap, such as broguing.

8. Monk Strap

Strap and buckle used in place of laces.

9. Outsole

Part of sole that touches the ground.

10. Plain-Toe

Vamp made of a single piece of material, as opposed to a toe cap.

11. Saddle

Panel covering the instep, often seen on a pair of classic derbys.

12. Throat

Middle portion of the shoe, often begins at the “throat line” at the base of laces.

13. Toe Cap

Portion covering the toe.

14. Top Lift

Also, top piece. Part of the heel that comes in contact with the ground material often adds traction.

15. Topline

Also, collar. Stitching or rigid material around rim of the shoe that gives opening structure.

16. Vamp

Front part of the shoe.

17. Welt

Portion connecting the sole and the upper.