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Rough shape
Piece of wood, usually hornbeam, used for making a bespoke last.
The shoemaker's
little lexicon

The shoemaker's art has its own language. Behind each gesture and each tool is a specific term. An essential vocabulary for understanding the major steps in producing shoes and the art of the made-to-measure.

The operation consisting of nailing the insole to the last.
The hand-carved part around the insole which is then perforated with an awl and on which the welt is stitched.
Piece of leather inserted between the lining and upper which gives structure to the shoe.
The action of reducing the thickness of a piece of leather to give the upper its flexibility and comfort.
The part of the shoe covering the upper surface of the foot.
The name given to the front part of the upper.
The strip of stitched leather which keeps the upper and outsole firmly attached to the insole.
Round edge
Finishing of a sole without extension, generally with a rounded edge waist.
Square edge
Straight edge extension finish.
Planed edge
Sole finishing without extension, can be round or square.
A piece of leather running between insole and outsole under the arch to give the shoe the required rigidity.
The part of the outsole situated under the arch of the foot.
Extended seat heel
Heel with an extension (as opposed to a close seat heel).
Blake sewn
Type of construction where the insole, upper and outsole are directly stitched together.
Goodyear welt
Type of construction where insole, upper and outsole are secured by hand-stitching to a strip of leather (welt).
Norwegian welt
Variation on Goodyear welting where the welt is flush with both the upper and outsole.
Built heel
Heel constructed with stacked layers of leather called lifts.
To channel
To make an incision in the thickness of the insole or outsole with a special knife.
The last layer of a built heel, traditionally made of leather and rubber.


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