essential guide

Shoes Glossary

Ankle Strap

Fastens above the ankle bone.

Ballet Slipper

A flat, often satin, slipper. Sometimes made with ribbons that can be criss-crossed around the ankle, or with a thread that can be pulled to create gathers around the toe area.

Evening

A pump, slipper, or sandal worn with evening apparel. Made of luxe fabrics such as satin or shantung and sometimes embellished with beading.

Flat

A shoe with a heel less than one-half inch high.

Louis Heel

A fluted heel, of any height, that flares at the base and is named for King Louis IV.

Low Heel

A heel between one-half and one inches in height.

Maryjane

A round-toe shoe, in a variety of heights, with a single strap across the instep.

Mule

A casual or semi-formal slip-on shoe characterized by its lack of backstrap or Achilles support. May be open- or closed-toe.

Open-toe

An opening at the front of the shoe that exposes the toe.

Platform

A raised or stacked shoe sole. Platform may continue from the toe to the heel of a shoe via wedge, or have a separate heel.

Pump

A slip-on shoe characterized by full enclosure of the foot and a medium-height heel. Best worn with semi-formal or formal attire.

Rounded toe

A round shape on a closed-toe shoe.

Sabrina heel

A V-shaped heel that narrows from top to bottom.

Sandal

An open-toed style with straps across the toes and/or top of the foot.

Slingback

A shoe with a strap that fastens behind the Achilles heel.

Slipper

A soft, cloth slip-on shoe. May have an elastic or cloth strap at the instep, or ribbons that wind around the ankles. Sometimes called "ballet slipper."

Square toe

A squared-off shape at the front of a closed toe shoe.

Stacked heel

A straight, thick heel of uniform width from top to bottom.

Stiletto heel

A heel height of more than three inches.

Wedge

A solid, wedge-shaped heel that extends from the front to the back of the shoe, raising the heel above the toe.

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