T-6 Sneaker Glossary

T-6 Sneaker Sneaker Glossary

Myriad terms and components are associated with the construction of an average sneaker, and they can often confuse and discourage fledgling sneakerheads. Fear not, we’re here to help. Reading our trainer glossary will not only increase your sneaker vocabulary, it will also give you with a basic knowledge of the parts that make up a shoe.

In this first installment of the T-6 reference series, we provide a simple dictionary of the more common components and terms used in the manufacturing of a sneaker.

PhotoComponentDescription
BreastThe forward edge of the heel behind the arch of the sole. Not found on sneakers that have flat soles.
1CollarThe lip or edge around the opening of the top of a sneaker.
CupsoleA type of outsole that is made from one piece of rubber. Cupsoles are so named because they cup the upper, or in other words the upper sits in rather than on top of the sole.
2EyeletThe hole through which a shoelace passes.
3Eyestay[or Lace Guard] An additional piece of material on top of the lace area that reinforces eyelets and the throat of the shoe.
FeatherThe junction or edge between the upper and the sole.
Foxing[or Foxing Tape] Particularly on sneakers with vulcanized soles, foxing tape is a strip of flat rubber that is used to create a sidewall for the sole.
HeelOn sneakers without flat soles, the heel is the section on the underside that raises the rear of the shoe. The heel can also refer to the rear portion of the outsole or the entire shoe.
4Heel Counter[or just Counter] A strengthening reinforcement, either inside the lining or on the outside of the heel, meant to provide extra stability and support. On a sneaker it's often an overlay around the heel that can be made from any number of materials including leather and plastic.
Heel Notch[or Achilles Notch] If a sneaker has this feature, it's the dip above the heel counter at the back of the shoe.
Heel SeatA part of the heel section, it?s the top part of the heel that comes in contact with the upper, which is normally shaped to match the upper.
Heel StabilizerAdditional material that is bonded to the upper and midsole on the outside of the shoe, either to provide extra stability at the heel or as an aesthetic feature, which can be manufactured using either rubber, plastic or leather.
5Heel Tab[or Moustache] A piece of material used as a decorative overlay around the back of the collar. It can also refer to a pull tab (see Pull Tab).
Heel-Toe OffsetA comparative measurement of the foot's height off the ground at the heel versus its height at the toe. An equal heel-toe offset measurements means the footbed of the shoe is level.
Insole[or Insock, Sockliner] A piece of material inside the shoe between the sole and the foot that provides comfort and hides where the upper is joined to the sole. Often removable for cleaning or replacement.
6Lace(s)The string-like material used to compress the upper around the foot and provide lockdown stability of the sneaker.
7Lace LockA loop on the surface of the tongue that the lace passes through to prevent the tongue from moving around while the sneaker is being worn.
Lace Loop[or Ghilly Loop] Used instead of eyelets for the lace to pass through, lace loops are often made of nylon webbing with its ends sewn under the eyestay.
8LiningThe material on the inside of the shoe, typically around the vamp and quarter, which adds wear comfort and durability.
9MidsoleThe layer of material between the insole and outsole that primarily provides cushioning and wear comfort. Some sneakers to not have a separate midsole.
10MudguardThe mudguard is an overlay on the toe box and/or vamp area of the shoe positioned along the edge of the outsole.
11OutsoleThe part of the sole that comes in contact with the ground. Outsoles provide grip, water resistance, and increase the sole's longevity.
PuffA reinforcement inside the upper to shape and support the toe (similar in function to a toe cap), not often found on a sneaker.
Pull TabA webbing-type loop on the back of the shoe used to help put the shoe on your foot. Pull tabs can sometimes be found on the front of the collar on tongue-less sneaker models.
12QuarterThe rear and side section of the upper located behind the vamp
SeatThe part inside the shoe where the heel of your foot sits.
ShankMetal (sometimes plastic) inserted between the sole and the insole under the arch. In a sneaker the plastic reinforcement sections under some midsoles are sometimes also referred to as the shank.
SoleThe entire section of the shoe below the upper, often made up of separate components (see Insole, Midsole, and Outsole).
Stabilizing StrapOverlays of material or plastic used on some sneakers to provide additional lateral stability to the upper.
ThroatThe section of the upper in front of the vamp next to the toe cap. In one-piece uppers the throat is at the eye-stay.
13Toe BoxThe front section of the shoe that covers the toes.
Toe CapAn overlay that covers the toe box of some sneakers, usually as an aesthetic feature, but sometimes to add strength and increase wear resistance.
14Tongue[or Cuff] The strip of material that is typically located in the top centre of the upper, designed for wear comfort and protection of the foot from the lace.
Top PieceThe bottom part of a heel that comes in contact with the ground.
ToplineThe top edge of the upper.
UpperThe top half of the shoe above the sole that covers the foot.
15VampThe front part of the upper that joins to the quarter.
VulcanizedCan refer to either the old-school sneaker manufacturing process that involves the heating of soles and foxing to bond the rubber, or rubber that has been chemically treated to improve its durability and resistance to the elements.
WaistThe arch and in-step section of the sneaker.
WeltA strip of material that is used to join the upper to the sole.

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