Crash course: Footwear Terminology

Hey All:

I have never touched pencil to paper to design footwear. I have no clue what the difference between an insole and an outsole is.

Anyone here willing to put up a footwear primer? What the basic terminology is. What someone, from the most simple of principles, needs to consider when designing a shoe?


after reading the Jordan b’2rue thread by mr. yo, i thought the same. thanks for beating me to the punch.

Ive got just the thing for you.

…just about everything covered from sketch to production.

also have a footwear terminology list.

First Pullover (you can also read what a “first pullover” is).

Hope this helps,


Hi Richard:

I am already subscribed…but I use Google Reader so I don’t go to the actual site very often.

The thing is, I have often wondered if your blog is active because of rarity of posts.

I will go check out the site and try and find the links.

Ya, I know ive been kinda slack on the posting. Did realize how time consuming it was when I started it and planned to post every day…Its like a full time job.

Still, new stuff is coming, and this year I have made resolution to be more active. No lack of content, just time to put it all together.

In any case, there’s 1.5 years of stuff still up with lots of what you are looking for, so I do suggest you have another look through the archives.


(and thanks for making feel quilty about the regularity of my posts!)


(and thanks for making feel quilty about the regularity of my posts!)

Hey, that’s what colleagues are for :wink:

OK, Richard. I had a look at your site again (outside of Google Reader). I was actually sparked by your post today :wink:

I realize that I can dig through your blog posts and get an edumacation. I figure I could probably get a better one than most anywhere else.


Being the lazy, non-shoe designer I am, I was looking for that quick hit. A sketch, or slide or two of a shoe with call-outs of what the different parts are. maybe a short description of what the elements do for support, comfort, etc.



Perfect, thanks.

no prob.

thank you PROs for all your links and images. I am also interested in a bit more of the terminology. as i mentioned earlier this was sparked by the jordan b’2rue thread (of which i cannot find anymore) because there were other terms used. i am figuring that they were about the different areas of the footbed (like mid sole and instep), but i am not sure and i dont have the other thread to give specifics.

something with terms and definitions. i did find this page shoe glossary, but are there other terms that you use in general description of shoes and construction?

being in the apparel industry it is interesting to see the development of a style/design and seeing what aspects of the process i can use for my own product development.

Check this,


i guess i didnt search your site well enough. thanks for the link.



GOOD STUFF! Thanks Richard.