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Glossary

Glossary of Terms


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Active shoe
Shoes designed specifically for athletic activities, such as walking, running, hiking, and more.

Aglet
The closure at the end of a shoelace, typically constructed from metal or plastic in the form of a sheath.

Air circulation system
A Clarks-exclusive technology, the air circulation system pulls in fresh air from outside the shoe while interior air channels draw away warm, moist air from the foot.

Ankle Boot
A boot with a height no taller than the wearer's ankle.

Ankle strap
A strap on a shoe that spans across the wearer's ankle.

APMA
Acronym indicating the American Podiatric Medical Association, an organization promoting foot and ankle health.

Apron front
A decorative piece for the front of a shoe that features distinctive stitches, edging, or similar ornamental features.

Arch
The section of a foot's sole that is high and curved, situated between the ball and heel; or the section of a shoe (typically part of the insole) that provides support to the arch portion of the foot.

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Back seam
A vertical seam spanning the center of the back of a shoe or boot.

Ball
The padded section of the foot between the big toe and the arch.

Ballet flat
A flat shoe designed in the style of a ballet slipper.

Balmoral shoe
A shoe style featuring laces across a V-shape panel on the upper.

Berber
A textile used for shoe and boot linings featuring a fluffy, soft pile, favored for its warm insulating properties.

Biker boot
Designed for protection from the elements during motorcycle rides, biker boots feature thick and durable leather, a low heel, and shaft height ranging from 10 to 14 inches.

Blucher
A shoe whose vamp and tongue are constructed from one piece of material, laced with overlapping side flaps across the instep.

Boat shoe
A moccasin-style shoe featuring a rubber sole that prevents slipping or skidding.

Bootie
A shoe that's styled like a boot but lacks a boot's height.

Boot
Full-coverage footwear that extends to the ankle at minimum, and may go as high as the wearer's thigh.

Brannock device
A foot measuring device that determines a foot's overall size, incorporating length and width specifications.

Brogue
A shoe designed in an oxford style with perforation and pinking details.

Brush-off leather
Leather that has been treated to create an antique finish.

Buckle
A clasp situated at one end of a strap, made of a rectangular or curved rim with a movable tongue, which fastens to the other end of the same strap or to a corresponding strap.

Buffed leather
See "nubuck".

Bungee laces
Non-tie laces made of elasticized rope.

Burnish
The process where a shoe is buffed to achieve an antique or broken-in look.

Buttons
A fastener shaped like a disc, knob, or similar, which provides a closure when slipped through a corresponding loop or hole.

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California construction
A shoe featuring an upper stitched to a sole wrap and the insole, wrapped around a soft midsole, then bonded to a thin outsole.

Canvas
A heavy-weight cloth made from cotton, hemp, or linen.

Cap toe
Also known as a tip, an extra piece of leather used to cover the toe of a shoe.

Cement construction
Construction featuring the upper directly adhered to the outsole via a bonding agent.

Center seam
A stitched seam running from the toe of the shoe to the tongue (see Clarks Desert Trek).

Chukka boot
A lace-up ankle-height boot with a plain toe and minimal adornment.

Circumference
A boot measurement taken at the widest section near the top of the shaft.

Clarks Active Air
A Clarks-exclusive technology, Active Air is an interior shoe air chamber and channel system that enables air to move under and around the foot, absorbs shock, and conserves energy.

Clarks Indigo
Clarks Indigo line features fashionable and stylish women's shoes and boots that are always on trend and always comfortable.

Clarks Originals
Building off historic designs from Lance and Nathan Clark, Clarks Originals feature classic shoes and boots such as the Desert Boot, Wallabee, and other timeless styles.

Clarks Privo
Clarks Privo line features lightweight casual shoes ideal for active lifestyles.

Clarks Unstructured
A Clarks-exclusive collection, Unstructured shoes combine four key elements: softness, flexibility, lightness and climate control.

Clarks WAVE
A Clarks-exclusive collection, WAVE shoes enhance walking with curved soles to encourage forward motion, all while reducing shock impact.

Clog
A shoe with a thick platform sole, open back, and closed toe.

Cobblers Collection
Premium leather Bostonian classic dress shoes made in Italy.

Collar
Also known as a rim or top line, the area of the shoe that is furthest away from the outsole; the place where the foot enters the shoe.

Combination last
A last where the ball and heel are different widths, with the heel typically narrower than a standard last.

Contour footbed
A shoe featuring an insole that conforms to the shape of the wearer's foot.

Cordovan
A fine-grade leather typically made from horsehide.

Corner stitch construction
Construction where the upper is attached directly to the outsole at its edges.

Counter
The back of the shoe, above the sole, that cradles the wearer's heel.

Crepe rubber
A raw type of rubber that is tacky to the touch.

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Desert Boot
Designed by Nathan Clark, the iconic Desert Boot features an ankle height, a crepe sole, and top-quality leathers, suedes, or textiles in a variety of colors.

Desert Trek
A classic Clarks design featuring a stitched center seam, a crepe outsole, and top-performance leathers, suedes, or textiles in a variety of colors and finishes.

Desert Weaver
Part of the Clarks Originals collection, the Desert Weaver is available as a hand-stitched lace-up boot or shoe, and also features the iconic crepe sole.

Direct inject construction
Construction where the sole is fused directly to the upper at the point in the manufacturing process when polyurethane is in a molten state.

Distressed leather
Leather that has been treated to have a weathered/broken-in look, while still maintaining quality material standards.

Distressed suede
Suede that has been treated to have a weathered/broken-in look, while still maintaining quality material standards.

Driliex
A fabric hybrid of nylon and polyester polymers engineered to reduce moisture within a shoe and maintain dry, comfortable feet.

Driving moccasin
A flexible moccasin or slip-on shoe with a pedal-grip sole and wrap-around heel, ideal for driving or light activities.

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Embossed leather
Leather that has been imprinted with a pattern, such as an exotic animal print or artistic design.

Espadrille
A shoe or sandal featuring woven rope covering its sole.

EVA
Ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) is stiff foam that is easily molded, often used in lightweight shoes.

Eyelet
Traditional shoe lacing, consisting of perforations set in the throat above the shoe's tongue, held together with string or laces.

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Faux fur
Synthetic material constructed to resemble real fur.

Faux suede
Synthetic material constructed to resemble real suede.

Fisherman sandal
A closed-toe men's sandal featuring straps woven both horizontally and vertically.

Flat
A shoe with a flat heel or no heel.

Flex grooves
Indentations or grooves on the outsole of a shoe that enable the shoe to bend with the foot.

Flip-flop
A thong-style sandal featuring a band between the big- and second toe.

Footbed
Also known as an insole, a part of the shoe's interior designed to provide a layer of cushioning and to absorb moisture away from the foot.

Forefoot
The portion of the foot between the ball and toes.

Foxing bands
Rubber strips that unite the upper and sole of a shoe, typically part of athletic shoe construction.

Full grained leather
Leather in its original state with the grain being intact; see also "grain leather".

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Galoshes
Boot-style waterproof shoes, traditionally made out of rubber, that protect the feet from wet weather.

Gladiator
A flat sandal with several straps across the vamp holding the sole to the foot, as well as a circular strap around the ankle.

Gore
Elastic panel stitched into the side of a shoe's vamp for easy on/off.

GORE-TEX
A polytetrafluoroethylene-based waterproof and breathable material often used in outdoor shoes and boots.

Grain leather
Leather in its original state with the grain being intact; see also "full grained leather".

Gusset
A small piece of material, usually triangular in shape, inserted into a shoe to improve overall fit.

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Heel
The rear underside of a foot; or the part of the shoe that supports the foot's heel.

Heel height
Usually cited in 1/8-inch increments, heel height measures the distance from where the heel starts at the sole of the shoe downward to the floor.

Hidden gores
An elastic panel within the vamp, obscured by the shoe's tongue.

High heels
A women's shoe featuring a heel that is 3 inches high or more.

High top
An athletic shoe that extends over the ankle.

Huarache
A flat sandal or shoe featuring an upper woven out of pieces of leather.

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Injection-molded EVA
The process of injecting ethyl vinyl acetate into molds for shoe components, where it then expands.

Inseam
The interior seam of a shoe that binds the insole, lining, upper, and welt.

Insole
Also known as a footbed, a part of the shoe's interior designed to provide a layer of cushioning and to absorb moisture away from the foot.

Instep
The top surface of the foot between the toes and ankle.

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Kiltie
A fringed tongue placed over the vamp of the shoe for decorative purposes.

Kitten heel
A shoe with a slim, short heel, usually between 1 1/2" and 1 3/4" high, placed slightly more inward on the shoe's sole than a standard heel.

Knee boot
A boot with a height reaching the wearer's knee.

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Laces
The cords or string placed through a shoe's eyelets for closure and tightening over the foot.

Lace-up
A shoe featuring laces for closure.

Lambskin
Leather derived from the skins of young sheep.

Last
The wood or plastic foot form over which a shoe is made, used to determine shape, size, silhouette, width, and fit.

Leather
The hide of an animal prepped for use through hair removal, tanning, and preservation techniques.

Leather upper
A shoe where all parts stitched to the sole are constructed from leather.

Lift
A layer of leather or leatherboard used to construct a shoe's heel.

Lining
A buffer between the foot and inner seams of the shoe, typically made from leather, which also wicks away moisture.

Loafer
A slip-on shoe, similar to a moccasin, constructed without closures.

Lug outsole
Designed for durability, this outsole is constructed out of rubber, features treads, and tends to be heavy in weight.

Lycra
A DuPont fabric known for its smoothness and elasticity.

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Mary Jane
A low-heeled or flat shoe with a strap across the instep.

Mesh
An open-texture knit or woven fabric.

Metallic leather
Leather finished in a metallic hue, such as gold, silver, bronze, and similar tones.

Metatarsal arch
The top section of the foot covering the metatarsal bones.

Metatarsal bones
The five long bones between the foot's instep and toes used to propel the body forward when walking or running.

Microfiber
A thin, yet strong, synthetic fiber used in textiles.

Microsuede
A nonsolvent polyester microfiber manufactured to resemble suede.

Mid-calf boot
A boot with a height no taller than the middle of the wearer's calf.

Midsole
The thin layer of material between the outsole and insole, designed to absorb shock and ease the walking motion.

Moc toe
A shoe featuring a toe that resembles the toe in a standard moccasin.

Moccasin
A slip-on shoe where the sole is formed from one piece of leather stitched around a last.

Moccasin construction
Construction featuring one piece of smooth leather, wrapped under the foot and stitched to a leather plug on the vamp, with its outsole stitched or cemented to the upper.

Monk strap
A blucher-style shoe with a wide strap across the instep featuring a buckle at the exterior side.

Mudguard
A piece of material affixed to the upper of a shoe to protect against water, mud, and other weather elements.

Mule
A closed-toe, backless shoe or slipper intended for loungewear.

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Nappa
An extremely soft version of sheepskin leather.

Nature-formed last
A design element of Clarks Originals shoes, where the last has been constructed to follow the natural form of the foot.

Neoprene
Synthetic rubber that is oil resistant, typically used in constructing crepe soles.

Nubuck
A version of suede with less nap that is finer overall, with a more velvet-like feel.

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Oily leather
Leather that has been finished with extra tanning oil for a richer look.

OrthoLite
Insoles constructed from polyurethane and recycled rubbers that conform to the foot for comfort cushioning and durability.

Orthotic
An insole designed for orthopedic health that emphasizes cushioning and foot stability.

Outsole
Typically made of polyurethane or rubber, the outsole rests on the bottom of the shoe's sole and is exposed to the most wear and tear.

Oxford
A low shoe with laces over the instep.

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Patent leather
Leather that has been finished to a hard, glossy surface, then coated with varnish or enamel.

Pebbled grain
Leather that has been embossed to resemble a pebbly surface.

Peep-toe sandal
A sandal with a partially closed front, typically with a cut out revealing two or more toes.

Penny loafer
A slip-on shoe featuring a strip of material over the instep; the material typically features a slot, where pennies traditionally are placed for good luck.

Perforation
Small holes, used for decorative or air circulation purposes, patterned across a shoe's trim.

Pile
Fabric yarns that stand out or up from the textile's weave.

Piping
A strip of decorative material that traces the seam around the sole.

Pitch
The angle of the rear part of the heel where it meets the sole.

Plain toe
Shoes without any design or ornamentation on the toe.

Plantation crepe
Frequently used in Clarks Originals footwear, plantation crepe refers to lightweight, durable natural rubber often used to construct soles.

Platform
A style with a thick sole at the front of the shoe and a high heel to compensate for the additional front sole height.

Polished leather
Leather that has been processed to create a high shine; see also "glazed leather".

Polyurethane (PU)
A thermoplastic polymer used for padding and insulation.

Printed leather
Leather that has been mechanically textured to enhance the surface appearance.

Pump
A low-cut and lightweight shoe without closures, traditionally with a mid- to low heel.

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Quarter
The portion of the shoe encompassing the heel and rear sides.

Quarter lining
The material used to line or buffer the shoe's quarter.

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Rain boot
Boots made of weatherproof materials, ideal for wear on inclement days.

Riding boot
An equestrian-style boot, typically knee-high, with buckle detailing and a minimal heel.

Rim
Also known as a collar or top line, the area of the shoe that is furthest away from the outsole; the place where the foot enters the shoe.

Rocker
A rounded-heel shoe with a thicker-than-average sole.

Rubber
A natural material derived from rubber trees, commonly used in constructing shoe soles.

Ruched leather
Leather that has been pleated or gathered for decorative purposes.

Run-off blucher
A parallel seam running over the shoe's toe, similar to a bike toe.

Run-off toe
A parallel seam running over the shoe's toe, similar to a bike toe.

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Saddle oxford
An oxford shoe with a saddle-style material across the vamp, usually in a different color from the rest of the shoe.

Sandal
An open-toed, open-back shoe, ideal for warm climates, held to the foot with a thong or straps.

Shaft
A boot measurement taken from mid-arch, up the interior of the boot, to the top of the boot shaft.

Shank
Designed to support the arch and provide stability, the shank is typically made from a thin strip of steel or polycarbonate and placed between the outsole and midsole.

Shearling leather
Typically used as a liner for cold-weather shoes and boots, shearling leather is sheepskin or lambskin with the wool still attached.

Sheepskin
Material made from the hide of a sheep.

Shoe horn
A curved device, inserted at the heel, that makes it easier to put a shoe on a foot.

Shoelaces
A string or cord, strung through eyelets, used to fasten a shoe.

Shoes
The external coverings or apparel for human feet constructed of a sole and an upper that extends to the ankle.

Shootie
The hybrid style between shoe and bootie, featuring traditional boot styling with height lower than the ankle.

Sipes
The pattern in the outsoles of outdoor shoes that prevents water retention and slipping.

Skimmer
Shoes made in the style of a ballet flat, with a very flat heel and short vamp.

Slide
An open-toed, open-back shoe with a band across the toe.

Slingback
A shoe held to the foot with a strap behind the heel, typically fastened with a buckle.

Slip last
A construction method which stitches the upper of the shoe that is slipped onto a last, closing the upper with stitches down the center, under the foot, before gluing it to the midsole.

Slip-on
A shoe that's worn by sliding the foot into it, without any need for closures or fasteners to adjust the fit.

Slipper
A shoe intended primarily for indoor wear and lined for warmth.

Snuffed leather
See "nubuck".

Sockliner
The inner sole of a shoe (usually removable).

Sole
The bottom portion of a shoe, excluding the heel.

Soleassage
A Clarks-exclusive technology, Soleassage features raised bumps on shoe soles to massage feet with each step.

Split leather
Leather made from the lower layers of a given hide that have been split away from the other layers or grain.

Stacked heel
A heel constructed of leather or leawood covering designed to resemble wood.

Stitchdown construction
Construction where the upper is stitched directly to an insole board, which is then cemented to the outsole.

Strobel construction
Construction featuring the upper attached to a sock liner which is then applied to the outsole.

Suede
Leather that has been buffed on its flesh side to raise the nap.

Synthetic materials
Man-made materials designed to evoke their biological counterparts (e.g., synthetic leather, synthetic fur).

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Tannage
The process of turning raw animal hides into finished leathers.

Tap
A partial sole (typically leather or metal) attached over a shoe's existing sole.

Tassel
Ornamentation constructed from a knot and cascading cords, strands, or threads.

Thermo plastic rubber
A material constructed from a mixture of rubber and plastic.

Thong
A sandal held to the foot primarily via a V-shaped leather or fabric that rests between the big and second toe, attached to the shoe near the instep or ankle.

Throat
The primary opening of a shoe, usually placed between the vamp and ankle.

Tip
Also known as a cap, an extra piece of leather used to cover the toe of a shoe.

Toggle laces
Elastic laces featuring a slide toggle, often used in athletic/outdoor slip-on styles.

Tongue
Traditionally made from leather, the tongue is attached at the vamp, extending upward under the lacing to buffer the instep.

Tread
The pattern or design within the outsole of a shoe.

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Upper
The top of the shoe, consisting of all parts that are stitched to the sole.

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Vamp
The front part of a shoe where the shoe flexes.

Vegetable-tanned leather
Full-grain leather that has been tanned using vegetable oils, resulting in a rich finish.

Vegetarian shoes
Shoes made without biological materials (such as leather or other animal hide).

Velcro
Hook-and-loop fasteners, often found on children's and walking/active shoes.

Vulcanized rubber
The process of curing rubber under heat and pressure. Vulcanized outsoles are cured in a mold; shoes are wrapped with uncured rubber before vulcanizing.

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Wallabee
Designed by Lance Clark, this Clarks Originals moccasin originated in 1965 and features a nature-formed last and plantation crepe outsole.

Wallabee boot
A boot version of the popular Wallabee, this Clarks Originals style also features moccasin styling, a nature-formed last, and plantation crepe outsole.

Waterproof
Shoes and boots constructed out of impermeable materials that allow feet to stay dry and protected from the elements.

Waxy leather
Leather where a surface treatment is used to develop a broken-in, well-worn appearance.

Wedge
A heel extending from the ball of the shoe to the rear of the shoe, following the natural contour of the wearer's foot.

Wellington
A particular style of pull-on rain boot, usually made of rubber, ideal for wet-weather wear.

Welt
A piece of leather placed between the outsole and insole for ornamentation or to improve the shoe's strength.

Wide width
A shoe with a wider volume by a pre-determined increase in ball girth measurement (e.g., men's shoes are 7/16" for wide width, 13/16" for extra-wide width).

Width
A shoe measurement taken from the ball of the foot, determined in 1/6" increments.

Wing tip
A toe cap designed in a wing shape.

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Zipper
A clothing fastener consisting of two tracks of metal or plastic teeth that interlock via a central pulley.

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Other Information
Size Conversion Guide
Shoe Care
Frequently Asked Questions
About Clarks USA


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