Shoe Tips: Learning Your Shoe Anatomy

We’re examining shoes today. We often go through life not knowing the one outfit accessory that covers our feet, the foundation of our outfits. Today, we are going to take a closer look at shoes.


Shoes can be divided into two major areas: the upper, the part that covers the foot and the outsole or outersole, the section that touches the ground (As seen in the figure below.)


Most shoes have similar parts depending on the style. The upper part of the shoe consist of two sections, the vamp which is the section of the shoe that covers the front of the foot and extends to the middle of the shoe. Within the vamp area is the toe cap, the area nearest the tip of the shoe and the throat, the area of the shoe before the toe cap.  The quarter is the back portion of the upper, it covers the back of the shoe and extends to the middle of the upper meeting the vamp. The top edge of the shoe is called a topline. At the heel of the upper is the counter, it is usually a firm piece that strengthens the heel area of the shoe and helps it to maintain its shape.


Where the upper and the outsole meet at the heel is called a seat. This is often more prominent in high heeled shoes. It is where your heel rests. The heel is the part of the shoe that raises the heel. The part of the heel that faces forward is called the heel breast and is located opposite the arch, curvature of the sole. The bottom of the heel is often called a top heel or top piece, most people know it as a heel tip or heel head. This is the piece of the heel that comes in contact with the ground. The pitch, is the height of the heel and often helps to determine the comfort level and walkability of a pair of high heels.


The sole of the shoe is the area between the upper and the outsole. It consists of the waist which has two parts the in-step the front of the sole and the arch  which is supported by the shank which is a piece of metal that helps to support the middle area of the shoe.Outsole

In the inside of the shoe is the shoe lining which covers all of the vamp and the quarter of the shoe. It helps to create comfort as well as increase the durability of the shoe. Insole or the sock of the shoe is the layer that covers the sole of the shoe and often hides extra padding and provides added comfort while hiding the sole of the shoe. Also in the inside of the shoe under the vamp is the toe box.


By knowing all the components of the shoe, it will help you understand how to shop for shoes as well as converse with your cobbler. I hope you learned a lot about your shoes and let me know what you think.