Glossary

Glossary
Advice and shoe care

Bottom filling

Made from leather, mousse, cork, even rubber. It’s a characteristic of the “Goodyear” and “Norwegian” welted constructions. The bottom filling takes up the void, created by the thickness of the rib between the insole and the intermediary sole. It also serves as a thermal insulator for the foot.

Box calf

Full grain leather coming out of a pure chrome tanning process. The skins come from young animals, resulting in a very fine and tight grain ideal for high quality dress shoes. The box is a more rigid leather, offering pliability and an attractive grain pattern.

Camber / Waist of the foot / Arch

The curve of the shoe, dependent on the heel’s height and derived from the bootmaker’s knowledge, a good camber is essential for comfort.

Cement lasting

After lasting, the underside of the upper is roughed to create a porous surface in order to glue the outsole onto it. It’s a very quick and simple working method, so less expensive and non-repairable.

Cordovan

The genuine shell cordovan is a leather extracted from a subcutaneous layer of the horse’s rump. Cordovan is subject to a vegetable tanning process, during which the leather is slowly soaked in oil, for 6 to 9 months (compared to 48 hours for a chrome tanning). Thanks to the high volume of oil, cordovan is highly water resistant. Just like velvet calf, cordovan comes from the flesh-side. This leather, that remains shiny, is slightly rigid and pleated, however, it’s very resistant which makes it highly desirable. Every year quantities of cordovan are limited, which ensures exclusivity. This leather is coming from only one tanner, Horween, based in the USA. Cordovan shoes are renowned worldwide for their unique properties, look and limited availability. The designation “cordovan” is also used in order to point out a colour, that tends to dark burgundy, a characteristic for this kind of leather.

Fitting (properties)

The volume the shoe offers the foot, essential for fit, comfort and durability.

Flesh

The inside of leather opposing the grain, the so called flesh-side with greater texture than the outside.

Gloss Paraboot

Full grain calf, prepared by using linseed oil or resin oil. This gloss does not breathe so easily and is fragile to marks, however it gives a different look and sheen to its finish.

Grain

Like human skin, animal skins consist of two piled up layers, the grain and the flesh. The grain is the superior part; delicate, permeable to air, less to water. Full grain: the grain is perfect from its origin. No treatment takes place. Rectified or corrected grain: the average grain is often improved by sanding or by using an embossing plate, in order to create an artificial grain.

Grained calf

This leather is the result of presses that emboss a print on the leather. The result is entirely dependent on the press used.

Hard toe-puff

The hard toe-puff is a reinforcement placed under the leather at the forepart of the upper. It protects the toes and preserves the shape of the front of the shoe. Although often ignored, it’s fundamental for the maintenance of the foot and the preservation of the shoe’s appearance. The stiffener or counter provides a similar function for the heel.

Insole

Sole in the inside of the shoe, on which the foot will rest on. The insole makes the connection between the upper and the intermediary sole. Made of leather in high grade footwear, the insole allows excellent absorption of perspiration. Made of Synderm or even cardboard, the insole is a lot less expensive, but tends to “warm” the feet.

Intermediary sole

Inserted between the insole and the outsole, when referring to welted shoes. In rubber or in leather, the intermediary sole is stitched onto the welt.

Last

Copy of a styled foot, that is used as a mould for the shoe manufacture. Made out of wood or plastic, and unique for every model and every size. The last gives the general look of the shoe and defines the toe shape, rounded, pointed, and all options in between, depending on the designers’ brief. Besides the aesthetic goal, the last must respect some constraints, linked to the anatomy of the foot. The width, the thickness, camber… these elements will make the difference between comfortable shoes and … the others.

Lining

Enclosing the interior of the shoe. Paraboot exclusively uses full grain goat leather which is highly durable and patinates with time. Calf leather in contrast has a very soft touch, and different feel. Our linings are “floating”. We don’t use adhesive between the upper and the lining ensuring the air is free to circulate allowing the foot to breathe.

Mounting wall

The rib under the insole, that allows the insole to be sewn onto the welt. Two options exist, firstly, Channelled; ancient traditional technique, that consists of incising the underside of the insole allowing the creation of a lip, that will allow for stitching onto the welt. Alternatively, assembled: a canvas band is glued under the insole, offering a rib, which will be stitched onto the welt.

Nubuck

Originally, it was a full grain leather. Due to fine sanding, a slight velvety aspect is the result. The “nu” for “new” and “buck”, daim. Perfect for a lighter refined look.

Outsole

In direct contact with the ground, made of rubber or leather. Leather outsoles undergo a very slow tanning procedure in order to assure a maximum solidness for durability and rigidity. Rubber soles have different properties of wear and comfort.

Patina

Throughout time, high quality leathers may change colour. It is possible to obtain this change of colour or to personalize artificially, by using coloured creams.

Piping / Slip-beading

Narrow band of leather or rolled textile, that we slide in between the upper and the lining, in order to avoid a raw edge and to embellish the cut.

Shank

Stiff piece of metal, leather or beech wood, placed at the the waist of the foot, between the insole board and the sole. The shank guarantees the shoe’s essential rigidity, at the camber of the foot, between the front and the heel.

Shoe tree

A form, best produced in wood, and often with an extendable inside arm. The tree is inserted into the shoe, in order to give and preserve its original shape. It is crucial to select a shoe tree, adapted to the shape of your shoes.

Skins

It’s the leather’s raw material, used since the beginning of time. The most frequently used skins are those of cattle, but also skins of goats, sheep, and even exotic animals.

Stiffener / Counte

The stiffener or counter is a reinforcement at heel level, between the upper and the lining. It blends in with the shape of the heel, keeping your foot stable in the shoe, and also prevents the shoe from collapsing. In order to keep the stiffener in great shape, it’s recommended to use a shoe-horn when putting on your shoes. At front of the shoe the reinforcement is known as “hard toe-puff”.

Tannin

A substance, of vegetable origin, used in the tanning process to make the skins rot-proof.

Tanning

Transformation of the skin into leather, either by chrome salt or by vegetable tannins, in order to make them rot-proof, flexible and suitable for wear.

Tongue

The tongue protects and hides the foot under the laces. Occasionally featuring a bellows that prevents the infiltration of water and litter.

Top-piece

Piece of hard rubber or metal, glued and/or nailed into leather heels. It protects the heels against abrasion and aids grip.

Upper

A set of leather pieces, assembled by the seams, and forming the upper part of the shoe.

Velvet calf

Sanded calf on the flesh-side, prepared opposite of what is usually done. The sanding creates the velvety appearance, more flexible, refined and shiny than nubuck.

Welt

Band of flexible leather, profiled, situated above the sole, at the join of the shoes upper. The welt makes the connection between the insole wall and the intermediary sole or the outsol