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Shoe Glossary

Brief yet thorough definitions of important footwear terminology.

Schuhwissen Glossar

S

Shaft

The part of the shoe that covers the top and sides of the foot. The shaft usually consists of several components, including the outer shaft (vamp, side and back pieces), inner shaft (lining), and mid-shaft layer (tongue, interlining).

Shank

The shank, which consists of the metal sheet and its cover, is placed between the insole and outsole. It extends from the middle of the heel to the front of the foot. The shank preserves the shape of the shoe and directs the foot during motion.

Shoe Fit

The degree to which the shape of the shoe corresponds to shape of the foot placed inside. Since people have differently-shaped and -sized feet, a perfect shoe fit can only be achieved through customisation.

Soaking

Part of the tanning process, in which the raw hides are restored to their state at the time of slaughter. The hides are laid or hung in pits, rotating barrels, or reels full of warm water. This restores the moisture that was removed from the hides during preservation. Soaking can vary in length. Typically, hides are left in the pit for 1 to 3 days, and in the barrel for 16 to 18 hours. Generally speaking, hides only spend 2 to 3 hours in their natural state—after being culled from the animal—before being submitted to processing.

Splitting

The part of the tanning process in which the hide is dissembled into various layers. These layers are known as split leather; the highest-quality layer is known as grain leather.

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