For other uses of the term, see shoe (disambiguation)
Missing image
Leather shoes

A shoe is an item of footwear.


Parts of Shoe

  1. Sole - traditionally made of leather, but many plastic, rubber, or polymer materials are used these days. In some shoes, the sole and heel are combined in one piece.
  2. Heel - Leather has been used in the part, but harder materials are usually more desirable. Many plastic, rubber, or polymer materials are used these days. Fortified cork is sometimes used in heels or soles so the shoes are lightweight.
  3. Upper shoe or covering - conventionally made of leather for dress shoes, but can be made of suede (inverted leather), plastic, or plastic-covered cloth. Other types of shoes can use other materials.
  4. Inner lining - often just at the bottom, but fancier shoes have an inner lining for the upper shoe also. Commonly made of leather, but other materials can be used.
  5. Shoelaces - sometimes used but not always
  6. Elastic bands - sometimes used instead of shoelaces
  7. Zipper - occasionally used instead of shoelaces or elastic bands
  8. Straps and/or buckles - have been used on some shoes
  9. Velcro - sometimes used for fastening shoes
  10. Steel toe - commonly inside at the tip of the shoe for protection. When used, it is usually for work shoes.
  11. Tassel - some styles of men's dress shoes have a decorative tassel on the upper body

Accessories to shoes

  • shoe horn - can be used to insert a foot into a shoe by keeping the shoe open and providing a smooth surface for the foot to slide upon. Many shoes are nearly impossible to put on without the help of a shoe horn.
  • shoe stretcher - placed inside shoe when user is not wearing
  • shoe polishing equipment - often used for boots also
  • shoe polish - a material spread on leather shoes to improve appearance, glossiness, and protection
  • polishing cloth - used to rub the polish into shoes
  • overshoes - rubber covering placed over shoes for rain, snow, or puddle protection
  • various types of inserts for cushioning, improved fitting, or reduced abrasion. These include padding and inner linings.
  • shoe tree - for hanging shoes on pegs when not worn
  • shoe bag - compartmentalized accessory hung in closet for storing many shoes
Missing image
Couple of examples of women's high heel shoes

Types of Shoes

Dress Shoes

Although dress shoes are commonly made to be worn by one of the sexes, such as men's shoes or women's shoes, many styles of dress shoes can be worn either sex. The majority of dress shoes have an upper covering, commonly made of leather, enclosing most of the lower foot, but not covering the ankles. This upper part of the shoe is often made without apertures or openings, but also made with openings or even a connected series of straps, e. g. an open toe feature in women's shoes. Shoes with ankle length (covering the ankles) upper bodies are also available. Such shoes often have zippers to open them.

Men's dress shoes

Some examples of men's dress shoe styles

  • Wingtip - somewhat older fashon
  • Ankle length
  • Loafers (including penny loafers)
  • Patent leather - sometimes used in military and similar applications

Women's dress shoes

Some examples of women's dress shoe styles

  • Normal heels
  • Flat shoes - usually called "flats"
  • Medium height heels
  • High heels
  • Open-toed
  • Strap upper body shoes

Either sex

Athletic shoes

Men's and women's shoes athletic and special function shoes often have less difference between the sexes than in dress shoes. In many cases these shoes can be worn by either sex. Emphasis tends to be more on function than style.

  • Gym shoes (often called sneakers in slang) - general purpose athletic shoes; made out of rubber, cloth, and/or plastic to be lightweight, flexible, and have good traction. Special varieties available for basketball or tennis.
  • Running shoes - very similar to above
  • Boating shoes - also similar to above. They have soft soles/heels to avoid marring or scratching a boat deck.
  • Track shoes - often have cleats
  • Football shoes - have cleats
  • Golf shoes
  • Bowling shoes - intermediate style between ordinary dress shoes and athletic shoes. They have harder rubber soles/heels so as not to damage bowling alley floors. They are often rented or loaned at bowling alleys.
  • Hiking shoes (could be boots)
  • Climbing shoes
  • Dance shoes - special shoes made for tap dancing. They make the tapping noise while the tap-dancer dances.
  • Orthopedic shoes - specially designed for people with foot problems.
  • Skating shoes - typically called skates. They have various attachments for skating on the bottom of the shoe portion.
  • Ice Skates
  • Figure skating
  • Speed skating
  • Ice skating
  • Roller skates
  • Roller blades
Ski boots should be covered under Boots or Skiing

Work Shoes

They are often more rugged and/or functional than dress shoes. Sometimes they are used for uniforms or comfort by nurses, waitresses, police, military personnel, etc. They are commonly used for protection in industrial settings, construction, mining, and other workplaces. Protective features can include steel toes, ankle guards, etc.

Snow shoes

Snowshoes are special shoes for walking in thick snow in Arctic areas. They are seldom, if ever, used by most people in temperate and tropical climates.


  • Polishing - for protection, water resistance (to some extent), and appearance, especially for leather shoes and boots
  • Heel replacement - heels periodically wear out. Not all shoes are designed to have their heels replaced.
  • Sole replacement - soles also wear out. Not all shoes can have their soles replaced.
  • Shoelace replacement - easy to do when new laces are available.
  • Occasionally other repairs are needed too, such as reattaching or replacing inner liners, removing protruding fasteners, reattaching broken straps, etc.

Many areas have shoe repair shops for some of these repairs. Someone who makes or repairs shoes in a shop could be called a cobbler.

Shoe etiquette

Because of (potential) foot odor, some people are displeased if other people take their shoes off in their company. On the other hand, in some cultures (e.g. in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Japan, Alaska and some parts of Canada and the American Pacific Northwest), shoes are customarily removed when visiting someone's home. Guests do this to avoid tracking in dirt from outside and thus inconveniencing their host. In Arab cultures, showing the soles of your shoes to your host is considered highly insulting.

In trains it is often allowed to put one's feet on the opposite seat, provided that one takes one's shoes off or put them on a newspaper, piece of clothing, bag, etc., to avoid possible dirtying of the seat.


Missing image
shoe for right foot

Template:Main article

  • Units for shoe sizes vary widely around the world. European sizes are measured in Paris Points, which are worth two-thirds of a centimeter. The UK and American units are approximately one-quarter of inch, starting at 8¼ inches. Men's and women's shoe sizes often have different scales.

List of shoe companies

See also

External links



  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools