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(cemented or glued)
A kind of shoe base construction developed in Italy between 1909 and 1913, today used for production of 90% of all street shoes. Here the upper is cemented to the bottom of the insole with a lasting machine. Then usually a prefabricated sole made of leather, rubber or plastic is glued over it and a heel attached. This method is much less expensive than most others but has qualitative disadvantages such as low durability, less elasticity and poor repair properties. Its advantage lies in lightness and the fine finish of the shoe base.

The word ago that the inventor Dr. Francesco Rampichini gave for his method comes from Greek and means: like magnetically attracted, permanently attached to each other. In the Anglo-American culture the letters Ago are usually interpreted as another great opportunity because of the mass production opportunity this method opened to the shoe industry. Another English interpretation of Ago refers to the adhesive method as the alternative glue option.

Aniline box

Aniline box is a drum-dyed, smooth calf leather. This procedure makes the colour penetrate deep into the leather giving depth to the effect - in contrast to pigmented leather in which the dye is only applied to the top layer. Only hides which are free of any defects are used for aniline leather since the surface structure of the leather remains completely visible. Although aniline dyes are no longer used for health and environmental reasons, the term aniline leather has remained in common use.

Aniline leather

Aniline leather: Leather dyed thoroughly in drums using aniline dyes, without surface dye and neither sprayed nor painted (pigmented). This requires that the raw material be free of defects since blemishes and folds cannot be covered with dye and surface damage is irreparable. Often aniline leather is sprayed and boarded afterwards (semi-aniline). It is characterised by a transluscent, matte shine, especially effective with bright colours.

Antique calf

Smooth, shiny calf leather from Alsace, more supple and less sensitive than box calf. Full-grain, chrome and vegetable tanned, enriched with wax, thoroughly dyed; scratches are barely noticeable. In light colours the new shoe is given an elegant shadow finish by means of intensive polishing. This lends to it the special petina characteristic.

Antique finish

Also called "vintage finish". Special leather surface dying which results in an antique look, quasi-artificial aging, through shades of colour. Also obtained by brushing the finished shoe made of specially prepared leather and then called antique brush.


Also called flanks. The sides of the cowhide extending to the belly. Because of their loose and irregular structure only of limited use for shoes, e.g. lining leather.


Part of the foot determining the fit and width measurement.

Bench made

(Bench made)
Term defined in different ways, essentially to variants:

1. everything today is called "handmade" if it requires a high degree of labour compared to cheap and industrially produced goods. However, there are actually enormous differences among the various kinds of shoe production so designated both with respect to the actual labour intensity and the amount of manual craft skills applied so that the term does not permit any conclusions as to the production methods, techniques, origin and quality.

2. "bench made" in English means a shoe made by a shoemaker using traditional craft methods, quasi sitting on the bench without machines-- only using last pincers, hammer, folder, boar's bristle, awl, etc. -- lasted and sewn even without a sewing machine! resp. pegged. However that has become very rare anywhere in the world today.

The terms "handcrafted", "handmade" etc. are applied in both senses in German. Only in the Viennese region is the sense of "bench made" considered permissible. Hence the designation handmade shoe does not mean the same as "bespoke shoe". Theoretically a bespoke shoe could also be produced industrially. Handcrafted shoes are not necessarily always bespoke. Strictly speaking Ludwig Reiter makes neither bespoke shoes nor handmade shoes.


Folding of leather - or other material - at the edge - in contrast to "open edge" material in order to produce a clean, rounded off closing.

Bespoke shoe

A shoe made individually according to personal measurements. The measure of the foot is taken (measuring), then using various tables and acquired experience, a last is made out of wood. The shoe model is then constructed on the last and a sample shoe is made. After fitting and correction of the last (possible several times) the final shoe is produced. The work needed to make the last is enormous and it is almost impossible to automate. Hence some of the intermediate steps are often omitted (model construction, sample shoe, etc.). On account of the material properties, tolerances in the work process and ultimately the condition of the foot which can vary from day to day, even a bespoke shoe can never be absolutely precise. Bespoke shoes are not necessarily handcrafted shoes since even a bespoke shoe can be manufactured with industrial processes. At the same time handcrafted shoes are not always made to measure. Instead of bespoke shoes Ludwig Reiter offers the service of private orders (see section private orders).

Blake sewn

A method for making shoe bases invented by Littleway and McKay by which the insole is mounted directly on the shaft (upper) without welts using a special Langhorn sewing machine. It can be recognised by the seam that runs under the sock lining. The classic Blake sewn shoe (e.g. mocassins, loafer) have no middle sole, making the shoe especially light, supple and flexible.

Blind eyelets

Metal eyelets which, in contrast to upper eyelets, are set in the lining so that they are only recognisable from the outside as small holes.


The name commonly used in the Anglo-American language for the Derby shoe model. The Blucher is characterised by a one-piece vamp with tabs sewn on the side (lacing pieces). Supposedly they derive their name from the lace-up half-shoes worn by General Blucher's troops during the Napoleonic wars (see also: Wellington). The difference betwwen the Derby and the Blucher lies in the additional quartering for the lacing whereby the classic Derby seam is lacking and consists of only one vamp piece besides the lacing tabs attached.

However in the USA a Blucher is often considered any shoe model with open lacing, that is to say a Derby and a Blucher.

Bookbinder Calf

Ludwig Reiter uses Bookbinder as an article denomination for a full grain, dyed through and lightly waxed calf leather. The term was adopted by a previous supplier the tannery Pebody in England. Today this leather is produced by the renowned Tanneries Du Puy according to the specifications of Ludwig Reiter using first grade French raw hides. The leather has a matt optic, supple haptic and is very universally usable for dress shoes, boot and other leather goods. In a heavy hydrophobic quality it is used inter alia for Maronibrater boots. Elsewhere Bookbinder Calf is sometimes understood as corrected leather, in Italian: Spazzolato . Bookbinders previously preferred to use slightly corrected (sanded and polished) leather, this way large but also minor defected skins could be used, and the decreased folding resistance caused by the sanding and polishing did not play a significant role the cover of a book is usually not kinked. Today cheap and lacquer covered raw material is used for such purposes, because only a low durability is to be given for such surfaces. However, this kind of leather has nothing in common with the quality of leather used by Ludwig Reiter.


Genuine box calf is a full-grain, chrome-tanned, smooth leather made from the hides of young, alpine dairy calves between 60 and 90 days old. The leather is between 0.8 and 1.4 mm thick, with hide sizes between 15 and 19 ft2 (approx. 1.4 - 1.8 m2) and muted, pigmented colouring. The surface is completely smooth although it is not buffed, embossed, boarded or corrected. The very essence of classic shoe and bag leather. Today the term box calf is very broadly applied, is and has been widely imitated and is also referred to as corrected calf, horse leather, and French calf.


(Half Brogue, Full Brogue)
Common term used in England and America for gentlemen's half shoes with Scottish perforation (broguing), common models are the so-called full brogue (with wing tip and generous perforation) and the half brogue with straight cap and modest perforation).


Typical decorative perforation pattern for shoes, esp. so-called brogue models. Also lyre perforation (a lineal sequence of larger perforations with two superimposed smaller perforations) and as rosette-like perforation of the toe cap ("bout fleurie"). The decorative perforation is supposed to have originated with Scottish shepherds, hunters and peasants who punched holes in the upper leather to accelerate the drying of their shoes which were constantly damp due to the wet ground of the highland moors and glens. When the English aristocracy acquired a taste for the Highlands, the broguing was adopted as a style element for the elegant, gentleman's half-shoe that became fashionable in the 19th century.


Common name in the Viennese region for wing-tipped lace-up shoes with Scottish perforation (broguing). Called Karlsbader in Hungary and full brogue or wing-tip in English, usually an Oxford. Whereas the Derby model is more common in and around Vienna. This model supposedly originated in Scotland in the poulaine shoe form, tied from the toe to the instep and behind.

Calf leather

(Cuir de veau, Cuoio vitello)
Leather from young calf exclusively milk-fed and no older than three months (in Austria, only two months). Using a more generous interpretation of the term every young cow is called a "calf" today if it has not yet given birth to a calf.


Also called water buffalo, relatively small species of cow found in Southeast Asia (e.g. in Thailand) that yields a very tough, durable leather, which is very irregularly structured because it is bred in the wild. Only the full grain leather is used so the appearance of the leather often varies greatly.

Chamois leather

Today a term generally used for velour leather, originally used for a special tanning technique for stag, deer, reindeer or chamois using cod liver oil resp. unsaturated fatty acids. Is washable and therefore especially suitable for gloves. The term "chamois" is French.


Groove or notch in the sole made in order to lay the double seam (welt sewing) under the surface of the sole. In the case of an edge channel, the seam is counter-sunk but still visible. With a flat channel the groove slants from the side, constructing a channel lip, the sole is sewn and the channel is then closed so that the seam on the outsole is not visible. This gives the sole a clean appearance.


A period of play in a polo match, lasting between 7 and 7.5 minutes (Chukka: from the Hindi cakkar resp. from Sanskrit cakra : circle, wheel). Chukka boots is the name often given to ankle high shoes, since such shoe models were once worn to play polo. They are sometimes equipped with loops to make it easier to slip into them.


Metal parts on cases and bags used to hold the grip.

Composite leather heel

A heel composed of several pieces of sole leather. Ein aus mehreren Sohlenlederflecken aufgebauter Absatz. It is made entirely of leather, except for possible corner pieces of rubber, brass or iron. Frequently imitated (see foiled heel).


1) Originally a fine grain goat's leather, usually in reddish brown, introduced to Central Europe by the Arabs in Spanish Cordoba during the Middle Ages. In the 16th century, "Korduanledermacher" (cordovan leather makers) were also mentioned in Germany.

2) Shell cordovan (Rossspiegel, Rossschild, mirroir equine, spechio della pelle equina) is a rare and very valuable, shoe leather from the hinds of cold blood horses. There is very little of this smooth, rubber-like, shiny, dense shoe leather in supply. Whereas horse leather was only used for shoe manufacture in the past as a cheap substitute for expensive materials (e.g. so-called "Roßchevreau"), the horse hides could not be used for shoes since they were far too hard and inflexible. Therefore they were used to make containers and shields, etc. Only much later did it become possible to use the shells for making shoes too. Since the leather is hard the shoes are very durable but also very stiff and impenetrable to air. 'Cordovan' is also used to denote a colour or an article without necessarily referring to horse leather. Originally it was only the deep, dark red colour that was typical for cordovan.

Country Calf

Calf leather with a more sporty, robust appearance, sometimes with an embossed surface.

Crepe rubber

(Crepe rubber)
Unvulcanised natural rubber with characteristic, honey-brown colour. No longer considered to meet modern demands on sole material (oil resistance, heat resistance, etc.) and therefore is usually imitated synthetically.

Crepe sole

A very comfortable shoe sole and thanks to its unobtrusiveness, one that is esp. well-suited for city shoes. Genuine natural rubber is used to make these soles. Since the natural crêpe is very sensitive to heat and cold, it is vulcanised using a special method to make it durable as well as soft and elastic.

Cuban heel

Broad, low to medium-height heel with a curved back and straight, verticle front..


Since the 19th century considered one of the basic models of the classic, elegant gentleman's shoe. Characteristic is the vamp with applied side pieces and lacing that can be opened wide, eases putting the shoe on and relieves the instep, while the tension caused by the lacing starts further back below in the shoe base.

The basic model supposedly originated with one of the Earls of Derby who was to have had problems with his high instep and therefore commissioned his shoemaker to develop a shoe for him that could be opened wide and therefore exerted no pressure on the instep. The Derby can be made without seams (on the vamp) and decoration (plain), with an applied toe cap cut straight, with light perforation (half brogue) or with generous perforation and wing tip (full brogue).

Double welt

In order to reduce the penetration of moisture from the side of welted shoes through the gap between the welt and the upper, an additional cord welt is sometimes sewn to the upper side of the grooved welt. The cord welt can have an L-section, a groove profile or be notched as is often the case with Haferl shoes, but only for decorative purposes. The weatherproofing effect is even better and less stiff when a so-called storm welt is used. That is a grooved welt with a t-section. The middle lip is mounted on the leather upper to cover the gap already described. The visual effect created suggests a double-welted shoe, hence the name, but it is in fact a classic welting technique.


Is a colour designation and stands for a light green colour. The word comes from the French écru and means "unbleached" or "untreated".


Designation given to the side edge of the shoe sole.

Edge trimming

If exactly fitting finished soles are used for shoe production instead of prefabricated ones, then the soles have to be handled further after they have been attached either by sewing, pegging, or cementing in order to obtain an evenly smooth edge. A properly trimmed sole has an enormous impact on a shoe's appearance.


A hand tool used to remove leather fringes on the edge of the sole, resp. a side-mounted knife on the teeth of the milling cutting that removes fringes while cutting and also cuts decorative seams.


(Wiener Kante)
Work step in the production of uppers by which the lining leather is sewn together with the upper leather at the edge. Here a so-called edging lining machine is used: post bed sewing machine with a cutting device attached to remove the lining leather exactly at the edge during sewing. With the so-called "Viennese edge" this is not possible since the upper leather is serrated and the lining is bent so that this must be sewn together exactly edge to edge without any possibility for correction. The "Viennese edge" is often imitated by sewing piping along the edge.


Also called avern. The sides of the cowhide extending to the belly. Because of their loose and irregular structure only of limited use for shoes, e.g. lining leather.

Flexibly stitched

Technique for making shoe bottom by which the upper is first lasted onto the insole from the outside with a thread and then sewn outside on the insole which functions simultaneous as the midsole or outsole. In some cases a narrow welt, the so-called "flex welt" is also sewn in this sewing procedure. A typical shoe bottoming technique for sporty shoes (e.g. desert boots, chukka boots) that is simple and effective. The flexible bottoming is often imitated for cemented shoes by cementing a flex welt with a cosmetic blind seam to the sole's edge.


See also heel, foiled. Plastic heel covered with a thin leather foil. This is made from a slice of several sole leather pieces that first have been glued together in a block and then sliced into thin foil sheets like a layered section. Therefore the leather cover is only superficial and thus easily damaged.


(Feet, pieds, piede)
Common unit of measure for area, from the English "foot", actually square foot. Abbreviated ft, sqft (square foot); 1 sqft = 0.093 m2, 1 m2 = 10.764 sqft. However in Italy the somewhat smaller Florentine foot (= 0.09 m2) is still common.

Full brogue

(Brogue, Half Brogue)
The common name given Iin England and America to gentlemen's half-shoes with Scottish perforation, usually Oxford models, common models are the so-called full brogue (with wing tip and generous perforation) and the half-brogue (with straight toe cap and modest perforation).


Buffing with glass paper, usually on a belt glasser. In shoemaking this refers to the fine finishing performed on the sole and heel after trimming. Both are procedures subsumed inter alia in the bottom finish stage.


A double welted, hook and lace half shoe made with turned Russia leather uppers and tschernke nailed soles common in the Alpine region. A mountain shoe that originally served as an all-purpose shoe for the rural inhabitants of Salzkammergut (Bad Goisern).

Goodyear welted

Complicated technique for making base of shoe by which the upper is lasted to the bottom of the insole without piercing it and sewn together with the welt (inseam). After filling the bottom of the shoe enclosed by the welt with filler (usually cork), the outsole is mounted and sewn laterally to the welt (double seam). This very labour-intensive procedure is performed in a number of variations. In 1872, Charles Goodyear, Jr. patented several machines and processes he invented to mechanise the "welting" that had previously been done exclusively by hand. Nevertheless the amount of labour required remains immense. Despite the high labour costs, the Goodyear welt is recognised even today as the highest quality of shoe manufacturing methods.


(grain, fleur, fiori)
Surface structure of undamaged hide (full grain). Artificial grain is made for leather of inferior quality.

Half brogue

(Brogue, Full Brogue)
A common term in England and America used to denote gentlemen's half-shoes with Scottish perforation, usually as Oxford, so-called full brogues (with wing tip and generous perforation) and half-brogue (with straight cap and modest perforation) are models frequently found.


(Talon, Tacco)
An elevation of the shoe at the heel which first became common at the beginning of the 16th century, originally composed of several leather strips, later also made of wood. Today usually made of leather fiber (Melwo) or plastic. Ludwig Reiter shoes are always made with a traditional layered leather sole (s.d.). The heel height is determined by the basic last form (Sprengung, s. d.) and therefore can only be varied minimally for the same last.

Heel pitch

Measure for the distance between the ends of the last to the constructive footprint. The heel pitch defines the height of the heel which then cannot be changed for a certain last. In the case of normal street shoes, heel pitch between 15 and 30 mm are common, up to 100 mm or more for ladies shoes. So-called "bio shoes" are also offered with 0 mm or even negative heel pitch. The toe pitch ought to be about the thickness of a pencil but can be less in the case of shoes that have very high heels.

Heel, foiled

Plastic heel covered with a thin leather foil. This is made of a slice of several pieces of sole leather that first have been glued together in several layers and then cut in thin foil like a layered profile, hence only superficial and easily damaged.

Horse fronts

Relatively thin and soft leather pieces from the chest, belly and front of the back section of the horse hide. Used by Ludwig Reiter for bags and some shoe models like the "Trainer".


Name for full-grain, unsplit suede leather, buffed on the flesh side and used for making velour.


Treatment of the leather to make the surface water repellent.


See Goodyear welted.


Inner sole, the part of the shoe bottom on which the foot rests. Often covered with a sock lining. The insole ought to be made of first class, untreated cowhide, 1.2 - 4 mm thick, since in all shoes it is very important for the foot climate and wearing properties. The insole also has an important function in the shoe's structure, esp. for the welted shoe.


Type of weave, named after Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752-1834), who invented a loom with which complex designs can be woven into a fabric.


Short half-boot with a buckled strap closed around the instep. Legend has it that this model was invented for polo by the Maharadja of Jodhpur. With these boots one wore Jodhpur breeches-- tight riding breeches the lower seam of which were tucked into the half-boots.


Especially fine, chrome-tanned leather from young goats, smooth, shiny surface with typical chevreau pattern and folds. Soft and yet very tough.


(Forme, forma)
A three-dimensional, ostensible likeness of the human foot used in making shoes to give the shoe its physical form. A shoe, the last of which was identical with the foot shape, would be impossible to wear. The last determines the size, width, shape/ fit, wearing comfort, heel height, physical proportions, and appearance of the shoe and provides the specifications when designing the shoe model. Making lasts requires much experience and skill since even complex mathematics are insufficient to reconstruct lasts geometrically. Hence old models or the models of others are used again and again. In the case of bespoke shoes the lasts are made once for each customer and then reused repeatedly thereafter. In mass production there are lasts standardised according to size and width that cover nearly all of the common foot types.


The production stage called "lasting" involves stretching the upper over the last whereby the shoe gains its first solid form. The leather upper is pulled gradually around the edge of the last with tongs and temporarily fastened to the insole with nails (lasting tacks). In the artisan production of shoes lasting is usually performed in several stages with specific tools (toe lasting, side lasting, joint lasting, heel lasting). In modern industrial shoe production, lasting usually consists of two procedures by which the upper is cemented to the lower edge of the insole using the lasting machine (see also Ago).


Leather fibre material made from cowhide waste, pressed with adhesive, used for making counters and similar parts.


(Doublure, fodera)
Inner covering of shoe, made of leather, cloth fabric or plastic. However shoes are also made without linings.


(Blake sewn, Plaque)
A bottoming method invented by Littleway and McKay by which the sole and insole are sewn together with the shaft (upper) without a welt using a special Langhorn sewing machine. Recognisable by the seam underneath the sock lining. The classic Blake sewn shoe (e.g. mocassins, loafers) have no midsole, hence the shoe is especially light, pliable and flexible.


Basic type of comfortable, informal slipper. It was developed some 100 years ago from the mocassin and then initially worn mostly by students of US American elite universities. Hence the term "college shoe" is often used as a synonym. The term penny loafer refers to the supposedly last cent (penny) that could be stuck in the slit characteristically found in the strap stitched over the instep of this shoe model.
The tassle loafer is named after the tassles attached to the vamp.

Long wing

Typical for this variant of the gentlemen's half-shoe with open lacing (Derby) is the wing-shaped toe cap, extending to the heel seam, decorated with perforation-- an appearance resembling a "long wing". The long wing is distinguished from the otherwise similar full brogue in that the former does not have an additional heel cap.

Louis heel

(French heel)
Elegant, curved, medium-height heel with a front vaulted far forward under the sole.


A colour designation indicating a light red-violet tone. The word comes from the French for "chestnut".


A soft, comfortable shoe model developed from the Indian shoe of the same name. The word "mocassin" comes from the Algonquin language and means "shoe".
Originally mocassins had niether heels nor insoles, if anything only outsoles. The typical vamp insert is joined to the sides of the shoe by a striking "mocassin seam", made by hand at Ludwig Reiter.

Monk strap

Collective designation for closed half-shoes in various forms that have one typical characteristic: a distinct side buckle made of metal that resembles the buckle on monk's sandals-- hence the name.


Is a colour designation and stands for an intense, dark, blue tone. This colour got ist name from the uniforms of the British Royal Navy (starting 1748).


Name for a model of lace-up shoe with characteristic seam on the tip of the shoe where the shaft parts are turned outward and sewn together. The name may come from similarly designed shoe models worn by Arctic hunters and fishermen.

Norwegian welt

A form of welting common in the Alpine regions (Austria etc.) for mountain shoes, hiking boots, and work boots, but also for sporty, robust half-shoes. The welt is not sown from the bottom rather it is sewn on the side of the insole. This gives the welt an L-section. Both the inseam and the double seam can be seen from the side. This results in a characteristic sole edge, imitation of which is quite popular.

Oak tanning

Pit tanning using oak bark, acorns and related vegetable substances. Requires that the leather is kept in the pit for approx. nine months. The tannin contained in the oak bark slowly leaches. Along with other biological substances, it functions as a tanning agent and results in a slow, but very thorough and long-lasting tanning.

Oak-tanned butt

A butt manufactured by means of oak-tanning (s. d.) for use as sole leather. The highest grade of oak butts are used traditionally for soles.


(Semelle, suola)
Lowest layer of the shoe's sole, made of leather, rubber, plastic, wood, crêpe or other materials.


Also known in France as Richelieu. Basic lace-up shoe model by which in contrast to the Derby the vamp is closed up to the instep. They are a very common form for the traditional shoe but have the disadvantage that the opening is somewhat narrowed and this means the fit is not very flexible.


Along with the Derby, the Oxford is the second classic basic model for the gentleman's lace-up half shoe and today is considered the most elegant shoe type of all. "Closed lacing" ist typical of the Oxford: The sides of the shoe are sewn under the vamp and are closed by shoelaces threaded through five pairs of eyelets such that the tongue can only be seen at the uppermost edge. This has a significantly more elegant effect than that of the Derby or Blucher, both made with open lacing. The original Oxford probably first appeared in England around 1830. Some 20 years later students of the renowned Oxford University made this shoe type popular: the fashion conscious young academics obviously say the elegant, laced half shoe as a more adequate expression of their style than the riding boots and half-boots prevalent at the time. Around 1860 the Oxford became established in England as the classic summer shoe, a fashion that later spread throughout Europe. When in the early 1920s it was also equipped with thick "all weather" soles, the Oxford became an urbane, elegant shoe that could be worn year round and under any weather conditions. The shoe is called the plain Oxford when there are no seams (on the vamp) and decoration. If made with a straight cap at the tip it is called a captoe Oxford. An Oxford with moderate decorative perforation is called a half brogue Oxford, while a shoe with rich perforation and a wing tip is called a full brogue Oxford.

Patent leather

(Cuir verni, cioio vernice)
Leather with an extremely smooth, elastic artificial lacquer surface, very temperature sensitive (cracks in the cold!) and may only be subjected to moderate wear.

Polo boot

Riding boot with lacing or zipper on the instep and shin. This design originated in England for hunting an field boots that had to be suited for riding but also give a firm grip for the instep when walking and at the same time supposed to be flexible in the shaft.

Pull-Up cowhide

Aniline-tanned, soft, robust cowhide, treated with a layer of fat. Wearing shoes made with this soft leather leads to relatively fast formation of creases and traces of wear, understood as a fine patina by friends of this kind of leather.


Wide cut-out ladies half-shoe which is usually closed without a closure and more or less high heal. Varieties include a strap in the heel area (sling pumps), with more (open toes) or less (peep toes) open shoe tips, laced pumps or with ankel staps (Flamenco pumps).
The word "pumps" probably originated with William Shakespeare who used the term several times in his works as a synonym for "shoes", such as in 1595 in A Midsummer Night's Dream: "Get your apparel together, good strings for your beards, new ribbons to your pumps."


Also called Oxford, basic lace-up shoe model where the vamp is closed up to the instep, in contrast to the Derby. The Oxford is a very common form for traditional shoes. However its disadvantage is that it is somewhat narrow to slip into and therefore the fit is not very flexible.

Russia leather

(Cuir de Russe, Cuoio di Russia)
Full grain, vegetable tanned calf leather, treated with Russian birch tar (Juchtenöl), sometimes waterproof quality. Traditional mountain and work shoe leather in the Alpine region.

Scotch Grain

Scotch Grain initially was a leather type of the Scottish Tannery Martin. They used hides from highland cattle kept in open range which had an excellent hide quality but often showed scratches from fences, insect bites and other surface defects. In the leather industry it is common to sand off such defects and cover them with lacquers, but this destroys the hide grain and leads to a substantial loss of leather sustainability. Therefore, in order to cover the surface without destruction Tannery Martin embossed the leather with die plates displaying this typical structure. The leather is semi-vegetable tanned, aniline through dyed and then brushed with a second colour on the cover. The hides have to be embossed and finished one by one. Martin Tannery, from whom we had bought this leather since many decades, does not exist anymore but their technique has been adopted by many other tanneries. In spite of its gruff look the leather becomes very soft and comfortable by wearing and sustains durability and a proper appearance.


1) See upper. 2) in the case of boots, the upper part around the calf.

Shape/ fit

The shape/ fit of a shoe is - unlike for other clothing items - an essential factor that not only determines the appearance and comfort of the foot but also the wear and durability of the shoe. Where a poorly fitting suit does nothing more than render an unflattering figure, a shoe that does not fit - in the worst case - cannot even be worn and is worthless to its owner. The choice of the correct shape/ fit is therefore very importand and in some cases a very delicate matter.


English measure of shoe size in 1/3 inch gradations, beginning with 4 inches. Accordingly 1 size is 4 1/3 inches and 8 1/2 is 6 5/6 inches. American sizes are the same except that they assume a nil value is 3 11/12 instead of 4 inches (see also "sizes").


There are a very wide variety of designations for shoe size used worldwide since every manufacture uses different graduated scales and different size systems can be found. French or European sizes (36, 37, 38 etc.) follow a metric scale and are partially comparable for children's, women's and men's sizes.

English sizes (5, 5 ½ , 6 etc.) follow a scale graduated in inches and fractions thereof and are therefore only somewhat comparable to the French sizes.
American sizes correspond to the English sizes for gentlemen's shoes, but with a ¼ inch difference (English size 8 corresponds to American 8 ¼). In contrast the numbers for ladies shoes vary by even 1 ½ sizes (English 5 corresponds to American 6 ½).

Since the fit is also determined by still many other factors (width, height, last, design, model, type), the shoe size is ultimately only a relative indication for the shoe's length.


Working of the edges of the leather to obtain a thinning of the edges, resp. ease of handling the bends. In the past this was done with an especially sharp skiving knife. Today this is done with (semi-)automatic skiving machines.

Slatin Pascha

Honorary title of the Viennese Rudolf Slatin (1857-1932) who served the British Army in Egypt. We named a light summer shoe made of woven leather after him.

Slip lasted

Method for making shoe bottom by which the upper, insole and plateau cover are sewn together. Then the last is inserted and the plateau and/ or sole is attached with glue. Suitable for light shoes and slippers, esp. house slippers.

Sock lining

Cover of insole with leather lining. Can have a decorative function. Is necessary for cheaper shoes that have no leather insole in order to absorb foot sweat. In the case of shoes with genuine leather insoles, the sock lining is actually troublesome since the adhesive layer between the sock lining and the insole impairs the insoles ability to breathe (see also: insole). In the case of Blake sewn and wood sewn shoes, the sock lining protects the foot from abrasion caused by the thread, resp. the nails.

Sport Calf

High-quality, fine and thereby very robust calf leather, remains shiny for a long time due to special treatment.


Symmetrical shoes where the left and right shoe are identical. This type of shoe was common until the beginning of the 20th century since only one last was necessary.


Upper leather with rough surface, made of sheepskin, goatskin, or rawhide. The latter is usually corrected grain split leather (split suede) of far lower quality than genuine calf suede, resp. "hunting". This is a full grain calf leather with the (rough) flesh side turned out. Especially suited for unlined shoes, since the upper skin layers have not been split away and hence the full grain structure is retained, making the leather substantially more durable and denser than split suede.


(Suede Scamoscio)
Vamp leather with coarse ground surface. Originally it was the flesh side of ground calf leather, which was turned towards the outside, in order to protect the scars. Today at least split cow leather is in use, which is very popular for casual shoes of all types as well as handbags, due to its softness and colourful variety.


Brand name for a synthetic material used above all as substitute for leather insoles.

Togo grain

Cowhide with an embossed pattern, primarily for handbags. In comparison to Scotch grain, Togo grain has a finer embossed pattern. In English-speaking countries Togo grain is usually called "French grain".


See also edger. A hand tool used to remove leather fringes on the edge of the sole, resp. a side-mounted knife on the teeth of the milling cutting that removes fringes while cutting and also cuts decorative seams.


Iron nails with a pyramid-shaped head and lug on the side. They were hammered into the heel and the welt and the lug bent when used for the double-stitched mountain and climbing shoes as well as for the logger's shoe. This made a characteristic studded tread. Today this effect is sometimes found in the common corrugated rubber soles that have displaced the tschernke (e.g. Vibram-Goldmarke).


(Tige, tomaia)
The part of the shoe above the sole also often called the shaft which is pulled over the last by means of lasting. Comprising upper leather, lining leather, middle lining, eyelets, buckles etcs. The base of the shoe consists of the insole, outer sole, welt and heel.

Upper maker

Craft profession for making of shoe uppers, since these are often not made by the shoemaker himself. It requires a special occupational education.


Brand name of the Italian firm Vibram s.p.A. that produces various types of rubber soles. Known for the "Vibram soles": robust rubber soles with a mountain shoe sole nailed with a lug tread, originally used for mountain shoes and military shoes but also for sports shoes and sporty street shoes today.

Vintage finish

Also called antique finish. Special leather surface colouring which acquires a quasi-artificial aging by using coloured shading to lend it an antique appearance. Is also obtained by brushing the finished shoe out of specially prepared leather and then is called antique brush.

Water buffalo

A shoe leather the care of which is easy as well as being very supple. The grazing cattle with their natural full grain hide structure are bred in Thailand are chrome tanned by the Swabian tanner Breuninger, vegetable tanned and hydrophobised. The leather on the finished show is intensively polished, giving it a lively colour.


Shaft boot, not as high as riding boots, which were supposedly introduced by General Wellington for the English troops during the Napoleonic wars. In contrast to the British troops, the Prussian troops of General Blücher (see Blucher) were equipped with lace-up half-shoes more suitable for marching.


(Trepointe, guardolo)
Flat strip of cowhide sewn laterally on the bottom edge of the insole for Goodyear welted shoes and double welt shoes. It joins the shoe upper with the insole and outsole and the upper (shaft) by means of two separate seams.

Welt wheel

(Passer la roulette, rotellare)
Also called a fudge wheel, used for a finishing procedure for Goodyear welted shoes. The welt is cross notched between each stitch using a heated metal tool comprising a moveable crown wheel.


In contrast to the length measure "size", a quantity measured at different places on the foot. The ball width is the most common but also the instep, heel width and calf width are used. Width is an essential indicator for constructing lasts to make bespoke shoes. For mass produced shoes width tables are commonly used. The "German widths" are designated by letters, normally D - M. Medium widths are E, F, and G. Also half-widths are used. In France and England there are similar width tables however numerals are used. The American width system is completely different and more finely graduated: AA, AAA, etc. resp. EE, EEE, etc. Just like with the size designations, the width classification schemes of different shoe manufacturers are rarely compatible with each other.

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