Boot Parts

Parts of the Boot

Toe Box: A stiffener at the toe of the boot to help retain shape and style.

Toe Bug:  Another name for the fancy stitching on the top of the vamp. This is used on certain leathers to help the boot break over properly. Sometimes it surrounds cording that is sewn into the vamp for more support, or looks. Exotics such as lizard do not need this feature.

Dip: The curve in the top line of the quarter (shaft). This curve is used for styling and the deeper dips also aid in better fitting.

Heel Counter: The heel counter is placed on the inside of the boot between the lining and the outsole leather foxing. The counter is formed and molded to hold the heel in place. The heel counter provides stability. A high counter sometimes aids in keeping your foot from rolling over the side of the boot.

Heel Lift: Finished bottom of the heel base which must be very good abrasive material. Our heel lifts are made of high quality, long-wearing materials, with non-slip characteristics.

Heel Pad: The heel pad covers the unfinished heel area and dissipates shock. This is the rubber on the bottom of the heel. This pad should be replaced as it is worn down to protect the heel, and to prevent your gait from breaking over in a wrong or uncomfortable manner.

Heel Rand:  The heel rand serves as a buffer between the heel of the boot and the leathers of the counter and foxing. It is the piece of plastic-like material that lines the top of your boot heel in welted boots. It helps keep the heavier leathers from wearing through the thinner leathers.

Insole: A sole of leather or other material which is attached directly to a boot upper and welt. In some boot construction, the sole surface forms the inside of the bottom of the boots, in others, it is covered with a sock lining of thick leather or other material. In many of the high-tech boots of today, this insole can be removable and/or replaceable. You can often add an insole to take some of the height from the instep of a between sizes situation. 

Lining: Inside of boots, usually made of pigskin, glove leathers, or a heavy twilled cotton or linen fabric. Gives the inside of the boots a neat appearance. Advances in synthetics now give waterproof or sweat dissipating options like Gortex or Sympatex, as well as traditional materials.

Outsole: Outermost sole of the boot, the surface of which is exposed to wear. On most Western boots, this is replaceable as worn. On direct attach boots, the sole is formed onto the upper leathers in a manner that makes a weathertight seal, but is not replaceable. 

Piping: Decorative material used to give boots a nice finished appearance. Piping often works as a washer to keep leathers from rubbing through each other. Piping is almost always synthetic.

Pull Tab: Allows for ease in pulling on the boots by putting the fingers through the loops. Pull tabs are always found on traditional western boots. Pull holes and "mule ears" are other options for the pull tabs. Mule ears are long so that you can reach the entrance of the boot without bending over so far. This option gets more acceptable with age of the wearer! Pulls are used to get the boot started. If enough pressure is applied, they will tear. Some makers are reinforcing the pulls with nylon for added strength. Others use pull holes.

Shaft: The part of the top that your foot enters first. That part of the boot that rises from above the vamp.

Shank: Forms the arch, made of steel, fiber, wood, or plastic. Supports the arch of the foot.

Side Welt: The side welt is stitched between front and back quarter during closing operation. It does not really add any strength but is decorative and traditional on cowboy boots.

Sole Stitching: Holds the welting and the sole together.

Stitching (Fancy Stitch): Decorative feature on boot.

Upper: (Quarter) The entire boot excluding the bottom.

Vamp: The complete forepart of a boot upper which is attached to the insole and welting. It is the most important part of the upper and the one which must possess the finest appearance and durability.

Welting: Strip of leather or synthetic material used for attaching the upper to the sole.


How to Fit Boots  |  Making Boots  |  Parts of the Boot
Boot Care Basics  |  Leather Types   |  Boot Facts Index | Boot Glossary
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