Glossary of Footwear Terminology, D

International Language Terminology Cross-Reference General Glossary of Footwear Types


A short, sewn-shut slit in the leather to promote a better fit. [Goubitz, 2001]

  1. Seen Engraved, Incised, Scraped.
  2. Designs, cuts, or added materials that are meant to beautify the shoe [Goubitz, 2001]
Decorative Stitch (Other modern and traditional terms include:  Mock Seam, Mock Stitch, Tunnel Stitching)
There is no known term to describe this in medieval shoemaking, but it refers to embroidering on the outside surface of the shoe, sewing with a split hold, generally using a shoemakers stitch, so that the thread doesn’t show up on the inside of the shoe.  I am told that in 17th century French, this is “un couture de parade” or “show stitch”.

Decorative pattern
A perforated design, usually geometric, on the vamp. typical of the full-brogue and semi-brogue types. [Vass]

The condition of leather which has degraded, separating into grain and flesh layers; due to the incomplete penetration of the tan liquor when it was made [Thornton/Swann, 1983]. I'm told that sheep delaminates naturally. [Saguto]

A specially shaped knife used for cutting out specific shapes and sizes of leather like a cookie-cutter [OED 2d Ed.]

Direction of stretch
The direction of stretch of the upper leather is important to the placing of the forms, the form for the vamp, for example, must be oriented so that the leather can expand lengthwise but not across - whereas if the quarters can expand lengthwise, they will stretch by two-fifths to four-fifths of an inch (1-2 cm) and the shoe will lose its shape and fit. [Vass]

Double sole/double-soled footwear
A term referring to post-1500 footwear with two or more layers of sole, normally with a welted construction, but occasionally with other sole constructions. [Goubitz, 2001]

Double Soled shoes (Modern terms include: Turned-Welt Construction, Double sole/double-soled footwear, Turned Welt, Turnwelt)
This term, which is medieval, refers to a turn-shoe that has had an outer sole attached.

Double-stitched shoe
A handmade shoe with one sole and two stitch rows, or two soles and three stitch rows. All the stitch rows are externally visible. A strong, casual type of shoe. There are two very common variants of the double-stitched shoe: in the first the welt runs from one edge of the heel to the other, in the second the welt also embraces the heel - in which case the heel area is wider than usual. A strong, smooth leather is suitable for double-stitched shoes, or one with a rough surface; combinations of different colors are also frequent. Variants covering the ankles are very popular, as are boots. [Vass]

A pulling in of a pattern such as side draft, heel draft, etc. Also a pull, such as when leather is stretched. [Frommer]

Dragont (Traditional terms include: Adragant, Dragagantum, Gum AdragantGum dragant, Gum dragon, Gum tragacanth, Tragacanth, Gum Water).
A semi water-soluble resin that is used by some leatherworkers and shoemakers to help set seams or to slicken edges

Draw stitch
A method of sewing with two threads, used for stitched-through sole construction or upper repair: the bristle on the inside of the shoe is passed haffway through the second thread, folded, and then drawn to the exterior of the shoe where the stitch can be completed. [Goubitz, 2001]

The meaning of this is obscure, but I suspect that it may be referring to a channeling tool, or a tool for carving the grooves that the stitches will run along, to protect the exposed thread from wear. . It should be noted that this is my opinion, and that this, instead, might refer to a a Straight Edge, to "draw" your dull awl against for the same purpose. It may also refer to an edge creaser or a "drawing" knife with equal validity. [Holme]

A fastening made by running a long piece of thonging through either a number of paired slits in the shoe's upper, or through a series of vertical thongs.

The meaning of this is obscure. Some sources suggest that this refers to a polishing bone, an edge creaser, a slicking or rubbing stick, used to slicken the edges, or to flatten and smooth leather.  It is also possible that this may be a tool for similar to a fenderSee Bones and Sticks

  1. n. (Dubbing) A mixture of various greases and waxes which are used for softening leather and making it waterproof. Earliest known use of the word in English is 1781. [OED 2d Ed.]
  2. v. To use Dubbin on leather.
  3. n. At least one British company sells a compound called "Dubbin" (which smells like a mixture of petrolatum and beeswax).

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Footwear of the Middle Ages - Glossary of Footwear Terminology D, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005 I. Marc Carlson. 
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