Glossary of Footwear Terminology, I

International Language Terminology Cross-Reference General Glossary of Footwear Types

Imprint Line
The estimated edge of the footprint made by the sole of a shoe. [Thornton/Swann, 1983][Webber, 1989]

A decoration made by a sharp edged tool.

Coloring the sole - painting the edges with India red [Holme, 1688], or with a bit of whalebone dipped in ink. [Devlin, 1840]

Inner sock
Leather lining in direct contact with the foot. the customer can specify that it should cover the whole of the insole, three-quarters of it, or only a quarter (under the heel). [Vass]

Medieval Latin. Thomas Wright, in his commentary on John of Garland, Dictionarius, refers to Empeignes, Enpenyes. Possibly the Vamp.

Inseam (also “the Sewing” Modern terms include: Internal seam)

  1. (n) The seam connecting the insole and the overleather, and welt if there is one.  Archaeologists sometimes refer to this seam as an internal seam on turn-shoes.
  2. (v) To sew the Inseam (1).
Inseaming ("The Sewing")
  1. "Sewing on the sole" Sewing the Insole to the welt or rand. [Holme, 1688]
  2. The sewing together of uppers, insole and welt. [Goubitz, 2001]
  1. A piece of leather which has been joined to either the vamp or quarters to make up any missing pieces in the pattern. [Grew/deNeergaard, 1988]
  2. Added piece of leather which fills out or completes the shape of the upper's cutting pattern. [Goubitz, 2001]
  3. A piece of material of varying shapes which is inserted, usually by stitching.
  4. Also now commonly used to refer to any number of orthopedic devices placed inside the shoe, as opposed to attachments or modifications to the outside. Cookies are a common insert.
Inserted tab
The tip of a patten footstrap from the medial side which is passed through a slot on the lateral patten strap and secured with a metal pin. [Goubitz, 2001]

Insole (also Inner Sole, In-Soal, In Sole)
The inner-most sole of a shoe, that the Overleather and Welt (if any) are attached to.  For a single soled shoe, the Insole is also the Outer sole.  Do not confuse the Insole with the Sock.

  1. The inside bottom part of a shoe on which the foot rests, sometimes referred to as "the foundation of the shoe", although this is only true of Welted shoes (q.v.). [Thornton/Swann, 1983][Webber, 1989] or Pegged and Channeled and so on .
  2. In a Turnshoe (q.v.), especially before 1600, the shoe may not have an Insole, with the foot resting on the inner flesh surface of the sole.  However, some evidence has been found for the occasional use of a separate inner sole, to protect the foot and the seams. [Webber, 1989] (See Sock Lining)
  3. In Sole [Holme, 1688][Devlin, 1840]
  4. In-soal [Martin, 1745]
  5. In modern shoes, A interior padding for your feet. Most are removable. [] (See Sock Lining)
  6. The foundation of the shoe: a piece of leather between one-tenth and one-seventh of an inch (2.5-3.5 mm) thick, depending on the robustness of the shoe, on which the shoe is built. The initial stage is to nail the insole to the last. A feather is then formed with the gouge. [Vass]
  7. The sole upon which the foot rests, found in the interior of the shoe. [Goubitz, 2001]
Inside Seam
Uses a split hold to close the uppers, with or without a welt. It is then rubbed flat and the welt trimmed off. [Devlin, 1840]

Insole sock
A loose, sole-shaped insole covering. [Goubitz, 2001] (See Sock lining)

  1. The a vaguely defined area on top of the foot over the metatarsals up front of the ankle joint.  Also the corresponding area on a shoe and on a Last.
  2. A rather imprecise area on top of the foot approximately halfway between the rear of the toes and the ankle joint. [Webber, 1989][Grew/deNeergaard, 1988]
  3. The name is also incorrectly used for the arch or waist of the foot underneath. [Thornton/Swann, 1983]
  4. Of a foot or shoe: a rather imprecisely defined area on top of the foot between the rear of the toes and the ankle joint. [Goubitz, 2001]
  5. In shoemaking, the instep is the area from the base of the metatarsals to a point level with the ankle bone on the front of the upper part of the foot.

Instep-leathers (also Instab-leathers)
Laminated leather fittings routinely lashed temporarily on top of the instep of a comb-last with a thread ligature to bring it up full to girth measure, vary/adjust its girth measurements, and removed first to facilitate the last's removal from the finished shoe or boot.  These can then be adjusted to further increase the girth by the introduction of wedges.  Instep leathers cover the instep of the last, while a shover reaches to the toe of the last, and are meant to help facilitate the removal of lasts in closed front, pull on boots, and so are after the medieval period.  It is not known if instep leathers or shovers were used in the Middle Ages, although there is evidence to suggest they could have been.

Instep strap (Bar)
A fastening that goes over the instep.

Instep toggle
A toggle placed on the vamp, on top of the instep [Goubitz, 2001]

(See Welt)

Internal seam

  1. Sometimes used to refer to the Inseam joining the upper and the sole on a turnshoe (q.v.).
  2. A term used to describe when the seam is on the inside, and the method of construction can not be identified. [Webber, 1989]
  3. Upper seam with threads visible on the interior of the shoe, used for shoes of all periods, though external seams can be found on post-16th-century footwear. [Goubitz, 2001]
Internal strengthening
Reinforcement leather pieces on the inside of the shoe; after 1500 also external reinforcements occur on some shoes and boots. [Goubitz, 2001]


  1. A unit of measurement used to determine the thickness of a shoe's sole. It is equal to 1/48".
  2. An Americanism for a Crimp Screw (q.v.)
  3. General term for the metal strips nailed under a wooden sole or stilts as a protection against wear and slipping; occasionally the long piked toe of a wooden patten may also have a protective iron. [Goubitz, 2001]
  4. The metal tools, like punches and stamps, used for the decoration of leather. [Goubitz, 2001]
Iron Black
A solution of iron filings and vinegar, which, when used on tanned leather, turns it black. [Saguto].  May be the same as Coperas water.

Iron Foot
(See Last, Repair)

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