Glossary of Footwear Terminology, R

International Language Terminology Cross-Reference General Glossary of Footwear Types

Rag Stones
Whet stones for pointing Awls. [Devlin, 1840]

See Rand.

Raised Heels
Separate, raised heels do not appear before about 1600.

Rand (also spelled Rann, Rahn. Also called French Seat, Rand Welt)
The historical shoemaking term rand and its various spellings, are first used in the very late 16th century to describe a type of thin welt that’s been rolled under the insole and braced with thread.  This technique almost certainly derived from leather covered cork or wooden soles on certain forms of pattens, ecclesiastical footwear, and winter shoes.  The term will therefore be used earlier than it is known to have been used elsewhere when describing the construction of those items.   The term Rand is used historically to describe several different sorts of welt, and in the archeological jargon to refer to welts in turn-shoes, although this particular usage has no basis in either shoemaking or history. 

There are three terms that cover essentially the same piece of a shoe that are used in different contexts. The definitions for The Bead, the Rand and the Welt should be examined carefully.
  1. For turnshoes made before 1500, the term Rand is used by Archaeologists and Curators for the narrow triangular-sectioned, or sometimes flat, bead between the upper and the sole. This strip of leather sewn between the upper and the sole, ostensibly to make the lasting margin water-tight, but it is reasonable that it served to simply protect the stitches. The earliest we see them are in Coptic turnshoes some time before the 8th century. They begin to appear in European turnshoes early 13th century, possibly brought back by Crusaders. We do not know what the actual Medieval term for this since the word Rand doesn't make an appearance in a shoemaking context until about 1598 [OED2]. Before that "Rand" meant a border or edge (from the Old English) and strip or long slice of meat (from at least 1384, although this seems to have specified food. It is probable that the term Welt was first used in a shoemaking context to refer to this concept (See Welt (1))
  2. Strip of leather included in the sole seam of turnshoes, placed between the sole and upper. [Goubitz, 2001] (See however the discussion above)
  3. A strip of leather, rolled over, sewn in with the inseam to attach a sole to. Although the technological innovation appears after 1500, the term does not appear in English until at least 1598 (See also Blind Rand). It is suggested that this is derived from the German technique of the Rahme, platform sole-cover on overshoes [Saguto].
  4. The Rann [sic], the leather that holds the heel quarters and vamp to the soles [Holme, 1688].  Also called a French Seat. [Devlin, 1840]
  5. In modern shoemaking the Rand refers to strip around the heel, placed under the quarters of a boot or shoe to make this level, in lieu of a split-lift in the heel-stack , before the lifts of the heel are attached [OED2]. This should not be confused with the strip in front of the shoe's waist, which is referred to as a "welt".
  6. Used to attach the heel. [Martin, 1745]
  7. Rand
    1. A leather strip four-fifths of an inch (2 cm) wide and one-eighth of an inch (3 mm) thick that is nailed onto the insole, combining with the welt to form a basis for the top sole. [Vass]
    2. A special welt in the heel region, nailed in a welt-stitched shoe and stitched in a double-stitched model. [Vass]
Randed Construction

Randed stitching
Goubitz suggest that to avoid confusion this term is replaced some with 'folded welt'. [Goubitz, 2001] This suggestion is not universally agreed upon.

See Rand

Raw Edge
The edge or material not stitched, bound or finished in any other way. [Webber, 1989]

Hide or skin scraped on the flesh side, made semi-flexible by staking and flexing. May have the hair left on. [Thornton/Swann, 1983]

To stretch leather, as in lasting. [Martin, 1745]

A worker that is quick. [Devlin, 1840]

Mass produced - off the shelf, as opposed to Bespoke.

Reconstruction (Reproduction, Repro)
  1. A shoe made in a historical fashion, based on a specific historical original, or a conjectural shoe based on fragments, or even speculative shoe based on historical artwork.
  2. An object that is made in new leather or other materials, to show how its original would have appeared when new and complete. Reconstruction can also apply to a drawing of how the object must have looked when in use. [Goubitz, 2001]
Reinforcement Cord
A cord held down by a whip stitched ("binding stitched") thread on the inside of a shoe. It is used to provide added protection and to reinforce the leather, and to keep it from stretching, for example on fastenings and along the vamp throat.  These were used in the later Middle Ages, from the 13th century up to the 18th century. Sometimes (at least in the early 1600s) a narrow tape might be used as well.

Repair Sole (Clump, Clump Sole)
A half-sole added to a shoe, usually as a repair [Thornton/Swann, 1983]. The term can also refer to repair patch which may cover the whole sole. (See Appendix) [Webber, 1989] a half-sole added to a shoe, usually as a repair. (See also Clump Sole)

Removal method
A method of fitting up the custom-made last. If the foot is narrower or the instep flatter than the average, the shoemaker removes the excess wood from the last - in other words, he takes material away. [Vass]

Repro (See Reconstruction)

Reproduction (See Reconstruction)

Revelin (Brogue, Carbatíne, Hudsko, Kreplau, Llopan, Moccasin, Opanke, Pampootie, Pedules,Rewylynys, Rifeling, Rivelins, Rivilin, Riwelingas, Rowlingas, Rullions, Rulyions, Skin-sko) Culponius, PeronatusCarpatinæ
An easily made single piece shoe, worn by the lowest ranks of rural population, with the sole turned up all around the edge forming part of the overleather. The edges were cut into loops through which a lacing pulled the sides together. Frequently of undressed or untanned hide, this general type of shoe was among the earliest of shoes among the Greeks, Romans and early Celtic peoples. It probably continued to be worn through the Middle Ages, although there are no examples.  In certain areas these were worn regularly well into the 20th century (and even to the present time as traditional folk costume).  Note that while the terms appear interchangeable, the actual shoe designs can be different in details.

Riggett (Other medieval spelling includes Riggot  Also Channel)
A shallow vertical slit cut around the edge of an outer sole or an insole to hold the thread to keep a row of stitching below the surface of the leather to protect the thread.  Before the 16th century, riggetts were probably not used on the outer sole, since outer soles were attached with a blind split seam.  Slanting channels are only found after the late 17th.

See Flesh

Rivet (also Riveting, Ryvetting  Latin: Cnusticium,)
A welt.  The term appears to derive from the rivet, or the burr a nail is clenched to in riveting things together.  Riveting, therefore might refer to a Cobbler’s rewelting a shoe, or attaching an outer sole to a welt.  This use dates from about 1395.

a metal nail knocked through the sole against an iron, or iron-plated last, to turn the tip over and prevent it coming out. [Thornton/Swann, 1983]

A low-grade sheepskin used for book-binding, slippers, and so forth.

Rolled toggle
A fastening device made consisting of a thong ending in a knob of rolled leather [Goubitz, 2001]

Rosin (Also called Resin)
Hardened sap from resinous trees that’s been boiled and purified. 

See Flesh.. [Devlin, 1840]

Rough copying
The measurements are roughly transferred from the form to a block of wood by machine, thus forming the rough last. [Vass]

Round Closing (, Round Closed Seam, Inside Seam, Edge-Flesh Seam)

  1. This is a butted edge sewn (i.e. using a split hold) seam. The hold is made close enough to the edge that the leather bulges into a rounded hump, as it is drawn closed, hence the name.  A properly made round closed seam should not grin, or show thread in gaps on the other side, nor expose much thread inside the shoe to rub away.  The round hump should rise higher in the middle of the seam (‘stand proud in the seam’) and will protect the thread that’s buried to either side.  If the bulging leather is "set", that is hammered and slicked flat, this flattened leather should cover the thread completely. 
  2. A butted edge sewn seam, done with a curved awl, showing on just one side of this finished seam. The hold is close enough to the edge that the leather bulges into a rounded hump, hence the name. [Rees, 1813][Saguto]
  3. A properly-made "round-closed" seam should expose no thread inside the shoe to rub away. The proud-standing round hump in the middle of the seam is higher than the thread more or less buried on either side and protects it, and the orientation of the stitch-loop and the structural tightness of the stitch is inline with the surface of the pieces joined. If the hump is "set", hammered and slicked flat, this will cover the thread completely. [Saguto]
Round Knife (See Trenket)


  1. Forming the seat or heel, cutting off the feather portion, making a channel and (for some, holing the stitch lengths). [Devlin, 1840]
  2. Rounded. [Martin, 1745]
  1. A secondary layer of leather stitched between the welt and the outsole. This term is from at least the 19th century.[Saguto] These are also known as Filling Pieces.
  1. Rounding the Sole [Holme, 1688]
  2. Rounded [Martin, 1745]
Rounding the Sole
See Rounding

Rounding the soles on (Edge Trimming)
Trimming the sole to the last, forming the seat or heel portion of the sole, cutting off any wavy edges, making a channel and possibly holing the stitch lengths. "Rounding the soles on"  [Holme, 1688]

Rounding up
Paring the welt and sole together to a clean right angle. [Devlin, 1840]

Roundings (Modern terms include: Filling Pieces)
Leather pieces stitched between the welt and the outer sole. This is to help deal with foot problems such as pronation.  Although examples appear as early as the early 16th century, they are more of a 19th century thing.

Rubbing it with a rubbing stone
Scouring the edges or bottom [Holme, 1688]

Rubbing Pin (also called Rubbing Stone)
A tool used to scour and smooth cut edges, and slicken the edges of a piece of leather.  In the 17th century and later, these were abrasive shapes of sandstone set into wooden handles. [Holme, 1688]

Running Stitch

  1. A running stitch is an easy stitch where the thread makes a sine wave pattern rippling through the leather.  The term may not appear before the 19th century.
  2. A single thread that follows a serpentine course in and out of the leather. [Goubitz, 2001]

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