General Glossary of Shoe Types

Just as a note, there is often a wide divergence between the terms used by modern shoemakers and the terms used by modern archeologists and calceolgists. We know very few of the terms used by medieval shoemakers, and fewer still those terms used by English shoemakers (since this document is in English). Therefore, most of these terms will be modern. Those that are medieval shoemaking terms will be noted in italics. Modern shoemaking jargon terms will be in bold face, and given preference. Terms that are not documentably medieval, but likely are, will be given in bold faced italics. Modern archeological jargon terms will be underlined (Please try not to confuse these with hyperlinks, which are also underlined). Specific sources will be named in [brackets].

Many of the shoes discussed below are not medieval, but may be indicative of a type.

International Language Terminology Cross-Reference General Glossary of Footwear Types

A men's slipper style with a tongue like extension of the upper over the instep. [;]

A type of sandal made from woven cord. It has a shaped sole and attached straps. It is worn in France, Spain and Italy.

Ankle shoe (Ankle Boot)
An item of footwear, and a subset of "boot", where the top is approximately on the ankle joint, or extends just above the ankle.

Basan (Other medieval spellings include: Basĕn, Baseyn, Basan(n)e, Basyn, Bazan, Bazen(n)e)
The word’s earliest appearance seems to be about 1300, although at least one source has suggested that it was also used for a style of Anglo-Norman riding boot worn by the clergy.

A type of shoe, generally popular with women in the 17th and 18th century. It resembled the heavier men's "Blackjack" shoe with latchets tied or buckled over the tongue.

A type of Oxford shoe, made from Jack Leather, with latchets tied or buckled over the tongue. (May not be a correct name)

Boot,  Bote (Other medieval spellings include: Bat, Bate, But, Bute, Buyt, Latin: Bota/Botarum, Ocrea)

  1. A family of types of footwear extending above the ankle, and may end just above the ankle, calf length, knee high, or thigh high.  Cokers and hueses are probably types of botes.  A bote may lack any closure, or may be laced, buckled or buttoned.  Based on documentary evidence and illustrations, botes were worn by laborers, hunters or riders.  This may also refer to a type of legging, or leather hose. 
  2. An item of footwear, the leg of which extends at least to, or above, the ankle joint, and may be an ankle boot, calf, knee or thigh boot.[Thornton/Swann, 1983] [Webber,  1989] [Grew/deNeergaard, 1988]
  3. A closed form of footwear reaching over the ankle or higher, and lacking a fastening opening, fastening or closure. [Goubitz, 2001]
  4. A covering for the foot and lower part of the leg, usually of leather. (Distinguished from a SHOE by extending above the ankle. In earlier times used only by riders.) [OED]

Boot, Demi Chase

Boot, Full Chase

Bote (Other medieval spellings include: Bat, Bate, But, Bute, Buyt, Boot Latin: Bota/Botarum, Ocrea)
A family of types of footwear extending above the ankle, and may end just above the ankle, calf length, knee high, or thigh high.  Cokers and hueses are probably types of botes.  A bote may lack any closure, or may be laced, buckled or buttoned.  Based on documentary evidence and illustrations, botes were worn by laborers, hunters or riders.  This may also refer to a type of legging, or leather hose. 

Boteu (Other medieval spellings include: Bateau, Botewes, Butewe, Buttwe. Butewes, Buttows, Buttois, Low boots Latin: Coturnus, Botula, Crepita)
A kind of low boots, reaching above the ankle and perhaps as high as the calf.

A kind of boot that reached up the leg, often to over the knee.  In Latin Ocreola. [Promptorium Parvalorum]

Broad Toed Shoes (Other terms include: Bearpaw, Bear's Claw, Cowmouth, Escarpin, Hornbill, Horned, Kuhmaul, Scarpina, Solleret)
Towards the end of the 15th century, as interest for pointed toed shoes waned among the stylish, the fashion drifted towards more blunt, squared-off toes. However, as with the crakowes, the broad toed shoes eventually became grossly exaggerated. These styles were limited at times to a mere 6 inches wide. They were often worn by the German mercenary soldiers.  Unfortunately, I am unaware of a really good term from the era in English to describe these, and most of the terms that have been used also mean other things as well.  Also many of these do represent variations in styles.

(Brodequin, Cothurnus, Corthurnus, Korthornos, Scin-hose, Socca, Soccus, Sokke)
A 15th century boot, reaching the calves or knees. These are referred to by many names that are also used for other sorts of footwear.  Most often they are erroneously referred top as buskins. 

Brogue (Brogan, Rullian)
A low, sturdy shoe for country wear, of Scottish/Irish extraction. Originally a hobnailed "Carbatine".

A well-known full-brogue Derby style of shoe with a high toe cap. [Vass]

Buskin is a 16th century word for a type of soft leather boot reaching the calf or knee, or perhaps a shorter laced boot, possibly deriving from the 15th century brodeguin.  Starting in the 16th century, historians started referring other footwear, such as the ancient Greek cothurnus/corthurnus/korthornos, as "buskins" because they vaguely look like Buskins, leading to much confusion about what a buskin really is.  It has also been, used to refer to low stockings and hose of leather, linen, silk, or embroidered and brocaded fabrics.  See also Socc.

Calc (Latin: Calciamenta)
An Anglo Saxon term for a form of sandal [Owen-Crocker].

In the Middle Ages this referred to a type of clerical footwear.  Historically the name derived from the Roman Caligae, the boots worn by 1st century Roman soldiers.

A Latin term for wooden soled shoes.  See Pattens.  Also, this may refer to a sort of Anglo Saxon era clerical footwear, possibly because they had wooden soles.

Carbatine (Karbatine?)

  1. One-piece shoes with soles and uppers cut from a single piece of leather. The edges were cut into loops through which a lacing pulled the uppers together. A center seam shoe made from a single piece of leather with a single sole and an openwork upper fastened by a lace.  This general type of shoe was among the earliest of shoes among the Greeks, Romans and early Celtic peoples. It continued to be worn well into the Middle Ages into 1000 CE, and in certain areas was worn into the 20th century. Examples include the earlier "brogue", and the rivelins, pampooties, and opankes.
  2. The term "Carbatina" appears in Catullus 98 (97) 4 "possis culos et crepidas lingere carpatinas...".  Lewis and Short describes it as equivalent to the Greek "karbatíne", "a kind of rustic leather shoe"; Follet defines it as "shoes of undressed leather, brogues, mocassins."  Xenophon: "some whose shoes had worn out had made themselves karbatinai (gen. fem pl.) out of fresh flayed oxhide", or undressed "raw" hide. Hesychius refers to Karbatina (gen. neu. pl) as "a rustic's footwear of one layer of leather". Pollux claims the term refers to the Carians.  It is an adjective, Karbatinos /Karbatina /Karbatinon, that simply means "made of leather".  (My thanks to Bambi Wimett, Brian O'Donnell, Heather Rose Jones and Judy Gerjouy, for their help here).

Chaucer (Other medieval spellings include: Chauceor, Chaude-pis, Chaude-pisse, Chau-pis, Chau-pisse, Chauser, Chausses, Chausure)
Leggings or hose of leather or maille.  They are possibly related to hueses.

Chopines (Other medieval spelling includes: Shopines)
High, cork soled shoes in the 16th century. These developed into the pantofle.  The really exaggerated styles were not seen in England. 

Clog (Clogge)

  1. "A countryman's shoe". Wooden soled shoe, or more specifically a wooden sole with a leather upper nailed to it.  A wooden or wooden-soled shoe, boot or overshoe. 17th-18th century clog overshoes had only a wedge of wood. [Thornton/Swann, 1983]
  2. In the Middle Ages, this referred to a type of overshoe with a wooden sole held on by straps.  See also Pattens.
  3. In the 18th century and later, this referred to a woman's overshoe made from leather or cloth with a covered-cork block built up to support the waist of the shoe worn inside [Saguto]
  4. A wooden shoe.

Coker (Other medieval spellings include: Cokyr, Cocur, Cuker, Quequer, Latin: Cocurus, Coturnus, Ocrea)
This term refers to a short laced boot, or a laced legging worn by farmers, hunters, fishermen to protect the legs.  [Promptorium Parvalorum]   In later terms this seems to be what developes into the High/Low.  Other authors want to refer to revelins as cokers. 

Corked shoes
Shoes made with any sort of cork sole.

Cowmouth (See Solleret).

Crakowe (Crakow, Cracowes, Krakau, Krakow, Poulaine)
A 14th century shoe with a long pointed toe, peak or pike.

An Anglo Saxon term for a form of sandal [Owen-Crocker].

An open-laced style of shoe widespread in Europe, often double stitched and double soled. Also known as "Bluchers." the most common variants are plain, full-brogues, and semi-brogues. [Vass]

Eared Shoe
In the 16th century following a long period of pointed shoes, toes became very square and wide; for a short time, c.1535-55, the corners of the toe were extended sideways resembling ears.

Espadrille (Scarpetti)
A shoe made with a sole of braided cord or rope, with canvas uppers. It is worn in Italy, France and Spain. The Scarpetti is a shoe worn for rock climbing.

Estivaux (Aestivales)
Apparently a type of boots made from expensive fabric in the Anglo Norman period.

A type of shoe decorated with perforated patterns, with winged toe caps and rows of perforations. [Vass]

Galoshes (Galliochios, "Gaulish Shoes", Galegge, Galoch).
  1. See Overshoe.
  2. In medieval parlance, a clog or patten. Wooden-soled shoes with leather straps intended to protect shoes from rough stone pavements. Worn in one form or another from the Roman era until the American Colonial Era. In Latin, Calopodla.
Gamashe (Other medieval spellings include: Gamash, Gamachio, Gamache)
A kind of legging of cloth, worn to protect the legs from mud, dirt and wet. 

Golfing shoes
Sports shoes that are often handmade. The top sole is fitted with nine to eleven spikes for increased stability on grass covered ground. [Vass]

See semi-brogue.

High Shoe (Other medieval spellings include: Heigh Scoh, Scoh, Unhege-Sceo Modern terms include: Ankle Boot, Ankle Shoe, Half boot)
A shoe that extends to the ankle, or slightly higher.  There is no way to be more specific between the high shoe and low boot, as the medieval meaning are not clear.

Hueses (Hauses, Husseaus)
A kind of legging or hose.  Also possibly boots that reach the thigh. They can have pikes, and so may be footed hose with leather soles.  They are possibly related to chaucers.

Leggings (Chauses, Gaiters, Gamashes, Hueses(?), Splatterdashes, Spats)
Leg coverings of leather or cloth stretching up from the feet (to the waist), with a strap passing under the shoe. There are pictures of medieval peasants wearing what look very much like WWI & II canvas army leggings.

See slip-on.

Moccasin (Hudsko or Hide shoe)
See Rivelin.

A puritanical-looking shoe, as its name suggests. Its most striking feature is the fact that its quarters are fastened together with a buckle, or even two, and it is often richly decorated. It owes its elegance to its long vamp. [Vass]

An Inuit term denoting a soft leather, heeless shoe with a fabric legging attached. The lower portion is often made from Sealskin or Walrus hide, while the leggings are made of canvas.

Moyle. Slippers made with no heel or heel counters.

A type of shoe.  Possibly the same as the backless shoe later called a mule.

Norwegian shoe
A variant of the basic Derby, a controversial, flamboyant, and youthful style characterized by an unusual division of the vamp and hand stitching on the upper. Its rustic character is often accentuated with heavily grained leather. [Vass]

Boots or Hose

Ocreae Rostratae
May refer to piked boots.

Anglo Norman term for a type of shoe, although it may be the same as ocrea. 

The term originates from a Serbian word for a shoe, worn by the rural population, with a hard molded sole turned up all around the edge forming part of the upper. The European Opanke can have a center front and/or back seam in the bottom unit. The Native American shoe referred to by anthropologists as an Opanke has no seams in the bottom unit and a soft upper which is attached to it. [Thornton/Swann, 1983][Webber, 1989]

Today these are usually rubber galoshes, or some other form of shoe meant to be worn over other shoes, meant to protect them from the elements.

An esthetically elegant style with closed lacing. It typically comes in plain, full-brogue, and semi-brogue versions. [Vass]

Pantofle (also Pantoble)
A post-medieval term for a slipper or a raised overshoe

Patten (Other medieval terms include Clog, Clogge, Galache, Galoch, Galosh, Golosh, Galoche, Galegge, Galliochios, Galloche,  Gaulish Shoes, Paten, Patyn, Trippe  Latin: Calopodla,Calopedes, Callopedium, Crepitum, Crepita)
These are all names for a variety of overshoes, made with wood, leather, or cork platform soles, sometimes with bits of metal on the bottoms, intended to protect the shoes from wet, cold, mud and pavement. They remained in use in one form or another until the American Colonial period.  Some items seen currently thought of as Patens may in fact be sandals. 

Pegged shoe (Pegged boot)
Leather shoes with the sole fastened to the upper by wooden pegs.

Penny Loafer
See slip-on

Pinson (Other medieval spellings include: Caffignon, Pinsone, Pinçon, Pinsion, Pisnet, Puisnet, Pynson, Sokke. Latin: Pedipomita, possibly Calceolus, Calceamesa Calceamen Pedibomita Pedribriomita)
A kind of thin shoe, slipper or pump.  Although they appear in the literature from 1350 to around 1600, there is no clear contemporary description of them.  It maybe assumed that they are a slip on shoe held in place by fit, rather than any fastenings.

A type of shoe

Polony fashion (Belone, Palony)
The term first appears in England in 1601, in the notes of Queen Elizabeth's shoemakers, apparently making a reference to the Polish design of stacked leather heels.

See Crakowe.  The poulaine is technically the point or pike of the shoe.

A light, low-cut turn-shoe, first mentioned in the 16th Century, thin soled, shoe without any lacing, straps or a heel, or later a very low heel. It often had no fastening and was kept in place by the close fit. They were worn principally by footmen. The term remains until the 19th century when it dies out, only to be used in the 20th century for a similar style of heeled woman’s shoe.

Quatre-Foil Spur Leathers
These large leather pieces were worn in the 17th century by Cavaliers intending to hide their spur fastenings. They bore a resemblance to a flattened four leaf clover.

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.

Sabot (Wooden Shoe, Klompen)
The work shoe of the peasantry, frequently wooden.

An armored, pointed shoe.


  1. A simple type of footwear with a sole held on to the foot by straps.
  2. Shoes and boots with a hint of cut-outs at the top Note that the Roman "Sandal" is a poor term to describe everything from a Crepida, which IS a sandle, to the Calligae, which are not (they are Carbatina).

A clerical (Bishop’s) shoe.

Scarpine (Scarpino, Scarpini, Escarpin, Escarpino)
A light shoe, maybe similar or synonymous with the pump.  This term has also sometimes been used for a type of broad toed shoe.

An Anglo-Saxon/Old English term for shoe, possibly referring to the high shoe styles since those were so common in England of that period. [Owen-Crocker].

A shoe style with perforated decoration, a plain toe cap, and brogueing rows. Also known as half-brogue. [Vass]

Shoe (Sceo, Scoh, Sho, Sco Latin: Sotularis; Calceus)
A generic term for footwear that come to, or just below, the ankle.

Slebescoh (Slypesco, Slipshoe)
A shoe that was easily slipped on, a slipper.  An Anglo Saxon Term   [Owen-Crocker].

A shoe style with no laces or buckles, into which the wearer simply slips his foot (also called a loafer). Its forebear is the Indian moccasin. Today slip-ons also exist in welt-stitched form. One of these is the Penny Loafer, where the tongue is covered by a leather cross-strap under which wearers used to place a one-penny coin. [Vass]

Slipper (Other early medieval spellings include: Slebescoh, Slipshoe, Slypesco, Slype-sceo, Slypesco, Staeppescoh, Swiftlere)
A low cut shoe that can be slipped on, and has no means of fastening.  A cheap, low shoe meant to be worn indoors

Sokke (Other medieval spelling includes: Socc Latin: Soccus)
An Anglo Saxon term for a simple slipper consisting of a light overleather and sole, possibly synonymous with slebescoh or slypesco, as well as being callicula and gallicula, both terms apparently derived from the Roman caligae.  [Owen-Crocker].  It is possible that this was because of the visual similarity of the general construction of the Caligae to the Carbatine (the former having an attached outsole, the latter, not).

An Anglo Norman term for shoes in general or a particular type of shoe.  The term likely derived from the French soulier.

Armored footwear made up of lames or plates.  The term appears to have been used in English around 1826.  See also Broad Toed Shoes.

Sotulares (Latin: Sotularium)
Shoes, may also refer to inexpensive shoes, and possibly clerical shoes.  May be synonymous with the subtalaris, or may refer to high shoes

Sotulares Veteres
A medieval Latin term referring to old, patched or remade shoes, deriving from the Classical Latin veterementarius, or cobbler.

Staeppescoh (L. Subtaleris)
An 8th century Anglo Saxon term for slipper, is synonymous with the word "swiftlere"  [Owen-Crocker].

Subtalaris (Other medieval spelling includes Subtelaris)
The term is Latin, and means “below the heel”.  In the Anglo Saxon era it appears to have been term for a low shoe,  and may have been used to refer to staeppescoh and swiftlere.  It may also refer to a clerical shoe.  The term also apparently was used to refer to a chaucepey.

Swiftlere (L. Subtaleris)
A later than 8th century Anglo-Saxon term for slipper  [Owen-Crocker].

An Anglo Saxon term for a form of leather boot  [Owen-Crocker].

See High Shoe.  Although this meaning seems traditional, it is somewhat speculative, since there is no clear link to the High shoes.  Sceo seems to be an older academic form for scoh The term is Anglo-Saxon/Old English.

Winter Shoes
This term refers to a specific, non-ecclesiastical shoe with a cork filled sole.  There are a very few examples of these from the 14th and 15th centuries.

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