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Wedding Shoe Glossary
Arch Supports: This is the ultimate item in foot protection, as it cushions the arch of your foot from unforgiving heels. This ensures your feet can withstand the heels comfortably for much longer, and they are available relatively cheaply.
Base: The plain heels, flats or other pair of shoes that you will add your own personal touches to if you are creating your own bridal shoes.
Bejewelled: This refers to the art of covering shoes (as well as dresses and virtually any other item of female clothing) with sequins, usually all of one colour, pattern or design. You can do this yourself or you can purchase these shoes. Other wedding accessories can also be bejewelled if this suits your style.
Boots: Such shoes are commonly made of leather, though they can be made from fluff or other soft materials, and they cover the whole foot. Different boots cover different amounts of the leg – the difference between ankle and thigh high boots is plain to see.
Clogs: A solid, wooden shoe made from one piece of material. Clogs have been found in ancient cultures across the world and they were originally worn by workers, but as time developed they became dancing shoes and yet more recently, clogs (originally Swedish clogs) have been seen as fashionable since the 1970s.
Court Shoes: This is a British term for comfortable shoes, also known as “pumps” to Americans. It’s a low type of shoe that either has a flat or low high- heel, which is secured to the sole and lower half of the foot without laces, buckles or fastenings. Also known as an ‘opera slipper’ or ‘patent pump’.
Couture: a. The act of creating fashionable clothes, shoes and other items tailored to the client’s specific needs, including a bride. b. The companies that create that items referred to above.
D'orsay: See Court Shoes.
Diamante: A type of sequin used to enhance your homemade bridal shoes.
Flats: These comfortable garments are rounded at the top and made of soft, flexible material, such as a canvas or cotton. These are now available as bridal shoes for the first time in history; throughout the world of fashion, flat shoes have not been designed for weddings. The practicality and comfort of heels that are low or non-existent has won over women across the world, meaning that flats are available in elegant designs. Sequins, feathers and other decorations are all possibilities.
Flip Flops: This is a surprising new style of bridal shoe. More and more brides are opting for flip flops, probably due to the increase of weddings abroad, outdoors and in the summer. They are a unique choice, but as you should wear the shoes you are comfiest with, there is no problem getting married in flip-flops – the choice is yours.
Haute Couture: This definition is similar to the meaning of couture (see above). The meaning of haute is “high” in French, and it specifically refers to both the high-end fashion houses that create such items as well as the clothes, shoes and items they create.
Kitten Heel: These shoes can be recognised by their low heels, no more than two inches high and a slender sole. They’re also known as short stilettos due to the similar, but stunted, nature of the heel. They were first popularised by Audrey Hepburn.
Mule: This French word describes a shoe with a solid front, covering all of the toes, and an open back. They can have high heels, wedge heels or none at all depending on the style, and were famously worn by Marilyn Monroe.
Peep Toe: Usually heeled, this is a shoe with a “peep” hole at the centre of the toes. They are extremely fashionable but not guaranteed to be comfortable, especially as the hole is usually large enough for one and a half toes.
Platform Shoe: A shoe popularised in the 1960s, they are famous for their extremely high and thick soles. Unfortunately, they’re impractical for nearly everything, but if you can cope with them they are available in every style imaginable, including platform trainers, boots and even platform high heels made of clear plastic.
Rhinestone: A decorative item that recreates the effect of diamonds; these are ideal for designing your own bridal shoes.
Sandals: This type of shoe is created by straps which attach the shoe to the foot. They're available in a vast array of colours and designs for brides-to-be, and are somewhat more comfortable than the traditional high heel. These shoes are open to the air and perfect for weddings in warm climates or indoors. Comfort is not guaranteed, so as with any bridal shoe ensure to try them, break them in and find a new pair if they cause too much pain.
Shoe Brooch: Also known as a pin. This is a decorative ornament, traditionally made of metal. These can be attached to the front of the shoe for a quick and easy fashion update.
Shoemaker: As well as the custom shoe making services that have appeared in modern times, particularly on the internet in the last decade or so, traditional shoemakers still exist. You can commission such a professional or a company to create an old-fashioned style pair of shoes from the original materials. This could be perfect for a themed wedding based in any number of historical periods.
Slingback: This classy ladies’ shoe cover all of the toes and is attached around the back of the heel with a single strap. They are known as slingbacks because of this feature.
Stilettos: These are infamously stylish shoes that are also known as a spike. They are characterised by an extremely tall, thin heel. They shouldn’t be attempted by brides who are used to little or no heels, as it’s too easy to sprain an ankle if you are inexperienced with these deadly, attractive shoes.
Toe Box: Not to be confused with a Peep Toe (above). A toe box is the area of a shoe designed to contain the toes. The difference is that a peep toe is a space, usually in the centre of the toes. Meanwhile, the toe box usually covers and thus protects all of the toes without such a gap.
Uppers: This refers to the part of the shoe that attaches it to the foot.
Walkthrough: If you’re designing your own shoes, you can find numerous guides online to “walk you through” each step of the process. You could also combine or adapt one or more of these guides to suit your desires.
Wedge Heel: Such shoes have one solid, sloping material instead of a thin heel. This provides a more stable base for delicate ankles, and wedge heeled shoes are available in numerous elegant designs.