Shoe Last

The mold on which the leather is stretched and formed to create the shape of the boot. There are many different lasts, and there are different lasts for every size and shape.


The vamp is the lower part of the boot, it goes up over your toe to the instep, and around both sides of your foot. It is ideally cut from one piece of leather. It comes together in a few steps. This process is called lasting. The vamp leather is pulled back over the shoe last and nailed, it’s sculpted and dried, and then slightly turned out at the welt area.


Heel counter

The back section of leather covering your heel from the bottom of your foot, up to your Achilles Tendon. It is attached over the vamp on the sides. The shape of the heel counter is meant to cup the back of your heel and reduce heel slippage as you walk.


The strip of leather above the heel counter that follows through to the top of the upper. This piece of leather is used as an additional stabilizer and connects the two halves of the upper.


The flexible patch of leather underneath the laces. It is usually folded over once for full coverage of the shin area.The tongue cushions the bony top part of your foot and distributes pressure from laces.


The section of leather from the ankle up. The boot is created using 4 pieces in total.This can be of a variety of heights, ranging from shoe style, in increments of 2”. From 4”, up to 16”, or mid calf. These two parts are connected together by the backstay.


These are the pieces of metal hardware used to lace the boots. They stretch from the vamp through the top of the upper.


False Tongue (Kilties)

A False Tongue is a piece of leather that guards and protects the tongue of the boot. They put an additional layer between the laces and the tongue, protecting the tongue from dirt, dust and other debris that accumulate on the laces.


The welt is a strip of leather around the edge of the sole. This is where the vamp and insole connect with stitching.


The shank is located between the heel and ball of your foot. It consists of two pieces of leather, stacked on top of each other to create the arch support.

Lineman Shank/Half Slip

The lineman shank or half slip is what adds extra support over the arch for climbing with gaffs or jobs that require direct impact on the arch. It will also make the sole under the arch flat for stability when using gaffs or standing on a ladder.

Toe Cap

A strip of leather covering the vamp over your toe. It can markedly reinforce the toe of your boot without using a steel or composite toe. This is often a stylistic accent, and can come in many formations.

Steel Toe/ Composite Toe

The steel toe is for full protection from falling objects. It’s meant to protect toes from weight and undue strain that would otherwise affect the tendons that connect the bones in your toes to your metatarsals.

Composite toes are made of composite plastics that help maintain rigidity in the toe of the boot. This is well suited for electricians who may need protection, but do not want excess metal hardware in their boots.

Stitchdown Construction:

The style of stitching that attaches the vamp to the outsole.

Pull Loop

The strap of leather on the top-back section of the boot. Often referred to as bootstraps, these are more common in high-top boots.



Consists of the insole, midsole, outsole shank and shank cover. The insole is nailed to the bottom of the boot last before the vamp is fully stretched. After the vamp has been dried, it is stitched to the insole creating the welt. The nails can then be removed from the insole, and the boot last can finally be removed. Then the outsole is stitched into the welt.


The insole is the part of the boot that touches your actual foot. It’s a layer of leather that conforms to your foot.


The midsole serves as a barrier between the interior of your boot and the outsole. The softer the midsole, the sooner your boot will break in, but a tougher, less flexible midsole makes for a longer-lasting boot.


The final layer of sole connected to the bottom of the boot. Vibram branded soles are used on Frank’s boots.