A lot can go into a boot in order to keep your feet safe - steel plates, metatarsal guards, etc. Need to know what a specific feature is and does before you buy? Check out this list of terms and definitions.

Abrasion Resistant
Materials ability to resist abrasions to last longer before breaking down or wearing out
ASTM Standards
American Society for Testing Materials (until 2001). The ASTM F2413-05 standard covers the performance requirements for protective (safety) toe cap footwear. All footwear listed on our site is tested to meet or exceed ASTM standards.
An agent that kills microorganisms or inhibits their growth
Arch Stabilizer
Added component under the arch area for support and stability to help prevent the arch from falling and to hold the foot in natural alignment. Similar to a shank. Marterial and size is dependent on style and brand.
Articulated Heel
Heel region of outsole encompasses a specific design to allow for multi-directional movement
Back Stay
Strip of material that runs up and down the back of the inside of the boot lining for stiffness and support
Berry compliant
The Berry Amendment requires the Department of Defense to procure only footwear produced in the US using only American-made materials and components.
Bloodborne Pathogen Resistant
Resists Bloodborne pathogens - microorganisms found in blood or other bodily fluids which can infect and cause disease in humans such as the Hepatitis B virus or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Allows air to pass through
Cement Construction
Gluing process joining shoe upper bottom together
Chemical Resistant
Materials ability to resist swell and breakdown from chemical exposure
Semi-short footwear style with shoe top at ankle bone height
Padding along shoe top
Composite Toe
Non-metallic protective toe cap made of Kevlar, plastic, fiberglass, carbon fiber or similar material. Boots made with these toe caps can easily pass through metal detectors if they utilize other non-metallic components throughout their construction. They are lighter then steel toe.
Concho Strap
Strap of leather with concho accents that buckles around the lower boot shaft and may include a chain to hook under the boot heel
Conducts static electricity through shoes to the ground eliminating static build-up. Like Static Dissipative but a faster and more complete discharge for highly sensitive work environments.
Brand of high-performance nylon used in various footwear. It is a registered trademark of INVISTA.
D-Ring Lacing System
Traditional D-Shaped Ring used for lacing rather than eyelets
Denotes the density of fabric or material used in the shoe upper
Direct Attached
Shoe construction involving fusing leather upper to bottom
Direct Injection Construction
Process of injecting a liquified outsole compound into a mold the upper is pressed into to form a permanent bond with the upper.
Distressed Leather
Any leather treated to have an aged appearance
Duty Footwear
Typically footwear worn with service uniforms such as police, firefighters, postal, etc. Most are black with different variations of shine.
Electrical Hazard (EH)
Designed to reduce the potential of electric shock when soles are exposed to open circuits (600 volts AC or less). The sole construction of electrical hazard footwear is built nail-free to provide secondary electrical hazard protection on substantially insulated surfaces in dry conditions.
Ergonomics is how the human body interacts with it's environment. Ergonomic footwear is designed and built realtive to specific work activiites to help prevent risk of musculoskeletal disorders such as spine, knee, neck, feet, back and hip injuries.
Ethyl Vinyl Acetate is a light but weak-wearing outsole material
Basic traditional lace hole
Flex-Notched Quarters
A notch in the upper design to allow for flexiblity in the boot when squatting or bending
Direct underfoot cushion insert that can be contoured for support and/or ventilated for breathability
The front part of the foot
Outsole bottom with special additives to help resist breakdown from fuel exposure
Full-Grain Leather
Uses the top layer of cowhide for durability and toughness
Genuine Leather
Leather containing materials derived from the hide of an animal as opposed to synthetic which is not
Goodyear Welt
Shoe outsole is stitched to the welt (strip of leather stitched to upper). Named after Charles Goodyear who invented the first machine that replaced the hand-sewn method.
Gore-Tex Fabric
Waterproof, breathable fabric membrane and registered trademark of W. L. Gore and Associates
Elastic or gathered section of material on either the side of boot or where tongue attaches to inside of boot to allow for expansion of boot shaft opening
Metal shoe pieces such as eyelets, speed lacers, hooks, etc
Outsole made with specific material to help resist breaking down in high heat enviromnments
Heel Guard / Bumper / Counter
Extra material to reinforce the heel area for added protection and wear durability. Counter also provides support.
Heel Pad
A thin piece of material glued on the inside of the boot on top of the insole to protect the insole at the heel from excessive wear.
Heel Rand or Cap
A metal piece on the back of a boot where the heel meets the outsole
Typically an ankle high rugged style of footwear geared for outdoor use, derived from shoes used by hikers
Special reflective or intense green color material with High Visibility to aid in safety
Indoor outsole
Outsole bottom tread material geared for indoor use
Layer in shoe beneath footbed to provide support
Layer of material added to help keep you warm by trapping air within a given space.
Internal Met-Guard
Material built into the top of the boot to protect the metatarsal bones of the foot from heavy impact
A synthetic fiber with strength and thermal stability used as a reinforcing agent. It is a registered trademark of DuPont.
A piece of leather with a serrated edge, typically on Western styles, laced thru at the toe of the shoe and is typically removable.
Lace-Locking Hooks
Enclosed loop that lace is threaded through so less apt to pull away
Shoe design where the laces are extended more over the toe allowing for better fit control (tighter or looser) across the forefoot
Laminated Fabric
Coating covered product to aid with its water repelency
A mechanical form or mold shaped similarly to foot to help determine shoe shape and fit.
Lenzi Plate
Non-metallic plate used in the midsole of boot to provide puncture-resistance. More flexible then steel.
Material (mesh, fabric) used in the inside of shoe to help block flesh side of leather from feet and skin.
Traditional agressive high-heeled work boot made with logging needs in mind
Lug Outsole
Bar and star-shaped tread pattern with deep indentations for stability and superior traction
Synthetic elastane fiber that is flexible with unique stretch and recovery properties to aid in comfort and fit. It is a registered trademark of DuPont.
Meniscus location on the inside of knees
Merino Wool
Material from Merino sheep known to breath and wick better than most synthetic fabrics.
Metal Chip Resistant
Outsole made with specific material to help reduce damage from sharp metal chips
Metatarsal Guard or MetGuard
Extra piece that lays on the top of the boot to protect the metatarsal bones of the foot from heavy impact
Micro-Denier Fibers
Denier denotes the density of fabric or material used in the shoe upper. Micro refers to the specific minimum diameter.
A layer positioned between footwear uppers and outsoles.
Milled (NC) Hooks
Hooks of a specific material/design to help cut down lace breakage
Moc Toe
Footwear style design with raised decorative stitching in toe area
Quality of a fabric that draws sweat off of the skin to the outside of a fabric
Synthetic rubber that is abrasion and chemical-resistant, waterproof, lightweight and flexible
NetFit Construction
Outsole attached to upper with no trimming
Non-Marking outsole
Made with materials not likely to leave black marks or skids on floors
Footwear made with no metal components to aid it in passing thru metal detectors
Non-steel toe
No protective property in footwear toe area
Nubuck Leather
Top-grain leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side (outside) to give a slight nap of short protein fibers, producing a softer velvet-like surface.
Oblique Toe
Full shaped toe area for extra fitting room
Oil-Resistant Outsole
Outsole made with specific material to help reduce breakdown from oils used in workplace environments
A form of stitched-down construction attaching the upper, lining and outsole at one time with external double needle stitching - aids in flexibility and comfort
Outdoor Boots
Footwear made with materials and design to help specifically deal with outdoor environments
Outdoor Outsole
Footwear bottoms typically made with aggressive treads to specifically aid in outdoor environments
The bottom of the shoe that touches the ground
Polyurethane (PU)
Synthetic resin (plastic) used as an outsole material. It is durable, lightweight and abrasion-resistant
Ownership rights to a particular item
Footwear style that does not have laces and requires the wearer to pull it on
Puncture Resistant
Outsole is made with materials that help prevent puncture injury from sharp on the ground
PolyVinyl Chloride is a polymer material used in many applications including outsole construction
Side areas of shoes and boots
Ripstop Fabric
Fabric, often made of nylon, that is interwoven with thicker reinforcement threads in a crosshatch pattern to be tear and rip-resistant
Easy-on and easy-off low-cut shoe, lace-gree and typically with elastic sides
Material used in many applications including outsole construction
Scent Control
Helps control and eliminate human odor, especially applicable when hunting to reduce animals smelling your presence
Seam-Sealed Stitch
Coating to apply underneath stitch holes to help block water entry
Self-Cleaning Outsole
Has a more open tread to cut down on dirt, mud and debris getting stuck to or in bottom of boot
The part of the boot that covers your leg
Piece of material built into the midsole arch area of a boot for added support and stability
Slip-Resistant Outsole
Outsole made with specific materials and pattern designs to help reduce slips and falls in slippery or wet workplace environments
Spacer Mesh
3D, 100% polyester abrasion-resistant, moisture-wicking mesh fabric
Alternative ways of lacing shoes more quickly than with traditional eyelets
Split Suede
The under layer of the hide that has been split. It is dyed and buffed to the typical velvety texture.
Static Dissipative
Allows static electricity to flow through footwear to help prevent a hazardous charge. Commonly used when working around highly sensitive electronics.
Steel Plate
A full steel plate used in the midsole of the boot that provides puncture resistance from sharp ground . See Safety Resource Center article, Shank vs. Steel Plate for visual.
Steel Toe
Protective Toe made with traditional metal materials
Stitch-Down Construction
The bottom edge of the upper is folded outward and stitched to the sole or insole
Taped Side Seams
Tape is applied to the underside of stitching to aid in comfort
Toe Box
A stiff piece of material placed in the top of the boot toe between the outer vamp and the lining to reinforce the shape and provide protection.
Toe Guard
Additional material that covers the toe for added protection but not covered by ASTM F2413 standards
Toe Rand or Cap
A metal piece on the front toe of boot
Part of boot that runs up the front center of most lace-up styles. A fully gusseted tongue joins the tongue to the leather body via flexible material, keeping water and dirt out of the boot.
Twisting of an object due to an applied torque
Thermoplasitc polyurethne (TPU)
Material used in many applications including outsole construction - properties include elasticity, transparency, oil-, grease- and abrasion-resistance.
Trade Friendly
Meets the Trade Agreements Act (TAA) of 2012 - item is either manufactured or substantially transformed in a designated country.
Twin Gore Romeo
Design feature that allows for easy on-and-off. The gore is the elastic material attached to the tongue of the shoe that allows the upper portion of the shoe to stretch out when inserting your foot.
Also called the Upper, it surrounds and protects the foot from the sole up including toe and instep
Chemical process for converting natural rubber into more durable material
Waterproof Construction
Special material design combination to help keep feet dry
Water Repellent
Water absorption is slowed down or repelled, but not completely stopped. Usually a tighter weave fabric and better than Water Resistant, but not waterproof.
Water Resistant
Material resists water absorption but at a lower degree than water repellent and waterproof
Wedge Outsole
Footwear bottom design with extra arch area build-up to help arch support
Pull-On boot style with no laces
Welt Construction
Stitching process to join shoe uppers and bottoms together
Welt Stitch
Stitching thread used to join shoe uppers and bottoms together
The ability of a fabric to shut out wind or air.