Anatomy of the Shoe

dallas foot expert shares anatomy of a shoeis designed to fit the foot.  Just like the feet, with its complex network of bones, ligaments, and tendons, well-made shoes are constructed with many parts that work together to create comfort for the feet.  Poor construction and inferior materials make the difference between feet that feel great and feet that hurt.

What are the parts of a shoe?

Upper—This is the part of the shoe that people see.  It is the “body” of the shoe that surrounds the foot.

Vamp—The front section of the upper.  It goes over the toes and part of the instep.

Quarter—The back section of the upper covering the heel.

Tongue—This part of the shoe can vary in design, but its purpose is to protect the foot from debris.  The tongue can be formed by the vamp, or it can be stitched into the shoe.  The apron tongue is often seen on athletic shoes such as those used in golf.  The bellows tongue serves a similar purpose of keeping foreign objects away from the feet, and it is stitched into the shoe.

Toe Cap—Not all shoes have toe caps, but this piece of leather or metal is placed over the vamp in the area of the toes.  It provides reinforcement and protection.

While the upper is easily seen and assessed, the internal structure of the shoe is important as well.

Counter—Found in the heel, this part of the shoe helps to hold its shape and offers stability to the feet.

Toe Box—Providing structure, shape, and protection to the toes, this area is very important for comfort.  A narrow toe box can cause and aggravate foot conditions such as corns, ingrown toenails, and bunions.

Shankpiece—Sitting between the insole and the outsole, it can be made of a variety of materials.  Its purpose is to provide shape to the shoe and support to the foot.

The Sole—this is the bottom part of the shoe and consists of three parts.

Outsole—The visible bottom part of the shoe is called the outsole.  It is often made of rubber, although leather is sometimes used.  The purpose of the outsole is to provide grip, stability, and protection.

Midsole—Fitted in the middle of the three soles, this piece adds to the thickness giving shoes a more sturdy appearance.

Insole—Commonly misunderstood, the insole is not the same as an insert.  This part of the shoe holds the other pieces together, and is attached to the shoe with stitching, glue, or staples.

Heel—Whether high or low, this part of the shoe is attached to the outsole, and provides balance and height.


Well-made, supportive shoes give your feet the comfort that they deserve.  If your shoes cause foot pain, it’s time for a new pair.  Before you shop, see Drs. Joel Brook, Arroyo, and McClurkin for a thorough evaluation of your feet.  They will help you to understand your unique foot type, and advise you on the best shoes and orthotics for your needs.  Call our Dallas or Plano, TX offices today, or schedule an appointment online.

The doctor has great “bedside manners” when talking to patients. Great staff and comfortable atmosphere.

Derrick W.

The staff at Dallas Podiatry Works could not have been more courteous, helpful, and professional in doing their job. They made me feel comfortable when I was there, which is certainly appreciated. They answered all the questions that I had and just made each visit the most pleasurable that it could be. I would highly recommend them to anyone needing this type of foot care.

Joseph B.

I would highly recommend Dr. Brook to anyone with foot problems–especially problems that stump other podiatrists. He really is very caring and very knowledgeable.

Jeannette H.

Dr. Joel Brook and the staff were nice and helpful. Though I was a new patient, I got right in as soon as they were open in my preferred location. They diagnosed the problem and provided medicines along with a perfect gel bandage so I could keep exercising while my toes healed. My toes already hurt less and look a little better each day. If I have future issues, I will be a repeat customer. Here’s hoping I don’t, but at least I know my feet are in good hands.

Meryl E.

I visited this office for an ingrown toe nail a few years ago. After seeing another doctor, who made it worse, he referred me to Dallas Podiatry Works. The doctor there was able to fix my problem. I’m not great with reviews, all I can tell you is that this doctor and staff will have you up and running or doing whatever it is you do in no time. You will be in great hands. You’d be a fool not to use this doctor. Now its time to visit him again for the other toe.

Google User

Been having bad ankle pains for 6 months was referred here and it was a great visit ladies in the front desk medical assistants and the Doctor were all very friendly and make you feel very comfortable.

Elizabeth G.

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Dallas Office: 12221 Merit Drive, Suite 280, Dallas, TX 75251

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