Best Work Boots Glossary


Active Heel Lock

Active Heel Lock is a system that helps to keep the heel secure and won’t let it slip out of place, so the person wearing it will stay safe and will stay feeling secure the entire workday long.

Alloy toe:
A protective guard located in the toe box of the boot or shoe to protect from crush and impact injury. The guard is composed of alloy, a combination of two or more metals mixed together, as opposed to a solid metal-like steel.

A shoe or boot designed to fit to the natural shape of the foot. Provides greater stability and comfort to the wearer.

An acronym for American National Standards Institute, which is a not-for-profit organization that oversees the creation, issue and use of thousands of rules and guidelines that impact businesses in a variety of markets including construction, agriculture and energy.

Anti-Fatigue Technology:

Anti-Fatigue Technology is a technology to keep the feet from running out of energy before the work day is over. It helps to absorb shock and returns energy to the foot in order to keep the footwear stay comfortable throughout the entire day.

An agent that kills or inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria and fungi. Allows footwear to stay fresh and odor-free longer.

Antiqued leather:
Leather that is dyed with one or more colors over another to create an aged or worn appearance.

American Society for Testing and Materials is an organization that tests and rates safety footwear into categories such as compression and impact resistance.
ASTM I75/C75:

Laboratory testing to determine that safety toe footwear meets the testing standards for impact and compression.


Brush-off leather:
Leather that is coated with an external layer of color then brushed off with a burnishing wheel for a richer, worn finish.

Buffalo leather:
Leather made from the hide of buffalo—known for its distinct rustic look and feel as compared to cowhide leather.


Patented, non-woven synthetic fabric used primarily as lining for shoes and boots. Designed to increase breathability, moisture-resistance and avoid abrasion.


Provides lightweight cushioning and flexibility.


Cement Construction: In this rugged construction, the upper is shaped around the bottom of the last, rather than flared out, and then is cemented to the combined midsole/outsole unit. This process helps cut weight and provides a narrower profile for the boot.

A layer of material, often leather, found at the top of the boot. Usually padded or cushioned for extra support for the ankle or lower leg.

Composite toe:
A hard synthetic plate found in the toe box of the boot or shoe to protect from crush or impact injury.

A brand-name, heavy-duty nylon utilized in many products.

Spikes attached to the bottom outsole of a boot to provide traction in ice and snow.

Crunch leather:
Leather that is highly compressed before drying to create a rugged and original texture and pattern.


CR-Foam acts as an insulator or “neutral medium” for conducting hot and cold external temperatures. It will not crack. CR-Foam is a super dense material, but is lightweight, flexible, and buoyant.


Deer tanned:
Leather manufactured and processed with deer hide.


DBL outsoles are up to 50% lighter than traditional materials. DBL is a natural brilliant white without using the whitening chemicals that weaken the outsole and make it more brittle. The purity results in: no fading or streaking for the life of the shoe, resistance to stains and chipping, and an increased softness and flexibility.

Doubled stitched:
A sewing technique that uses two seams instead of one when sewing together leather boots and shoes for a more reinforced and secure stitch.


A Wolverine brand name for their lightweight dual-density construction that weighs one third as much as rubber yet absorbs four times the force. Both Wolverine Boots and Bates Boots utilize this technology.



Has excellent abrasion resistance and is the only knit lining in the world approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association. It was made to be a step above Cambrelle in quality and uses a special hydrophilic nylon moisture control fiber to wick away moisture. This lining is found in many of our top brand items, including Wolverine Boots.

Dynamic Suspension System:
Technology that creates a thin cushion of air in the footbed of the shoe or boot, causing the cushion to adjust and shift with your foot as you walk for increased comfort. Often seen in Rockport Works products.


Electrical-hazard safe:
All boots that include electrical hazard protection have been approved by either the U.S Occupational and Safety Administration, American National Standards Institute or the American Society for Testing Materials to help reduce the risk of electric shock or charge in the workplace.

Electrostatic dissipative (ESD):
Technology found in certain boots and shoes that reduces the risk of static shock or build up in the individual wearer and the footwear itself. Optimal for work in electrical hazard work environments. Also referred to as “static dissipative.”

Ethylene vinyl acetate is a polymer often known as foam rubber. Provides extra padding and a shock absorber for the heel of the foot.

Expansion Fit Seam:
A built-in feature of many Rocky boots that expands the seam to help you easily slip in and out of the boot. It closes once the foot is securely in—making it unnoticeable during use.

Small metal or plastic holes that are woven through with the lacing of the boot or shoe.


Fiberglass Shank:

A fiberglass shank is best for someone who wears their work boots for hours of the day. It gives the arch amazing support and the feet will feel less tired.


The inner part of the shoe that runs under the bottom of the foot. Also referred to as the insole.

Full-grain leather:
Leather that has not been sanded, buffed or extensively altered leading to its use. Includes increased durability and breathability due to its minimal treatment and preparation of the hide. Considered one of the highest quality forms of leather.


Goodyear welt construction:
A traditional manufacturing method that fastens a leather, linen or synthetic strip to the upper and sole for a secure build. Allows the shoe or boot to be re-soled repeatedly for a longer lifespan.

State-of-the-art Gore-Tex® fabric linings offer the highest performance in durable, waterproof, breathable footwear technology. GORE-TEX® has over 9 billion holes per square inch that prevents water from getting to your feet while allowing sweat vapor to pass right through keeping your feet dry and comfortable in all conditions.


The part of the boot attached to the back of the sole. Comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials and often includes added support or shock-absorbing features.

Heel-To-Toe Rocker Sole:

This sole will make the workday go by much more smoothly. It reduces the stress that is put on the forefront of the foot and by doing so making the footwear more comfortable


The layer of material between the foot and outsole or bottom of the shoe. Forms the inner base of the shoe. Also referred to as the footbed.


A style of boot that resembles those worn by lumber workers.


Maxum Lite Outsole:

Shock absorbing relief on the most unforgiving concrete and tile surfaces. The blown urethane process traps muscle-saving, fatigue-beating air within every sole. Maxum urethane grabs tight and holds on in wet or slippery environments. Internal components give this sole an ESD rating that meets ANSI Z41 requirements


Metatarsal guard:
Protective material that is strapped, either externally or internally, to footwear to prevent crush injury or severe impacts. Often made from steel, plastic or aluminum. Also can protect against sharp objects puncturing the bottom of the boot, although not specifically designed for puncture protection.

The layer of material between the outsole and insole of the boot. Often filled with cushioning or support.

Moisture wicking:
Material designed to pull moisture away from the skin to prevent odor and excessive sweat.

Confirms metatarsal-protective footwear is laboratory tested and approved.


High-grade cattle leather that is sanded or buffed to produce a smooth, suede-like texture.

A synthetic, silky material with a variety of uses including flexible yet tough lining in boots.


Oil and chemical resistant:
Footwear that prevents damage or direct contact with possibly harmful substances found on the jobsite. Often rubber or rubber-like material (see individual brand for specifications).

Refers to orthopedic insole placed in footwear for enhanced stability and comfort.


A series of small holes punched into the outer lining of the shoe for ventilation or decorative purposes.

Polyurethane is a synthetic material used as an alternative to leather. Considered more flexible, durable and lighter than most standard leathers.

A laceless boot—often including straps for extra grip—that only requires the wearer to slip in and pull on his/her footwear.

Puncture resistant:
Material that covers the exterior of the boot or shoe designed to protect from forceful and/or sharp impacts against the shoe. Often built from tightly woven fabric or small, ceramic plates in the fabric coating.


Safety toe:
A steel or composite guard located in the toe of the boot or shoe to protect from crush and impact injury.

Sized Sock:

A sock knit to a number of specific sizes (not size ranges) that correlates (although not directly) with a person’s shoe size. They will be sized by number, ranging from size 8 to 15.

A metal or composite plate located in the sole of the boot. Designed to help workers stand on their feet longer, especially on narrow pegs or bars. Also protects against sharp objects puncturing the bottom of the boot.

Shock Mitigation System:
A 5.11 Tactical brand-exclusive technology that utilizes several materials and footwear technology to create all-around support for high-impact activity.

Slip resistant:
Footwear with an outsole or bottom that provides traction or grip on slick surfaces caused by oil, water or other chemical substances.

Static dissipative:
Technology found in certain boots and shoes that reduce the risk of static shock or build up in the individual wearer and the footwear itself. Optimal for electrical hazard work environments. Also referred to as “electrostatic dissipative.”

Stitchdown Construction:

Stitchdown construction provides a wider platform for increased stability. Boots constructed under this method can be re-soled, adding years of life. First, the upper is shaped to conform to the last, then flared out and cemented to the midsole. Then the upper and midsole are stitched together with heavy, interlocking thread to create an even more secure attachment. Finally, the outsole is cemented to the midsole upper unit.

Steel toe:
A metal guard constructed from steel that is located in the toe of the boot or shoe to protect from crush and impact injury.

Strobel lasted:
Footwear constructed with an inner sock lining along the footbed of the shoe.

A type of leather with a raised, napped finish. Often considered less durable yet softer than standard leather.

Any non-leather or “man-made” material.


Lightweight, insulation technology found in the inner lining of some footwear. Provides inner warmth to the individual without adding extra bulk or weight.

The following are recommended gram weights for Footwear:

-200 gram* Thinsulate Ultra Insulation for Footwear is recommended for cool conditions or for high activity levels where wearer generates/builds a lot of body heat through activity.

-400 gram* Thinsulate Ultra Insulation for Footwear is recommended for cold conditions or for moderate activity levels where wearer generates/builds a normal amount of body heat through activity.


-600 gram* Thinsulate Ultra Insulation for Footwear is recommended for very cold conditions or for very light activity levels where wearer generates/builds little body heat through activity.


-800 gram* Thinsulate Ultra Insulation for Footwear is recommended for extremely cold conditions or for extremely light activity levels where wearer generates/builds minimal body heat through activity.


-1,000 gram* Thinsulate Ultra Insulation for Footwear is recommended for unique applications requiring additional insulation.

* Grams per square meter of insulation.”


Thermoplastic Urethane is a plastic material injected to give support to the midfoot.

The patterning or layout of the sole of the shoe. Often designed to increase traction and grip to the ground.


The upper part of the shoe, not including the sole. Often made from leather or synthetic material.


A durable, non-slip outsole designed for wet or difficult terrain.


Waterproof leather:
Leather specifically designed to prevent the intake of water.

A strip of leather or other material stitched into a shoe between the sole and the upper.

Wigwam Relative Warmth Rating: (1=coolest; 100=warmest)

-90-99: For Frigid weather

-80-89: For Cold weather

-70-79: For Cool weather

The Warmth ratings represent only comparative warmth between Wigwam’s boot socks, based on their ability to hold heat and keep your feet warm.