BASIC – Shoe Categories – Pumps


Jul 12, 2022

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In order to categorize a shoe, we must look at the upper, the heel and its functionality.
Let’s start with one of the most complicated shoes to manufacture which is the Pump, Decolletee Scollata. This shoe covers only the toes, keeping the instep uncovered. It covers asymmetrically the flanks sides of the foot, in order to container properly the foot and also covers the heels. It must be very well constructed so it does not slip off the foot. A classic throat cut is when the outer and inner side are straight with a round curve around the throat. A good pump construction will have the throat covering right above the toe lines. Too high will pain and too low will make the shoe slip off. Another important factor of good constructions is the inclination of the back profile. The higher the heel, the more the inclination because the middle of the back profile must aim towards the front throat of the shoe so helping to hold the foot better. If the pump has a front opening slightly exposing the toes, it is called a peep toe. Taking into consideration that in a peep toe shoe the foot needs to move to expose the front toes, the last must be adapted to this and so it will also be from ½ to one full size smaller than a normal classic pump. There will be different designs of pumps or peep toe and we must consider that in each case, we always need to consider the comfort of the walk and not only the look while constructing the shoe. The pump could also have a plateau which obviously increases the weight of the shoe and so in order to ensure a good fit, comfort and walk, the designer needs to adapt the design accordingly.

The ballerina is a type of shoe inspired by the classical ballet shoes. It is very similar to the pump having a short vamp with a throat opening, asymmetric sides and counter. In order to hold the foot better, a elastic band inserted between the upper and the lining can be added. One important technical detail to note is that the vamp and the sides have the function to hold the foot during walk so if the vamp is shorter, then the sides should be hither and vice versa, if the sides are lower then the vamp should be longer.
Another type of peep toe is the asymmetrical peeps toe where the inner flank has no side. This makes it very difficult to hold the foot in place. This can be obtained by designing the inner side of the throat and the inner side of the counter higher than normal giving more grip.

The T-Strap or Carlo IX which has an extension of the vamp in the middle which crosses with the ankle strap which is blocked by a buckle, holding the instep into place while leaving the lateral side of the foot uncovered. If the T-Strap shoe has a back opening, then it is also considered a T-Strap sandal.
The Mary Jane is a pump having a instep strap in the middle. A variation of the Mary Jane would be the DÓrsay which is a pump with no sides, but having straps starting above the vamp, crossing in the instep position and finishing in the counter with a buckle.


We can conclude that the shoe must hold into place so if the counter is reduced, then there must be straps to counter this. On the other hand, if the counter and vamp are prominent, then the foot can be contained in the shoe without the support of the straps.

The Chanel ( sling back shoe ) is a peep toe with a back strap replacing the counter and secured by a buckle or elastic, ensuring a perfect fit.
Lastly we have the ankle strap shoe which is a D’Orsay with additional ankle strap to secure the foot in the shoe. It is important for the perfect fit and feel of this type of shoe that the straps go above the ankle or else it will disturb the wearer.


FUNCTION: The Pump is a very elegant shoe designed in many various ways. The designer plays with the counter, the straps, side flanks and vamp. All these shoe parts function like the gears of a watch which are all inter-connected and dependent on each other for the good function, comfort and fit of the shoe. The designer together with the last technician must work together to ensure the walk and fit are perfect with every step.


Italian Footwear Solution will work with best technicians available ensuring the proportions of each part of the shoe not only give a beautiful esthetic look, but also have a perfect most comfortable fit.

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