French Shoes, Boots and Flip-flops Vocabulary - les Chaussures

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Shoes, shoes, shoes... we are all crazy about them. They are the only thing that always fits. In France, shoes are a very important accessory, and would often change the whole vibe of an outfit.

So here is a list of French shoe vocabulary. You may already have read my tips about what shoes to wear to fit in France, specially for men... and I will soon be adding a Learn French in Context article about buying shoes, so make sure you enter your email to register for my newsletter (it's somewhere on the home page).

I post exclusive mini lessons, tips, pictures and more daily on my Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages - so join me there!

Generalities About French Shoes

  • Des chaussures - f - shoes. Watch out for your pronunciation. There are 2 ss, which makes for a strong S sound. There is no Z sound in that word. Don't mistake that word with "une chaussette" = a sock. Please note that the word "un soulier" is a VERY old fashioned word, that we don't use anymore.
  • Une semelle - a sole but also an insert.
  • Un lacet - a lace
  • Un talon - a heel
  • Le dessus de la chaussure - the top part of the shoe
  • Le dessous de la chaussure - the bottom part of the shoe
  • L'intérieur de la chaussure - the inside of the shoe
  • Un cordonnier is a shoe maker/repairman and he works at "une cordonnerie".
  • Shoes are usually "en cuir" (made of leather), "en daim" (suede), "en synthétique" (synthetic), en toile (cloth).

Les Chaussures pour Femmes - Women Shoes in French

  • Des chaussures à talons : high heel shoes. Not necessarily super high, but anything over one inch.
  • Des escarpins - m - classic high heel shoes
  • Des chaussures plates : flat heel shoes.
  • Des ballerines - ballerinas 
  • Des chaussures à plateformes - platform shoes (think Lady Gaga)
  • Un talon - a heel
  • Des talons hauts - high heels.
  • Des talons compensés : wedge shoes
  • Des mocassins - m- loafers (for men and women)
  • Les mules - f -  open heel shoes, mules.
  • Des derbies et des richelieus - m -  brogues. We are here reaching the limits of my personal shoe vocabulary... a picture is worth a thousand words so here you go... 

Les Bottes - Boots in French

  • Des bottes - boots. Watch out! this sounds like "hot", not "hoot".
  • Des bottines - ankle boots. We also call them "boots" with an English pronunciation.
  • Des bottes à talons - high heel boots
  • Des Santiags - cowboy boots
  • Des bottes de ski - ski boots
  • Des après-ski - snow boots
  • Des bottes de pluie - rain boots
  • Des bottes en caoutchouc - rubber boots
  • Des bottes en cuir - leather boots

Les Chaussures de sport - Sports Shoes In French

  • Des baskets - f - tennis shoes, but usually referring to bulky sports shoes you'd wear to actually practice a sport, like runners. Say the final "t".
  • Des tennis - tennis shoes, but more casual. Frenchmen wear them a lot (see page 2)
  • Des chaussures de randonnée - hiking boots
  • Des chaussures de cyclisme - bicycle shoes... actually just add the sport after "des chaussures de..." and you'll be fine.

Plus de Chaussures - More Shoes in French

  • Des sandales - sandals
  • Des tongs - flip-flops (say the G)
  • Les nu-pieds - other way to say sandals or flip-flops (lit. naked foot)
  • Des sabots - m - clogs
  • And of course, the famous French "Espadrilles" - f - cloth shoes with rope soles.

If you liked this article, you may also enjoy my list of French clothes vocabulary, and my easy bilingual "learn French in Context" story about shopping for a dress in French and the one I just wrote about shopping for shoes In France

I post exclusive mini lessons, tips, pictures and more daily on my Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages - so join me there!