Les Chaussures Is French for Shoes, Boots, and Flip-flops

Woman with various types of shoes

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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.

You may already have read tips about what shoes to wear to fit in France, especially for men.

Vocabulary About French Shoes

Here is a list of French shoe vocabulary.

  • Des chaussures (feminine): shoes. Watch out for your pronunciation. There are 2 S's, 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 French people 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 consist of "en cuir" (made of leather), "en daim" (suede), "en synthétique" (synthetic), or en toile (cloth).

Les Chaussures pour Femmes (Shoes for Women)

  • 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

Les Bottes (Boots)

  • 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)

  • 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.
  • Des chaussures de randonnée: hiking boots
  • Des chaussures de cyclisme: bicycle shoes. You can actually just add any sport after "des chaussures de..." and it will work for other sports.

Plus de Chaussures (Additional Shoes)

  • Des sandales: sandals
  • Des tongs: flip-flops (say the G)
  • Les nu-pieds: another 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.