Shank (footwear)

In a boot or shoe, the shank is a long, thin piece of material between the insole and outsole intended to support the foot and provide structure.

Schematic of some common components of a dress shoe including the insole, stiffener, shank, outsole, toe puff, and welt.


Materials and design for the piece vary widely with the purpose of the footwear. The shank of a pointe shoe used for ballet is composed of flexible materials like leather, plastic, or cardstock and may have customized length, thickness, and stiffness. Heavy boots such as those used for construction or hiking have far more rigid and durable shanks, often using steel, though contemporary shanks are more commonly made up of less heat conductive options such as fiberglass and Kevlar. The rigid nature of these materials contributes a protective element to the footwear into which they are integrated, helping shield the wearer’s feet from puncture wounds and stone bruises.[1] The presence of a shank is crucial to the functionality of mountaineering boots as they diminish the load incurred by the wearer’s feet and calves over the course of an ascent.


  1. ^ "PROTECTIVE FOOTWEAR FAQS". Tyndale. Retrieved 16 December 2019.