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Glossary of Shoe Styles: Booties

Protective, Women's, and Baby Booties Defined


In the world of shoes, there are three different types of booties: baby booties, protective booties, and women's booties.

All are foot coverings but, typically, each type is made from different types of materials and serves a slightly different purpose.

Each of the three terms are defined in more detail below.

Variant: bootee


1. Women's Booties :

Women's dress booties with smooth leather vamps, brown suede backs and mid-height heels.
Vince Camuto 'Velino' Image: Zappos.com

Sometimes referred to as "shooties," women's booties are a cross between shoes and boots. They generally cover the top front of the foot, but do not have shafts that extend past the ankle.

Technically, the term "booties" is used to describe women's boots that are shorter than ankle boots, which have shafts that reach the ankles or extend slightly beyond them. However, the two terms are often used interchangeably.

Despite the fact that the term "bootie" has been used to describe this type of women's footwear for more than a decade, you probably won't see an entry for women's booties in a dictionary. Instead will only find reference to booties for babies, and possibly for protective or disposable booties.

This is probably because the term for this class of women's shoe was likely derived from the form of infants' footwear, and is still considered slang.

Since it is probably considered a new usage of an existing word, or a variant of the original term; and is so closely linked to the original terms; it may be that it is considered unnecessary to have its own entry.

Women's Booties are sometimes also called: shooties, ankle boots, or ankle booties.

2. Baby Booties :

Infant lying on back in white onesie and white knit baby booties.
Tom Merton/Getty Images

Soft boots, slippers or socks that cover a baby's feet, usually extending to or beyond the ankles.

Booties are often knit, or sewn and made from soft fabric, but the term is sometimes also used to describe light footwear that is slightly more rigid. Booties are thinner and softer than traditional shoes, and don't usually have sturdy soles. But, unlike socks, they are generally worn on their own, as opposed to being worn inside of shoes or boots.

While baby booties keep feet warm, and will offer some protection, they're generally only worn by babies and children that are too young to walk, and therefore may need the added protection of regular shoes.

Baby booties are also sometimes called: booties, bootees, or slippers.

3. Protective Booties (Shoe Covers):

Three physicians in blue scrubs, all wearing protective booties or shoe covers.
Dana Neely/Getty Images

Soft, disposable shoe or foot coverings that are used in certain situations or environments to either protect one's shoes or feet, or to protect the floor.

For example, a surgeon may wear disposable booties to keep his shoes clean in the operating room, while a tree-trimmer may slip a pair of booties over his shoes, before entering a client's home, to protect their floors from dirt or mud that may be on their shoes.

These types of booties (also called "shoe covers") are usually made from polypropylene, polyethylene, or some other form of soft, plastic material.

Protective Booties are also sometimes called: shoe covers, disposable booties, disposable shoe covers, or protective shoe covers.

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