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sneaker with a Velcro closure

He wanted to take off his shoes.

He grabbed the end of shoes but can't take off.

"Pull your band off first." I told him.

What do we call the highlighted part in the image?

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4 Answers 4

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Here's a similar pair of shoes on Zappos. They're generally called "Velcro straps".

Red New Balance child's shoes.

The product description calls it "hook and loop" but "Velcro" is the name brand of the style of fastener. Most usage isn't brand specific, though. This usage is called "generic trademark". It's the equivalent of using "google" for "search the internet" or "band-aid" for plastic bandage. In fact, I'm not even sure I knew that Velcro fasteners were called "hook and loop" until now.

So, for your sentence I would recommend:

Undo the velcro straps first.

Note that if you are not using the brand name to mean the actual brand, it's customary to use a lowercase initial letter rather than uppercase.

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Generally they are called

closures

and more specifically, it is a

velcro closure

You could also tell you friend to

pull on the velcro and pull the top open

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  • Not understand this sentence means. "pull on the velcro and pull the top open". It is asking child to pull on the velcro before put on their shoes?
    – JJ12345
    May 25, 2017 at 2:54
  • The velcro part is the part that makes the closure, so the velcro needs to be undone first and the way you do that is to pull it apart. You have to undo the velcro for the shoe to open so you can put your foot in it.
    – Peter
    May 25, 2017 at 3:00
  • "Undo the velcro", Synonyms is "Do the velcro." Do they correct?
    – JJ12345
    May 25, 2017 at 3:21
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In AmE, I would call it a strap, or a Velcro strap if it uses Velcro.

enter image description here In BrE, it looks like it's called a closure or a Velcro closure.

The description of these shoes says

Velcro closure for easy on/off for young children

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  • So it should be "Pull on your strap." to ask the child before putting on their shoes/ "Pull off your strap" before taking off their shoes.
    – JJ12345
    May 25, 2017 at 2:52
  • I honestly don't know the best way to phrase that. I might say to put on the shoe "strap your shoes closed", "strap them closed" or "strap up your shoes"; to take off, "unstrap your shoes" or "undo the straps". If you want to use pull, I think "pull the straps closed" (to put on) and "pull off the straps" (to take off), but these are questionable to me. To me, "pull on your strap" implies tugging the straps to open them.
    – Em.
    May 25, 2017 at 2:59
  • Maybe "take off the straps" and "put on the straps", but they also sound like you're detaching/attaching the straps.
    – Em.
    May 25, 2017 at 3:05
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The name for that part of the shoe is not very common, or at least not very standardized in American English. The material that temporarily binds together is called Velcro, a common and well-known word, but that's not the name of the thing. Officially, it's called a hook-and-loop fastener, hook-and-pile fastener, or touch fastener, but you'll seldom encounter those terms outside manufacturers' literature and sales catalogs. Velcro fastener and Velcro strap are the most ordinary everyday terms for the thing, but they're a little unwieldy to say.

In everyday speech, people usually use the name of the material metonymically to refer to the thing you're asking about. For example, someone could say:

Undo the Velcro first.

You wouldn't ordinarily say "Do the Velcro" for the opposite action, though that's possible. Do up the Velcro is clearer. People even say:

Tie the Velcro.

Untie the Velcro first.

or they avoid naming the fasteners explicitly, like this:

Untie your shoes first.

Tying and untying refer literally to shoelaces, of course, but people often still use these verbs even for shoes with Velcro fasteners. It's like the way people speak of "dialing" a telephone number on a mobile phone—even people who've never have seen a telephone dial.

Velcro is a mass noun in all these sentences, like "food" in "Eat your food." It still denotes the material. You wouldn't say "a Velcro" to refer to one fastener. Because it denotes the material, the word Velcro is actually a little ambiguous here: it could refer to one fastener or both, since both are made of the same material.

Finally, here are probably the two most ordinary and natural verbs for "tying" and "untying" it—still using the name of the material metonymically for the thing you're asking about:

Fasten the Velcro.

Unfasten the Velcro first.

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