Some time ago, when my third kid was about to be born, I noticed that in Spanish the shoe covers you must use when walking into the zone where babies are born for hygiene purposes are called "papis" in Spanish (although not generally). I asked why is that so (question in Spanish), but the only answer I could get was that it probably comes from French papillote, as the covers are quite like the piece of paper that covers the food in the technique of the same name.

It seems that in French you can use papillote as:

  1. A wrapper or packet for food during cooking.
  2. A small piece of paper on which women roll up their hair to make it curl.
  3. A vividly coloured paper wrap for crackers and other sweets.

But can it also be used for these covers?

Yes, I took that picture of my own shoes just a couple of hours before the birth.

Or is there another word for this? I'm just trying to prove that the theory I got as an answer in my question is plausible.

  • 1
    Papillote also means a chocolate wrapped in a fancy piece of paper that we use to give at christmas time (I'd even say that's the main usage of this word)
    – user20904
    Jun 19, 2019 at 14:21
  • @stbr you're right, I missed that meaning from the Wiktionary. I added it to the list, thank you.
    – Charlie
    Jun 19, 2019 at 14:24
  • @stbr > I would say the main usage is the first one mentionned in the question, the cooking one. The one you descibe is, I think, limited to (some regions of) France, while the "cooking" one is at least used in Belgium too.
    – Laurent S.
    Jun 19, 2019 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


They seem to be called "couvre chaussures" ou "sur chaussures":



  • Note that "couvre chaussure" is quite generic, so the exact item it describes depends on the context. For example you can use a couvre chaussure when cycling, walking in the rain or simply at home
    – Laurent S.
    Jun 19, 2019 at 15:18
  • @LaurentS. You're right. I found that often the adjective "jetable" is added to specify it is a disposable item, as in "couvre chaussures jetable".
    – am304
    Jun 19, 2019 at 15:24
  • 1
    Chausson de protection jetable est un autre terme utilisé
    – user20580
    Jun 20, 2019 at 11:51

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