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Standard metal shoes are made in a number of designs and some are a "cast" construction and some are milled out of aluminum, and some just stamped steel discs like the photo below on the right. The most important thing to consider is that they match the size and colour of the spindles you are installing.
The majority of introductory level iron balusters are either 1/2" square or 1/2" round, but there are a few odd ones that are 9/16" so be sure to buy a matched pair.
I've also found that some spindles are a little bigger than their stated dimensions. Thus a 1/2" spindle can in fact be a "heavy" 1/2 just due to the quantity of powder coating used in the finishing process. This is not true on the cheaper "painted" spindles, but then they are not nearly as durable.
So I guess what I am trying to say is that buying the bars and the feet from the same source is the only real way to guarantee that they'll be a matched set.
The profiled shoe on the left can be ordered with a 1/2" SQUARE hole or 1/2" ROUND hole.
The disc on the right is ONLY available for round spindles. Remember that round shoes are NOT necessary for installation, but great if you are trying to hide an old installation hole that might be oversized or slightly off in location, for your new installation.
Square spindles almost always require a square shoe to hide the oversized round hole drilled to accept a square metal baluster.
Angle shoes are typically used when you are mounting the spindle onto the top edge of the stringer rather than on the top surface of your stair treads.
The angle they are cut at is an approximation of the most common angle used in steps today.
Don't count on it being an exact fit. You can use a small grinder to adjust to your needs for a more precise angle alignment with your set of stairs.
These metal two piece swivels are ONLY designed for 1/2" square metal spindles.
They are ONLY available in black.
Application: Most often used on the underside of a piece of handrail, especially when the handrail is going up hill and it is more challenging to drill holes at the correct angle.
Available for wall mounting handrail. Can be ordered in a colour to match your spindles, black, burnt penny or gun metal gray.