The application of modern concepts of thrust tectonics to orogenic belts has yielded many detailed restorable sections. Thrusts generally restore with a staircase geometry onto the undeformed stratigraphic template. Since the work of Rich (1934) it has been generally assumed that thrusts have propagated with a staircase trajectory and that hangingwall structures result from the movement of the thrust sheet up footwall ramps. However, thrusts often cut through previously folded strata with a smooth trajectory. Smooth-trajectory thrusts can be identified from footwall geometry and strain state. Once a smooth-trajectory thrust has been identified it is insufficient to produce a balanced deformed section and its restored counterpart. Sequential balanced sections must be constructed reversing the deformation history. The restoration of thrusts to a staircase trajectory has no mechanical significance as the thrust is merely acting as a marker if restored back beyond the time at which it propagated. Thrust ramps are not necessarily actual steps in the thrust surface, they are often just zones where the thrust cuts through bedding in a smoothly curving trajectory. Ductile deformation in thrust belts can reduce bed length at depth thus removing the need for structures which are necessary to preserve constant bed lengths. Ductile deformation in the internal zones of orogenic belts renders the construction of balanced sections in these zones highly problematical.