Yes, a shapefile is considered a Feature Class, which lends it several attributes.
Esri provides this overview about the shapefile <updated link 200828 based on comment by @Rex below>Geoprocessing considerations for shapefile output
A shapefile is an Esri vector data storage format for storing the
location, shape, and attributes of geographic features. It is stored
as a set of related files and contains one feature class. Shapefiles
often contain large features with a lot of associated data and
historically have been used in GIS desktop applications such as ArcGIS
for Desktop and ArcGIS Explorer Desktop. If you have a small amount of
data in a shapefile—generally fewer than 1,000 features—you can make
it available for others to view through a web browser by adding it as
a .zip file containing the .shp, .shx, .dbf, and .prj files to a map
you create with the map viewer.
When you add a shapefile, the map viewer converts it to a format that
web clients can quickly read and display. To help further improve the
performance of the display, you can choose to generalize the features
in your shapefile. Generalizing reduces the size of the shapefile by
simplifying the features and is often appropriate for data at small
To expand further, the Duke University Libraries provides additional insight to both the shapefile and feature classes, providing a good comparison.
Here is a snippet from the article:
Feature datasets store Feature Classes (which are the equivalent to shapefiles) with the same coordinate system. Like shapefiles, users can create points, lines, and polygons with feature classes; feature classes also have the ability to create annotation, and dimension features.