Sneakers is a synonym for "athletic shoes," and the more common term for them particularly in the northeastern United States and southern Florida. The term describes a type of footwear with a flexible sole made of rubber or synthetic material and an upper part made of leather or canvas. Sneakers were originally sporting apparel, but today worn much more widely as casual footwear. They can also refer to athletic footwear like basketball shoes, tennis shoes, cross trainers and other shoes worn for specific sports.
The British English equivalent of "sneaker" in its modern meaning is "trainer", while the traditional "sneaker" (pictured) is closer to the British "plimsoll". In some urban areas in the United States, the slang for sneakers is kicks. In Hiberno-English, Canadian English and Australian English the term is runners or sneakers. In South African English the term used is tackies.
The name "sneakers" originally referred to how quiet the rubber soles were on the ground, in contrast to noisy standard hard leather soled dress shoes. Someone wearing sneakers could "sneak up" on you while someone wearing standards can only stand on you.
|“||It is only the harassed schoolmaster who can fully appreciate the pertinency of the name boys give to tennis shoes — sneakers.||”|
The British English term "trainer" is a slang abbreviation of "training shoe".
- High-tops cover the ankle.
- Low-tops do not cover the ankle.
- Mid-cut are in-between high-tops and low-tops.
- Sneaker boots extend to the calf.
- Slip-on like low-tops do not cover the ankle and don't have laces.
- Low-Top CVO (Circular Vamp Oxford) like low-tops do not cover the ankle but unlike low-tops have a vamp in a circular form and typically 4 to 5 eyelets.
- High-top CVO (Circular Vamp Oxford) like high-tops cover the ankle and also have a circular vamp.
- In 1995 Cyd Jouny made a crossover between a basketball sneaker and a stiletto mule.
- Nobox, by Reebok an unsuccessful design in the mid-90's.
- Converse Chucks
Sneakers have become an important part of hip hop (usually Pumas, Adidas, etc.) and rock 'n roll (Converse, or other canvas sneakers) cultures since the 1970s. Presently, numerous rappers sign million dollar deals with major brands such as Nike, Adidas or Puma to promote their shoes. Sneaker collectors, called "Sneakerheads", use sneakers as fashionable items. Artistically-modified sneakers can sell for upwards of $500. In 2005 a documentary, Just for Kicks, about the sneaker phenomena and history was released.
- Hickey, Walter (5 June 2013). "22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other". Business Insider.
- Mental Floss magazine, Sept-Oct 2008
- "FOOTWEAR : 1990-1999". Historyofashion.com. 2007-03-11. Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2012-08-22.