Sneakers are shoes primarily designed for sports or other forms of physical exercise, but which are now also widely used for everyday casual wear.
Sneakers also called trainers, athletic shoes, tennis shoes, gym shoes, kicks, sport shoes, flats, running shoes, or runners are shoes primarily designed for sports or other forms of physical exercise, but which are now also widely used for everyday casual wear.
Since their popularization by companies such as Converse, Nike and Spalding in the mid 20th century, they have become attire, with variety growing in many global markets exponentially.
Like other parts of the global clothing industry, manufacture of shoes is heavily concentrated in Asia with nine in ten shoes produced in that region.
The shoes have gone by a variety of names, depending on geography and changing over the decades.
The term "sneakers" is most commonly used in Northeastern United States, Central and South Florida, New Zealand, and parts of Canada. However, in Australian, Canadian, and Scottish English, running shoes and runners are synonymous terms used to refer to sneakers with the latter term also used in Hiberno English. Tennis shoes is another term used in Australian, and North American English.
The British English equivalent of sneaker in its modern form is divided into two separate types predominantly outdoor and fashionable trainers, training shoes or quality 'basketball shoes' and in contrast cheap rubber-soled, low cut and canvas-topped 'plimsolls'.
In Geordie English, sneakers may also be called sandshoes, gym boots, or joggers while plimsolls may be referred to as daps in Welsh English.
Several terms for sneakers exist in South Africa, including gym shoes, tennies, sports shoes, sneaks, and takkies. Other names for sneakers includes rubber shoes in Philippine English, track shoes in Singapore English, canvas shoes in Nigerian English, Camboo in Ghana English meaning Camp boot and sportex in Greece.
Plimsolls (British English) are "low-tech" athletic shoes and are also called "sneakers" in American English. The word "sneaker" is often attributed to American Henry Nelson McKinney, who was an advertising agent for N. W. Ayer & Son.
In 1917, he used the term because the rubber sole made the shoe's wearer stealthy. The word was already in use at least as early as 1887, when the Boston Journal made reference to "sneakers" as "the name boys give to tennis shoes. The name "sneakers" originally referred to how quiet the rubber soles were on the ground, in contrast to noisy standard hard leather sole dress shoes.
Someone wearing sneakers could "sneak up", while someone wearing standards could not.
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