Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sneakers! and more of

Shoes--simple things you put on your feet, right? But the sheer number of different names I've heard the humble tennis shoe called in the last few days is mind-boggling.

I'm watching a British television show and they call them "trainers"

I'm in Canada and they call them "runners"

I'm in Philly and they call them "kicks"

I'm on the East Coast and they're "sneakers". This particular moniker provoked a lot of West Coast scorn when my professor from Pennsylvania said it.

I'm on the West Coast and I'm guessing they call them "tennis shoes". I'm not 100% sure about this one though. You would think since I've lived here almost 4 years I would, but I don't. I just know you get mocked if you call them sneakers.

They are also known as "tennies" or "sneaks".

Then you get people who just call them "Nikes" no matter what the brand. Kind of like how they call everything a Coke in the South even if it's not. (Don't get me started on the whole pop/soda debate. I can't wait to move back to the Great Lakes Region and be near my people again who call it pop).

I pity the fool who calls them "athletic shoes" but that's another story.

I read an article recently where they found the oldest human shoe. It was a leather lace-up thing. However, when I tried to find out more information about it and googled "shoes" somehow a disturbing entry from Wikipedia entitled "foot thongs"appeared. Not sure what to make about that.

So many names for such a simple thing....high tops, low tops, slip-ons, Chuck Taylors, rubber shoes in the Philippines (according to Wikipedia and which sounds wrong on so many levels).


  1. I teach "tennis shoes" to my students. California all the way! Down with all that "sneakers" and "pop" nonsense!

    Also, isn't "thongs" for shoes referring to flip flops? Luckily that term seems to be falling out of use...

    miss yoU!

  2. We always called them tennis shoes, but I like sneakers better! In the Netherlands, they call them what I think is the cutest word ever: gympies. They pronounce it something similar to "gim-pees." Despite the fact the Dutch practically gargle their letter g, it still sounds cute ;-)

  3. In the UK, a slightly more old-fashioned term for them is "Pumps".

  4. Gympies IS cute! I'm not so sure about pumps though. In the US old people sometimes call high heels pumps but it's always had a weird ring to me.

    Danielle--Miss you too!

  5. I'm all about calling them tennis shoes. In Chile they say zapatillas which was hard for me to get used to because what did I learn in high shcool Spanish tenis? Something like that...

  6. Kristin, I found you from Jul's blog. I'm a Toledo native and I still have a home there. However, I've lived in Shanghai, China, and now Munich, Germany. I will be following you to see how Toledo agrees with you. What part of Toledo are you moving to? Also, my hubby is Australian. Tennis shoes are called "trainers" there. Have a wonderful time traveling!

  7. Hey there Expat!

    Thanks for commenting. Wow, you've lived some pretty cool places! All very different from each other too. We rented a house near the University. We would love to buy but I don't think the housing economy has bounced back enough yet there and we don't want to get stuck with a house we can't sell when we have to move in 4 years.
    I'm looking forward to seeing how Toledo agrees with me too! lol. I like it so far though!