Why are Shoes Called Sneakers? (12 Other Names for Sneakers)

The term “Shoes” refers to the footwear accessory which is designed to protect and soothe the human feet. Apart from comfort and protection, many people also wear shoes for decoration and fashion.

Even though shoes are primarily meant to protect our feet, their design varies from culture to culture, and with every passing day, their design is undergoing versatile changes.

Traditionally, wood, leather, and canvas have been used to make shoes but now even more materials such as plastic, rubber, or petroleum-derived chemicals are also being used for making shoes.

In this article, we will find out the differences between various types of shoes and why exactly they are called by the names given to them. So, let’s get started.

Why are Shoes Called Sneakers

Why Are Shoes Called Sneakers?

The sneaker is a type of athletic shoe designed specifically to be worn while taking part in various sports or performing physical activity.

So, why are shoes called sneakers? Is there any specific reason behind the name for sneakers?

The name sneaker is derived from the term “sneak up” and refers to the fact that these shoes produce no noise while walking on any kind of surface due to their soles, which are mostly made up of rubber.

Traditional leather shoes produce a lot of noise compared to sneakers that are always quiet on the floor. Therefore, it is fairly easy to sneak up on someone without getting noticed by wearing sneakers. Whereas leather shoes will make a lot of noise, and it would be easier to spot the person.

Rubber is used to construct sneakers, making them extra comfortable and flexible.

As we all know friction between the foot and the ground plays a very important role when performing any physical activity, which is why sneakers are designed with rubber material to maximize that friction.

What are the Different Types of Shoes?

Shoes come in a variety of types and styles depending upon the purpose of their usage. For instance, there is a specific type of shoes designed called boots for heavy outdoor work or activity.

On the other hand, there is a type of shoes that are designed to be worn by athletes and those shoes are ideal for running, walking, or any other sport.

Shoes are also designed according to the occasions some shoes can only be worn on formal occasions, while others are good to be worn in any casual wear.

With the advancement in technology, shoe manufacturers are now making shoes for special needs as well such as people with medical conditions like diabetes. The shoe industry is a multi-billion industry, which is fulfilling the demands and needs of every individual.

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What Is The Difference Between Shoes and Sneakers?

The name sneakers are most commonly used in North America, while in Australia and England, the term used for trainers and joggers is shoes.

Some of the differences between the two are:

  • All sneakers are shoes but not all shoes are sneakers.
  • The material used for making sneakers is rubber and synthetic soles, while on the other hand shoes can be made from different types of material.
  • Sneakers being athletic shoes are designed to provide comfort and flexibility whereas shoes are simply casual shoes with no specific needs.
  • Sneakers are durable and comfortable as compared to other types of shoes.
  • Sneakers have a very soft sole which is meant to provide greater comfort required for long-time usage.
  • Shoes are any kind of footwear that are designed to cover the feet, however, sneakers on the other hand are specifically designed to provide better support which not only protects against any muscle or bone injuries but also provides a greater grip and stability required for a number of physical activities such as walking, running, jogging, and training, etc.

What Are The Other Names Used For Sneakers?

Sneakers are known by many different names across the world such as:

  • Trainers
  • Kicks
  • High Top
  • Lows or Low-top
  • Pumps
  • Sneaks
  • Tennis Shoes
  • Runners
  • Canva Shoes
  • Sand Shoes
  • Daps
  • Slip-on Shoes

Why Are Sneakers Also Called As Trainers?

In the United Kingdom, sneakers are most commonly referred to as trainers. The history of tennis shoes goes back to the 18th century when British Navy was looking for shoes that would not slip on the deck and would help them walk steadily on the deck.

Later on, wealthy people started wearing them during sports and people started to call them tennis shoes due to the fact rich people used to play tennis in those shoes, as they needed a pair of shoes that would provide great comfort without damaging the tennis court.

Addidas, Nike, and Puma all came into existence to improve the comfort of tennis shoes.

Why Are Sneakers Also Called As Kicks?

Kick is basically slang used by many people which is influenced by hip hop and skater fashion. This name is most commonly used in urban areas of America in street language to compliment someone with nice shoes.

The slang kick came into being after the expression “kick off your shoes” which simply means that sneaker shoes can easily be taken off without using your hands.

Why Are Sneakers Also Called As High-Tops?

The type of sneakers that rise above the ankle is called high-tops.

These shoes are most commonly used for basketball in which ankles need to be covered to avoid any injury, as the most common bone or joint injury caused during playing basketball is an ankle sprain.

According to a rough estimate, a quarter of all basket injuries are ankle injuries. High-top shoes offer greater ankle support and prevent it from being twisted by strapping the ankle into place.

Why Are Sneakers Also Called As Lows Or Low Top?

The type of sneakers that sit below the ankle is most commonly known as lows. Low-top shoes are known to provide light and less support. They lack the strength and mechanical support which is being provided by high-top sneakers or shoes.

However, low-tops provide more movement of ankle muscles, required by many physical activities or sports for which high-tops are not suitable.

Why Are Sneakers Also Called As Pumps?

Pumps is the name given to the special type of sneakers that comes with a pump function to boost its fit.

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Why Are Sneakers Also Called As Sneaks?

The term sneaks was initially used to explain the warders by the South African prisoners as warders used to wear shoes with rubber soles.

Why Are Sneakers Also Called As Tennis Shoes?

Tennis shoe is another term used by many people to refer to sneakers. Unlike typical sneakers which are made up of rubber and canvas, tennis shoes are made with shock-absorbent material making them tolerant to shock which may be caused during playing tennis.

Additionally, they come with special lateral support which is not provided by casual sneakers or shoes. Moreover, tennis shoes come with less cushioning than casual sneakers.

Why Are Sneakers Also Called As Runners?

Runners come with a slightly higher heel than the ordinary sneaker or shoes, which makes the heel thicker. Wearing runners makes you more vulnerable to ankle sprains due to high heel drops, especially while doing heavy physical activity such as cross-training.

Runners are specifically designed for running which is why they are extremely lightweight as runners do not want to carry any extra weight that would affect their performance.

It has been found that every 100 grams of extra shoe weight wait add an extra minute to the runner’s time. The term runner is most commonly used in Canada, Scotland, and Australia.

Why Are Sneakers Also Called As Canvas Shoes?

Canvas shoes come with a canvas top while casual sneakers come with a top made up of cloth or a synthetic substitute.

Canvas shoes are the most basic type of sneakers, which provide better cushioning than ordinary sneakers or shoes.

Additionally, as opposed to casual sneakers, they are suitable for wearing in winter as well, although they are very lightweight. The term canvas shoes originated from Nigeria and sneakers are still referred to as canvas shoes there.

Why Are Sneakers Also Called As Sand Shoes?

The sand shoe is another name used in Scotland and Australia for sneakers.

Why Are Sneakers Also Called As Daps?

Daps which are also known as dappers are famous in Wales and are named after the literal meaning of the word which is moving quickly and lightly.

Why Sneakers Are Also Called As Slip-on Sneakers?

The slip-on sneaker is another name used for lace-less sneakers, which come with elastic inserts to ensure a great fit whenever worn.

Conclusion: Why are Shoes Called Sneakers?

I would conclude by emphasizing the need for having a perfect pair of shoes that best suit your needs and comfort demands. Although shoes and sneakers serve almost the same purpose, there are a number of factors that need to be considered before making a decision to buy a specific type of shoe or sneaker.

There is a wide range of shoe brands in the market which makes the decision of buying sneakers even more difficult. I would therefore advise you to make a list of your needs and then decide which shoe is best for you.

Both shoes and sneakers provide greater stability, cushioning, comfort, and motion control but their construction is also dependent on the purpose of their use.

I hope this guide has given you a fair idea about how and why these similar shoes or sneakers are called different names in different countries around the world.

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