Hi dear readers, This article on Solsarin is going to give you some information about “why are sneakers called sneakers”.
Why Are Shoes Called Sneakers?
Everyone has probably owned a pair of these shoes to wear for day-to-day activities or a sporting event. I’m talking about sneakers, the footwear of choice for those on the go in one form or another. But where did the term sneakers come from, and was it really about sneaking? (Shoes sneakers)
The origin of the footwear we know as sneakers had its beginnings in an 1862 book titled, Female Life in Prison, By a Prison Matron. In the first volume of the two-volume set of books written by Frederick Robinson about prison life for females in England in the 19th century, Robinson uses the word “sneaks” to refer to the shoes the guards (matrons) use in the prison. Here’s the quote from the original text.
The night officer is generally accustomed to wearing a species of India-rubber shoes or galoshes. These are termed “sneaks” by the women. (Female Life in Prison, 1862)
The use of the word “sneak” didn’t start here, however. The word itself has been around since the 16th century to mean essentially the same thing as it does today, such as to move stealthy or act in a furtive manner, but this 1862 reference was the first to refer to a type of shoe.
Another book out of England twelve years later also referenced the “sneak” as a shoe. James Greenwood wrote the book, In Strange Company, in 1874, and referred to a sneak as a shoe with a canvas top and India-rubber sole. By the turn of the century, the word sneaker was commonly being used in the United States.
The sneaker actually started out as something known as the sand shoe. It was manufactured by the Liverpool Rubber Company in the 1830s. It too had a canvas upper with a rubber bottom. These shoes eventually got the nickname plimsoll shoes in the late 1800s and were named as such because of the Plimsoll line, a line on a ship that indicates the safe, legal load to be carried on a ship. The horizontal band that joined the upper to the sole resembled this line. Incidentally, the Plimsoll line was named for the man who devised it, Samuel Plimsoll.
While these shoes became to be known as plimsolls, their modern usage in the UK today is trainers. The term sneaker somehow found its way across the Atlantic and became the word for this type of shoe in North America.
In the US, the sneaker gained popularity with the Keds brand that was manufactured by US Rubber in 1917. The original name was going to be Peds, but another company had already trademarked it. Keds, and later Converse with their iconic Chuck Taylor sneakers, dominated the sneaker market after this time.
There have been claims, however, that Keds were the first sneakers. An often-cited reference was from an advertising agent named Henry Nelson McKinney who supposedly coined the use of the term “sneakers” in 1917 to describe how quiet the shoes were. This, in fact, was found to be false by Andrew Adams Newman of the New York Times.
Newman discovered that the use of the word “sneakers” had been used in the US as far back as 1887. He found that the Boston Journal of Education had referenced sneakers with the statement, “It is only the harassed schoolmaster who can fully appreciate the pertinency of the name boys give to tennis shoes — sneakers.” A further search discovered that ads for tennis shoes were even being referred to as sneakers in 1889. It became apparent then that the term sneaker was already being readily used in the US before Keds began to dominate the market.
Bonus: Why Are Detectives Called Gumshoes?
While a gumshoe refers to a rubber-soled shoe worn by a detective, and later to refer to a detective, the association is still unclear. The first reference was in 1863, but it didn’t have anything to do with detectives. It instead referred to rubber shoes used in water.
The first mention of it being associated with detective work was in 1906, in a book by Alfred Henry Lewis titled Confessions of a Detective. It’s thought that since the rubber-soled shoes were quiet, this associated it with detective work, but there is nothing that specifically explains why detectives are known as gumshoes.
The History Of Tennis Shoes
You call yourself a tennis fan, but did you ever stop to think about where the tennis shoes
originated? Why are they called tennis shoes in the first place, and who made the first pair? Well, this article plans to give you a history of tennis by focusing on tennis shoes. Let’s get to know why this fantastic athletic shoe was invented.
The First Tennis Shoe
The first pair of tennis shoes had canvas uppers and rubber soles. Designed and manufactured in the early 19th century, the shoes were meant for the British Navy when on their slippery decks. When the shoes came into the market in 1892, they were known as plimsolls.
The shoes were then given the name sneakers because they had no sound when walking. They also did not have a right or a left shoe. This design remained until the late 1960s when different tennis shoe designs became popular as other companies made their versions.
This makes the tennis shoe the original sneaker and athletic shoe in history. But one thing is sure; the original pair is a far cry from what we have today. Todays’ tennis shoes are made for the tennis player, and other shoes are made to accommodate other sportsmen like runners.
The United States Rubber Company started making its tennis shoe brand in 1916. The shoe was rubber-soled canvas shoes known as Keds. The following year, the Converse Rubber Company had its version known as the All-Star shoe.
Nevertheless, the style encountered minimal changes. It was not until the 1960s when many designers started to improve the athletic shoe standard through experimentation. The leading designer during this time was Bill Bowerman.
Bill was the University of Oregon coach. He planned to design a tennis shoe that was lightweight by using nylon instead of canvas to offer the player more traction. He wanted to create a shoe that had a soft inner sole to cater to the runner’s comfort.
Through these improvements, Bill created a company that is today known as Nike. He named the company after the Greek goddess of victory. Companies like Puma and Adidas then started to develop their improved version of the tennis shoe with regards to the player’s needs.
Eventually, tennis stars became involved in the design and manufacturing process, making the humble tennis shoe gain momentum. Today, the tennis shoe has an entirely different feel and look following its deviation from the original version.
The Name Tennis
The rubber soles shoe, commonly referred to as the tennis shoe, was named by the British Navy. The British fleet sailors needed shoes that did not slip or slide on the wet surfaces to wear on the deck. This was in the 1800s.
Wealthy aristocrats then started wearing the shoes to play the most popular sport at the time, tennis. This birthed the name of tennis shoes. In 1839, vulcanized rubber was used to make the soles of the tennis shoes by Charles Goodyear, making them more resistant to heat and stable. This birthed the first athletic shoe until the Keds were introduced in 1900, and later the All-Star in 1917. Adidas made their version in 1931, but by 1930, they introduced leather for the upper instead of canvas.
Adidas sparked the growth of experimentation with material for the shoes. True to their form, in 1970, Adidas had a tennis shoe with a mesh upper, suede on the toe, and a polyurethane outsole, making the shoe more breathable, durable, and comfortable.
In 1980, Nike birthed the new Nike Air Trainer 1 with more lateral support, a heel lift, and a
strap to secure the foot during side-to-side movement. Companies then started to develop more supportive, stable, and comfortable shoes for the player.
Why Tennis Shoes
We call them tennis shoes because the wealthy started to play tennis in these shoes. There was a need for shoes that wouldn’t damage the tennis court and still provide comfort. This is what these shoes offered. Now all other athletic shoes originate from the tennis shoe. sneakers
The desire to improve the first tennis shoe birthed Adidas, Nike, and Puma. Thanks to the
aristocrats who made these heavy rubber-soled shoes famous because they liked to play tennis, we now have the sneaker we call tennis shoes today.