Athletic Shoe: Definitions for the Clothing & Footwear Industry

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An athletic shoe is a generic name for a shoe designed for sporting activities. They were originally sporting apparel, but are today worn much more widely as casual footwear. It can also go by the name sport shoe, running shoe, gym shoe, tennis shoes, sneakers (American English) or trainers (British English).

Use of athletic shoes

The term athletic shoes is used for shoes for running, basketball and tennis (amongst others) but tends to exclude shoes for sports such as football (soccer) and rugby, which are generally called "boots".

The shoes themselves are made of flexible material, typically featuring a sole made of rubber. While the original design was basic, manufacturers have since tailored athletic shoes for the different purposes that they can be used for. An example is the spike developed for the shoe soles for running.

Athletic shoes have also been tailored for the casual market, and are popular especially with young people. The terms sneakers and trainers tend to be associated more with the casual use of atheltic shoes. The term sneaker was first used in 1916 by the United States Rubber Company for the Keds brand, because rubber soles made the shoes quiet. Trainer is a shortening of the phrase training shoe.

These casual shoes are derivatives of shoes worn, and endorsed, by athletes as well as other celebrities. The market for casual athletic shoes is quite large leading to a lot of competition between companies, and their eagerness to sign up celebrities to endorse their products. Popular brands include Nike, Adidas, PUMA, Reebok, Converse and Fila.

Cultural uses of athletic shoes

In urban areas, a pair of sneakers tied together and hanging on telephone lines have several meanings. The common legal meaning is that the area is a place where drug dealers are selling their drugs, or where a gang is hanging around.

Learn more about shoes.

See also

Sneaker footwear

The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ( 1/23/06

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