Sneakers / Sneaker: Definitions for the Clothing & Footwear Industry

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are footwear of flexible material, typically featuring a sole made of rubber. Sneakers were originally sporting apparel, but are today worn much more widely as casual footwear. They are now very popular, especially with young people. The British English equivalent of "sneaker" is "trainer" in its modern meaning, however the traditional "sneaker" (pictured) is closer to the British "plimsoll".


The term "sneaker" itself was first used in 1916 by the US Rubber Company for the Keds brand, because rubber soles made the shoes less squeaky.

The British English term "trainer" derives from "training shoe".

Popular Brands

Popular brands include Adidas, Converse, New Balance, Nike, PUMA and Reebok.

Learn about collectible sneakers in our footwear terminology section.


The first "sneaker" was invented in 1893. It was made of canvas and was invented so boaters would not have to wear dress shoes when they were on deck.

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