Charlie's Sneaker FAQ and Glossary - B
This FAQ and Glossary defines a number of terms used in regards to athletic shoes, Charlie, or sneakers.
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A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z #
- GALS: Grew up thinking wearing any sneaker
other than Keds was tomboyish, not trendy.
- GUYS: Old enough to have worn Chucks
and considered them high-performance athletic shoes.
Now, they've gotten old many of them need stuff like
and Mobic... too much wear and tear on the old joints!
- Bad Sneakers
- Some thoughts about Bad Sneakers:
- A 1975 song by Steely Dan.
- If you have a pair of BAD sneakers because some commission-hungry sales clerk sold you
something that didn't fit, it's your own stupid fault! The Salvation Army will be happy to take them off your
hands and give you a receipt for tax time.
- But, if they fell apart prematurely, the following will help:
- Converse - Call Converse Consumer
Services on their 800 number for assistance.
- Nike - Nike encourages their retailers
to take back defective shoes. If, for any reason, the retailer is not willing to act, call
Nike on their 800 number for a Return Authorization. Nike then
will examine the shoe and take one of three actions:
- If the shoe is simply worn out (not defective): Return to customer.
- If the shoe is defective, it is replaced, as follows:
- Same size/model if such is available.
- Otherwise, a "comparable model" of the same size, selected by Nike.
- Reebok - Quoting their instructions: " We have made arrangements
with our authorized retailers to exchange or replace a shoe that may be defective. Please
return them to your retailer."
- A financial untimely end for a sneaker company that falls on hard times. There are two different variations for a bankrupt company: Chapter 7 (liquidation) and Chapter 11 (reorganization). A lot of companies try Chapter 11 bankruptcy first, but if it fails they go into Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The most famous sneaker company to go into bankruptcy was probably Converse in 2001, but their assets were acquired by new management. The new company was acquired by Nike in 2003.
- Barkley, Charles
player for the Houston Rockets and former Nike endorser. Nicknames
that can be repeated in proper company include "Round Mound of
Rebound" and "Sir Charles."
Yet another sporting event with its own type of athletic
shoes. Here's what they wore to play baseball
back in 1931. The metal cleats haven't changed a great deal since 1931... but everything in the design above that has kept pace with technical innovation.
- Baseball Boots
- A term used for Chucks by some residents
of the United Kingdom. I (Charlie)
always thought of baseball being a sport that
required cleats of some type.
- Baseball Keds
style from Keds,
designed rather much like a boat shoe, but with
stitching like a baseball. They were first produced
in the late 1990's, then went out of production... to return to the Keds
lineup in 2002 and early 2004 (under the name "Pennant"). They must be popular; they are back in 2017.
- Another sneaker slang term for
takkies or trainers;
around Cape Town, South Africa.
- Basket shoes
- A term sometimes used for basketball shoes. This should be
differentiated from the Puma model named "Basket", which was very similar to the
Puma Clyde except being made
from smooth leather instead of suede.
game that uses a round orange ball and circular nets mounted underneath
hoops; compare to volleyball.
Typically played outside in nice weather, or in overheated
in the winter. Players typically wear tank tops, shorts, and
For Baby Boomer basketball before
1970, the players invariably wore Chucks, as in the
example to the left. My old school buddy Randy
demonstrates how the Baby Boomers played basketball; usually,
but not always, in high-tops. They also
wore real shorts back then, not a male version of
like Michael Jordan wore. Serious market
competition, first from adidas and then
Puma Clydes, came along in the
late 1960's and early 1970's.
- Basketball boots
- In Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom,
and a number of other countries: sneakers for playing basketball. (See "boot.")
- Basketball Sneakers, Charlie's Law of
- Charlie's Law of Teenage Basketball Sneakers states: "There is a
negative correlation between player height and sneaker
price: the shortest teenagers wear the
most expensive basketball sneakers." I (Charlie)
decided this after observing actual teenagers play basketball.
international shoe manufacturer; formally known as the Bata Shoe
Organization. During the 1960's and 1970's, they marketed their sneakers under the
Bata name. The Bata
Shoe Organization now uses the brand name POWER for their athletic shoes.
One of their best remembered models is the Bullet.
- Beach Feet
- An alternative to the sport sandal,
beach feet combine a rubber outsole with a
stretch mesh upper. Nike
calls their version of beach feet the "Aqua Sock."
- A derogatory term used to describe when Nike
acquires a company and makes them too Nike-like. For example, when Nike
bought what was Nike Bauer Hockey and brought out a line of
SWOOSH-equipped hockey skates. On the other
hand, so far, they've resisted the temptation with
- A suburb of Portland, Oregon, USA. Beaverton is sometimes thought to be the center
of the sneaker universe; but the states of California and Massachusetts
also have legitimate claim to that title. Headquarters city of Nike
and adidas USA.
Also the center of the high-class instrumentation universe, as it is also the home of Tektronix.
- Beverly Hills, 90210
popular television show formerly on the
FOX TV Network that lost its basic plot about the time Brandon's 1990 Nike Air Flight
wore out. Based around California teenagers who seem to wear only Nike
sneakers, with the
exception of Dylan. He's a misfit, not simply because he wears black high-top Chucks and the
rest of the cast doesn't. Jennie Garth
(the cute actress in
the picture) also did an aerobics video entitled
"Body Under Construction." Despite the title, it had nothing to do
with nose jobs or plastic surgery.
- Blue Ribbon Sports
- The original name of the company now known as Nike.
Sometimes abbreviated as "BRS" and embedded in Nike shoe terminology (such as the "BRS
- Blue Tips
slang in New York for Converse
Jack Purcell sneakers. Also see "Jacks."
- A term used by software weenies to explain the
speed of certain computer architectures: "If the machine instruction set is
brain-damaged, the computer can
- May describe why runners enjoy
their sport so much.
- A danger in using one's head to deflect a soccer ball.
- Board Last
- A shoe construction technique where a stiffening board runs the length of
the shoe. Results in a shoe with greater stability but lesser flexibility.
Many hiking boots use
board lasting. Most running shoes use
either a combination last or a
- Boat shoes
CVOs. Called "Bobos"
by some in Boston. Also known as "deck shoes."
- In Boston, a term used by some for boat shoes
or an insulting term for cheap generic tennis shoes. Some Boston natives deny being familiar with the term, but they were
women... I know several
men who use the term.
- In New Jersey, a
derogatory term used for cheap generic tennis
Footwear, typically brown leather, that a resident of the United States would wear for outdoor activities such
as hiking or just to dress casually at work. However, residents of Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and other countries sometimes use
this term to refer to their sneakers, or the trunk end
of a Ford.
- The process of fastening the upper,
outsole together during the
assembly process. Performed either by stitching or
- Bowerman, William J. ("Bill")
- Track coach at the University of Oregon from 1949 to 1972.
- Co-founder (with Philip Knight) of Blue Ribbon Sports, later renamed Nike,
- His doctors determined (when they thought that Bill was coming down with multiple
sclerosis) that certain now-banned sneaker glue
compounds (particularly n-hexane) were causing his neurological damage.
- The Nike World
Headquarters is located on Bowerman Drive in Beaverton, Oregon.
- Bowerman Series
A marketing plan at Nike to keep
the runners happy. Shoe designs in the
Bowerman Series reportedly will remain unchanged for 12 to 18 months.
However, Nike has warned they may periodically change
colorways using the Sneak
of the Week philosophy.
- Abbreviation for "Blue Ribbon Sports," the
original name of the company co-founded by Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight and now known as Nike.
original Nike low-top
- An athletic shoe company headquartered in Washington State, best known for making shoes for runners.
- Shoe industry abbreviation for "Back To School." Many need new
gym class or just for kicks.
- California 1970s slang for cheap
- Buick Ventiports
A styling feature found on
automobiles for many years; ventilation portholes at the back of the engine
compartment, ostensibly intended to keep the engine cool.
By extension, the ventilation eyelets on Chucks and
some other sneakers. I (Charlie)
am not sure whether
either set of Buick Ventiports ever worked as intended.
sold by Bata in the United States in the days that
Baby Boomer Boys
were buying their sneakers; apparently still in production overseas. I (Charlie) remember that Bata Bullets had their devoted fans.
- Bumper Boots
- A term occasionally used by residents of the United
Kingdom to refer to sneakers like Chucks.
- Buying sneakers
- To find a sneaker that is unavailable locally, try mail order.
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Last Updated: 29 May 2017
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copyright 1995-2019 by Charles L. Perrin.
READERS PLEASE NOTE: Names of athletic shoe manufacturers, shoe styles, and
technologies may be trademarked by the manufacturers. Charlie's Sneaker Pages uses these names solely to describe the shoes with the same familiar
nomenclature used by the manufacturer and recognized by the reader.