Charlie's Sneaker FAQ and Glossary - S
This FAQ and Glossary defines a number of terms used in regards to athletic shoes, Charlie, or sneakers.
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- In the book and movie "A Clockwork Orange," the term for sneakers
(and shoes in general) in the "Nadsat" language. Possibly derived
from the Dutch "sabot."
- Salvation Army
- Religious and charitable organization started in the United
Kingdom. Always happy to take sneakers as a donation, even
though they won't fit in their little red kettle.
classic adidas indoor
- A term used in the United Kingdom and New
Zealand to describe canvas sneakers.
Described as such because the earliest styles were worn to the beach.
- Saucony, Inc.
maker of athletic shoes, predominantly
for cheerleading and
- Of course, I (Charlie), being a better
than average software weenie, have implemented
a handy search function for your convenience!
- Second Law of Sneaker Obsolescence
- See "Laws of Sneaker Obsolescence (Second)"
- Sheet-Formed EVA
- An alternate, inferior method of making a sneaker
midsole. EVA is formed into
flat sheets and then cut to the appropriate size. A sneaker made
with sheet-formed EVA is generally not as durable as one
using compression-molded EVA.
- Shell Toes
with a rubber toe cap that has lines stretching outward, resembling the outside case of a
pecten. A pecten is a sea scallop, whose outside case is embodied into a famous
a brand of motor
fuel. The classic "Shell Toes" models are the
Superstar and its high-top
equivalent, the Promodel. However, other
athletic shoe makers have used this toe cap design.
- Slang term in Canadian French for sneakers.
- Sk8 shoes
- Variant nickname for skateboarding shoes.
- Skate shoes
- Variant nickname for skateboarding shoes. Not the same
as skates (shoes equipped with skate trucks and wheels).
- Shoes equipped with skate trucks and wheels. Not the same as
shoes (sneakers designed for use on a
- A platform equipped with skate trucks and wheels. It is used for skateboarding, an
activity that combines characteristics of skating and surfing. When learning
skateboarding, the basic stunt is the ollie.
- Skateboarding shoes
- Specialized sneakers, most frequently suede, intended for riding
a skateboard. The most important characteristics for
skateboarding shoes are excellent traction and strong construction in the
The skateboarding shoe market is notable because it has a number of small,
specialized manufacturers. For what it's worth, more than a few
teenagers have used Chucks and even managed to
- Skateboarding theory (Charlie's)
- As slippering goes out of favor, the popularity of the
skateboard rises to compensate. Therefore, the percentage of sore
bums in the universe remains constant at all times.
- A term used in New York State (particularly by Chinese-Americans) for
store brand sneaker
marketed by Montgomery Ward and Company to Baby
Boomers and the previous generation.
- Stock-Keeping Unit. Retail merchandising jargon for what the aerospace industry would
call a part number. A code number assigned to a particular style,
sometimes in a particular size. Probably the most popular sneaker
SKU over the years is "1-9160" (the
Converse SKU for a black
Taylor" All Star).
nickname for Converse canvas
training shoes of the 1970's: called "skunks" because of the white stripe on the "tail."
athletic shoe cushioning
technology developed by Nike. It involves
placing PU columns under the heel. When looking
at the price, "Sticker Shox" may result.
Technology used similar columns.
- Sizes (unusual)
- See "Unusually Sized Footwear" for
- Sleep Lab
- A medical facility where one attempts to sleep while being tested for
Obstructive Sleep Apnea or being evaluated to
find out whether or not a CPAP machine will work. The
problem with sleeping in a sleep lab is that the patient has about 20 sensors placed on
their head, chest, and legs. In the great majority of cases, there are no needles or
invasive torture gadgets involved. I (Charlie) had two
nights in a sleep lab in August 1998; the first was extremely restless, but I settled down
and slept extremely deeply the second time... I was on successful CPAP
for the first time ever.
- A piece of footwear with a slab upper and a wide strap across the forefoot. I (Charlie) find that they, like flip-flops, fall off too easily. I at least insist on a sport sandal to wear around.
- Slip Last
- An athletic shoe construction
technique; also known as a California
Last. In a shoe using a slip last, there is no stiffening board in the
insole. Results in a shoe with more flexibility and less stability. Alternate
construction techniques include the board last
and the combination last.
- The dark, embarrassing side of a slip-on that nobody
ever wants to talk about in public.
sneaker that stays on the foot not with
nor Velcro, nor a zipper,
but instead friction and sheer luck. An unexpected slip-off
is a real possibility at any time! Probably the most famous slip-ons in the
past twenty years were the checkerboard VANS
worn by Jeff Spicoli in the movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."
- A method of punishment. Most frequently practiced in the United Kingdom but also some of my United States readers admit to having been slippered.
Simply use the bottom of a plimsoll or sneaker to apply a number of vigorous strokes (for a predetermined
number X, the typical British term is "X of the best") to the bum of the
unfortunate, naughty victim. Slippering changes even the
grungiest plimsoll into a highly effective trainer, if you know what I mean. For
the curious who have asked: I (Charlie) have never been involved with a formal slippering, either on the
sending or receiving end! Some of the reports I've received have been:
- One reader reported his mother used the classic Keds Champion sneaker
on his naughty bare bottom when he misbehaved.
- Another report concerned a gym coach
who gave him quite a slippering
with a red low-top Converse
"Chuck Taylor" All Star sneaker.
- Yet another told me that Dr. Scholl's sandals work extremely well for this purpose.
- One guy reported that his irate girlfriend smacked his bottom with a
- Another reported getting whacked by his girlfriend, this time with a
- A report I found on the Internet indicated that a
Teva sport sandal is quite
effective for this purpose.
- Small Star
- A cute name used by Converse
for the Chucks they produce for little boys
and girls... but I'd suspect only the little girls want the Pink
- Smith, Stan (Stanley Roger)
Tennis professional from the United States and an adidas
endorser. Stan was at his prime in the middle 1960's.
- A nickname for sneakers; consider also the term "felony shoes."
- Sneak of the Week
- From what I (Charlie) can tell from
their pace of product introductions, the current Nike
athletic shoe marketing philosophy.
Sneak of the Week infuriates serious (and recreational) runners.
However, also see the "Bowerman
definition (as given in dictionaries published by Houghton
Mifflin and Webster's - Simon and Schuster)
limit the term "sneaker" to a shoe with a canvas upper and a rubber sole for sport
purposes. This definition is inadequate in terms of today's athletic shoe market. My definition would be as
- Upper made of fabric, leather, or similar synthetic
- Outsole made of rubber, plastic, or similar
- Designed for athletic use or informal wear.
I would also claim sport sandals and some hiking boots as being part of
the sneaker market. Some in the sneaker
industry prefer for their products to be called by the more upscale name "athletic shoes."
- Sneaker Brigade
- Women professionals who wear
sneakers on the way to and from
work, then change to uncomfortable (but
professional looking) dress shoes for the daily grind.
- A horde of software weenies engaged in a
massive Sneaker Net operation.
A sneaker that has been optimized for wear in bad, cold, or wet weather.
Some of the optimizations frequently seen are:
- Removal of Buick Ventiports as they allow entry of moisture.
- Upper that goes up higher than the sneaker equivalent, usually to at least high-top level.
- Waterproof or water-resistant uppers (frequently nylon or rubber).
- Sneakers, Cleaning
- Look here for some recommendations for cleaning
- Sneakers, Drying
- Look here for basic instructions for drying
- Sneaker Pimps
- A musical group from the United Kingdom.
- A person who collects an incredible number of sneakers.
I (Charlie) was surprised when the first time I
heard somebody tell me they had over a thousand pairs!
- Taking of ones athletic shoes by force or
violence. Usually, the sneakers in question are
models. Chucks should be relatively safe from
such criminal activity.
- Sneaker Net
- A manual transfer of files from one computer to another computer by moving media from
one machine to another. In the humorous words of Apple Fellow
Guy Kawasaki: "Distributing files by Just Doing
It." (From "The Computer Curmudgeon", ISBN 1-56130-013-1, Hayden Books,
1992, page 151.)
- Sneakers (Bad/Defective)
- See the entry for "Bad Sneakers" for
- An athletic event that the rest of the world calls
Participants, particularly outside the United States,
wear football boots. Participants control the
soccer ball with the feet and the head. Excessive use of the head may
result in brain damage.
- Soccer Boots
Term sometimes used
in the United States for the
athletic shoes worn by soccer
- Soccer Sandals
- A type of sport sandal worn before and after playing
soccer; avoids wearing out soccer boots on
surfaces like concrete.
- An alternate term for the insole of the
sneaker. See the color-coded
sneaker for an illustration.
- Software Weenie
- A worker bee in the software industry; was usually inept in
class. Frequently wears sneakers to
work. This makes a great
deal of sense: the typical software weenie
has historically spent more time
in a year running Sneaker Net than
did playing basketball.
- Soggy sneakers
- A strong indication that wearing a pair of comfortable
hiking boots or sneakerboots
to work would have been a
much better choice on a rainy day instead
of wearing your beloved Chucks. Check here for
information about drying wet sneakers.
- Everything in the sneaker located between the ground and the foot
or sock of the wearer. The sole generally consists of three parts: the
outsole (the portion of the sole
that contacts the ground), the insole (the portion of the
sole that contacts the foot or sock of the wearer), and the
midsole (everything in between).
- South Africa
- A country located in Africa in approximately the same location within Africa as
Texas occupies in the United
States. South Africa has two major problems. First, they learned how to [mis]spell
from the United Kingdom. Secondly, Saudi Arabia
got the mnemonic Internet country designation
".SA"; South Africa got stuck with ".ZA" as their country designation.
- Spat Strap
A strap intended to serve the function of spatting.
- Wrapping adhesive tape around portions of an athletic
shoe in an attempt to improve the shoe's biomechanical properties. Most frequently
practiced by football players. The shoe industry
despises spatting when it covers up the manufacturer's beloved logo, thereby preventing people on television
from seeing the SWOOSH.
- Speed Shoes
- Another nickname for sneakers. Same idea as "go-fasters."
- Athletic shoes, such as used in a
track meet, with sharp, needle-like projections on the
Subject to sales tax during the Texas
Sales Tax Holiday.
- Riding a stationary bicycle. Even the klutziest software
weenie can master it. Has the advantage that it extends the life of expensive and
brightly colored sneakers.
- Sport Sandal
A derivative of the
sneaker for wear in wet
conditions, like rafting rivers. Consists of a sole with the minimum
amount of upper required to keep it in firmly in place. (Sometimes
generically called "Tevas", after the original
brand.) Sport sandals that were once sold by Nike include the pictured
Umpqua, and the Air Wasatch. A sport sandal encirles both the toe and heel, unlike a flip-flop or slide. Also called hiking sandals by Under Armour.
- Sport Sandle
- The type of sport sandal preferred by nine out
of ten addidas wearers.
- Sport Shoes
- Yet another nickname for sneakers.
- Sporting Goods Store
- A place where sneaker fanatics have always spent too much
Frequently full of young people wanting the newest
adidas or Nike
- Sports bra
- The only piece of athletic underwear that can be worn as athletic outerwear.
Many women work out in
the gym with nothing but a sports bra above
their belly button. This is diametrically opposite to jills and
jocks, which are virtually always kept hidden,
hush-hush, and out of sight. Probably the most famous sports bra in history was
a black Nike style being worn by women's
soccer player Brandi
- Former stock ticker symbol for Stride Rite, Inc., maker of
Keds, PRO-Keds, and various other
- Stability Shoes
- A subset of running shoes that
attempt to find a middle ground between motion control technologies and
- Multiple meanings: (a) A term used to refer to outstanding jocks; sometimes
"All Star" or "Superstar."
(b) The logo of Converse
and of Texaco.
products should be kept away from Shell Toes as most will tend to
soften the material.
- In the United Kingdom, a merchant. If they sell
trainers and kit, they would
likely be known as a sporting goods store in the
- Store Brand
A brand of sneakers that can only be purchased from a given merchant. They
can be anywhere from "simply dreadful" to "just as good as
the product of the name brand manufacturer that made them in the first
place." Probably the most successful store brand sneakers were "Jeepers"
from Sears. What many mothers insisted that their
Boomer Boys wear to gym class...
when what they usually really wanted to wear were Chucks.
Compare to "Style, Unique."
- A piece of material (typically fastened with a device like a
fastener) that encircles part of an athletic
shoe. Hopefully, this prevents the need for spatting.
- A name used for the historical Reebok
Also sometimes called The Vector.
meanings: (a) The usual technique used to fasten the
athletic shoe sole to the
upper when foxing is
not used; (b) A cute little blue alien with big ears that would likely eat your
- Strobel Slip Last
- A variation on the slip last where the slip last
is stitched to the upper around the edges.
- Cleats in the
- Athletic shoe industry jargon for a particular
- Style, Unique
Where a retailer (several of the marques in the
Foot Locker group
are the worst violators at this, because they're the big market player) have their own exclusive
that were produced by the leading manufacturers. They won't turn up at
other stores... but I (Charlie) found one at a Nike
Factory Outlet. Also see "store brand."
low-top model of the classic
"Shell Toes" sneakers. (Compare
- The tendency encountered by some runners to have their
feet roll outward while running. In this case, their
athletic shoes can be softer and less resistant to
- Swoopes, Sheryl
- She played basketball for the
late great Houston Comets.
Cynthia Cooper and Sheryl were the
dynamic duo "The Swoop and The
Coop" before Cynthia retired. Notably, she named her son "Jordan."
I guess she expects him to be a great basketball
- A Nike trademark and their
Named for the noise made by the logo on a
Nike sneaker while it zooms past you.
Backward to "R"
Onward to "T"
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Last Updated: 10 December 2018
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Charlie's Sneaker Pages copyright 1995-2023 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.