Charlie's Sneaker FAQ and Glossary - S

This FAQ and Glossary defines a number of terms used in regards to athletic shoesCharlie, or sneakers.


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S T U V W X Y Z #

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.
adidas Samba indoor soccer boot, black with white stripes and trimA classic adidas indoor soccer boot.
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.
Saucony Jazz retro running shoe - black with silver trimMassachusetts-based maker of athletic shoes, predominantly for cheerleading and running.
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
Closeup view of the adidas "Shell Toe" shoe toeA sneaker 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 logo for a brand of motor fuel. The classic "Shell Toes" models are the low-top adidas 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 skate shoes (sneakers designed for use on a skateboard).
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 ollie area. 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 ollie in them.
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 Chucks.
1931 Montgomery Ward "Skips Speed Shoes"A 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 high-top "Chuck Taylor" All Star).
Well-worn pair of Converse Track Training Shoes in a plastic chairA nickname for Converse canvas track training shoes of the 1970's: called "skunks" because of the white stripe on the "tail."
Nike Shox Stunner athletic shoe, white with blue trim and translucent spat strapAn athletic shoe cushioning technology developed by Nike. It involves placing PU columns under the heel. When looking at the price, "Sticker Shox" may result. Draulic Technology used similar columns.
Sizes (unusual)
See "Unusually Sized Footwear" for more information
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.
Nike Air Trainer Escape slip-on in blue with blueprint printingA sneaker that stays on the foot not with laces, 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:
  1. One reader reported his mother used the classic Keds Champion sneaker on his naughty bare bottom when he misbehaved.
  2. Another report concerned a gym coach who gave him quite a slippering with a red low-top Converse "Chuck Taylor" All Star sneaker.
  3. Yet another told me that Dr. Scholl's sandals work extremely well for this purpose.
  4. One guy reported that his irate girlfriend smacked his bottom with a Nike running shoe.
  5. Another reported getting whacked by his girlfriend, this time with a Reebok.
  6. 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 Chucks.
Smith, Stan (Stanley Roger)
The adidas Stan Smith tennis shoe, white leather with dark blue trimTennis 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 Series" shoes.
adidas Ozweego running shoe in white and greenThe classic 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 follows:

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
  1. 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.
  2. A horde of software weenies engaged in a massive Sneaker Net operation.
Black Converse "Chuck Taylor" All Star II sneakerboot A sneaker that has been optimized for wear in bad, cold, or wet weather. Some of the optimizations frequently seen are:
  1. Removal of Buick Ventiports as they allow entry of moisture.
  2. Upper that goes up higher than the sneaker equivalent, usually to at least high-top level.
  3. Waterproof or water-resistant uppers (frequently nylon or rubber).
Sneakers, Cleaning
Look here for some recommendations for cleaning dirty sneakers.
Sneakers, Drying
Look here for basic instructions for drying wet sneakers.
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 Nike Air Jordan 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 further information.
An athletic event that the rest of the world calls football. 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
adidas Samba leather indoor soccer boot, black with white stripes and trimTerm sometimes used in the United States for the athletic shoes worn by soccer players.
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 gym 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 Michael Jordan 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
Nike Shox Stunner athletic shoe, white with blue trim and translucent spat strapA 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 outsole. 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
Nike Air Deschütz Pro sport sandalsA 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 Air Deschütz, Ochoco, Tiyo, 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 money. Frequently full of young people wanting the newest adidas or Nike SKU.
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 Chastain.
Former stock ticker symbol for Stride Rite, Inc., maker of Keds, PRO-Keds, and various other sneaker brands.
Stability Shoes
A subset of running shoes that attempt to find a middle ground between motion control technologies and cushioning technologies.
Multiple meanings: (a) A term used to refer to outstanding jocks; sometimes "All Star" or "Superstar." (b) The logo of Converse and of  Texaco. ADVICE: 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 United States.
Store Brand
1931 Montgomery Ward "Skips" Speed ShoesA 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 Baby 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 Velcro fastener) that encircles part of an athletic shoe. Hopefully, this prevents the need for spatting.
A name used for the historical Reebok logo. Also sometimes called The Vector.
Converse "Pro Star" high-top sneakers in gray with dark blue trimMultiple 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 sneakers.
Strobel Slip Last
A variation on the slip last where the slip last is stitched to the upper around the edges.
Cleats in the United Kingdom.
Athletic shoe industry jargon for a particular sneaker design.
Style, Unique
Nike Live Wire black/green (Foot Locker unique style)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 styles 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."
adidas Superstar basketball shoe, white with red trimThe low-top model of the classic adidas "Shell Toes" sneakers. (Compare to "Promodel.")
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 rolling.
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 player.
A Nike trademark and their logo. Named for the noise made by the logo on a Nike sneaker while it zooms past you.

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Last Updated: 10 December 2018

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Charlie's Sneaker Pages copyright 1995-2024 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.