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Why are Sneakers Called Sneakers?

Most of us wear them every single day. It is likely you have multiple pairs in different styles and colours too! But have you ever thought to yourself as you lace up your favourite pair: ‘why are sneakers called sneakers?’.

The Etymology of Sneakers 

The term ‘sneakers’ has actually been a coined term since the 1880’s. The Boston Journal referred to sneakers as the word used at the time by boys to describe tennis shoes, noting how quiet the soles were on the surface. In comparison, hard leather shoes were quite noisy! Therefore, somebody could ‘sneak up’ on somebody else with these shoes, whereas someone in leather footwear would be heard and most likely spotted. It was then in 1917 that American advertising agent Henry Nelson McKinney utilized the term sneaker because of how well the rubber sole made the wear stealthy.

You can explore the history of sneakers here, including their origin, founders, and how they boomed into mainstream culture.

What Other Names Do Sneakers Have? 

Sneakers have so many different names. For example, in the United Kingdom, sneakers are known as trainers. But, it doesn’t stop there…

  • High-tops: Shoes that rise above the ankle.

  • Kicks: Sneakerhead term/slang influenced by hip-hop and skater fashion.

  • Lows: Low-top shoes that sit below the ankle.

  • Pumps: A special type of sneaker with pump function to boost fit.

  • Sneaks: Originally used by prison inmates to describe warders because of their rubber-soled footwear.

  • Tennis Shoes: Common term for this style of footwear.

  • Trainers: The UK equivalent of sneakers.

Introducing Giesswein Sneakers 

At Giesswein, wool is our game. Our wool sneakers range covers everyday wear, running, as well as high performance sports. Whether you’re after fashion or activewear, our women’s sneaker and men’s sneaker collections have something to please all.

Blue sneakers from Giesswein

Our 100% wool sneakers ensure your feet are warm in winter, and cool in summer thanks to the natural wool properties. Plus, our unique 3D stretch technology means we’ve crafted wool runners that work amazingly well as a running shoe, or as a day-to-day sneaker.

Who are Giesswein?

We are a family founded business now run by third generation Giessweins. It’s our mission to reinvent the positive attributes of wool to create unique products that you will love at first sight. We pride ourselves on hand-picking wool qualities in accordance with high ethical and ecological standards. With our wool knowledge, we’ve become Europe's largest producer of 100% virgin wool clothing which includes men’s, women’s, and children’s ranges spanning footwear, clothing, and more.