The term sneakers can refer to many forms of athletic shoes with rubber soles. It may not apply specifically to certain types of athletic shoes that are designed for some applications. For instance soccer or football shoes might be called cleats instead, and some people make a distinction between sneakers and cross-trainers or running shoes. Others call most athletic shoes with rubber bottoms sneakers, daps, gym shoes, tennies, sport shoes or additional other names.
A common question about sneakers is how they got their name. When they were first mass-marketed by the Keds® company in the early 1900s, an advertising agent came up with the common title. Henry Nelson McKinney called these rubber bottom shoes sneakers because they made little noise on hard surfaces, and a person could sneak up on someone else without having his shoes heard. At the time, most shoes had hard soles and so the difference between the sound of soft-soled shoes and other shoes with hard soles must have been quite noticeable.
Shoe is a generic term for all footwear worn by men and women while sneaker is a term reserved especially for athletic shoes. ... Sneakers are meant for comfort and physical activities and considered casual shoes whereas those made with leather are considered formal.
The name "sneakers" originally referred to how quiet the rubber soles were on the ground, in contrast to noisy standard hard leather sole dress shoes. Someone wearing sneakers could "sneak up" on someone while someone wearing standards could not.
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