Charlie's Sneaker FAQ and Glossary - A

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


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A3
adidas a3 Cub athletic shoe (white with silver trim)An adidas cushioning technology that uses a midsole with multiple cylinders.
 
 
ABZORB
A trademark for a cushioning material developed by New Balance and used in their athletic shoe products.
 
ACE
"All-Cotton Elastic." A trademark for a type of bandage material made by 3M. The ACE product line used to feature jocks but they have dropped that product.
 
ACE Bandage
A bandage (made of ACE material) sometimes used to compress and support a sprained ankle.
ACG
Nike Air Mowabb ACG shoe (black, reddish brown, orange)See "All Conditions Gear."
 
 
Achilles tendon
A feature of the human anatomy, derived from the story of the death of Achilles in Greek mythology. Paris shot Achilles in the heel, as this was his only vulnerable spot. The term refers to the tendon at the back of the heel. Sometimes, sneakers tend to rub and irritate the skin around this area.
 
Achilles tendon notch
Converse Premium Al Star in dark blueThe "Achilles tendon notch" can be seen as the notch in the back of the heel in this picture. This notch can help decrease irritation of the area around the Achilles tendon.
 
Active Ankle
ACTIVE ANKLE brand ankle braceA trademark for an ankle brace made by Active Ankle Systems. The Active Ankle brace is a hinge and pad structure designed to let the ankle go back and forth easily, while strongly resisting side-to-side motion. Its development seems to be concurrent with the decline in demand for most high-top athletic shoes. I (Charlie) wish they would have had it for Baby Boomers. Gym class would be less synonymous with ankle damage!
 
adidads
Athletic shoe brand preferred by customers who know "addidas" isn't the right spelling but still haven't mastered the art of spelling "adidas" correctly.
 
addidas
Sneaker brand preferred by customers who love adidas but never mastered the art of spelling it correctly.
 
adidas
adidas Marathon Trainer running shoe in blue with yellow trimGerman athletic shoe manufacturer. Their name is a contraction of the nickname of their founder, Adi Dassler; his brother Rudolf founded Puma. The National Sporting Goods Association inducted Adi into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame, but not Rudolf. The adidas athletic shoe models generally share three stripes and (in the old school models) a Trefoil logo. The Rod Laver tennis shoe is the major exception to the "three stripes" design.
 
adidas [buying hard-to-find styles]
A number of mail-order suppliers carry adidas sneakers. The following are worth special notice: Classic Sports Shoes (free shipping on orders over $99.95) and Harput's (incredible selection, but you pay for shipping).
 
adidaz
Brand of shoes preferred by those who know it's not addidas, or even adidads, but haven't yet learned to spell adidas! Before you ask, I [Charlie] get asked for all the above!
 
A. D. One
Sneaker company started by Adi Dassler, the grandson of adidas founder Adi Dassler. Also see 81 Shoes.
 
Aerobic shoes
Reebok Freestyle retro aerobic shoesLike "gym shoes," a phrase that makes no sense. The word "aerobic" means "uses air." Sneakers, being 100% dead, never used air and never will. Of course, this statement excludes Nike AIR which is really an inert gas.
 
A term used to describe the athletic shoes typically worn by women for aerobic dance: the Reebok Freestyle and its technologically improved successors. When the athletic shoe manufacturers sell them to men, they use the term "fitness" shoe. A pair of really heavy high-tops would likely increase ones cardiovascular conditioning (and probably exhaustion) level even faster than a so-called "fitness" shoe.
 
Aglet
The (usually) plastic coating at the tip of sneaker laces that makes it easier to pass the lace through the eyelets. Also called an ornament or a tag.
 
AIR
Nike Air More Tempo basketball shoe, black with white trimA Nike trademark for a patented cushioning system based on an inert gas encapsulated in polyurethane plastic. The first NIKE AIR patent (US Patent 4219945) expired in 1997, which means that competing shoe companies may develop similar technologies. Converse brought out a helium-based system in November 1999. Subsequent enhancements to the basic AIR technology include Air Max, Air Max 2, Tube AIR, Tuned AIR, VisiZoom AIR, and Zoom AIR.
 
Air Carnivore
A cross-training shoe sold by Nike in the 1993 time frame. Ironically, despite the name, the Air Carnivore was completely vegetarian.
 
Air Huarache
Nike Air Huarache running shoe, green/blueAn athletic shoe series sold by Nike around 1992. Remarkable for its minimalist (most specifically, sport sandal-like) construction details.
 
Air Jordan
Air Jordan 9 in white with gray and blue SWOOSH (Wizards color scheme)An athletic shoe made by Nike but marketed essentially as a separate brand. Recent models have the JUMPMAN logo in lieu of the Nike SWOOSH. Named after Michael Jordan, basketball player (though not all models with the Air Jordan name are basketball shoes; the 1998 Air Jordan Trainer was more like a wrestling shoe than anything else).
 
The Air Jordan line is a relatively small portion of the sales of the sneaker industry, but it gains most of the news coverage. For example, Air Jordan models go on the shelf on Saturdays so that teenagers have no reason to play hooky from good old school to get the highly coveted kicks. Despite their attention, other brands and models almost always have higher sales volumes: some styles mentioned in the press over the years as outselling the Air Jordan include various Charles Barkley Nike models, the FILA Grant Hill, the Nike Air Max Triax, the Converse "Chuck Taylor" All Star and even the Nike Air Deschütz sport sandal.
 
 
Air Max
Nike Air Max Triax running-training shoe, 1996 versionA term used by Nike for shoes with extra-large AIR components.
 
 
Air Max 2
Nike Air Max 2 technology as explained by Nike (on the inside of a shoebox)A term used by Nike for shoes with extra-large AIR components, featuring two separate AIR chambers: an inner, low-pressure chamber (for cushioning) combined with an outer, high-pressure chamber (for stability).
 
 
Air Republican
A possible future Nike sport sandal model, named in honor of the Republican River of Kansas. Kansas is the home of Bob Dole, where it seems appropriate that even the rivers are Republican. As far as I can determine, the Democratic Party has no namesake body of water; location information welcomed.
 
Airwalk
A California-based sneaker manufacturer, best known for the Jim shoe and skate shoes.
 
Allah
Means "The God" in Arabic; the word "Allah" is usually associated with Islam, but Arabic-speaking Christians also use the same word. In their 1997 model line, Nike created a series of sneaker models where the word "AIR" was intended to look like it was on fire. The resulting graphics looked like the Arabic writing for "Allah." Nike eventually recalled the offending sneakers. I (Charlie) have seen some of them turn up with the "burning AIR" graphics covered up by a piece of adhesive backed material with a non-offensive SWOOSH on it. Unfortunately, the material falls off. That's how I found out about it... somebody's SWOOSH sticker came off, and I noted they had a "burning AIR" on the left and a "SWOOSH" on the right! The "Air Bakin" model even had the name on the outsole where it was guaranteed to be extremely offensive to religious readers of Arabic. Other models in this line included the "Air Melt", "Air Grill" and the "Air-B-Que"
 
All Conditions Gear
Nike product terminology for hiking boots, sport sandals, and apparel designed for rugged outdoor activities. Frequently abbreviated "ACG."
 
All Day I Dream About Sex
Humorous (but untrue) acronym for "adidas." Slang used by teenagers in certain regions of the United States, considerably predating the album "Life is Peachy" by the musical group Korn. The album featured a song titled "A. D. I. D. A. S." based on the acronym. Also see All Day I Dream About Soccer.
 
All Day I Dream About Soccer
Another humorous (but untrue) acronym for "adidas." A G-rated version of All Day I Dream About Sex.
 
Allergies
Hypersensitivity reactions can occur to almost any material. People on the alt.clothing.sneakers newsgroup have reported that Keds contain natural latex rubber. Natural latex allergy sometimes develops in individuals exposed extensively to medical supplies. Most CPAP masks, however, use medical-grade silicone or medical-grade vinyl.
 
All Star
Converse "Chuck Taylor" yellow high-topThe original Converse canvas basketball sneaker, autographed by Chuck Taylor (on the circular ankle patch on the high-top version, and on the heel patch up through the 1970s). Sometimes still seen in the gym, a classic for leisure wear, and almost mandatory for punk rock fans and the cast of the musical West Side Story. Converse used to state in their SEC filings (when they traded as a separate company) that the All Star was the best-selling sneaker of all time. The One Star is quite similar, but in leather.
 
Alpha Project
A term used by Nike for their cutting-edge styles; akin to Rbk styles at Reebok. Some Alpha Project products on this Web site include the Air Deschütz (some years' models) and the Air Presto.
 
Ancient Sneakers
They are basically "where-is, as-is." There are cases where absent-minded shopkeepers pass away and their family finds that they inherited a cache of ancient sneakers but it's the proverbial needle in the haystack. I (Charlie) say to forget trying to get some: after all, all the Baby Boomers have been ruined for old canvas and rubber sneakers by wearing way too much comfy Nike AIR.
 
Ankle
1. A joint above the foot. Intended to go back and forth, but can be made (painfully) to go from side to side. Excess side-to-side motion results in a condition known as a "sprain." Unpleasant but useful; keeps one out of gym class for several days.
2. The location of the ankle is approximately where the star is on a pair of Converse "Chuck Taylor" All Star sneakers.
3. A part of the body that Baby Boomers were told to grab in the old school days when activities like slippering were a regular part of the curriculum.
 
Ankle Patch
See "Chuck Patch" and "High-Top Ankle Patch."
 
Anthro
A cushioning methodology used by POWER in their athletic shoes. It consists of one of six plastic plugs that are inserted in a slot cut into the midsole. The designers intended that the end user select the plug that provides the best combination of cushioning and stability (or a tradeoff between the two).
 
Artificial Turf
Carpet-like material developed because the grass in The Astrodome died. Usually known by the name Astroturf, even though that is the brand name of its original manufacturer.
 
Artificial Turf Shoe
Nike Air Pro Turf Destroyer football shoe in white with black trimSpecialized cleats with numerous tiny projections on the outsole. However, some football players prefer basketball shoes (including Air Jordan models and even high-top Chucks) on artificial turf.
 
 
ASA Mask
What users in over 80 countries outside the United States should call the Aspirin Mask. The mask does not require the Bayer AG trademarked product. Generic acetylsalicylic acid tablets work even better. Bayer Aspirin has a coating on it that slows down dissolving just enough that users don't get that icky "aspirin taste" in their mouth.
 
ASICS
ASICS Top Seven shoeIf you think "application-specific integrated circuits," you need to spend more time in the gym and less being a software weenie. ASICS is the name of a Japanese athletic shoe company founded by Kihichiro Onitsuka. The name is an acronym for the Latin "Anima Sana in Corpore Sano," which means "A Sound Mind in a Sound Body." It must work. After all, they didn't bring in the Unabomber wearing ASICS.
 
Aspirin Mask
A simple, very inexpensive procedure frequently recommended on the USENET alt.fashion newsgroup to help improve skin imperfections. IMPORTANT NOTE: DON'T TRY THIS IF YOU CAN'T TAKE ASPIRIN OR OTHER SALICYLATES, AS IT MAY CAUSE AN UNEXPECTED REACTION! For example, it can be used on the feet to help improve rough, calloused skin so things look really good for sport sandal season.

NOTE: Readers outside the United States should note that in many countries, Aspirin is a brand-name product of Bayer AG. If available, try  inexpensive acetylsalicylic acid tablets instead. They are typically known as "ASA tablets."

The instructions:
  1. Take a cotton ball or pad (one alt.fashion reader praises the Swissper cotton pad for this purpose) and moisten with fairly warm water.
  2. Take one or two tablets (the tablet must be acetylsalicylic acid; Tylenol works great for pain and fever, but not an aspirin mask... also forget ibuprofen and ketoprofen.... also your left-over Feldene and Vioxx) and place on top of the cotton ball. Don't use a "coated" aspirin, such as that Bayer markets;  it doesn't dissolve rapidly. Several readers of alt.fashion mentioned Kmart aspirin is cheap and dissolves quickly. Others mentioned that aspirin-based headache powder is pricey but it dissolves instantly.
  3. Rub gently against the skin area. If the aspirin won't break up with warm water and gentle rubbing, smash it first.
  4. Allow the aspirin-water mixture to sit for about 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse well.
  6. It seems to work best if used no more than twice a week. More than that tends to be irritating.

Many expensive skin care preparations contain ingredients such as salicylic acid. Aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid, which is chemically closely related. Aspirin was developed because it had the pain-relieving properties of salicylic acid, but it wasn't as hard on the GI tract. However, scientists have found that one of the metabolic products of acetylsalicylic acid is salicylic acid. The "sometimes hard on the stomach" is partly because of cyclooxygenase-1 inhibition, not the acidity of aspirin.

 
Assembling Sneakers

The final steps in the assembly process are inserting the insole and adding any laces.

 
Astrodome, The Reliant
Officially, it's the "Harris County Dome Stadium," but people look at you funny if you call it that. Groundbreaking indoor stadium named after (Houston electric company Reliant Energy) located in Houston (Harris County, Texas, USA). Former home of the Houston Astros baseball team; they  now play at Minute Maid Park (formerly Astros Field, and before that Enron Field). Of interest to athletic shoe fanatics because it resulted in the development of the artificial turf shoe. Anyone who drives down Interstate 610 in Houston should note that the exit signs state "Dome Stadium" and not "Astrodome."
 
Athletic shoe
A high-class name for the sneaker.
 
AVIA
AVIA 830 high-top basketball shoeAn athletic shoe brand that was popular in the 1980s, disappeared from production from a while, and is returning old favorites to the market in the 2002-2003 time frame. Once owned by Reebok, but no more. The Cantilever outsole is a distinctive AVIA design characteristic.
 
 

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Last Updated: 18 April 2012 11:32


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Charlie's Sneaker Pages copyright 1995-2012 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.