Charlie's Sneaker FAQ and Glossary - H
This FAQ and Glossary defines a number of terms used in regards to athletic shoes, Charlie, or sneakers.
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- Handball Shoe
athletic shoe designed for the sport of
handball. Nearly always features an outsole of
- A basketball shoe cushioning
technology used by And 1. It features a variant on the basic idea of
Nike AIR embedded
- Heaven's Gate
Popular name for a California cult ("Higher Source") that engaged
in mass suicide in March 1997. Extensively noted in the media for wearing black Nike sneakers with spiffy
white SWOOSH logos on
- An inert gas that is lighter than air
(either Nike AIR
or normal breathing air). Predominately sourced from natural gas wells in Texas.
Converse introduced a basketball
shoe with helium in November 1999, followed by a helium-cushioned skate
shoe in 2000.
type of canvas sometimes used to make sneakers,
including the pictured Chucks. Hemp canvas
is more durable than many other materials. Hemp cultivation, even for
fabric, is illegal in the United States
(except for research) because of drug abuse concerns. However, the finished
cloth is legal to import because it contains no active molecules.
- A Reebok trade name for a honeycomb shaped
shock-absorbing material used in many of their athletic
- An alternative term occasionally used for a high-top
A sneaker that extends significantly upward
over the ankle, providing resistance to the foot moving in
all directions. Interestingly
enough, in the boxing world, a shoe that would be called a "high-top"
by most is called a "low-top" boxing shoe. Wrestling shoes are always
high-tops (or very close) by regulation, and the great majority of Baby Boomer basketball
players wore high-tops. The reconnaissance sneaker defined by Military
Specification MIL-S-21257 was a
- High-Top Ankle Patch
A patch (usually with the manufacturer's logo)
on a high-top shoe, that covers the wearer's ankle. A feature of
many classic high-top sneakers,
including Chucks and Pro-Keds.
Traditionally, the ankle patch was on the inside for added ankle
protection. However, some recent shoes have had it on the outside for added
- High-Top Sneakers (Locating)
- I (Charlie) frequently get complaints from those unable to locate high-top
sneakers, particularly for
basketball. Here are some pointers:
- The Converse "Chuck
Taylor" All Star is the original
basketball sneaker and still as
much of a high-top as it ever was. Chucks are popular as weightlifting shoes.
- The Reebok Ex-O-Fit (male) and Freestyle
(female) are widely available and eminently useful for lighter-duty athletic activities.
- New Balance recently added a high-top
model (the BB880 series, in white/black and black/white) to their basketball line.
- Vintage (reissue) adidas models (including high-tops) are
- Some of the models branded as "3/4 high"
are high-tops for all intents and purposes.
- Try the Active Ankle brace... who
needs high-tops with that much protection? Yes... I (Charlie) know that
just don't feel at ease without the traditional "high-top feel."
- Start wearing Otomix shoes or wrestling shoes in the gym
for lower-impact activities. More than a few guys do, and I a while back saw
a really cute young
woman in a pair of ASICS.
- High-Top Sneakers (Market Absence)
- As to the current near-total absence of modern (as opposed to
reissue) high-top sneakers: I (Charlie) suspect that they have been
done in by the results of biomechanical research and modern protective devices like the
Active Ankle brace. Since the ankle deals extremely well with back-and-forth
movement (but can be damaged by excessive side-to-side movement) modern
designs (high-sided, low-backed) provide the best combination of stability
and mobility. Traditional high-tops constrain mobility in directions where
it would be useful, as well as where it is damaging. Traditionalist
may remember the admonition of their old
school basketball coach: "Real basketball players wear
high-tops." However, this statement was more likely than not made when
(which, if you admit, are downright floppy compared to modern designs)
were the state of the art.
- Hill, Grant
Basketball player with the Detroit Pistons. Wears and
endorses Fila athletic
Like walking, but to
a place where one gets away from it all. Performed wearing hiking boots, a type of shoe that was once incredibly clunky but has
become more and more like a sneaker.
- A nickname for basketball. Named for the tiny
(or so it seems when you're trying it hit it, even though
Coach insisted one could put three basketballs
through it at once) round
metal object that basketball players try to shoot the
huge orange ball through.
- Hoop Shoes
- Another nickname for basketball sneakers.
- Natives of Indiana, one of the fifty
United States. Many Hoosiers are hard-core basketball
fanatics. The video of the 1987 movie of the same name, about a small-town
basketball team in Indiana, features a pair of black high-top
Chucks on the dust jacket.
a Mexican sandal with interwoven leather straps. Later on, a series of
Nike athletic shoe
designs that featured huarache-like design elements.
- A trademark of Brooks for a patented
cushioning pad used in their athletic shoes.
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Last Updated: 9 February 2017
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copyright 1995-2017 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.