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The running shoe has a lot of different names associated with it, and I'm beginning to find out that what you call them may depend on where you're from.
Being a corn-fed Midwest boy, I always called athletic shoes "tennis shoes" whether they were to be worn by Andre Agassi or not. We often called them "tennies" for short, which has since drawn heckles by new west-coast friends of mine.
So what do you call the shoes you wear on your feet when you go run? Sneakers? Tennis shoes? Running shoes? Athletic shoes? Athletic footwear? Gym Boots? Something else entirely?
When I was in college, I had a running buddy from Chicago. Before every run, we'd have the great debate. I'd call them sneakers. She'd call them tennis shoes. I'd tell her over and over "We aren't going to play tennis! We are going for a run! I am terrible at tennis!"
I still stand strong behind my notion of calling them sneakers. Or running shoes. They are shoes that I wear when I go for a run. I still don't play tennis.
P.E. Shoes. Growing up here in SoCal, P.E. was the only time we ever had to wear 'em. Flip flops forever!
Sneakers are the next acceptable term. But never tennis shoes.
Growing up in Brooklyn NY, we called them sneakers. That what they call them here in Massachusetts too. When I was a kid back in the stone ages, your choice was Keds or PF Flyers.
Plan your run and then run your plan.
I also grew up in NYC and then New England, and we always called them sneakers too. After I moved to California, athletic shoes were more differentiated - running shoes for running, aerobics shoes for aerobics classes, and crosstraining shoes for all-purpose.
@ 5K: Ontario Mills Run, Ontario, CA, 25:19
@ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker Run, Los Angeles, CA, 51:44
I'm from the northern Rockies (where soda is "pop"), and growing up we called any casual (i.e., cheap) athletic shoes "tennis shoes" or just "tennies" even though they weren't specifically for tennis. (Last year I started playing tennis with my husband and bought a pair of real tennis shoes, so I had to adjust my terminology!) But the term "sneakers" has always bugged me for some reason... like saying "jogging" instead of running. To me, running shoes are their own category, and that's what I call them.
I used to call anything that was athletic "sneakers" but now that I run I realize that running shoes have thier own place, so to call them sneakers would be to put them in the same category as my adidas shells or hiking sneakers. So my running shoes are called just that "running shoes".