Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 10:21:41 -0800


Subject: Re: sneakers

During my childhood in southern California, the distinction was quite

clear. "Tennis shoes," at least for boys, were the ubiquitous high-topped,

black-and-white Keds. Maybe another company made similar shoes, but I

don't remember any other brand. At some point, brown ones were introduced

(brown and white instead of black and white). "Sneakers," on the other

hand, were low-topped canvas street shoes, came in colors, and were not

connected with any kind of athletic activity. Later I learned, to my

surprise, that there was also something called a "tennis shoe" that looked

like a sneaker. I think it was worn only by girls or by actual tennis


When I moved to Oregon, I was as surprised (and vaguely irritated) to hear

the old high tops called "gym shoes" as I was to learn of something called

a "gym," an unnatural place for activities that belonged outdoors.

They still make sneakers. The new-fangled things are "Nikes" or maybe

"running shoes," unless you need to be precise.

Peter McGraw

Linfield College

McMinnville, OR