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The UK's most popular trainers and what we call them

The UK’s slang words for trainers

June 6, 2018

Have someone ever used a word or phrase that sounds odd or just plain wrong to you? It tends to be a regional thing and usually applies to everyday stuff like paths between houses and the correct word for round bread (let’s not go down that road though).

At Get The Label we wanted to know if what people called trainers varied by region, so we asked people from all over the country. The results are…interesting:

The UK as defined by slang words for trainers

(Click to enlarge)

What the big cities call trainers

We already know that adidas trainers are among the most popular choice in the UK, but when it comes to what we call them we’re a nation divided!

Londonders are all about fresh creps and words derived from brands or specific styles of shoe such as Js, Bockers, Jordans, Chucks and Nikes.

In the South East, you’re most likely to hear trainers called creps or kicks, while in the West Country you’re more likely to hear them referred to as kicks or daps, “though I did hear someone call them wheels the other day.”

In Cardiff trainers are called kicks or sneakers, but “the further North you go they call them daps, but not here in the city centre!”

Through the Midlands, you’ll encounter a mixture of words for trainers including treads, kicks and creps – plus plain old ‘trainers’. Over in the East, the influence from London has spread – trainers are called creps and kicks over there.

Scousers are all about trainees, trabs and webs, but over in Cheshire it’s spikes. The Manchester crowd go for treads instead and over in West Yorkshire we’ve got reports of sneans, rides, slicks and slides being used.

Further North though, they tend not to follow the slang route and generally just call ‘em trainers: “We use trainers or maybe trainees, but not those Americanised words.”

So the North – South divide is pretty clear: the further North you go, the less slang there is.

Over in Ireland, trainers tend to be called gutties in the North and runners in the Republic, though yokes is also used. 

It’s Scotland that wins our award for the most inventive slang names for trainers. You could hear them called sannies, baffies, teckies or trotters depending where you are!

It’s not just us Brits that have inventive words for trainers either. Over in Holland they’re called gympies while in Eastern Europe they tend to use sneakers. In South Africa, trainers are known as tackies – a word they use in the Republic of Ireland too. Let us know about any more in the comments!

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What do YOU call trainers?

Where do slang words come from?

A few have their origins from sport; kicks was used in the ‘80s to describe basketball trainers and cleats are a reference to the mud cleats on (American) football shoes. The word spikes was originally referring to the spikes on track shoes.

underside of a running shoe

Creps, on the other hand, probably stemmed from the word crept as the term sneakers itself was given to rubber-soled shoes because of how quiet they are.

And we can thank Pharrell, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg and other hip hop legends for bringing this slang into the mainstream as well as spawning a whole new branch of brand-oriented slang like Jordans, Nikes and Chucks.Snoop Dogg

As for the rest, we can only speculate!

Whatever you call them, Get The Label have got ’em at a great price. Check out our bestsellers from across the UK or shop all below.

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