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The British English equivalent of "sneaker" in its modern form is " trainer ". In some urban areas in the United States , the slang for sneakers is kicks.
Other terms include training shoes or trainers Britain , sandshoes , gym boots or joggers Geordie English in the UK  , running shoes , runners or gutties Canada , Australia and Scotland , daps in Wales , runners in Hiberno-English , sneakers North America and Australia , tennis shoes North American and Australia , gym shoes , tennies , sports shoes , sneaks , takkies South Africa  and Hiberno-English , rubber shoes Philippine English or canvas shoes Nigeria.
Plimsolls British English are "low tech" athletic shoes, and are also called 'sneakers' in American English. In , he used the term because the rubber sole made the shoe stealthy.
The word was already in use at least as early as , as the Boston Journal made reference to "sneakers" as "the name boys give to tennis shoes. Someone wearing sneakers could "sneak up" on someone while someone wearing standards could not. Earlier, the name "sneaks" had been used by prison inmates to refer to warders because of the rubber-soled shoes they wore.
These shoes acquired the nickname 'plimsoll' in the s, derived according to Nicholette Jones' book The Plimsoll Sensation , from the coloured horizontal band joining the upper to the sole, which resembled the Plimsoll line on a ship's hull. Alternatively, just like the Plimsoll line on a ship, if water got above the line of the rubber sole, the wearer would get wet. Plimsolls were widely worn by vacationers and also began to be worn by sportsmen on the tennis and croquet courts for their comfort.
Special soles with engraved patterns to increase the surface grip of the shoe were developed, and these were ordered in bulk for the use of the British Army.
Athletic shoes were increasingly used for leisure and outdoor activities at the turn of the 20th century - plimsolls were even found with the ill-fated Scott Antarctic expedition of Plimsolls were commonly worn by pupils in schools' physical education lessons in the UK from the s until the early s. Foster and Sons designed and produced the first shoes designed for running in ; the shoes were spiked to allow for greater traction and speed.
The company sold its high-quality handmade running shoes to athletes around the world, eventually receiving a contract for the manufacture of running shoes for the British team in the Summer Olympics. Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell won the m and m events, kitted out with Foster's running gear. This style of footwear also became prominent in America at the turn of the 20th century, where they were called 'sneakers'.
In , the U. Rubber Company introduced the first rubber-soled shoes in the country, sparking a surge in demand and production. The first basketball shoes were designed by Spalding as early as During the interwar period , athletic shoes began to be marketed for different sports, and differentiated designs were made available for men and women. Athletic shoes were used by competing athletes at the Olympics , helping to popularise athletic shoes among the general public.
In , a French brand, Spring Court,  marketed the first canvas tennis shoe featuring signature eight ventilation channels on a vulcanised natural rubber sole. Adolf "Adi" Dassler began producing his own sports shoes in his mother's wash kitchen in Herzogenaurach , Bavaria , after his return from World War I , and went on to establish one of the leading athletic shoe manufacturers, Adidas.
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