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Glossary – The Sneaker Anatomy, breaking down kicks

Glossary – The Sneaker Anatomy, breaking down kicks
High-tops! Midis! Low-cuts! What are the components that make sneakers different and appeal to a broad spectrum of people. Sneakers are more than just the brands and the big names that endorse them. I am going to try and break them down for you. At first glance, one would wonder how complex a sneaker can be? We all wear them for one occasion or the other, if not for the sheer comfort that they present. 

While considering get a new pair of kicks I decided that colour would not be the only thing I consider, and opted to do a little research on this piece of footwear. I embarked on an unexpected journey, filled with discovery around the big names behind the shoes not just limited to the athletes and the rappers that endorse them. From the classics, the lifestyle and the performance kicks an equal amount of research and development (R&D) goes into every shoe to ensure that it appeals to the intended target market. Multidisciplinary teams comprised of engineers, designers, architects, marketers and athletes are involved in sneaker production.

Without getting bogged down into the details of the sneaker production process, let me break down the sneaker for you. I will provide terms commonly used to refer to sneaker components. It’s necessary to know these by heart! The next time you come across a sneaker, you should be equipped to describe portions of it with mastery! Of course you also get to impress your friends with your sneaker geek status.

  1. Toe Box

This is usually creased up part of worn sneakers. This portion of the sneaker is found at the front of the sneaker. It can be made into many shapes depending on the style of sneaker. It’s usually stitched around the edges and usually has some tiny dots to keep your shoes from collecting heat. It can also be made out from various fabrics such as suede, leather, nubuck etc.

  1. Tongue

The basic tongue is normally found under the laces to secure a good fit for the person wearing the sneaker. It’s the main part that is found in the middle of the shoe which is usually made fat or extra padded for comfort and protection, the tongue gives the sneaker its character. As of lately this portion of the sneaker has evolved with things such as the inner sock technology made popular by Nike Huarache line.

  1. Ankle Support

This portion of the sneaker is used to support the ankle. This is often found on the high-top sneaker models. Ankle supports are not typically seen on many sneakers today, but it was very popular in many basketball sneakers released in the 80s and 90s.

  1. Side panel and heel patch

This is the most visible part of the shoe, where the designs, logos and other ornaments are placed. This is also the portion that leads to the shoe lace holes. This part is the most identifiable part of the sneaker.

  1. Innersole

Usually unseen part of the sneaker. The flat piece where your foot rests, other designers turn it into a canvas with artwork and graphics to round out the shoe. Over many years this portion of sneakers has evolved in so many ways. The purpose of this section of the sneaker is mainly to provide comfort, cushioning and stability for the person that is wearing it.  Some of the main features of the innersole are the heel cup and arch support.

  1. Eyelets

Eyelets are a very common section amongst most sneakers and are used for speed lacing to add more stability. Sometimes you may come across eyelets being referred to as “eyestays” in certain circumstances.

  1. Shoelaces

These are used to tighten the sneaker and hold the shoe in place.

  1. Outsole

This portion of the sneaker is usually stitched or bonded securely to the sneaker. You will find that hard-wearing rubber is usually used.  As you can imagine depending of the type and style of the sneaker there is a different type of outsole used for the sneaker. It’s the bottom of the shoe, where usually the pivot point comes in, usually logos are embedded on the shoe.

  1. Midsole

This is a very important portion of the sneaker because it usually where some of the most innovative sneaker technology is located. This portion of the shoe carries most of your weight. It gives off comfort and usually is a victim to paint chipping, it’s the comfort zone of the shoe. It is located between the upper and the outsole of the sneaker.

  1. Forefoot

Section is located at the front of the sneaker, under the ball of the foot. Various manufacturers design flexible grooves here to give the sneaker different ranges of motion for comfort and performance.

  1. Heel

This is found at the back of the sneaker. It is at this location of that the manufacturers put their cushioning technology. Example…Nike Air Visible Unit.

Armed with this knowledge, be sure to show off your understaning of sneaker parts.

Artcle by: GE

Post by shangoo Admin


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