Tenny Runners (tennis shoes) (1965)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Sep 22 15:08:34 UTC 2006


The only terms I recall hearing in NYC in the '50s were "sneakers" (mostly for the low-quarters but applicable to either), "tennis shoes" (low-quarters only), and "gym shoes" (almost exclusively the high-quarters). "Basketball shoes" may have been in use for the "hightops" (is that a recent coinage?) but I'm not sure.

  US Keds were the prestige brand, but PF Flyers had their aficionados too.

  There was a superstition, supposedly based on some weird parental injunction, that if you wore sneakers too often, your eyesight would deteriorate, eventually to the point of blindness "because of the rubber in the soles."  The hightops had thicker soles and were therefore more dangerous and "macho" (another unknown word at the time: there was no concise synonym).

  I will leave to more experienced Freudians the explication of all that.

  JL


"hpst at earthlink.net" <hpst at EARTHLINK.NET> wrote:
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Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "hpst at earthlink.net"
Subject: Re: Tenny Runners (tennis shoes) (1965)
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Wilson,

Back in southern Illinois we either called them tennies of chucks though
some of us wore Keds which were highly advertised as I recall on the backs
of comic books.

The odd thing if I remember it correctly was that shoes for playing tennis
were low cut and advertised as such while tennies which were for the
basketball crowd extended above your ankles. Low cuts, however, appealed
mainly to the girls and most boys would not be caught dead wearing them.

They were looked down on by the parents and school teachers who thought
them in bad taste but we wore them none the less. At least it was a less
personally harmful way of expressing our rebellion, as were blue jeans,
than putting holes in ourselves or getting tatooed.

The other thing I remember is that although it was prestigious to own a
good pair they were cheap footware and only cost about 3 bucks a pair. In
other words no one in their right mind would try to steal them from you.

Take that, Nike.

Page Stephens

> [Original Message]
> From: Wilson Gray
> To:
> Date: 9/22/2006 9:53:41 AM
> Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Tenny Runners (tennis shoes) (1965)
>
> "Tennies" was popular in Los Angeles in the 'Sixties, as was "chucks,"
> from Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars. An Australian friend that I met
> in the '70's has always claimed that "sand shoes" is the term
> preferred Down Under. In BE, the "tinnis shoes" of my youth have been
> pretty much replaced by "bastitbawl shoes."
>
> -Wilson
>
>

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