Sneaker and fashion culture has become one of the most prevalent in the world, and along with its rise to the top, it has given way to its own slang. Some sneaker slang is pretty straightforward, while others can be a bit strange to understand. If you are new to the world of sneaker slang or wanting to keep up with the latest trends, this is the perfect guide for you.
1’s, 3’s, 4’s, 5’s, 10’s, 11’s: These reference Air Jordan sneakers made by Nike, and they’re released each year with different numbers. The ones Michael Jordan played in are prevalent, like the Jordan 1’s, 3’s, etc. If someone says, “I got a pair of 1’s for my birthday,” they’re likely referring to the Jordan 1.
ACG: All Conditions Gear – A trendy line of Nike products known for their weather-resistant qualities. Perfect for any outdoor adventures.
Alphet: Another word for outfit. If someone says, “Dope alphet,” they mean that the outfit looks really cool.
Beaters: These are shoes in your collection that you don’t mind getting beat up because you wear them a lot. No matter how many kicks you have, you probably wear these in rough conditions, like when it’s raining or partying all night.
Bred’s: This term often refers to the colour combination of black and red, typically seen on Jordans.
Coke Whites: Distinctively white Sneakers, like the substance. Having some coke whites in your closet adds a touch of mystery and impresses others. Think of a fresh new pair of Air Force 1s, for example.
Cop: To buy something. If someone says, “I’ll cop a pair when next they are on sale,” they mean they want to buy one.
Cosy Boy: A style that combines fashion with extreme comfort, creating a cosy and stylish look.
Crispy: Used to describe something that is exceptionally clean and well-maintained.
Deadstock: A term for a brand-new pair of shoes that have never been worn, is factory laced, and is still in its original box.
Double up: When you love a pair of sneakers so much, you buy more than one pair.
Factory-laced: Refers to shoes that have never been worn, and the laces are still as they were when the shoes left the factory. It’s all about keeping them in pristine condition.
Fire: When something looks too cool to ignore. For instance, “Those kicks are fire, bro!”
Fit: If someone says the word fit, they mean your outfit. It’s similar to alphet, but more recent. “That fit is fire” implies that your outfit is fantastic.
Flight Club: A popular sneaker consignment store where resellers and buyers can find limited edition sneakers.
Fragment/Fragment’s: Collaborations with Nike, often found on very limited kicks, from the brand run by Hiroshi Fujiwara.
Friends and Family: When a pair is scarce and usually gifted to friends and family of the collaborator. These runs are often limited to just a few pairs.
Garms: Slang for clothes. Only wear the most fashionable clothes – those are thRMS.”
G.O.A.T.: Stands for “Greatest Of All Time.” Often used to refer to Jordan’s, Yeezy’s or a wildly classic like Vans or Converse sneakers.
Grails: Highly coveted and collectable sneakers that are considered a personal treasure.
GR: Stands for “General Release,” meaning these sneakers are widely available and not as exclusive.
GS: Stands for “Grade School,” indicating that the shoes are designed for kids but can fit ladies too.
Gum sole: A sneaker sole that is dark brown and highly durable.
Highs: High-top sneakers that extend above the ankle for extra support, like those worn on the basketball court.
Hiroshi: This refers to Hiroshi Fujiwara, a highly influential figure in streetwear known for his collaborations with Nike.
HTM: A limited kind of sneaker release that involves a team consisting of Mark Parker, Hiroshi Fujiwara, and Tinker Hatfield.
Hypebeast: Someone who follows and buys into hype. They focus on excellent and highly sought-after releases, sometimes to the extent of being superficial.
Icy sole: When the sole of a sneaker is slightly see-through, giving it an “icy” appearance.
Infrared: A colour developed by Nike that is associated with some of their most popular sneakers.
Instacop: When something is so unique, you immediately buy it without hesitation.
JB/Jumpman: Refers to Jordan Brand, often recognised by the iconic Jumpman logo.
Kicks: Another word for sneakers. For example, “Got these brand new kicks for retail value today.”
Lit: When something is incredibly cool or impressive.
Lows: Low-top sneakers that sit below the ankle, perfect for summer and casual vibes.
Mids: Mid-top sneakers that reach just above the ankle, often associated with skater style. Brands like Vans and Stussy sell many mids.
NIB: Stands for “New In Box,” indicating the sneakers are in pristine condition and haven’t been worn.
Nike Lab: A high-end line of limited Nike gear sold in select stores worldwide.
OG’s: Short for “Originals,” referring to classic and timeless sneakers.
Pack: A set of shoes released together as a series, often themed or complementary.
PE/Player Edition: Sneakers made by a brand specifically for athletes are rarely available for public sale.
Reseller: Someone who buys limited releases intending to sell them for profit. Most people don’t like them, but they are prominent in sneaker culture.
Retro: A re-release of a shoe that was previously dropped, bringing back the nostalgia of past designs.
Size run: Refers to the range of sizes a retailer or reseller has available for a particular sneaker release.
Steez/Steezy: A combination of style and ease, resulting in a relaxed and effortlessly fashionable look.
Super fire: A level above regular “fire,” indicating something is exceptionally cool and impressive.
Tink/Tinker/Hatfield/Tinker Hatfield: The legendary sneaker designer responsible for iconic models like the Air Max 1 and various Jordans. Tinker is to sneakerheads what Einstein is to scientists.
Tonal: When a sneaker is monochromatic or features a single colour, like all red.
Upper: Refers to the part of the sneaker above the sole.
VNDS: Stands for “Very Near Deadstock,” meaning the shoes are almost in brand-new condition.
Wild: Describes something that is outstanding, out of control, or exceptionally amazing.
Yeezy: Sneakers designed by Kanye West, known for their hype, limited releases, and high prices.