Sneaker Slangs: 45 Essential Slang Terms for Every Sneaker Enthusiast

Are you a beginner sneakerhead that don’t understand all of the slang used by those that have being in the sneaker copping game for long? Then you are on the right page as the article below provide you a list of the popular slang out there.

Sneaker Slangs

It's crucial to talk the talk as you walk the walk, regardless of whether you consider yourself a diehard sneakerhead or are just beginning in the game. This is a sector growing at an accelerated rate. As such, it is crucial to understand the lingo. It's interesting to note how both sneaker culture and its slang have evolved significantly since the late 1980s.

Understanding specific terms and expressions might be challenging for beginners at first due to the culture's depth and richness. Trust me, you do not want to use the wrong terminology. You’ll sound like an idiot before sneakerheads. So, to feel like you belong, you need to speak the same language.

Everyone has a different perspective on what they believe to be the most difficult aspect of learning to cop sneakers. The lingo is one of the main challenges for many individuals, along with other things like learning how to set up a bot and joining a cook group.

This is why we have put together a collection of sneaker slang to assist you to enhance your sneaker game. Something to make you feel more credible and confident. To show you how to use slang when you run into a sneakerhead, we also included a few examples.

List of Slang

Here are a few slang you might hear among sneakerheads:

  • ACG


ACG stands for “All Conditions Gear.” It is an early 1980s Nike division that specializes in long-distance hikes, trekking, and mountain climbing apparel and shoes. The ACG collection is most notable for using weather-resistant materials and having wild color schemes combined with earthy tones.

Example: I want to buy my kids a few brand-new ACGs for next summer.



Aglets are those tiny objects that are attached to the ends of shoelaces. They can also be made of stainless steel; however, they are typically made of glossy plastic. They are primarily used to join the fabric of the shoelace. This prevents it from fraying and unraveling.

Additionally, aglets make it simpler to thread laces through shoes' tiny eyelets. Although no one is certain who created aglets, we are certainly happy that they did.

Example: Jane accidentally gave me shoelaces without aglets.



Beaters basically mean “old sneakers.” This is a pair of sneakers that you wear every day, regardless of the weather or how dirty they may become. The “survivor sneakers” are what we'll call them. Usually, the scratches and stains add character. Beater sneakers are great for sports, the gym, or any other activity where the shoes are likely to sustain damage.

Example:  I guess everyone's got a pair of beater kicks they use throughout the year.

  • BIN


It simply means “Buy It Now” and it denotes the set price at which a seller is willing to offer to sell their sneakers. Essentially, this means that there isn't any haggling or negotiation.

Example: The Air Jordan releases I saw today were on BIN.

  • BNIB


The abbreviation BNIB means “Brand New In Box.” “NIB” is another acronym for it. It's a slang term for a sneaker that has never been worn and is still in its original packaging, along with any tags and accessories. Even if the sneakers are kept for a while, they would still look and feel brand new.

Example: Just got my sneakers BNIB.



A “colorway” is the combination of colors or materials used on sneakers. This is a way to distinguish between different sneaker models. The slang is not only used in relation to shoes, but when it comes to shoes, it is most used.

Example: There are two colorways available for our sneakers.



A cook group is a network of sneakerheads that is often set up based on discord. A cook group's primary objective is to make it easier to cop rare items during certain drops. You can also access tips, and tricks in a cook group.

Example: I just got an update on the next Yeezy drop from a cook group.



Copping is the act of successfully purchasing a pair of sneakers. The majority of merchants, meanwhile, won't let you purchase more than one pair.

Example: Jerry intends to cop a pair of the brand-new OGs when they go on sale next week.



Deadstock describes footwear that is still new and unworn. They might be sneakers that are no longer sold directly by stores. The shoes' wrapping tissue paper and an untampered box are signs of their authenticity. People are prepared to pay high prices to purchase deadstock sneakers, making them valuable.

Example: Brenda's got a pair of deadstock she would like to give out as a gift.

  • DROP


Drop refers to a release. It's a slang that is used when trying to say a brand just released a sneaker.

Example: I love it when those hyped sneakers finally drops?



On sneakers, eyelets are often holes through which shoelaces are inserted to allow the shoes to be tightened. Metal rings are commonly found in eyelets, which make it simple to thread shoelaces through them.

Example: Hey Josh, my sneakers are not tightened enough because of two bad eyelets.



When the factory-provided lacing is still intact, we consider a pair of sneakers to be factory-laced. This usually means that the sneakers have never been worn.

Example: The pair of sneakers I got last summer is still factory laced.

  • F&F


F&F is short for “friends and family.” This suggests that “F&F”-tagged sneakers are exclusive models sent only to the friends and family of the brand, partners, and/or designers. They are unique and not intended for the general public.

Example: The Millers each own a pair of F&F sneakers made by Adidas.



It's a term used to refer to a buyer who suddenly backs out of a sneaker deal after agreeing on a price.

Example: Those boys that just left were just flaking.



This slang term is used to describe people whose opinions about sneakers frequently shift significantly. They might suddenly come to the conclusion that the upcoming release isn't worth it. Then, as it is about to drop, they suddenly realize they are going to miss a great pair of shoes which make them want to cop the kicks. Many sneakerheads are fond of this.

Example: After agreeing we wouldn't go to buy any of the recent Nike releases, Jane flip-flopped.

  • FLOP

failing to sell

When a pair or collection of sneakers is totally failing to sell, this slang expression is used.

Example: The latest set of sneakers they copped really flopped.



This refers to a pair of sneakers that are beyond repair or are counterfeit. This is sometimes referred to as Fufu.

Example: Don’t buy from this retailer; the shoes are Fugazi.

  • GOAT


The acronym GOAT stands for “Greatest Of All Time.” When a sneaker is better than anything that has come before, it is said to be better than that. It can also be used to refer to individuals in the industry, like Kanye West and Michael Jordan.

Example: The Adidas “Yeezy boost 700 wave runner”  is a GOAT kicks I would love to wear.

  • GR

general release

GR simply means “general release.” It is a sneaker that has been mass produced and is available at most retailers. Even if a sneaker is ugly, if it is rare enough, people will still want it. Besides, they usually do not sell out, but you may be surprised if they do. However, the price of a release for resale may rise depending on how “limited” it is.

Example: Brian just got a call about a GR of his design in Orlando two days ago.



Assuming you've been trying to purchase a particular pair of sneakers for years, such a sneaker is known as a “grail.” It could be a pair that you’re currently striving for. This could either be because they’re very expensive or rare. For certain sneakerheads, the “grails” are usually ultra-rare, extremely limited pairs of sneakers. It might be a colorway that you've always wished you could wear on a daily basis.

Example: Am ready to spend a thousand dollars to get my grails.



A high-top sneaker is one that extends just above the wearer's ankle. In a nutshell, any sneaker with laces that extend past the ankle. It could be a basketball shoe or any type of athletic footwear.

High-top shoes, like the classic Chuck Taylors and the newest Air Jordans, have long been the norm for basketball shoes. Contrary to the Converse All-Stars and Nike Air Force 1 to 3 that make up the majority of high-top sneakers, high-top CVOs (Circular Vamp Oxford) cover the ankle and have a circular vamp.

Example: We've got a couple Yeezy's high tops you would like.



This phrase is used to characterize a sneakerhead who simply buys what is currently in style and lacks personal taste. They easily switch between trends.  They are also sneakerheads who must own every new limited edition, even if it means paying far more than the retail price. Sometimes, they could spend more than the market value to achieve their own personal grails.

Example: Gabriel is such a hypebeast.



Michael Jordan's footwear and clothing collections are referred to as “Jumpman.” It is named after the iconic logo of his company, which features a silhouette of MJ. The Jumpman logo is recognizable in both sports and footwear

Example: Melissa just got a pair of jumpman sneakers for his Friday game.

  • LE

limited edition sneakers

LE simply refers to limited-edition sneakers. These are sneakers produced in limited quantities and are only sold at a few specific retailers. They frequently sell out right away.

Example: Mr. Brown said you can only get the LE sneakers in Florida.



Sneakers are known by another name as kicks. It can be used to describe any kind of shoe, but is most frequently used to describe sneakers or athletic footwear. The true origins of the slang can be traced back to 1897–1904. It began as hobo (traveling worker) slang, after which it made its way to the jazz scene, then reached the African American community, where it gained popularity. This term presumably first became “mainstream” in the modern era in the 1980s.

Example: Jason is planning to sell kicks.



Low-tops are sneakers that often have their tops cut off at the ankle or even lower. Basically, any sneaker with laces that extend below the ankle. However, low-top sneakers are lighter and make it easier and faster to move, extending the range of motion.

Example: Don't worry man, I would  prefer the low tops.

  • OBO


OBO stands for “Or Best Offer” in short. This suggests that the advertised price of a sneaker may be flexible.

Hence, it implies that the seller will take the given price “or the best offer” if you see it on a sneaker reseller listing. It might also mean that regardless of who asked first, if someone gets a better offer, they will take it.

Example: He's ready to sell those kicks at $82 OBO.

  • OG

Air Jordan OGs

OG is an acronym for “original.” It refers to the first release of a sneaker. It may also be used to describe a sneaker's initial colorways, which were made public at the time of their initial release.

Despite the fact that some models can be re-released, this term is only used to refer to the initial launch.

Example: I've got Air Jordan OGs. Trust me, they ain't fufu.

  • PACK


A “pack” is a collection of sneakers that are released as a part of a series or limited release. The Jordan “New Beginnings” pack is the most noticeable pack in recent times. It included the first-ever Air Jordan 1 Hi OG “Chicago” and Nike Air Ship PE retros.

Example: The recent pack of kicks from Nike did very well.



The slang “player-edition sneaker” refers to a pair of sneakers that had been built especially for a player and afterward made available for purchase. It is usually in limited edition or quickstrike. An excellent illustration is the Ray Allen Air Jordan XIII.

Example:  He said he didn't have the money to get the player edition sneakers they just released.


Player-exclusive sneakers

Player-exclusive sneakers are customized versions of a sneaker provided to professional athletes. They are not made with retail in mind.

The sneakers are usually not made available to the general public; instead, the shoe companies give them to athletes to wear on the field. Most of the time, these are only offered in the player size they were intended for. This, however, differs slightly from the “player edition.”

Example: I wish I could get a pair of Carmelo Anthony's Jordan 35 “Carmerlot” PE.


surprise releases of limited-edition sneakers

It refers to surprise releases of limited-edition sneakers. They are related to releases that are expected to sell out very quickly the day they are released.

It is a term that describes Nike sneakers that are only sold at Tier 0 stores. However, sneakers with a “QS” tag are typically only manufactured in small quantities, making them even more difficult to find.

Example: Hey man, have you seen the new Air Jordan 23 quickstrike pack?


RESELLER sneakers

Resellers are individuals who buy sneakers only to resell them and make a profit. They can be retailing them in a store or on an online auction platform like eBay. Either they have contacts at sneaker companies, or they occasionally wait in line for the newest releases.

Example: They've got a lot of sneakers resellers on Amazon you can check out.



A previously launched shoe that is being rereleased is known as a retro model. It might be the introduction of a brand-new colorway, style, or feature for the original sneakers. In the world of Jordan Brand shoes, this is common.

Example: We haven't met a retro pair of sneakers that we didn't like.



This indicates that a specific pair of sneakers that had previously sold out are once again available. Restocks are frequently unexpected, and many people learn about them once everything has once again sold out. Some brands also use restocks to celebrate certain events like the Super Bowl, anniversaries, etc.

Example: Want to make sure you never miss a restock again? Then, make sure to check out our new app.


Nike sample pairs

A sample is just one of the numerous prototypes that the designers of sneakers have to go through in order to produce the final piece. These won't ever be made available to the public. They are employed either for marketing objectives or for design testing of various sorts.

The sample-style functionality may be the reason why the versions released for sale are different. They may occasionally be worn by athletes or designers to test their durability, fitness, etc.

Example: Some online sneaker stores offer a variety of rare Nike sample pairs you may like.



A sneakerhead is someone who is completely obsessed with sneakers and sneaker culture. Sneakerheads enjoy collecting and trading sneakers.

Additionally, they are usually very passionate and knowledgeable about them. They are also extremely focused on sneakers.

Example: On eBay, sneakerheads are experiencing phenomenal business growth.



StockX is an online store where you can buy and sell designer sneakers, streetwear, handbags, and watches. On StockX, deadstock sneakers and footwear are available for purchase and sale, including authentic Yeezys, Adidas Ultra Boost, and Retro Air Jordans. It is the preferred resale market among those who collect sneakers.

Example: Yes, you can view our complete StockX product listing.

  • TTS


TTS means “True To Size.” This shows that you can trust a brand's size chart. You don't have to worry whether the sneakers would fit or not.

Example: Great, the Nike Air Max 90 is TTS.

  • TIER 0

tier 0 retail store

These are Nike's retail accounts that are at the very top of the chain. In other words, they are Nike's sneakers retailers that have the closest relationship.

Example: You can only get those LE sneakers at a tier 0 retail store.


Air Jordan releases are uniquely tonal

Tonal is the trendy way of describing a pair of sneakers as being completely one color, or monotone. It is widely used in shades of red, black, and white. Tonal colorways, especially tonal black and white colorways, usually sell out the fastest.

Example: This year's Air Jordan releases are uniquely tonal.


Air Force 1s UPTOWNS

This is how New Yorkers refer to the Air Force 1s. The silhouette first became popular in the hoods of uptown NYC in the early 1980s, which is when the slang first originated.

Example: I had to wear James uptowns because I was in a hurry.

  • VNDS


This acronym means “Very Near Deadstock.” This is used to describe sneakers that have only been worn a few times yet still appear brand new. Without being told, nobody would even notice.

Example: Newton just gave me a pair of VNDS.



This is a collaborative effort between Kanye West and Adidas. Kanye West is an American rapper, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. Along with Yeezy Boost sneakers, they offer high-end limited edition colorways, shirts, jackets, track trousers, socks, slides, women's shoes, lingerie, and slippers. Their first shoe project together was the Yeezy 750.

Example: If you ain't got a Yeezy yet, you ain't got any sneakers at all.



This is the Spanish word for ‘shoes.’

Example: Give me the zapatos, I want to wear it fast.


Becoming a diehard sneakerhead is not a day's job. It is more than just loving the sneakers and the culture. So, here are a few terms to help you become a real sneakerhead, whether you are just getting started or have been active in the world of sneakers for some time.

These tips should help you brush up on your knowledge if you sell sneakers as well. What are you still waiting for? Try out your sneaker slang today!

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