Limited Run's Guide to Sneaker Terminology

Limited Run's Guide to Sneaker Terminology

As in many subcultures, the world of sneakers has its own vernacular/lingo that may seem like a foreign language to the unversed and can be quite intimidating at first. There is a wide variety of terms/terminology that sneakerheads all across the world utilise and if you are looking to get into the world of sneaker collecting or reselling, look no further as we are here to provide you with the knowledge that you may need if you ever come across these terms or phrases.

During our first year, we would often come across customers who didn't know exactly  what something was or what we were referring to when we used an abbreviation. Sneaker culture is an ever-changing landscape that requires constant attention. In essence, what's considered hot or hype today, may not be tomorrow. That's why our team at Limited Run decided to come up with our glossary guide on sneakerhead terminology. Think of it as your personal sneakerhead dictionary.



  • AF1: Air Force One, the Air Force 1 was the first basketball shoe to use Nike’s Air technology. Originally launched in 1982, this popular silhouette has seen over 1,700 color and texture variations since its debut

  • AJ1: Air Jordan 1, First produced in 1984 for basketball legend Michael Jordan, Peter Moore’s original design for the Air Jordan 1 has itself risen to legendary status in the intervening years. Nike went on to re-release the Air Jordan 1 in 1994, 2001-2004 and 2014-2019, calling these other versions the Jordan 1 Retro. Like the player who wore them, the Air Jordan 1 is a revered and unforgettable legend.

  • Air Max: Nike technology created in 1987 designed to provide maximum impact protection during repetitive landings. Air Max Day is the 26th of March.


  • BAPE: A Bathing Ape, a popular Japanese streetwear brand founded by Nigo. It was one of the first true lifestyle streetwear brands popularized by Pharrell Williams. Their signature pieces often feature a gorilla, hip-hop themes and their iconic camouflage. 

  • Beaters: Everyday shoes you wear without caring for the condition of it.

  • Bespoke: Bespoke is a one-of-a-kind Nike Sneaker that is designed at Nike's 21 Mercer location where they offer a unique experience of creating a personalized sneaker using a special assortment of materials and finishes, right down to the stitching and labels. The term came from suits and shoes, where it simply meant "made to order," or "made to fit."

  • Bot: Automated software program that allows people to purchasing several pairs of shoes online at once

  • Boost: Adidas cushioning technology which is found in many of its silhouettes such as the Yeezy and Ultra-Boost

  • Bred: a common colorway on Air Jordan models consisting of Black and Red. Reminiscent of the Chicago Bulls team colors.

  • Bricks: a sneaker that was bought due to anticipation of high demand in the secondary market, but is unable to be sold for a reasonable profit, culminating in the shoe not selling; staying stagnant, “like a brick”


  • Colorway: The main colors of the shoe that are used to differentiate it from other shoes with the same model. Colorways often form the basis of nicknames for certain shoes.

  • Cop: another way of saying that you bought a pair of kicks

  • Crep: A popular sneaker cleaner brand.

  • Customs: Custom designed sneakers created for a client by an artist using an existing model


  • DS: Deadstock, meaning a shoe has never been worn. It has been in the box and stayed in the box since you bought it. Never tried on and is still factory-laced.

  • Double up: Buying more than one of the same pair of shoes.



  • Factory laced: The untouched condition of sneaker laces after leaving the factory.

  • FOG: Fear of God, a popular streetwear brand designed by Jerry Lorenzo.

  • FSR: Full Size Run; the complete selection of sizes a store receives from manufacturers

  • F&F: A special edition of a sneaker that was handed out to a select few people only, usually consisting of relatives or friends and family.


  • GOAT: An online sneaker marketplace founded in 2015 that connects sellers to buyers.

  • GR: General Release. A model that has been produced in a large production run with distribution to many retailers.

  • GS: Grade school, Nike’s terminology for youth sizes UK3-6

  • Grail: For sneakerheads, grails are shoes you need have to have before you die. Most grails tend to be uber-rare and extremely limited sneakers but for some sneakerheads, it can be that colorway that you can wear every day and for others it's that old pair you had as a kid that you wish you would have held onto. 


  • Heat: Hot or rare shoes

  • Hypebeast: someone that likes something because it is very rare, limited or expensive, not because they personally like it (usually in regard to sneakers or streetwear)


  • ICE: To "Keep a shoe on ICE" means to purchase a pair with having no intent on wearing the and selling them when you feel the time is right.


  • J’s:  Air Jordan’s

  • JB: Jordan Brand. A subsidiary of Nike which is based around the legendary Hall of Fame, NBA player Michael Jordan.

  • Jumpman: name of the Air Jordan logo found on all Jordan Brand trademarked products.


  • KITH: A modern retail store based in NYC opened by Ronnie Fieg in 2010.


  • LE: Limited Edition. A shoe that is produced in limited quantities and is only available through a select few retailers.

  • Lows: Sneakers that are designed to rest below your ankles.


  • Mids: Sneakers that are usually slightly shorter in height compared to high-tops


  • NB: New Balance

  • NDS: Near Deadstock; term used to describe the condition of a potential shoe for sale that may have been worn once with minimal signs of wear


  • Off-White: A popular streetwear brand created and founded by Virgil Abloh.

  • OG: Original or Original Release


  • PADS: Pass as deadstock, a shoe that may have been fit on once but still comes factory laced with all tags still attached.

  • PE: Player Exclusive. A specific colorway made exclusively for a professional athlete.


  • QS: Quickstrike. A release limited to certain stores.

  • Quai54: An annual French basketball tournament, sponsored by Jordan Brand.



  • Retail: Manufacturer’s or retail stores suggested retail price.

  • Resell: the act of selling something higher than its original retail price

  • Restock: When something that was previously sold out, becomes available again.

  • Retro: A shoe that is re-released and usually moulded to the specifications of the original model, with sometimes minor differences



  • Sample: A shoe that is used for either promotional or wear test purposes. Many current models were previously samples years ago

  • SB: Nike’s line of skateboarding shoes

  • StockX: A Detroit based sneaker platform founded by Josh Luber and Dan Gilbert. StockX works by acting as the middleman between buyers and sellers through a warehouse verification process.

  • Swoosh: The famous logo of belonging to Nike


  • Three Stripes: refers to Adidas, as majority of the Adidas shoes features three stripes


  • UB: Ultra Boost

  • UNC: University of North Carolina. Michael Jordan’s alma mater.

  • Un-DSing: Wearing a shoe for the first time.



  • VNDS: Very Near Deadstock. Term used to describe the condition of a potential shoe for sale that may have been tried on once or shoe almost no signs of wear



  • WTB: Want To Buy 


  • Yeezy: Kanye West’s sneakers. Whether a Nike or an Adidas, it’s something Kanye had a hand in and are some of the most hyped, expensive, and sought-after shoes