The American term sneakers is a synonym for athletic shoes. More specifically, sneakers refer to footwear made of flexible material, typically featuring a sole made of rubber and an upper part made of leather or canvas. Sneakers were originally sporting apparel, but are today worn much more widely as casual footwear. They are now widely popular. Many children choose to wear sneakers to school because of their comfort and versatility.
The British English equivalent of "sneaker" is "trainer" in its modern meaning; however, the traditional "sneaker" (pictured) is closer to the British "plimsoll". In some urban areas in the United States, the slang for sneakers is kicks. In Hiberno-English and Australian English the term is runners. In South African English the term used is tekkies.
Sneakers have become an important part of hip hop culture since the 1970s. Presently, numerous rappers sign million dollar deals with major brands such as Nike, Adidas or Puma to promote their shoes. Sneaker collectors, called "Sneakerheads", use sneakers as fashionable items. Artistically-modified sneakers can sell for upwards of $500.