A Comprehensive Guide to Sneaker Terminology
Explaining sneaker sayings.
To the world outside of sneakers, our shorthand, slang, and nicknames can seem extremely confusing. And unless you’re an OG NikeTalk contributor, it’s likely that you’re not well versed in every single sneaker term that’s out there.
We’ve come to make a little bit of sense out of it. Whether you’re new to the game, or a forgetful old bastard like me, here’s a list of sneaker terminology, a glossary if you will, that you need to know.
So bookmark this page, save it for quick reference, because we’re sure you’ll encounter a handful of these each and every day.
Shoe Box/Release Terms
HS – Hyperstrike.
Shoes labeled HS are the most exclusive of all. They come in very limited quantities, with the majority given to friends and families (FNF) of artists and celebrities.
Example: Nike Air Force 1 “Playstation”, which was a promotional shoe given to Sony employees back in 2006.
QS – Quickstrike.
Relatively rare shoes that are not as exclusive as Hyperstrike releases. Traditionally, QS sneakers did not have a release date tagged with them, but now they do. Typically available in Tier 0 stores that carry the most exclusive sneakers; examples would be the United States’ Undefeated, Netherland’s Patta, Tokyo’s Atmos, and Singapore’s Surrender Store. Example: Nike Roshe Run Hyperfuse
HTM (or other initials).
HTM denotes the first letters the first names of Hiroshi Fujiwara, Tinker Hatfield, and Mark Parker
HTM shoes are designed by the creative trio comprising Fragment Design’s Hiroshi Fujiwara, Nike’s legendary designer Tinker Hatfield and Nike’s CEO and designer Mark Parker. The trio has been working together since 2002 to create and experiment with the latest technology and unique designs. Other examples include the Justin Timberlake/Tinker Hatfield Air Jordan 3 JTH.
SP – Special Project.
Nike SP represents the highest level of Nike quality, and also an avenue for Nike’s creative endeavors. All NikeLab releases are SP and some collabs are also categorized as SP.
Example: Nike Free Flyknit Mercurial SP
NRG – Energy.
Nike’s NRG teams deal with collaborations, limited-edition releases, special edition kicks, college PEs and one-off sneakers. Essentially, everything that goes through the NRG team is hyped up, hard to get, and mighty expensive on the resale market. They are the lifeblood for the brand’s hype.
LE – Limited Edition.
A shoe that is produced in limited quantities and is only available through a select few retailers.
LS – Lifestyle.
Shoes that are meant for casual wear and not for performance.
PRM – Premium.
These sneakers come with high-quality finishes and materials but are still considered a General Release.
NSW – Nike Sportswear.
New products that stem from reinvented classics are deemed NSW.
Example: Nike Tiempo, previously a soccer boot, was reinvented into a lifestyle shoe.
ACG – All Conditions Gear.
ACG is an outdoor-specific collection produced by Nike, focusing on sports such a mountain climbing, hiking and long-distance walks. The ACG collection is best known for incorporating materials that comply with various weather conditions and it’s wild color palates mixed with earthy tones.
SB – Skateboarding.
These shoes are specially made for skateboarders, as part of Nike’s SB division.
GS/PS/TD/BC – Grade School/Preschool/Toddler/Baby Crib.
Shoe sizes produced for infants and children.
Sneaker transaction terms
DS – Deadstock.
What Deadstock actually means and how it’s used today are two entirely different things. The true meaning of the word Deadstock is a reference to a shoe that is no longer in production or is no longer sold in stores, i.e. Cool Grey Jordan 11 Mid. These days, most take the term Deadstock to mean a shoe being in a brand new condition. And they mean brand new. It hasn’t been tried on, re-laced or tampered with since leaving the factory.
BNIB – Brand New In Box.
Also referred to as New In Box (NIB)
VNDS – Very Near Dead Stock.
If a shoe has been tried on or worn and shows minimal wear but can pass as Deadstock. Also known as NDS or PADS (Pass as Deadstock)
NWT – New With Tags.
An alternative to DS. Expect the sneakers to come complete with accompanying tags, i.e. The Air Jordan 3.
BIN – Buy It Now (Price).
A set price, in the same nature as eBay’s Buy It Now price.
OBO – Or Best Offer.
This infers that there is wriggle room on the listed price. But it may also mean if someone is to receive a higher offer, they will take that, regardless of who enquired first.
This is the worst . . . Backing out after the seller and buyer have agreed to a price, time, and place of the deal.
Other need-to-know terms
CW – Colorway.
The shoe’s Nickname or box-listed colors
OG – Original or Original release.
This, like Deadstock, has two meanings. Firstly, OG can refer to the original colorways of shoes at the time of its initial release, i.e. Air Jordan 1 “Bred” is an OG. But it can also refer to the first release of a sneaker. For example, When the Pure Money Jordan 4 re-released in 2017, many people preferred it’s OG release in terms of quality.
When a particular sneaker is re-released, it’s a Retrospective release.
GR – General Release.
A shoe that is made available by most sneaker retailers, it is not an ultra-limited model and can be obtained with relative ease.
FSR – Full-Size Run.
“Footlocker still has a FSR of them Jays!” means that an entire range of sizes is available for a particular sneaker.
LPU – Latest Pick Up.
Showing off the latest shoe that a sneakerhead picked up.
SE – Special Edition.
As the title explains, usually tacked on to a release that celebrates a special occasion or event.
PE – Player Exclusive.
Shoes that are made exclusively for an athlete and will not be released in the market.
ID – Individually Designed.
Mostly referring to sneakers made on nikeid.nike.com. http://www.nike.com/nl/en_gb/c/nikeid
JB – Jordan Brand.
A shoe line based around Michael Jordan. Shoes part of the line are also associated with the Air Jordan trademark.
NDC – Nike.com.
Short for Nike.com, typically used in forums, i.e. “FSR on NDC”
Nike Tier 0 accounts are the crème de la crème of sneaker retailers. These stores get access to the most coveted releases, including NRG, Special edition, Collaborations, and more. Nike hand-select which retailers fit the mold for a Tier 0 account. Store s like END., SNS, and SSENSE are great examples of brands that fit the bill.
What Do You Wear Today.?
Did we miss any? Probably. If you have any additions, be sure to let us know via the Contact page!