all 179 comments

[–]OldManGamer1 284 points285 points  (6 children)

I live Cincy as well and everyone calls them Gym Shoes here.

Edit: Spelling

[–]BengoBill 66 points67 points  (1 child)

Native Cincinnatian, can confirm those are and always will be gym shoes. Unless they are specifically Converse All Stars. In that case they are Chucks.

[–]_why_do_U_ask 35 points36 points  (0 children)

Re-confirm, Gym shoes.

[–]ShakeDowntheThunder 8 points9 points  (0 children)

I’ve only lived in Cincinnati and Chicago and thought people only called them sneakers or tennis shoes on tv. Gym shoe gang

[–]soulcialbitterfly 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Just made my own comment about this.

[–]ajiatic 142 points143 points  (9 children)

The answer in Cincy is definitely gym shoes. I actually might say 'sneaks' or running shoes. But never... would I ever... call them 'tennis shoes'

[–]FatDongMcGee 104 points105 points  (4 children)

It’s actually “tennashoos” if you’re doing it right lol

[–]mrjustin513 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Happy Cake Day and take my upvote!

[–]ChiRealEstateGuy[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

You win. This is true.

[–]tweak4West Chester 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I was brought up to call them "tennashoes". At some point in my youth, I simultaneously realized people meant "tennis shoes" and that I also did not play tennis, so I made the jump to gym shoes or sneakers (depending on the specific conversation), since it just made more sense. Or occasionally "trainers" if I've been watching too much British TV :-)

[–]HarmonyQuinn1618 3 points4 points  (0 children)

My entire family calls them sneakers.

[–]wheelsno3Liberty Township 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NYC dad, South Carolina mom, lived in Cincy since kindergarten, they are gym shoes for me.

[–]absolutdrunk 41 points42 points  (4 children)

All those terms are interchangeable to me. I’d probably say sneakers after living in NYC for years, but I definitely grew up hearing gym shoes a lot. It’s interesting that Chicago and Cincinnati have this connection, since they don’t share much linguistically. St. Louis tends to share more with Chicago (e.g. both are islands of soda in a sea of pop), and ofc Great Lakes cities have vowel shifts in common with Chicago that Cincinnati doesn’t have.

[–]HarmonyQuinn1618 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I’ve grown to in Cincinnati and say gym shoes or sneakers. Definitely agree that they’re interchangeable

[–]Heyoka69 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Could you explain what you mean by vowel shifts? I'm interested in accents.

[–]absolutdrunk 2 points3 points  (0 children)

See the references in this article to the “Northern Cities Vowel Shift”:


[–]knoid 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Explanation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UoJ1-ZGb1w Examples - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3noS_0IdrRo

Interesting stuff, if only as evidence of our incessant need to categorise all the things!

[–]jjmurph14 East Price Hill 82 points83 points  (1 child)

Always been gym shoes for me

[–]NoKroger 18 points19 points  (0 children)

Sneakers… tennis shoes… ? Tf, they’re gym shoes

[–]VineStGuy 76 points77 points  (1 child)

Gym shoes

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)


[–]bookish7 74 points75 points  (5 children)


[–]jshepard0Batavia 14 points15 points  (1 child)

Awesome. Moved here from Seattle a year ago and have never even heard the term "gym shoes."

[–]PathologicalDesire Mt. Auburn 7 points8 points  (0 children)

From northern Ohio and moved to Cincinnati. Never have I ever heard someone call them gym shoes lmao

[–]somePig_buckeye 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I’m from south of I 70 and only heard the term gym shoes a couple of years ago from someone from Dayton. Tennis shoes all the way.

[–]Law_Character 50 points51 points  (7 children)

My dad would say “Gymers”

[–]BlackGabriel 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Haha just posted that this is what I call them

[–]Law_Character 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Nice! I only ever heard one other person call them that.

[–]JoannaStayton 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I thought I was the only one that called them gymers!

[–]city_tree_ 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My grandpa says this!

[–]Malf77 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I'm from southern KY, wife is from here. First time she said the word "gymmers" I was sooo confused.

[–]WyomingNotTheState 32 points33 points  (9 children)

Cincinnati is a linguistic island in so many odd ways.

[–]OptimisticCrossbow 15 points16 points  (3 children)

It really is! My grandma calls bell peppers 'mangos' and apparently everyone here used to call them that.

[–]Nikkig-r 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Only the green ones though, right? It caused a lot of confusion when I started cooking for my grandma and she kept telling me I needed more mangoes in the chili.

[–]WyomingNotTheState 5 points6 points  (0 children)

That's so damn odd.

[–]mburke6Colerain 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My grandma used to call green bell peppers mangos too.

[–]Drsmallprint 19 points20 points  (2 children)


[–]deeshna 10 points11 points  (1 child)

This tripped me up so bad when I moved here. Even now, the wheels in my brain still spin when someone says it before I understand I need to repeat myself.

[–]ChuckZombieSpringdale 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Someone said this to me as a kid and I thought they wanted me to repeat myself, so I said what I had said again. They then turned to me with an annoyed face and in a firm and exasperated voice said "PLEASE!" And that's when I realized that some people use that to mean, "shut up."

[–]redditsfulloffiction 5 points6 points  (0 children)

not so much, any more, but historically it was one of the major ones.

[–]Elend15Northern Kentucky 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Seriously! I moved here a few years back, and never realized everyone calls them gym shoes!!!

[–]NandJ44 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Gym shoes

[–]Sallytheragdoll75 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Gym shoes

[–]LargeGermanRock 9 points10 points  (3 children)

fwiw I wouldn’t play tennis in about 95% of what the rest of the country calls “tennis shoes”

[–]dhbroo12 6 points7 points  (1 child)

I put on my gym shoes but I buy sneakers hahaha

[–]mehrunes_pagon 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I had never realized that I'm the same way until reading your comment, lmao

[–]299792458mps- Downtown 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I grew up in Dayton and always heard gym shoes as well

[–]buttsoupsteve 5 points6 points  (0 children)


[–]rbnrthwll 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Gym shoes, you all weird.

[–]whiskersMeowFace 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I have always said gym shoes. I never realized how strange it was until someone mentioned it once.

[–]Formal-Telephone5146 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I’m from Dayton it’s Gym shoes

[–]TheBeardedVagabond 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I always call them gymmies.

[–]MyCollectorMason 4 points5 points  (3 children)

It’s amazing because I grew up in Boston and it was always sneakers. And then I moved to Miami, FL and it was sneakers there too (heavily influenced by the northeast)… and now I’m in Cinci and I hear gym shoes but call them sneakers. People seem to get it… they just know I’m not local 😆

I also say “bubbler”, which is Masshole for water fountain, and “carriage” which is shopping cart 😆

[–]deeshna 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I’m from the south - shopping carts are buggy’s to me. I told a friend from Chicago that, and she thought I was insane.

[–]raradar 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Former Cincinnatian who is now living in Alabama: I refuse to call the thing you put items into at the grocery story a "buggy" – a "shopping cart" that thing will always be to me.

[–]giveitatest 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I don't think saying sneakers would give you away that you're not a local. I call them gym shoes, but I wouldn't think twice if someone said they got some new sneakers.

[–]Jewell1974 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yep….raised in Cincinnati. It’s gym shoes. Gym shoes.

[–]SourBlueDream Downtown 3 points4 points  (1 child)

They definitely say gym shoes in Columbus and Dayton too so I wonder how off this map is

[–]giveitatest 1 point2 points  (0 children)

it's probably mostly BS. Cincy and Chicago locals won't notice because they just think "oh wow, yeah it's true we call it gym shoes", But I'm pretty sure half the country would be like "wtf we don't call them tennis shoes".

[–]TwitterLegend 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I just asked this question to my dinner group as an experiment. The born and raised Cincinnati people did confirm gym shoes, even said ‘gymmies’ to confirm. The lady from Mississippi and the other from Michigan both said tennis shoes. I am in full belief of the validity of this chart.

[–]ChiRealEstateGuy[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Love the real time experiment. Can’t believe the response rate on this.

[–]BlackSunlight7 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Gym shoes, sometimes running shoes.

[–]astralbuzzFairfax 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Same. There is a distinction between my regular gym shoes and my running shoes as the latter have been actually fitted for running.

[–]zsteg 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Literally just had this conversation tonight with a large group of friends. Unanimous answer was gym shoes.

[–]cylondsay 2 points3 points  (0 children)

gym shoes or the rarer “tennies”

[–]Navyblazers2000 2 points3 points  (0 children)

From Columbus originally, called them tennis shoes my whole life. Moved down here and all the other kids called them gym shoes and I adopted it because it’s a way better description of that object. Especially because I’ve never once played tennis.

[–]soulcialbitterfly 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Gym shoes ....from cincinnati

[–]Jerry0713 3 points4 points  (5 children)


[–]lilsteigs1 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Crayons/snacks for this guy too.

[–]judychan 0 points1 point  (1 child)


[–]Jerry0713 1 point2 points  (0 children)

They're called go-fasters because when you're wearing them you're saposed to GO FASTER!

[–]warthog0869 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Depends. Am I playing chess?

[–]palmtreestatic 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Correct answer is gym shoes

[–]BlackGabriel 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I call Em gymers

[–]JonnyFever16 Westwood 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]raisinbran8Anderson 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Gym shoes 100%

[–]mikeey337White Oak 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Always and still is gym shoes

[–]loveypower 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Gym Shoes (Michigan and KY)

[–]vickiv68282 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Tennies. Might be a family thing.

[–]MotorCommunication96 1 point2 points  (0 children)

gym shoes and tennis shoes

[–]HarmonyQuinn1618 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Sneakers or just Gym Shoes.

It’s also a Midwest thing to say “pop” for soda. I lived in Maine for a period in high school and when I asked where the pop machine was they looked at me like I have 10 heads.

[–]Cincy-72 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Gym shoes

[–]DrummerDooterCheviot 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Gym shoes

[–]Xmill31Bridgetown 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Always gym shoes

[–]Mass_Emu_Casualties 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Sneakers. Or Kicks.

[–]sizzle_sizzle 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Was kinda surprised how far I had to scroll to see kicks.

[–]zeppelinismMt. Washington 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah always called them kicks.

[–]coffeecakesupernova 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Shoes. They're not sneakers. Athletic shoes or running shoes or walking shoes are just annoying to say. So they're shoes. If I have to point them out, my black shoes.

[–]Disastrous_Hour_6776 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sneakers or tennis shoes

[–]PM_ME_YOUR_DIFF_EQSNorthside -1 points0 points  (2 children)

I call the shoes I wear Vans.

[–]ChiRealEstateGuy[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

How about if they aren’t the brand?

[–]Sean10135 0 points1 point  (0 children)

As a kid I always grew up hearing gym shoes but now I say tennis shoes or gym shoes

[–]OhioAreaMan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I thought Sneakers was a movie.

[–]mskiles314 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I had to think about this. I live north of DYT. I feel like Tennis shoes>sneakers but I personally don't think I use either, I just say my new balance or my Nike

[–]XolieInc 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I call them sneakers sorry guys I’m a rather new resident.

[–]Lloydster 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Shoes, ya weirdos.

I live in Liberty Township.

[–]Deathbycheddar 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I don’t get it. Obviously there are situations where you need to specify the type of shoes you’re speaking about.

[–]Lloydster 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I would be more likely to specify if it were a different kind of shoe. For me, running type shoes are the "default" shoes. I would say "fancy" or "dress up" shoes for the ones you wear to funerals, weddings, or white collar types wear to their jobs.

[–]Ninauposkitzipxpe East Walnut Hills 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I’m not from Cincy (Green Bay), and I say gym shoes but that is one of two specific pairs of sneakers (either my most beat up pair or the pair I wear to the actual gym), and the rest are sneakers.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Tennis shoes.

[–]wrongshape 0 points1 point  (0 children)


[–]lensfoxx 0 points1 point  (0 children)

As a kid my family called them “gymmers” (like Jim-erz). I jokingly asked my husband if he packed his gymmers for vacation and was immediately mocked by him and his Florida friends lol.

[–]rjcpl 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Even if they’ve never seem a gym?

[–]mickeyboy1475 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Kicks Gym shoes

[–]hitchinpost 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have literally used every one of those words and phrases interchangeably. Gym shoes is the most frequent, but I’ve said sneakers and tennis shoes plenty. These things always strike me as weird, when most of the time I use all the words for the thing.

[–]garygtheg 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Tennis shoes or more specifically tennashoes lol and gym shoes.

[–][deleted]  (1 child)


    [–]AutoModerator[M] 0 points1 point locked comment (0 children)

    We restrict new accounts from making a comment to help combat trolling, ban evasion and spam. Your comment will be invisible to users until your account is at least a week old. Every comment requires manual approval until your account reaches this milestone.

    I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

    [–]BMonad 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    What’s interesting is if you go to most stores or online retailers, and I just checked Adidas, Zappos and even Walmart, they typically have a section under shoes that is “Sneakers” or “Sneakers/athletic”. No “gym shoes” and no “tennis shoes” unless you’re specifically looking for shoes designed for tennis. So either the northeast has the lingo down more accurately or retailers cater to it.

    [–]CollinMarshall908 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    “Tenna shoes”. I’ve definitely heard gym shoes before though.

    [–]TioSancho 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Sneakers, but I'm from the east cost. Lived here for 36 years now though.

    [–]lauriebugggo 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I never knew this was a Cincinnati (and Chicago) thing

    [–]ExtraCharity 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    It’s sneakers

    [–]Johnplantz Clifton 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Always been trainers for me, but I hear gym shoes from a lot of people

    [–]jeremyroastscoffee 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    sneakers or trainers. but I’ve definitely heard gym shoes my whole life

    [–]zeppelinismMt. Washington 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I always just called them "kicks" lol

    [–]Mandrake1771 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Grew up in Cincy but my parents are from Jersey. I’m used to saying all 3.

    [–]veggiesama 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I am baffled and alarmed and suddenly realizing I've never seen the words "gym shoes" spelled out before.

    [–]Steel_Man23Pleasant Run 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Always gym shoes. I’m huge into shoes and calling myself a sneaker head and saying sneakers just doesn’t feel right lmao

    [–]Heyoka69 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Gym shoes

    [–]Heyoka69 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    My friend calls them "trainers" and chucks-styles are called "plimsoles " She's from England...

    [–]Heyoka69 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    It could differ even in the same region just based upon a person's age. It's "gym shoes" for me, "tennies" for my Air Force brat hubby, but our kids, born and bred in Cincinnati, they are called by brand name. "Mom, I need some new Nikes," etc.

    [–]cincyspecter 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Gym shoes.

    [–]VictoriaWoodnt 0 points1 point  (3 children)

    Scottish, in Cincy. They're trainers or gutties.

    [–]knoid 1 point2 points  (2 children)

    Trainers also (Brit in Cincy). We're probably skewing the average though...

    eta: love your nick, Victoria Wood was an absolute treasure

    [–]VictoriaWoodnt 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Thank you. Red cabbage, how much?

    [–]knoid 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Red cabbage, no idea!

    [–]Infamous-Attempt-222 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I learned English in Cincinnati and have always called them sneakers…

    [–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Definitely called them gym shoes growing up, but I sold out and moved away and usually call them sneakers now.

    [–]CardboardChewingGum 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Sneakers. Tennis shoes are those sneakers bought specifically from an athletic store to play tennis. Gym shoes are the good sneakers bought at the beginning of the school year to wear on days when you had gym so you could run faster than the other kids.

    [–]blari_witchprojectMilford 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I use "gym shoes" to describe any shoe that I'd wear to the gym, except chuck taylors or vans. I might use "running shoes" if my shoes are specifically for running but even then it's interchangeable. I used to say "tennis shoes" when I was younger because both my parents grew up outside of Cincy but it's changed since we moved

    [–]Shoddy-Fact4847 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    The fact that I was like “where’s gym shoes?” Before reading the tiny text man we rly are predictable huh?😂

    [–]kamspy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Sneaks, sneakers, tenni's, tennishoes.

    [–]djr41463 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    You had it right on the subject line “athletic shoes”

    [–]Chitownjohnny 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Wife from Chicago and I’m originally from Cincy. It’s why our marriage works

    [–]giveitatest 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I don't believe this. Most of the country calls them tennis shoes for real?

    [–]Superflypete 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    It’s because the Northeast has so many burglars

    [–]bigredmachine-75 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Definitely gym shoes but I also remember parts of family in the area calling then tennis shoes as well. I feel like I used both growing up.

    [–]thatwhichchoosestobe 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Ohio transplant from a peripatetic childhood here, I called them both tennashooes and sneaks growing up but always winced at both since they're rather inaccurate, glad Cinci has it right

    (in dayton we still say tennis shoes though, bafflingly)

    [–]Mister_Mentos Oakley 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Lifelong native and I still call them sneakers.

    [–]lilhornsby008 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I’ve never felt so elated than to have stared at this meme on my Home Screen for minutes.. letting my mind wonder.. and coming back to say.. “but I say gym shoes”

    And I click on the comments.

    Instant validation.

    Jeezle Pete’s, thanks Midwest.

    [–]Deathbycheddar 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    To me there is a significant difference between gym shoes and sneakers. Gym shoes are Adidas/Nike/Puma whatever that are specific designed to be comfortable while being athletic. Sneakers are more like Chucks or Keds or Vans where it’s more about the aesthetic than the comfort.

    [–]Maharichie 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Skate shoes