Have you ever been for a run and looked down at those bright, flashy new sneakies on your feeties and wondered “what are my shoes named after?” Did you ever consider that your shoe story might involve Eastern Polynesian phrases, amputated chicken legs, or lots of latin? Well, if you’re like me and these questions pop into your mind on the regs, then sit back, kick them new sneakies up, and find out what YOUR shoes are named after!
Altra is a fringe brand of shoes that’s made a pretty big splash over the past decade in the running community. They are known for their duck-foot-esque shoes and their “naturalistic” approach to running. Altra was founded in Utah and named after the latin word “altera” meaning to “alter”. Altra was created by a few guys putting shoes in toaster ovens to widen up their toe boxes, so that makes their name origin make sense!
ASICS is one of the top dogs of the running community. Famous for their cushioning gel and now opening some eyes with their recently developed Flyte Foam. ASICS is named after the Latin acronym "anima sana in corpore sano" which translates as "a healthy soul in a healthy body". I should get a tattoo of that…
Saucony is named after a creek that ran past the original shoe factory in Pennsylvania in 1898! Yeah Saucony has been making shoes and boots for like a million years! And if you look at their symbol, it kinda looks like a creek- a windy, s-bend kind of creek.
New Balance- this one is bizarre and obscure and a little gross. Ok so apparently New Balance first came onto the scene in the early 1900s when a British immigrant in Boston saw Chickens walking around his yard. He was inspired to create shoes that based their balance on the triangular shape of the human foot (like chickens). This guy used amputated chicken feet as a demo to show customers how he designed his shoes. Gross gross gross.
Brooks running shoes weren’t even running shoes at first! They were started in the early 1900s and named after the founder’s wife’s german maiden name “Bruchs”. Brooks first made “bathing shoes” and then later made cleats for professional baseball teams in the mid 1900s. The Pittsburgh Pirates were sponsored by them in the 1940s!
HOKA one one was created by two French guys who worked first for Salomon. HOKA is a maori word that means to “fly over the earth as a bird”. That also makes sense if you’ve ever worn HOKAs, they are “maximalist shoes”, soft, cushy, plushy, comfy. Feels like you’re walking on a cloud.
Well there you go! I hope you enjoyed this linguistic adventure in the origin story of your shoes. Maybe they will inspire you to run further and faster and better and stronger and longer and happier!