The following pages may contain unorthodox or informal material. Any words or opinions presented in this section are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Listen & Learn.

Gym Shoes, one of Chicago's favorite slang terms!

<<< Back to Slang USA Cities Map
// Chicago //
Gym Shoes
(noun) Shoes used for athletics, like running or playing sports.

Other cities might refer to them as tennis shoes, or sneakers.


Andrew: “Hey, joe. Steve's party is tonight, and then we're going out dancing later.”

Juan: “I dunno, man. I'll go to the party, but I don't really have any clothes to wear dancing.”

Andrew: “Don't worry about it. It's so casual you can wear your gym shoes to the place. It's like this old abandoned warehouse where they play house music.”

Juan: “Alright. Lookin' forward to the brewskies and dancin' tonight!”


“Gym shoes” is from way back in the wayback machine, originating between the mid-1920s and early 1930s. Whereas most of the country adopted “sneakers” or “tennis shoes”, Chicago stuck with “gym shoes.” 


This young lady is tweakin' and enjoying the smell of her gym shoes:

More slang
from Chicago
(Tweak) (Swag) (Pop) (Joe)
Quick enquiry
Mad thanks to
Ariadne Weinberg
for the sick slang
Hit us up with some slang of your own, yo: