Sometimes I rail against something of great import:
Our racist, incompetent, self-described sex offender of a President who puts children in cages and refers to Neo-Nazis as “very fine people,” for example.
But sometimes I rail against something slightly smaller and only slightly less enraging. In this case, it’s the tennis shoe, or more specifically, the propensity of some people to refer to sneakers as tennis shoes.
This makes no sense.
And yes, I know that this nomenclature is slightly geographic. Certain parts of the country are more likely to refer to sneakers as tennis shoes, but that doesn’t make it right.
There is a shoe specifically designed for playing tennis. This is rightfully called a tennis shoe.
There is a shoe designed for running. This is called a running shoe.
There are shoes designed for golf, basketball, baseball, and many other sports. Each is named in accordance to its design.
But if you want to refer to the traditional, rubber-soled athletic shoe in a generic way, we have words for that, too, and it’s not tennis shoe.
Sneaker is quite common. You could also call them kicks. Some places in America even call them gym shoes. Originally they were called plimsolls from the colored, horizontal band joining the upper part of the shoe to the sole, which resembled the Plimsoll line on a ship's hull.
No one calls them plimsolls anymore, but if you did, it would make more sense than referring to your sneakers as tennis shoes.
At least you wouldn’t be identifying shoes not specifically designed for tennis as tennis shoes.
It’s really quite simple:
Tennis shoes are technically designed to be worn during a tennis match while sneakers are simple shoes with rubber shoes and a canvas or canvas-like topping designed to be worn anywhere.
Some folks may quibble with my use of the word “anywhere,” but I have wear sneakers year-round to weddings, funerals, and other traditionally former occasions because I don’t allow nonsensical clothing mores and unnecessary protocols to dictate my level of comfort and fashion preference.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to not wear sneakers to these occasions. I just think it’s wrong and stupid-headed to judge someone who does.
You know what is also kind of wrong and stupid-headed:
Calling tennis shoes that are not specifically designed for tennis as tennis shoes.