Comprehensive Sneaker Terminology You Should Know In 2023

Growing up as a kid with an undying love for kicks was when my obsession for streetwear culture and hip hop started.

I was literally a hypebeast, and I would always disturb my parents to get me the latest of what was trending amongst my favorite celebrities.

Later on, as an adult, I realized that there was actually more to this Sneaker game than just buying, wearing, and following trends.

That was when I overheard some of my friends [who actually turned out to be real Sneakerheads] making a conversation about a particular sneaker model.

They were using slangs and some kind of abbreviations peculiar to that shoe and you have got to see the look on my face because every single Sneaker jargon they used meant something but I wasn’t really understanding it.

Anyways, I was fortunate to get answers from them and I discovered that every single sneaker or shoe model you come across in the marketplace actually has that unique language that encompasses the entire production, release time, and transactions of that shoe brand which goes on their website.

So, I have organized here in this blog post everything you need to know about the abbreviations and jargon that are been used in the sneaker world.

I hope you get to enjoy the blog post and eventually become fluent in the Sneakerheads lingo.

What does OG ALL mean in sneakers?

Have you ever imagined what your reaction would be if you found out at the mail office that your sneaker was supposed to come in neat in a box and well packaged, but it turns out that it came dirty and the box got torn and all the other stuff inside the box got scattered and missing from the seller?

Well, don’t worry about it, just know that OG all means that the sneakers were shipped in a bag and all the other stuff which includes tissue paper, all laces, and baggies and shoe trees inside it are all intact.

What does QS mean in shoes?

Means “Quick Strike” and it is best associated with Nike shoes, which are extremely limited in quantity and often don’t come with a set release date.

The retailers are only special tire 0 stores [tiers 0 are extremely hyped sneakers that sell for very high resale prices and sold at particular stores] which carries the most exclusive sneakers.

The Nike Air Max 90 QS is an example of that.

What does HS mean in Sneakers?

Meaning hyper strike and is an exclusive sneaker edition selected and mostly given to friends and family of artists, celebrities, and employees.

And because of its value in the market, it is so very expensive.

What does DS OG ALL mean in shoes?

DS means “Dead Stock” while OG means “original release”. It is a pair of original Sneakers that has not been worn before for the first time.

What does GUA mean in shoes?

GUA stands for “Gifted upon Arrival” and most times a lot of people make use of online platforms to complete such transactions because it saves cash though.

One problem with GUA sneakers is that buyers who are yet to understand the online selling market tend to be mostly scammed by scammers.

So, instead of getting the requested shoe, they get a box filled with foams and water bottles. All thanks to the scammers who will convince you to just buy your shoes as a gift via PayPal.

That is why it is good to know that buying a sneaker and paying for it online as a gift, especially via PayPal could be really risky.

Sometimes, it’s much better to just get your shoes as gifts from a physical store than from any social media platforms and other online selling platforms.

So if you intend to buy a sneaker as GUA, and you don’t want to agonize over it make sure to buy from reputable stores and well traffic sites, if not you can just spend the extra cash on the seller to offset the amount to pay for later delivery of the shoes.

What does B mean in sneaker groups?

So what does B mean in sizing? That’s when B-grade shoes come into place. The sizing of shoes is indicated by numbers and letters.

Numbers indicate length size while letters indicate width size. B in women’s shoe indicates a normal or regular-width shoe, and a B in a men shoe indicates a narrow shoe width.

Sometimes, there is this kind of satisfactory feeling that comes from you ordering a shoe online and it turns out to fit perfectly well, to the width of your feet.

Because you just know that buying any kind of shoe online although could be risky but also a good luck charm to try out as well.

What does GR mean in Sneakers?

GR sneakers stand for General Release sneakers that are commonly stocked by all retailers and don’t have a limited quantity.

What does GS mean in Sneakers?

Now, GS simply means “Grade School” and these are sneaker models that are designed to fit a foot smaller than the average male foot. They are built smaller and narrower and perfectly fit a small foot.

GS is also referred to as Youth Sizing, and it is specifically used referring to the Nike and Air Jordan models.

If you have experienced a craving for a particular sneaker you saw at first sight at the store and you went ahead to try it on but you just realized that luck left you right at the entrance into the sneaker store.

Well, I know that feeling, what you need to know is that we have something in common, which is a small foot.

When it comes to selecting sneakers, finding that particular shoe size that will give you the perfect matching to your exact foot size can be daunting and tasking, especially for a small-footed sneakerhead.

Mostly, the available sneakers you find in common stores are medium-sized ones. The life-saving hack to get you the correct shoe width can be found measuring your foot at the widest part.

What does VNDS stand for?

This means Very Near Dead Stock, and people mostly use this term when they are trying to say that although they have worn the Sneaker before, but astill in good shape.

What does Beaters mean in sneakers?

Everyone sneakerhead has a particular Sneaker that you just keep wearing until it literally loses its life. So, in the sneaker world, beaters are shoes that have significant wear and tear on them.

They don’t actually come in their original boxes and the only beaters that tend to sell off fast are the ones with a particular legendary model. Since beaters do have scratches on them, most people wearing them to the gym and on rainy days.

If you really want to get the most out of your beaters then you should go for the low-top ones which have wider soles, because they hold their shape well over time. And also do well to check that they clean up nicely as well.

An example of such is the Nike Air Max model, SB Dunk Lows, and the Air Jordan 3s.

What do Grails mean in sneakers?

Have you ever had a bucket list of sneakers before? These are sneakers that are extremely limited and super rare e.g. Mars Yard Models.

They are really very expensive and hard to get but coveted mostly by Sneakerheads.

So, for Sneakerheads, grails are like their everyday normal Colorway shoes, but to someone like me, grails are like that pair of sneakers I had when I was a kid that I would love to hold on to.

HTM Nike meaning

HTM, represents the first three letters of the names Hiroshi Fujiwara, Tinker Hatfield, and Mark Parker. The former was the godfather of Air Jordan designer, the second was the former CEO of Nike and the latter was the former president of Nike.

All three collaborated and collectively made HTM, which turns out to be the Formula 1 of footwear design, and it gradually pioneered down to the consumer level.

What does SB mean in sneakers?

Specifically, SB is a Nike brand used specifically when referring to skateboarders. How it came about was that around the year 2004, Nike released the Nike Dunk SB collection, aimed towards skateboarders in California.

And they differ from other Nike shoe models, in that they were designed specifically for skateboarders as some of the new features include triple stitching, quality material, Zoom Air insoles, and of course they were highly padded as well.

Anyways, the Nike Dunk SB collections since then have had a lot of variety of special editions such as the Nike Dunk SBs and the popular Nike Dunk SB Low Pro SB [which nearly drove everyone except me crazy!] have also been released.

And it has had some collaboration that has led it to where it is now. For example, the collaboration with Ben & Jerry’s turns out to be the biggest as of 2020.

Most importantly, Nike SB is not just a nickname as looking back to society; you will discover that it invented a kind of sneaker culture amongst sneaker enthusiasts.

What does PRM mean

They are not usually sought after but their release has a standardized set date. These sneakers mean Premium sneakers and they are produced with the highest quality materials. E.g. LEBRON XII LOW PRM.

What does Yeezy mean in shoes?

The Yeezy Boost line is actually referring to Adidas’ most sought-after collaboration. It was created by Kanye West, in conjunction with the sportswear company Adidas and because of the high-end limited edition Colorways and general release, the Adidas Yeezy is a notable fashion collaboration.

There are several mind-blowing lineups of these Yeezys Adidas Sneakers such as the Yeezy Boost 750, Yeezy Boost 350, Yeezy 950, Yeezy Boost 700, and the first-ever to be made in the united stated is the Yeezy Foam Runner and interestingly, all of these Yeezy line ups has gained momentum and popularity amongst celebrities.

What does LX mean in shoes?

Every sneakerhead like me just loves the whole process of un-boxing sneakers and wouldn’t mind taking a look at the labeling on the box.

But just for information sake, LX is seen mostly on the sneaker’s box label, what it explains is that that particular sneaker is made from premium fabrics such as suede and leather.

To be honest, I throw away the boxes of my brand new sneakers into the trash bin without necessarily looking at what’s written on it. I have done this many times and am sure you too have either, but No guilt. No blames.

What does DX mean in shoes?

Similar to LX but this labeling on the sneaker box means that the materials used in the production are from sock liners and higher quality materials.

What does New Balance codes mean in shoes?

Have you ever purchased a shoe with labeling attached to the tongue of the shoe? Well, I have many times and the code on the label seems somewhat confusing to interpret and understand.

But the only explanation to this is that New Balance shoes always come with a code name and one hack you can use to interpret it is that the code is divided into three sections, so with these, you can easily understand it.

Now let’s take a look at this code, F1500BWG, and MR15000BWG, each code is easily read as F-1500-BWG and MR-15000-BWG.

The first letter of the first code which is represents gender [whether male or female]. While the alphabet of the second code, which explains the type of shoe it is. Thus refers to Men’s Running shoes.

The style number, “1500” which is the second section of the code varies according to different New Balance Model shoes.

Finally, the third section which is “BWG” stands for the colorway, which means that the colors blue, white, and grey are present on the shoe.

So, each New Balance shoe comes with its own unique code which includes the alphabet, the style number, and the colorway.

What does Colorway mean in shoes?

If you are a fashion guru, then you are probably familiar with the term “Colorway”. Well, this just means so much as the word itself; it refers to the series of colors that make up a sneaker.

One thing that makes the Colorway of the sneaker different from that of other shoes is that it is as important as the actual shoe model itself that is why a Colorway of a popular sneaker is always worth more in the market than one without.

Let’s say, you wanted to get a pair of Air Jordans in the market with no specific choice and you found out that there are sneakers with Colorways and some without, which one do you think will appeal to you faster?

Thus, that is why the Colorway in Chicagos Air Jordan, makes them worth about three pairs of the black Jordan’s on the market space.

And most especially, popular sneakers with branded Colorways always kick-off for collaboration with other brand designers.

So you get the hype now right?

What does NIB/BNIB/NWB mean in sneakers?

There are some sneakers that never get sold during their trends till when the trends are over. Such sneakers remain in the factory where they are produced, untouched, and still in perfect condition.

They are called New in Box/ Brand New in Box or New with Box. And they literally remain in the boxes for years but remain as new as ever.


So that is everything about sneakerhead lingo and other terminologies you will definitely come across if you really want to play the sneaker game.

I do hope you find this article really helpful, so go out there and rock these sneaker abbreviations as you meant it.

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