Retrobok Glossary


Aerobic Instructor Programme
Reebok sales programme which ran between 1984-1989: “(fitness) … instructors buying shoes and selling to their clients” – source.

Acronym for Reebok Basketball footwear (eg: BB 4600)

Certified Network
See Reebok Certified Network

Acronym for Classic Leather.
The CL in CL1400 is to be established, but may have been inspired by Volvo cars (source)

Collaboration/Crossover – See X

Sneaker culture terminology — Colour combination (or ‘colour palette’) of a shoe

Cross Trainer
aka XT  A shoe designed to be used across a number of activities, such as Running, Indoor Fitness and Weightlifting. Key feature was usually a flat sole suitable for indoor surfaces, and a high level of stability. A number of Reeboks in the late 80’s and early 90’s had the XT acronym, such as AXT, AXT Plus, CXT and SXT.

(aka Collaboration) See X

Acronym for ‘Deluxe’ (eg: DL 5600)

Dynamax tech – description soon

DS / Deadstock
Sneaker culture terminology — unworn shoes that have not sold during their intended sales run; literally ‘dead stock’.

Dual Pump – Description shortly

Energaire (aka Dynamic Cushioning™ System)

Possibly one of the most interesting — and forgotten — shoe technologies used by Reebok, Energaire was a 3rd-party technology used by Reebok on the 1991 Pump Walking and the Comfort I. The technology was also used on shoes by the Spalding company. A number of Patents define this technology as using fluids or air to transmit between the 2 reservoirs at either end – for the purpose of “encouraging a Walkers’ consistent foot-strike”.  The Pump Walking itself apparently has 3 technologies incorporated – Pump,  Energaire, and Hexalite (supposedly in the heel) making it a shoe with more tech than most.

ERS / E.R.S. / Energy Return System (1988~)

A cushioning system made from tubes of ‘Hytrel’ from the Du Pont company placed transversely within the midsole of the shoe. The concept is that on footstrike the tubes compress and release energy ‘like a spring’ as the foot rises. There is little doubt that this technology was developed as a competitor to Nikes ‘Air’, and certainly raised Reeboks’ tech image. The first ERS shoe – the 1988 ERS Trainer (cutaway shown above) featured tubes in both the heel section and forefoot of the shoe, while most ERS since just feature the technology in the heel section. ERS was replaced by the reputedly superior Hexalite in the late 80’s/early 90’s. However, ERS has been used by Reebok in shoes since, in either retro releases or newer shoes using the retro tech as a sales point.

EVA (aka Phylon)
Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is the copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate. It’s an extremely elastic material that can be sintered to form a porous material similar to rubber, yet with excellent toughness. Used mostly in midsoles. (Also see IMEVA)

Fosters Heel Cradle / Foster Cradle

Heel support ‘brace’ as used on the 1980 Victory XL, Victory GT and Victory GTi, to aid stability and avoid pronation.

‘Franchise 5’
The 5 core shoe models for the Reebok Classics brand — Classic Leather, Workout, Ex-O-Fit , NPC (Newport Classic), Freestyle for women.

Fully Vulcanised Sole

FW or F/W
Fall/Winter — acronym to identify seasonal releases of clothing or footwear (eg: FW11 = Fall/Winter 2011). See S/S.

Acronym used on GL 6000 and GL 6500 shoes, the name allegedly inspired by 1980’s Volvo GL series of cars (source).

Graphlite/Graphene / Graphlite Arc Bridge (Insta Pump)

Description shortly

Grade School — USA-originated acronym used to identify infants/youth models of shoes. eg: Reebok Omni Lite GS. The acronym was supposedly initiated by Nike.

Acronym used on Reebok shoes such as the Victory GT and GTI to identify inclusion of Gore Tex technology.

Heel Tab
Top, rear section of the shoe that often contacts the achilles tendon section of the ankle. Retro Reeboks’ such as the GL6000 employed the ‘dipped tab’ design to avoid friction with the achilles tendon.


Cushioning system which was the successor to ERS and in the opinions of its’ designer, superior. Hexalite is a honeycomb shaped system of urethane cells filled with air which allegedly distribute upto 23% more energy than the equivalent amount of EVA foam. Reebok also claimed that Hexalite is 4 times more durable than EVA foam. HexRide is an updated brand application of Hexalite.

Acronym for Hexalite (see Hexalite). eg: Trek HXL

Impact Support Waves
See Midsole Flex Wave

Injection-moulded Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA). The process and material used mostly in midsoles and outsoles. (Also see EVA)

Material insert within the shoe, often removable.

J.W. Foster & Sons (Company)
Footwear company established around 1895 in Bolton, UK by Joseph William Foster. It’s unclear precisely how long the company survived after Reebok was founded in 1958 by Joe (Grandson of J.W. Foster) and Jeff Foster. Source

Lateral Quarter Underlay
Component part of the Reebok Classics’ upper, Source

LX / Lux
Acronyms for ‘Luxury’ (eg: LX 8500, CL Lthr Lux)

Medial Crosscheck
Component part of the Reebok Classics upper, half of the ‘Sidestripe Crosscheck’. Source.

Medial Quarter Underlay
Component part of the Reebok Classics’ upper, Source.

The part of a shoe above the outsole and below the upper. Usually contains most of the cushioning or flexing functions of an athletic shoe.

Midsole Flex Wave
Midsole technology seen on DL5600, GL6000, GL6500, and LX8500 which claim to aid central stability at the front of the shoe.

Sneaker culture acronym — New In Box. A pair of shoes barely even taken out of the box. See also ‘Deadstock’.

Acronym for Reebok shoe ‘Newport Classic’. Origin TBC.

OG or O/G
Sneaker culture terminology — ‘Original’ – meaning the original shoe model, different to a ‘Retro’ which means a re-release of the ‘OG’ shoe. Can refer to the colourway of a shoe, also.

The bottom of a shoe, which contacts the ground. More commonly known as a sole.

Perforated. The shoe includes materials with small holes. Originally to aid breathability, nowadays most likely for appearance.


Term used by athletes referring to their ‘Personal Best’ (running) time. Also used on a number of Reebok shoes, such as PB, PB Gold, PB 800 Spikes, and PB 1500.

Pronation (also known as eversion)
The inward roll of the foot while walking or running. Many shoes are designed to prevent pronation, ie: ‘anti-pronation’.

Pump (1989~)
Reebok-designed system that allows the shoe wearer to inflate air bladders within the shoe to provide a better fit. The design required the use of Medical grade technology. Pump is without any doubt Reeboks’ biggest and most succesful technology – beating Nike (who were attempting a similar system with its unwieldy Nike Air Pressure – which failed by requiring an external pump to adjust the shoe). Reebok first included the pump system within the tongue of the legendary 1989 The Pump Basketball shoe, and with a stroke of genius textured and shaped the pump mechanism to resemble a half-Basketball (the mechanism has also been shaped and textured like a Tennis Ball and American Football. Pump technology is often confused by the public to inflate the midsole itself.

Older Reebok acronym for shoes designed for the Road/Track.

(TBC) – Acronym identifying release year of specific Reebok shoes, eg: Classic Leather R12 = 2012

Racing Flat – Description shortly

1987 Skateboard/BMX shoe by Reebok. RAD = ‘Reebok Advanced Design’

Reebok (Company)
Footwear company established in 1958 in Bolton, United Kingdom born from the J.W.Fosters & Sons company (established around 1895) by family members and employees Joe and Jeff Foster. J.W.Fosters survived for a number of years after, though for precisely how long is yet to be established. Source

Reebok (Name)
Reebok is the Afrikaans spelling of ‘Rhebok’ (Antelope), the name was found in a book belonging to J.W.Foster.  ‘Bok’ means Antelope or Goat in Afrikaans and Dutch.

Reebok Certified Network
“A global network of retailers that we have chosen to creatively collaborate with … Burn Rubber, Packer Shoes, Mita, HAL, Hanon Shop, Solebox, Vault, Livestock, BTNC, atmos, colette, Crooked Tongues, Foot Patrol, Sneakersnstuff, Kasina, Shoe Gallery, Limited Edt, Highs & Lows and Bodega” —Ryan Cross, Director of the Reebok Classic Reserve Collection and Certified Network. Source

Sneaker culture terminology — A shoe which is manufactured to the exact specifications of an older shoe.

Wikipedia Definition — “A culturally outdated or aged style, trend, mode, or fashion, from the overall post-modern past, that has since that time become functionally or superficially the norm once again …  It generally implies a vintage of at least fifteen or twenty years. For example, clothing from the 1980s or 1990s could be retro.”

Retro + Reebok = Retrobok. Reebok sneaker blog and resource. “Dedicated to the love of classic Reebok athletic footwear“. Founded in 2011 in the UK by Graphic/UI Designer Chris Williams, aka ‘BokOne’. 

SD or S/D
Reebok acronym for Suede/Denim – denoting the primary materials used for a shoe.

SN or S/N
Reebok acronym for Suede/Nylon – denoting the primary materials used for a shoe.

SNE or S/N/E 
(TBC) Suede/Nylon/EVA – denoting the primary materials used for a shoe.

SS or S/S 
Spring/Summer — acronym to identify seasonal releases of clothing or footwear (eg: SS13 = Sprint/Summer 2013)

Scotchlite Reflective Trim
A 3M™ material providing ‘retro reflection’ to improve the wearers night-time visibility/safety. Best example of Retrobok application is in the Scotchlite piping around the heel section of 1980’s Reeboks.


Name for the distinctive dual stripes running down the side of Reebok shoes, which also form part of the branding, first appearing around 1976. The dual stripes were rumoured to represent the dual origins of Track and Road running.


Reebok terminology for the branding device shown above, with combined dual stripes with single cross-check ‘arrow’.

Special Make Up – SMU is a special production run of shoes. Can be for a specific shoe store or international distributor. Usually a special color or material treatment.  The SMU product manager will work closly with sales managers, Product line managers, sales reps and Desigeners to create new products.  SMU projects can be brought to market quickly  as there is no selling or booking period required.  Once the design is confirmed the order can be placed to the factory. Via

US-originated terminology for a Training Shoe with a rubber sole (inferring the wearer was silent and could sneak in them). In the UK the word ‘Trainer’ is better known, and sometimes as Runner, or Plimsoll.

Spikes – Description shortly

Spring System
Cushioning/ride Technology (details to be confirmed) as seen on the Womens Rugged Walker (1989 – tbc)

Stability Bar
Technology used on Cross Trainers such as the SXT

Stability Heel Counter
See Fosters Heel Cradle

Starcrest (Reebok Starcrest)

Branding device designed specifically for the Tongue label, according to David Foster. The Starcrest is synonymous with classic Reebok products. The dual arrow device (above in red) was developed from the footprint of an Antelope (Reebok or Rhebok in Afrikaans). See Retrobok feature “The Starcrest: A Retrobok visual theory of evolution” for more information.

Swaybar – Description shortly

Toe Box
Enclosed section of a shoe at the front, above the midsole.

Toe Wrap
Part of the outsole which wraps up under the toes at the front, often for protection or to aid traction.

UK terminology for a Training Shoe. ‘Trainers’ are also known as Runners, or Plimsolls (another UK name). The American term ‘sneaker’ is more widely known.

Acronym for ‘Textile’ where a textile is the primary material type, rather than Leather or Suede. Example – the Classic Lux TXT.

Acronym for Union Jack – the flag of the United Kingdom. A shoe with ‘UJ’ in the title implies some additional Union Jack detailing beyond the classic Reebok logo.

Any part of a shoe above the Midsole and Outsole. The upper usually encases and protects the foot, and includes the lacing and tongue.

Vamp Lining
Component part of the Classic LeatherSource.

Ventilator (1991 tbc~)
A structural mesh material used in the side of the upper, replacing conventional materials and permitting vastly improved breathability. Ventilator shoes were usually combined with the more saleable Hexalite tech, but no doubt many customers appreciated the clearer benefits of Ventilator.

Woven Label
An identifier for particular Classic shoes. More definition required.

Modern culture terminology — Meaning ‘crossover’, or collaboration (often shortened to collab) between 2 or more stores/brands. eg: Reebok X Atmos.

Older Reebok acronym for ‘Cross Country’ type footwear, often featuring a more prominent outsole and increased waterproofing.

See Cross Trainer

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