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Sneaker vs. Takkie: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on September 22, 2023
Sneaker is a term for a soft shoe worn for sports or casual wear; Takkie is South African slang for a similar type of shoe.

Key Differences

Sneaker and takkie refer to essentially the same type of shoe, but the usage of the terms varies geographically. A sneaker is a term widely recognized and used predominantly in American English. It refers to a soft, comfortable shoe designed primarily for sports or other forms of physical exercise but is also worn for everyday casual wear. Sneakers typically have a rubber sole and are made with various materials like leather, canvas, or synthetic fabrics. They are known for being versatile and are a staple in casual and sportswear fashion.
Conversely, the term takkie is colloquial and predominantly used in South African English to describe a similar kind of shoe. It is a piece of casual footwear, ideal for sporty activities or everyday use, mirroring the functionality and appearance of what is known as a sneaker in American English. Takkies, like sneakers, are designed to provide comfort and support and are commonly worn by people of all ages for various activities, reflecting a universal approach to casual footwear.
Sneakers have a global presence and are known by different names in different regions, reflecting cultural and linguistic diversity. They are a symbol of comfort and style, blending functionality with aesthetics. They have evolved over the years, adapting to changing fashion trends and consumer preferences, making them a perennial favorite in the footwear category. Sneakers cater to a wide audience, appealing to individuals seeking both performance and style.
Takkie, with its regional flavor, exemplifies the localization of language, adapting a universal concept to local dialect and culture. This term encapsulates the essence of casual, comfortable footwear in the South African context, highlighting regional diversity in language use. The term takkie is deeply ingrained in South African culture, signifying a blend of universal functionality and local vernacular, representing the convergence of global trends and regional identity.
In essence, while sneaker is a globally recognized term for casual, sporty footwear, takkie serves as a regional counterpart in South African English, reflecting the intersection of global fashion trends and local linguistic preferences. Both terms, despite their geographical and linguistic differences, symbolize the universal appeal and versatility of casual athletic footwear, embodying a shared appreciation for comfort and style.

Comparison Chart


Predominantly used in American English.
Predominantly South African slang.


Globally recognized.
Regionally recognized.


Casual and sporty footwear with a global presence.
Casual, sporty footwear with a regional flavor.


Known by various names globally, adapting to local dialects.
Specifically associated with South African English.


Versatile; used for sports, casual wear, and fashion.
Similar application, emphasizing comfort and versatility.

Sneaker and Takkie Definitions


A versatile piece of footwear available in various styles and designs.
The colorful sneakers matched her vibrant personality.


South African term for a comfortable, casual shoe.
He wore his favorite takkies to the cricket match.


A shoe suitable for sports or casual wear.
I bought a new pair of sneakers for my workout sessions.


A slang word for sports or casual footwear in South African English.
These takkies are perfect for a jog in the park.


Footwear with a flexible sole made of rubber or synthetic material.
These sneakers have a durable rubber sole that provides good grip.


A piece of regional footwear synonymous with sneakers.
Her new takkies were stylish and comfortable.


A term for athletic shoes widely recognized globally.
The latest sneaker release created a buzz in the fashion world.


A localized term representing casual athletic shoes in South Africa.
Takkies are essential for a relaxed weekend outing.


One who sneaks.


A word encapsulating the essence of casual footwear in South African culture.
Buying a pair of durable takkies is a wise investment.


A shoe designed for outdoor activity, usually made of canvas with a rubber sole. Also called tennis shoe.


An athletic shoe, a trainer, a sneaker.


One who sneaks.


An athletic shoe with a soft, rubber sole. A trainer.


A vessel of drink.


A large cup (or small basin) with a saucer and cover.


(biology) A sneaker male.


One who sneaks.


A vessel of drink.
A sneaker of five gallons.


A type of soft shoe with a flat, pliable, typically rubber or other soft sole, and canvas-like upper, used in sports such as tennis, or for comfort. Called sneaker because they give no warning of one's approach. Usually used in the pl.


A punch bowl.


A canvas shoe with a pliable rubber sole


Someone acting as an informer or decoy for the police


A comfortable, soft shoe used for everyday activities.
He put on his sneakers and went for a walk in the park.


Can takkies be worn for formal occasions?

Takkies are generally considered casual wear, unsuitable for formal settings.

Do both terms refer to footwear with laces?

Typically, but sneakers and takkies can also have other fastening systems.

Can "sneaker" and "takkie" be used interchangeably?

In South Africa, possibly, but "sneaker" is more universally understood.

Can the term sneaker refer to high-heeled sports shoes?

Yes, some sneakers have heels, blending style with sporty elements.

Are takkies always low-cut?

Typically, but variations may exist, reflecting style preferences.

Are sneakers and takkies the same thing?

Essentially, yes, but "sneaker" is used globally, while "takkie" is South African slang.

Do all sneakers have a rubber sole?

Most sneakers have soles made of rubber or synthetic materials for flexibility and grip.

Is "takkie" used outside of South Africa?

Predominantly, "takkie" is specific to South African English.

Are takkies synonymous with running shoes in South Africa?

Takkies can refer to running shoes but also to other types of casual and sporty footwear.

Are all sneakers suitable for sports?

While designed for sports, not all sneakers may suit every sporting activity.

Is the term takkie recognized in American English?

Takkie is primarily a South African term and may not be widely recognized in American English.

Are sneakers generally expensive?

Prices vary widely, depending on brand, quality, and design.

Are the words sneaker and takkie nouns?

Yes, both sneaker and takkie are nouns referring to types of footwear.

Can sneakers be made of leather?

Yes, sneakers can be made from a variety of materials including leather.

Can takkies have high tops?

Yes, takkies can come in various styles, including high tops.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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