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TRIVIA: What are Bumpers (and Why Do You Call Them Bumpers)?

PHOTO CREDIT: Estate of W.T. Rabe

What are “bumpers”? Tracy, from sales, and I were talking about the clothes in the 1970’s Easter pic I posted Sunday, and when she said, “And look at those bumpers!” I had no clue what she was talking about.

Bumpers? I was about to say, “C’mon! That’s my sister and my mom!”, but she didn’t mean it that way…she meant shoes. The Chuck Taylors? Yep. Also know as, “Converses”, “Chuck Taylors”, “Chucks”, “Cons”, and “All Stars”…and now, bumpers?

Bumpers. But not everywhere. Back in 2009, this former Minnesotan tried to find all the “names” for Chuck Taylors…

What generic term do you (or did you) use for these shoes, and where are you from? Are they sneakers, tennies, tennis shoes….what? If you are from the states, what did/do you call them? I’m interested to see which states/regions use which terms. I called them tennis shoes (and sometimes I called them “tennies”) and I’m from Minnesota. Since residing in England, I have learned to call them trainers. Wherever you’re from (not just from the USA) what do you call them?

In that guys comments section there area all sorts of names, including High Tops (that’s what my high school friends called ’em). And the ONLY reference to “bumpers” I could find on the internet machine. .

I love learning new-to-me regionalisms. But now, I wanna know…why? Why do people here around Olmsted County and in Ireland call them “bumpers”?

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