1892 – Inventor Adam Abbot bursts into the office he shares with his fellow inventors.

Adam: I've done it, Gentlemen!  I've created a new, comfortable type of footwear!

Steve: Oh?

Adam: Yes.  You see, the walls of the shoe are composed of stiffened cotton and the soles are made of formed rubber.  They are light, flexible and great for athletics.

Steve: Athletics?

Adam: Yes, it's a new word.  It describes physical activities such as bi-cycling or fast-walking.

Martin: Well, why didn't you just say fast-walking, man?!

Adam: My apologies.  Now, gentlemen, what shall we call this new type of footwear?

Martin: Perhaps 'rubber soled footwearers'?

Adam: Good, good.  But I think we can do better.  Steve?  Anything?

Steve: Perhaps, 'Adam Abbot's Fashionable Atletikes Shoes for Upstanding Men of Position'?

Adam: Did you mean, "Athletics?"

Steve: Yes, whatever that newfangled word is.

Adam: Perhaps…

From the shadows, the office recluse, Grimley, speaks up in low, stiffled tones.

Grimley: They appear to be good for sneaking.

Adam: Yes…yes, I suppose they are.

Grimley: If one were so inclined, one could sneak beneath the cover of dark down the slicked cobbles of the quay in absolute silence.  Nary a longshoreman would hear his approach. His hook be damned, not a stevedore from here to Southampton could be truly safe on the quay after nightfall.

Adam: Right…

Grimley: Or perhaps, if one were so inclined, one could sneak upon a fair maiden carelessly walking unescorted from an evening at the operahouse.  Not a footfall would be heard by said maiden until it was too late.

Adam: Too late for what, exactly?

Grimley: …

Adam: Nevermind.  Now, I think we were onto something with 'Adam Abbot's Fashion…'

Grimley: Call them 'Sneakers' or I will follow you home this eve.

Adam: Sneakers, then.  Yes, sneakers.  Good work, Grimley.

Grimley: Bring me a pie of meat.