Why do sneakers have zips?

Q: Why did the shoes have zips on them?
A: The pair of shoes was having an identity crisis and thought it was a pair of shorts.

But seriously, silly jokes aside, why do sneakers need zips? I understand why shoes have shoelaces, sure. Straps? Yeah, totally. Buckles and buttons? Yes, I get it. But zips? No, I don’t really get it.

At first I couldn’t work out if zips on shoes were actually functional or just for decorative purposes. I can understand why tall shoes, like knee-length boots, have zips. The zips are normally at the back of the heel, or on the side of the calf. This makes it easier for someone to get their feet into tall shoes, but the majority of shoes don’t have zips, so I figure it’s not necessary.

high top sneaker

Shih Yen’s high top sneaker with zips on the back of the heel.

So then, I thought zips on low shoes like sneakers must only serve a decorative rather than functional purpose. This was until I recently bought a pair of high top sneakers that had zips on the backs of the heel. Initially, I thought the zips were purely decorative. I wasn’t even sure if the zips actually worked. But after wearing the shoes a couple of times, I found that the zips actually do up and there was a purpose for them. With the zips done up, this made the shoe tighter. So if shoes are just a bit too big for you, and if they have zips, with the zips done up this will make the shoes about a half size smaller.


The back of the sneakers. With the zip done up, this makes the sneaker a bit tighter.



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