When I was a kid we all used to have to wear these shoes for PE or games and we called them daps. Over time all trainers/sport shoes became known as daps and we used to dap about in them. I thought that’s what everyone called them. As I got older I realised that it was only in Bristol where I was from, and maybe a bit of Somerset, that they were daps and people from other parts of the country called them something else. In Yorkshire and the Midlands they were known as pumps, in Scotland sand shoes, sannies or gutties. In other places, I thought unimaginatively, plimsolls.
Yesterday, nearly sixty years later, I finally found out where the name came from. They were first made by the Liverpool Rubber Company and were known as plimsolls because the red line between the rubber sole and the canvas top looked like the plimsoll line. Also, because when water reached the top of the rubber part, your feet got wet! In 1925 Dunlop took over the Liverpool Rubber Company and called them the Dunlop Athletic Plimsole. Dap!!
Ralph recalls a thicker soled version known as “bumpers”. The use of the term, “daps” distressed my DIL when she moved here into Somerset a few years ago.
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