Best High Tops Reviewed & Rated for Fashion
High top sneakers are one of the coolest style trends, but are they really new? High top sneakers fade in and out of popularity dating back to the 1920’s. When high tops were first created, the idea behind the high top was created for high-level basketball players. These stylish kicks became a critical part of a basketball player’s uniform, primarily for ankle support.
Somewhere, overtime, new high tops were being created to avoid the bulky look, as they became a cross between a basketball shoe and style. Soon after the high top sneaker became a known fashion style, created for everyone to wear and enjoy. Now coming in a large variety of styles and designs, finding a high top shoe that appeals to aesthetics is easy. Finding high tops that suit all your needs and provide the proper features you need to give your feet support and comfort may be a little more difficult. But that’s why we’re here to help you understand all of your choices!
- Skechers Burst Divergent
- Very breathable
- Vans SK8-Hi
- Rubber Sole
- Osiris NYC 83
- Thickly padded
Are you looking for ankle support or flashy velcro straps? Is color, material, and style crucial to your shopping decisions or are you more interested in support, comfort, and durability? While everyone wants their shoes to be attractive in style, protecting your ankles is a must. With this top 10 best high tops list, you will find a mix of surprises in what is popular in style and comfort. All you have to do is decide which shoes work best for you!
10 Best High Tops
1. Skechers Burst Divergent
This shoe features an air-cooled memory foam insole to allow a cooling feel in anything that you are doing. Not only is it cooling, it also will support any pressure in your foot, collecting all the shock in each step you take.
Included in this fabulous choice is a flexible outsole with Burst Grip traction. Having the Burst Grip in this shoe will allow for excellent traction during games or everyday use. You will love the non-slip grip that this shoe has to offer.
Cost and Value
Support and style have never been more valuable with this Skechers Sport Burst Divergent Demi Boot. The mesh uppers have a lot to offer your feet with support and constant airflow. Paired with the mesh, air cooling memory foam helps keep your feet cool and comfortable for hours at a time.
- Cooling features
- 1 ½ thick heel for support
- AIr cooled memory foam
- Mesh high uppers
- Thin material that could wear
2. Vans Sk8-Hi
This Van shoe offers you a vulcanized outsole and also features a signature tread that is similar to a waffle, delivering maximum traction. Along with the maximum traction, this shoe also offers a flexible grip, for every skateboarding trip.
Running in sync with the outsole, the Vans Sk8-Hi provides a padded insole to help absorb the most ultimate shocks in everyday wear. The padded insole also provides excellent cushion and comfort, leaving this shoe a top pick in comfort!
Cost and Value
As Vans Sk8-Hi is one of the best selling classics, its suede, and canvas upper has style and support for your skateboarding needs. Not a skateboarder? No worries! These solid and comfortable shoes go with any style.
- Goes with anything
- Rubber waffle traction
- Suede and canvas uppers
- Extra comfort in insole
- Can wear fast
3. DC Spartan High Wc
Have you ever had a pair of shoes that drove you crazy because of the stiff shoe tongue? Every time you would walk it would rub on top of your shin. With the DC Spartan High Wc, you do not have to worry about that as the tongue of this shoe is padded for extra protection and comfort.
The grip is one of the most important features of a shoe to some people. The Spartan High Wc offers a sticky, pill patterned grip, on the outsole. The grip is likely to stick to anything, preventing sliding, slipping, etc.
Cost and Value
Amongst the high top class, hides this little gem. DC Spartan High Wc is a favorite due to the stability that it offers and the extra comfort and cushion in the build of this shoe. The majority of those that buy this shoe, will always be repeat customers.
- Extra padding for comfort
- Cushioned sole for support
- Leather and Nubuck uppers with ventilation
- Reasonably priced
- Water stains on nubuck
4. Converse Chuck Taylor
The Chuck Taylor is made with a canvas upper, which is a stylish material that is fit for any outfit. With that being said, canvas is well known for its excellent ventilation, allowing constant airflow. Even on the hottest days, your feet will remain sweat free. Canvas is also known to be the easiest material to clean.
Rubber Traction Outsole
Rubber traction outsoles are the best option on any shoe. Converse Chuck Taylors provide an extra grip with their outsole, allowing a perfect, slip-free game of basketball. Whether you’re going for a walk, playing sports, or spending the day with friends, your shoe will be guaranteed to get a grip.
Cost and Value
As one of the world’s most well known high top sneakers, the Chuck Taylor offers quality and durability. Designed with special stitch patterns and canvas uppers, this shoe is made to last, for any occasion.
- Budget friendly
- Made with lightweight material
- Rubber traction outsole
- Stitching for long lasting wear
- Canvas upper for breathability
- Less supportive
5. Nike Air Force 1
This feature is great for creating a more customized fit that forms firmly around the ankle and aids in the protection of your feet. The Velcro strap is easy to use and allows the user to tighten the shoe to his/her liking. You can also use the straps to tuck in your shoelaces and prevent them from coming loose.
Nike Air Technology
These shoes are created with pressurized air soles located in the midsole and outsole of the shoe. The soles compress during every movement to help reduce the impact and create resilience. This Air technology is lightweight, comfortable and keeps its sturdy shape even after long periods of time.
Cost and Value
These shoes can be a bit pricey depending on your size and color options. The overall high brand reputation and quality design are what increases the value of the shoe. Also due to its popularity, this shoe is going cost a bit more than other high tops but is completely worth every penny.
- Mid-length high top
- Velcro ankle straps
- Air sole technology
- Perforated air holes
- Complete cushioning on the inside
- Can be expensive depending on size/color options
- Sizes may run small
6. Adidas Cloudfoam Ilation
The upper portion of this shoe is a combination of synthetic material and leather which is constant support of your ankle and foot. This upper also offers a perforated material that allows air flow throughout the shoe.
Cloud Foam Foot Bed
The technology in the footbed is something to dream of. The Performance Ilation shoe offers an enhanced level of comfort with the Cloud Foam Foot Bed. This technology is specific to this particular shoe and has made this shoe a number one seller.
Cost and Value
This shoe offers a lot more than most shoes. As it features a modern basketball look, it also is well known for the spring in the step that it provides. Supporting your ankles with breathable material, this shoe also is a budget-friendly option for those looking for a good high top.
- Cloud Foam technology
- Perforated upper
- Supportive bulky ankle
- Traction for the perfect grip
- Friendly to your pocket
- Bulky upper
- Not as lightweight
7. Reebok Royal Bb4500h Xw
Unlike most shoes, this shoe features a removable sock liner. The Ortholite sock insole is a removable liner that offers maximum comfort and the comfort doesn’t change over time. The shape of the Ortholite insole will keep shape throughout washings and will also always be breathable.
High Abrasion Outsole
The Reebok Royal Bb4500h Xw Fashion Sneaker has been designed with a high abrasion outsole to help solid performance and durability of this classic shoe. Each shoe is designed with the outsole, which is thicker than most shoe outsoles to hold up during running. This outsole also features a strong grip.
Cost and Value
This shoe has performed higher than the average running shoe and is known to last a lot longer. With its leather upper, perforated leather fronts, and high abrasion outsole, this shoe is loved by runners and athletes alike. The high top will also keep your feet cool with its constant air circulation.
- Supportive instep
- Breathable fronts
- High abrasion outsole for durability
- Leather uppers for waterproofing
- Removable cushioned insoles
- Hard to break in
- Known to run narrow
8. Adidas Pro Model
Comfortable high top shoes require protective padding around the ankle which is why Adidas added cushioning to the collars of the ankle as well as the tongue of the shoe. The padding helps to help your ankles secure in the shoes without causing friction or potential blisters.
Minimal, Attractive Design
The simplicity of this shoe design is also what allows the shoe to shine. Using neutral colors and the signature logo stripes, the shoe’s attractive appearance is one that can be worn anywhere and matches with a large variety of clothing styles.
Cost and Value
For the most part, these shoes are reasonable in price and are fairly affordable. The popularity of the brand and the shoe design increases the value, which therefore increases the price. Depending on your color and size options these shoes can range from an average shoe cost to quite expensive.
- Signature logo stripes
- Padded ankle collar and tongue
- Durable rubber outsole
- Leather upper
- Modern twist on a classic design
- Lower arch support
9. Osiris NYC 83
These shoes come equipped with durable rubber outsoles, a wraparound midsole, and a textured toe bumper. These features are protective and abrasion resistant. This means that over time as you wear the shoes, the original quality materials won't wear down or become damaged by hard surfaces. A truly great feature for any high top shoe.
Not only do these shoes feature a padded ankle collar and tongue, but they also come with all around padding on the inside and outside of the shoe. This protective padding creates a firm yet plush barrier between you and any damage that may occur while adding to the shoe’s lifespan and durability.
Cost and Value
You'll find these high top skate shoes listed for a very reasonable price. The overall durability and comfort provided in the shoe make its quality of decent value and a highly reliable choice in high top shoes.
- Multilayered upper materials
- Padded collar and tongue
- Abrasion resistant rubber soles
- Thick, secure padding
- Removable padded insole
- Sizes may run smaller
- Shoe wears at the seams
10. U.S. Polo Assn. Mila4
The side zipper isn't just for style on these shoes, they also provide a versatile feature! Worn up, the shoes are matching in color and canvas materials, worn down and the shoes expose the ribbed padded ankle collar which can be found in a more glossy material. This feature allows the user to change the style of the shoe to at h the style of their clothing.
Padded Tongue and Ankle Collar
As always, this is a highly important feature for all high top shoes. The padding provides a snug, comfortable fit while avoiding any friction, irritation or potential for blisters. The padded tongue sits lightly on the foot, creating a plush sense of security. Overall the padding is what completes to comfort of the shoe.
Cost and Value
These shoes are very affordable compared to some of the rest! While the other shoes may be more functional, these shoes provide all the basic features and comfort you need in a reliable high top shoe. The low price is just an added benefit.
- Side zipper
- Versatile in design
- Padded ankle collar and tongue
- Logo on front tongue
- Lightweight synthetic canvas material
- More for fashion
- Less durable
The high top has never gone out of style since it came into style many years ago. With all of the high tops listed here, the one thing that is consistent across the board is support in the ankles. Whether you are skateboarding, playing basketball, or just pairing your high top with an everyday outfit, you will also find that comfort is a common feature in these shoes as well.
Colors and styles vary when choosing which high top is for you. Decide what you want your high top for. Is it for a sport? If so, a supportive and breathable shoe would be the best choice. Think about what you need this high top for. There are several here to choose from and they are all popular and affordable styles, made to fit anyone’s needs.
Criteria For Evaluating the Best High Tops
High top shoes are not only great because of their modern street style, they’re also good for protecting your ankles. The fabric that forms around the ankle helps to better secure the shoe into the foot. Although this all sounds great, high tops that aren’t made with comfortable, padded materials can be irritating and damaging to your feet and ankles.
When choosing any high top shoe you want to make sure the length of the fabric around your ankles isn’t too tight. High tops that are too tight fitting can cut off your circulation, cause friction, irritation and even blisters. It’s important that your shoes aren’t constantly rubbing against the back of your ankle and heel.
In order to provide your ankles with the proper amount of support, you’ll want to look for a few key features in the shoe. The first, most important factor is padded ankle collars. The top part of the shoe’s material often comes in contact with the skin and can create an irritation spot. The padded ankle collars provide comfortable cushioning that replicates a light barrier against the skin. This feature eliminates the potential for blisters and a secure, plush fit to the shoe.
Another important feature is some form of adjustment to the closure, like shoelaces and Velcro ankle straps. These features are good for adjusting the shoe to properly form to the shape of your foot. While laceless shoes are attractive and sleek in appearance, they may be too tight for some and unfortunately cannot be adjusted in size. Shoelaces are a given for a form fit but Velcro ankle straps are an extra plus because they can secure the shoes around your ankles and act as an extra protective layer of material.
Overall, as long as you can adjust the fit of the shoes to the shape of your foot and your high tops provide some form of cushion or padding around your ankles, your shoes will provide you with complete comfort and protection. Ankle support goes hand in hand with a secure, form fit and comfortable cushioning, so this feature is truly important to have in any high top shoe.
Style and Design
The great thing about high top shoes is that even though the lengths are similar, the styles are all completely different from one another. Shoe design goes hand in hand with your intended use, but it’s also something that is a personal aesthetic choice and helps to show your unique sense of style.
Lightweight or thick in cushioning? Tie up laces or no laces at all? These are all good questions and all these features in design are what helps to create the ultimate feel of the shoe, so it’s important to take a look at them all.
If you’re looking for an everyday shoe, your choices are going to be based more on appearance and comfort. You’ll, of course, want some padding in your shoes but as far as the outside goes, you want a shoe style that represents your looks and matches the setting of where you’re going. Maybe you want something that stands out or something more minimal, either way, you’ll be able to find these styles in a high top length.
While there are classic, all-time favorite designs to choose from, there’s also some new modern styles and features that create a trendy, street style. The ability to fold parts of the shoe material down like the tongue of the shoe and even the back ankle is a style that allows for versatility and the ability to customize the appearance. Along with that style comes the ability to only lace your shoes part way to the bottom of the ankle or all the way up, securing your high tops in place.
A few other popular styles include side zippers, detailed stitching and the types of material used. While canvas is more for everyday use materials like leather, suede or glossy textiles add a more fashionable appeal to the style of your sneaker. Sometimes it’s what gets noticed the most out of every other aspect in the shoe.
The design is still always important though. If your intended use for your high tops is to be frequently moving, you’ll probably want to find a shoe design that is lightweight in appearance. Otherwise, thick cushioning is always a great option in adding comfort to the feel of your shoe. Shoe companies truly understand the need for different styles for function and aesthetic purposes. No matter what your style is, you’ll be able to find a high top design that suits all your needs.
High top shoes may have been originally designed for basketball players, but nowadays their wide variety of styles are intended for all different types of use. High top shoes make great everyday sneakers, skate shoes and cross training shoes. Not all high tops are created equal though, some are created for specific activities, so it’s important to know what your intended use when looking to purchase a pair.
If you’re looking for an everyday fashionable pair of sneakers, you’ll have a pretty easy time finding a selection. With everyday sneakers, your main goal is to find a shoe that fits the shape of your feet and provides comfort throughout the day. Padding and cushion is a great feature to have in your shoes as they will keep your feet comfortable and avoid irritation or blisters.
If you’re sticking to the original intended use of high tops, basketball, then you’ll also have a very easy time finding shoes that fit this need. Nike is a top brand in creating high top basketball shoes and they also carry a very wide variety of styles. They even created a line of shoes after the famous basketball player, Michael Jordan, so you can guarantee they’ll bring you the best shoe money can buy.
Cross training or skating? High tops are created for these activities too. Skate shoes are pretty common in this length and are usually equipped with thick padding around the entire shoe. Brands like DC, Osiris and Vans are good choices for this type of activity because they specialize almost all of their creations for skating. Cross training shoes may be a little less common, however, there are still quite a few out there to choose from. An example of a high top cross training shoe can be found at #5 on our best list. For this type of activity, you want versatility and a lightweight design in your shoes.
No matter what your intended use is for your high top shoes, you should always be able to find a style that fits your needs. Just remember again, when you think about your intended use, think about what kinds of features you’ll need to keep your feet secure, comfortable and at ease with your movements.
If you’re looking to purchase high top shoes you’ll also need to look for comfort as well. High tops are great for securing your ankles but as we’ve mentioned before, if the materials or the shoe design don’t provide enough cushion, your feet and ankles are at risk for blisters and irritation.
The good news is that there are many ways to include comfort in this style of shoe. The first and most obvious feature we’ve already mentioned would be cushioned ankle collars. If you read the above section on ‘Ankle Support’ you’ll understand this is the best way to protect your skin.
If you’re not looking for a super lightweight feel, all around cushioning is another great option for providing complete comfort. Skate shoes especially use this kind of feature to provide secure, comfortable support and protection around the entire foot. The thick padding also makes your feet feel like they’re walking on clouds, which is definitely a bonus towards comfort.
Comfort is also found in the length and cut of the top materials. Some high tops can be too high and may make some people’s feet feel claustrophobic. Other shoes that offer a ‘mid’ design is still classified as a high top but with added flexibility and fewer feelings of your feet being enclosed. The cut and seams of the material are also important because if they’re too sleek and flat, they can rub against the back of your ankles. Rounded, soft curves in the back are necessary for creating comfortable movements.
Along with the cut and length also comes the type of materials used on the inside and outside of the shoe. Contrary to most beliefs, synthetic materials are actually more durable and aid to the health of the foot more than natural materials like leather and suede. While those two materials are extremely attractive in appearance if the material rubs against the skin often it is going to create irritation. It’s important to seek out materials that are soft yet durable and provide a comfortable feel.
Overall, we recommend taking your time when looking through each shoe’s features as they are all truly important to creating a complete, comfortable feel.
Durability is an important aspect of any shoe but is especially important for those who are planning on continuously being active. The more you move in your shoes, the more your shoes are going to take on the pressure and impact of your movements. Durability is key for extending the lifespan of your shoes, as well as protecting the health of your feet.
Durability can be found in many areas of the shoes but is most commonly found first in the outsole. The outsole is key for providing a stable barrier between you and the surface or terrain you’re on. Weak soles can cause stress and damage to the feet if they don’t absorb the proper amount of pressure and impact.
When looking for high top shoes, you’ll want to make sure that they come equipped with some form of rubber soles. Abrasion-resistant or impact absorbing soles are even better and will help you to stay comfortable in your shoes while protecting your feet from any outside damage.
Another area that should be durable in your high tops is the materials used in the creation of the upper. The upper protects your toes and the tops of your feet so it’s important that material is strong enough to resist holes and tears. Reinforced uppers or durable materials that can withstand long-term use are a great choice for high top shoes.
It may never naturally come to mind, but the seams of your shoe are also very important for durability. The seams are what hold all the materials of the shoe together so it’s important that yours are made of high-quality material. This is where brand reputation comes into play, but aside from that, you’ll want to take a careful look at the details of the shoe.
Overall, finding durable features in your shoes isn’t too difficult, but it is a step that is highly important if you’re really looking for a comfortable, secure pair of high top shoes. Take your time and look for quality features, your feet will thank you every step of the way if you do.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What makes high top shoes better than low or mid-length styles?
A. High top shoes create a more secure fit and protective barrier around the ankles. While low and mid-length styles tend to be more fashionable, high top shoes are more reliable and better in functional features. The ‘over the ankle’ design can provide a more secure fit that eliminates loose spaces in your shoes. Not to mention, high tops are also versatile in their style and can be worn for a variety of activities and as everyday sneakers.
Q. Are high top shoes only designed for basketball, or can they be worn by anyone?
A. The original style of high top shoes originated from basketball shoes but as the design became more popular, different brands began creating styles for a variety of activities. Now, this style is so popular you can find them as everyday sneakers as well. There is no limit to high top shoes. They can be worn by men, women, any ages, during cross training, basketball, skating or for everyday wear. The protected ankle support makes them a great choice for any occasion.
Q. Do high top shoes protect your ankles or constrict them?
A. Good high top shoes should always protect your ankles, however, a poor choice in high top shoes can lead to constriction or friction against the shoes. Almost all high top shoes can be found with padded ankle collars to help prevent blisters and irritation, while also creating a secure, plush fit. Some high tops are created to be plusher while others are created to be lightweight and extremely for fitting. While having a comfortable, secure fit is important, it’s these kinds of shoes that can potentially be too tight. A few tips to avoid getting shoes that are too tight around the ankle is to: 1. Check the opening measurements 2. Purchase shoes with laces or Velcro straps which can be adjusted 3. Avoid elastic materials
Q. What brand makes the best high top shoes?
A. It’s hard to say what brand makes ‘the best’ high top shoes, but there are a few brands with high reputations and innovative designs that truly make a top quality choice. The first and probably most popular brand would be Nike. Nike creates the largest selection of high top shoes from every day to athletic styles. The brand that closely follows Nike would, of course, have to be Adidas. Adidas is a brand with a high-quality reputation and extremely popular shoe designs. While Adidas doesn’t carry nearly as many high top styles as Nike, they are both brands worth purchasing. A couple other brands to keep an eye out for would be Vans, Reebok, and Puma.
Q. What types of clothing are compatible with high top shoes?
A. One of the greatest features of high top shoes is their ability to work well with almost any style or clothing. From jeans to shorts to even dresses, high tops make a great street-style edition to any outfit. The most common styles you’ll see with high top shoes would be basketball shorts, tight jeans or leggings, and joggers. The versatility in these shoe designs is what makes the shoes so popular.
Q. How long do high top shoes last before needing to be replaced?
A. High top shoes are going to be no different than any other kind of shoe. As soon as you notice any signs of wear or damage in your shoes, they need to be replaced. Warning signs can come in many forms from loose seams, holes in the material, and grinding soles. Typically, you can expect to get around at least 4 months of constant use before your shoes will start showing any signs of needing to be replaced. Just remember, to protect the safety of your feet and ankles, it is very important that you stop wearing your high top shoes as soon as you notice any signs of damage.
Q. Are high tops shoes intended for both men and women?
A. High top shoes may have been originally designed for men, but in this time period, they’re created equal for both men and women. Almost all high top styles are designed to be unisex so both genders are able to enjoy the versatile shoe designs. If they’re not unisex, most brands will specialize in different styles for both men and women. No matter who you are, if you appreciate the high top style, you’ll be able to wear it yourself.
Q. What are some quality features that make a good high top shoe?
A. The most important feature you’ll want to have in your high tops is padded ankle collars; this is a must for protecting your feet and ankles. A couple other key features to look out for is padded shoe tongue, Velcro ankle straps, durable rubber soles, and cushioned insoles. These ‘extra’ features all add up to create the complete comfort in your shoes. The more customized features, the better your shoes are going to feel on your feet.
Q. Do high top shoes offer enough insole and arch support?
A. Some high tops provide cushioned sock liners and insoles but not all of them do, so it’s important to seek them out as a quality feature. Arch support isn’t too common in most high tops but some will close with a slight curve in the insole. If these are features that you prefer to have, you can purchase removable insoles and add them to the insides of your shoes. Keep in mind though that added insoles will decrease the space in your shoes so you may want to think about ordering a size up if you’re going to do this.