High top sneakers are comfortable to wear, can add a bit of colour to any outfit and look very cool while doing so. The sleek shape of the shoe streamlines the pants, and can add the illusion of height for those on the shorter side. There is plenty of choice out there when it comes to choosing which high top sneakers to wear, and how.
First, a bit of history…
Charles "Chuck" Taylor kicking ass on the left in his Converse All Stars
High tops originated as an athletic shoe, particularly for the popular American pastime, basketball. The high top style was believed to provide extra support around the ankle and improve flexibility, vital in an active sport like basketball. They became associated with the sport in 1921, when American basketball player Charles "Chuck" Taylor joined a basketball team sponsored by the Converse Company called The Converse All Stars. After becoming a spokesperson for the company, the Chuck Taylor All-Stars became the signature shoe for basketball, even being endorsed as the standard issue for the U.S Olympians in 1936, and for American troops training during World War II. Eventually Converse All Stars veered into the casual footwear market, becoming a widespread trend across the globe.
What’s the difference between low, mid and high tops?
Red Vans with Nic Harry Socks
Brands like Nike, Reebok and Vans have all come out with their own variations of the high top sneaker to popularise the trend.
The difference between the types of shoes is simple. Low tops are ankle-grazing shoes that reveal the back of the ankle, and most of the upper foot.
Mid tops reach no higher than the wearer’s ankle, whereas high tops are characterised by the shoe extending over the ankle. Most high top sneakers will come with laces, however slip-on high tops, while not as popular, are also available.
How to style your high tops
All-year round, skinny or slim-fit jeans or chinos work well with high tops. Try to avoid wide leg pants as these tend to hide the sneakers, and detract from the polished off look.
Look cool like this Jonas Brother in high tops
- With the abundance of colourful high tops available out there, it’s a good idea to wear brightly coloured sneakers (like orange or yellow) with a more subtler shirt or t-shirt on top in order to avoid clashing. For staple sneaker colours like black, white and blue, bring some variation in with bright socks. For sneakers with patterns on them (like polka dots, stripes, or a print) a sock with a solid colour often works the best.
- Rolling up the bottoms of jeans or chinos draws attention to the sneakers, and creates a balanced and tidy look. Paired with chambray/denim shirt or printed shirt/ t-shirt, a jacket and bold socks is all you need for an effortlessly stylish look.
Cover photo courtesy of Men's Fashion Magazine
- In the hot summer months, a t-shirt, shorts and bright socks peeking out of the high tops is a classically cool outfit, perfect for the beach, festivals or other outdoor activities.