You don’t need to be a sneaker-head to know that high-top are a choice, so much so that they’re gracing the feet of fashionistas and celebrities like Zendaya and Bella Hadid. By design, high tops minimize the risk of ankle sprains and other injuries; however, according to podiatrists, not all of them are ideal for your feet. Some are designed just for looks.
Best high-top sneakers, at a glance:
- Best overall: New Balance, Fresh Foam Hierro, $135
- Best budget: Reebok, Freestyle Hi Women’s Shoes, $80
- Best unisex: New Balance, 440 High, $90
- Best for the gym: Nobull, High-Top Trainer, $169
- Best for city dwellers: Cariuma, High Top, $129
- Best for hiking: Hoka, Anacapa 2 GTX Mid, $195
- Best water-repellent: Allbirds, Women’s Wool Runner-up Mizzles, $87
- Best leather: Vionic, Momentum High-Top Sneakers, $45
- Best vegan: Will’s Vegan Store, Chicago High-Tops, $112
- Best washable: Suavs, The Legacy Sneaker, $110
What to look for in high-top shoes
To ensure that the high tops you’re purchasing are good for your feet, it should accomplish a few things. First, it should have a lace-up system, according to Nam Tran, DPM, a foot and ankle surgeon based in Dallas, Texas. By having a lace-up design, you can tighten your shoe strings for a more secure fit around the ankles. “Second, it stabilizes any weak ligamentous structures within the foot and ankle,” Dr. Tran says, by providing ample arch support and cushioning. “This will decrease foot fatigue when going on long walks,” he adds. It’ll also prevent skin abrasions from excessive friction and rubbing, according to Dr. Tran.
What should people avoid in high-top shoes
While it’s common for new shoes to require a breaking-in period, high-top shoes shouldn’t hurt when you wear them, according to Bradley Schaeffer, DPM, a board-certified foot surgeon with the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS). “If you are experiencing heel pain symptoms that persist for more than a few days, it’s time to see a doctor,” says Dr. Schaeffer. “Symptoms to watch out for include swelling, bruising, numbness or weakness, a tingling sensation, limited range of motion in your foot, or the inability to walk.”
Based on Dr. Tran’s recommendations, we scoured the internet for supportive high-top shoes. Ahead, you’ll find sneakers of every style, color, budget, and size. Happy shopping!
10 best high-top sneakers
Best for hiking
Sizes available: 5–13, in half sizes and two widths
“This is a great high-top option for outdoor walking without committing to an overly chunky shoe,” says Dr. Tran. Not only is the foam on New Balance’s Hierro comfortable and form-fitting, but you’ll also enjoy ankle support thanks to the high-top design and lace-up system. The ankle area of the shoe is lightly cushioned to prevent excessive rubbing and friction, so blisters aren’t a regular occurrence. Plus, the outer has thick layers to protect your feet from rocks, debris, and any other materials you can find on your hike (ouchies, no more).
- Foam midsole for comfort
- Has grippy Vibram sole
- Protects feet from rocks, trail, and other terrains
- Runs narrow
Sizes available: 5–11, in half sizes
“Reeboks are good and supportive,” says Dr. Tran. The Freestyles are one of the brand’s timeless and iconic silhouettes. These kicks boast a bubbly outer and high-top area that’s sure to make a statement. The hybrid lace-up design and velcro straps give extra support while minimizing the time it takes to fasten your shoe. Featuring an EVA midsole, the sole absorbs shock and provides cushioning for every stride.
- Made of soft leather
- Absorb shock
- Has cushioned midsole
- Runs small
- Only available in one color
Sizes available: 5.5–15.5, in half sizes
Podiatrists love New Balance shoes because they’re durable, well-constructed, and have support. So, if you’re in the market for some high-top kicks, the 440 highs are worth considering. Not only are these lightweight, the 440s boast a cushioned midsole and breathable mesh upper, so that you’re walking in comfort and style all day long. Also nice? They’re available in unisex sizing.
- Has a cushioned midsole
- Durable rubber outsole
- Run large
Best for the gym
Sizes available: 5–9.5, in half sizes
Equipped with a supportive structure and wide toe box, these kicks are just what you need to tackle workouts at the gym. The flexible sole makes foot movement feel natural, and the low stack offers stability during walks and lifts. For a touch of breathability, the shoe is made of a perforated outer that releases hot air.
- Wide toe box
Best for city dwellers
Available sizes: 5–13, in half sizes
If you’re looking for a high top that puts sustainability and quality to the forefront, Cariuma’s high-top sneakers should be at the top of your list. Constructed out of mamona oil and cork, the sole of these shoes is 100-percent vegan, crafted with memory foam for ultimate cushioning, and has built-in arch support. Another nice perk? The sole is slip-resistant. Available in seven classic colors, these stylish kicks can be paired with any outfit.
- Return window up to 60 days
Best for hiking
Sizes available: 5–11, in half sizes
It’s no surprise that Hoka is top of the list for outdoor adventure. This American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)-approved footwear brand is stellar when it comes to designing foot-friendly shoes, and the Anacapa 2 Mid GTX shoes are recommended by Dr. Tran.
“The Anacapa takes their tried-and-true sneaker design and applies it to a hiking and trail running shoe,” he says. It’s engineered with lightweight leather that won’t bog you down on lengthy hikes and has a lace-up system to secure your ankles on wobbly terrain. What’s more, the foam midsole is ultra comfy, and the shoe boasts a rigid sole to tackle any type of terrain, from gravel to concrete. Dosed in a water-repellent treatment, these shoes will keep your feet dry in inclement weather and are durable. Who’s ready to hit the pavement?
- Has Vibram outsole to grip surfaces
- Abrasion resistant
- Made of recycled materials
Sizes available: 5–11
Wearing a pair of Allbirds’ Wool Runner-up Mizzles is like stepping on marshmallows. These pillowy shoes have a cushioned midsole, all-terrain traction, and a water-repellent outer that keeps your toes and feet dry. The insoles are infused with castor bean oil and merino wool, a natural odor-repellant and moisture reducer. Just like the merino wool outer, the inner layers are extremely soft and don’t irritate your heel, toes, or arches.
- Insanely comfortable
- Carbon neutral
- Looks bulky
Sizes available: 5-11, in half sizes
Vionic shoes carry the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) seal of acceptance and podiatrist approval, so picking a Vionic high-top is a no-brainer. This pair is made of quality and durable leather that matures well over time. Not only that, the leather is water-repellent and keeps debris and other gunk out. The shoe also comes with a deep heel cup for extra stability and a side zipper that makes slipping them on and off easy.
- Made of leather
- Has deep heel cup
- Runs small
Sizes available: 5–9
Vegan and shock-absorbing high-tops are hard to come by, but Will’s Vegan Store has got you covered. Named after the Windy City, these high-top kicks were made in Portugal with quality materials. The entire shoe is crafted out of vegan Italian leather, and has a chunky sole and comfortable padding to give you that extra pep in your step. Even if you’re unsure, you can test out the shoe and return it within a year—free of charge.
- Made in Portugal
- Crafted out of vegan Italian leather
- Easy to clean
- Thick sole
- 365-day return policy
- Only available in two colors
Sizes available: 5–12
Let’s face it: sneakers get dirty over time, so why not invest in a washable pair? These easy-to-slip-on high tops are made of a knit upper that’s washable. Even if you get these wet, the material is fast-drying. Other notable features of these high-tops include a wide toe box for wiggle room and cushioned insoles that are comfy to walk on no matter how many miles you’re planning to put it.
- Dries quickly
- Cushioned insole
- Easy to slip on
- Runs big