Psst. Hey, buddy. Come over here, I need to ask you something. Do you get high?
Don’t worry, I’m not on some 21 Jump Street trip trying to narc you out. I’m talking about your sneakers. High-top sneakers have been among the most sought-after releases of late and it’s time every guy hops on the wave. We aren’t just talking about performance basketball shoes, which have actually moved in a low-top direction as evidenced by Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant’s signature shoes. As pants have gotten slimmer and more tapered and sweatpants have become acceptable workplace attire, high-top lifestyle sneakers have benefitted because the pant cuffs fall so nicely on the shoes.
So if you’ve been sticking to low-tops like the Nike Roshe One of the New Balance 998, it might be time for your sneakers to rise up. From classic classics to updated classics to futuristic styles, here are 11 high-tops that should be part of your sneaker rotation right now.
1. CONVERSE JACK PURCELL x HANCOCK HI
The Jack Purcell is one of those shoes that you are so used to seeing as a low-top that seeing a high-top version throws you off at first. But it totally works. The first iteration of the Jack Signature Hi is a collaboration with Hancock Vulcanised Articles that incorporates a smart looking rubber strip along the heel.
2. NIKE AIR FORCE I ULTRA FLYKNIT
You can’t have a list of high-tops without the Air Force I. Even though it’s 34 years old, Nike continues to find new ways to reinvent the shoe, the latest being the incorporation of Flyknit technology. The result is a sneaker that is 50% lighter than the original but still retains all of its signature design elements. It also fits amazing and won’t turn your feet into a sweaty swamp.
3. VANS VAULT SK8-HI LX
The Vans Sk8-Hi is an OG skaterat shoe, but that doesn’t mean it can’t enjoy a little luxury. Vans’s exclusive Vault line created a version of the Sk8-Hi with a premium leather upper and a pony hair side stripe. You probably don’t want to scuff these up with your grip tape by actually ollieing in them, but you certainly could.
4. ADIDAS TUBULAR DOOM
While Kanye West’s line of Yeezys sucks up a lot of the oxygen in conversations about Adidas, the brand has a lot of other sneakers that are just as worthy of attention. Case in point, the Tubular Doom, which has a bold, futuristic look not dissimilar from Mr. West’s sneakers and a red and gold palette that pays tribute to the Lunar New Year.
5. CONVERSE CHUCK II MARBLE
We are just scratching the surface with what the Chuck II, introduced last summer, can be. In addition to the first collaboration with renowned artist Futura, comes this marble-inspired colorway. The detail on the upper is incredibly rich and other details like the zig-zag lines on the heel and the tonal patch on the ankle tie the whole thing together.
6. NIKE AIR FOOTSCAPE MAGISTA FLYKNIT BHM
While they were created for Black History Month, these kicks will be on your feet year-round. The Footscape Magista Flyknit is a mashup of the Magista soccer cleat’s upper with the cushioning and outsole of the cult favorite Footscape, all wrapped in wonderful Flyknit. The unique African-inspired color pattern around the heel contrasts perfectly with the rest of the all-black upper.
7. BUSCEMI 90MM
The 90mm is an incredible example of what a “fashion sneaker” can be. By removing details like the handle and the lock and key from the 100mm, it is more understated than Buscemi’s other models, but no less luxurious. The Italian-made sneakers have a tumbled leather upper that has great texture and are lined with vachetta calf leather.
8. JORDAN X PUBLIC SCHOOL HORIZON PREMIUM
The designers behind Public School have collaborated with Jordan on a few different silhouettes over the years, primarily on retro Air Jordans. Their latest effort on the Horizon, a less than obvious choice, is a bold look. The intricate geometric pattern on the woven upper sits atop an Air Jordan XIII sole. It’s one of those shoes that the longer you look at it, the more details you notice.
9. ETQ HIGH TOP 1
Having launched in 2011, ETQ is somewhat of a newcomer to the sneaker scene, but they have attracted a lot of attention for their clean lines and minimal branding. These aren’t kicks for the logo-obsessed. Instead they’re for the guy who appreciates great craftsmanship and materials. If you have anything in your closet that doesn’t go with deep blue colorway on this pair, you should probably get trash that item of clothing immediately.
10. PF FLYERS X TODD SNYDER RAMBLER HI
Anyone who saw The Sandlot has a soft spot in their heart for PF Flyers. The sneakers were also worn by Celtics legend Bob Cousey and they are a symbol of timeless style. So it only makes sense that the brand has an ongoing collaboration with menswear designer Todd Snyder, who is known for his classic sensibilities. This makeup of the Rambler Hi features a butter soft leather that is lined with chambray.
11. ADIDAS PRO MODEL
A crisp pair of high-top shelltoes with a crisp pair of denim is a combination that goes hard in the paint and in the streets. The Pro Model started its life as a basketball shoe but has endured because of its simple yet unmistakable styling. It may be blasphemous to say, but these actually stunt harder than the low-top Superstar.