Whether you’ve cleaned your apartment to within an inch of its life or smoked all of your weed in the first week, the walls are certainly starting to close in as quarantine goes full tilt. And despite all of the Zoom virtual happy hours that help you cling to your sanity, keep in mind that maybe for the first time ever, shopping from your couch has you in the running to be a quarantine hero. Use this time to stock up on incense, wear your sweatpants to “work” and finally pull the trigger on some of the best high top sneakers available.
From once-in-a-lifetime grails to standard picks for any rotation, ONE37pm took the liberty of assembling the 20 best high top sneakers and where you can buy them right now (from the couch, pajama bottoms optional).
Surrounded in folklore, there’s hardly a high top sneaker, even a sneaker in general, with greater cultural importance than the Air Jordan 1. The genesis of Nike’s most legendary footwear line, the AJ1’s long lineage from its athletic beginnings to its transcendence in modern culture, skateboarding and footwear in general has cemented the high top silhouette as not only an on-court staple but a streetwear icon regaled by top athletes and influencers alike.
The sneaker is one of the most recognizable designs ever and one of the only models to continually be retro-ed on an almost yearly basis since its original debut in 1985. Best colorways include the Chicago, first Off-White collab, Pine Green and All-Star 2017.
Of the high top sneakers to make this list, I think the Supra Skytop is one of my favorites, with the potential to be top five. Based on pure historical context, the Supra Skytop was the ugly sneaker sweeping the nation before the phrase “Triple S” or “Arclight” meant anything to Balenciaga or LV. Straight from the IG mood boards of 2008, a bygone era of horrendous style, the Supra Skytop was one of the forefathers of the hyperbolically designed high top fashion-forward sneakers of the current era.
Designed partially by Chad Muska, (famous for his stash pocket on other skate sneakers), the model is a living testament to the duality of footwear. Just athletic and functional enough to be passed off as a skate silhouette but easy enough to moonlight as a glossy, fancy shoe fit for a celebrity on the red carpet.
Whether you’re an ancient basketball player, streetwear enthusiast, or scene kid from 2010, the Converse Chuck Taylor probably holds a special place in your heart. The sneaker’s simple canvas upper and rubber midsole was fascinating technology for turn-of-the-century athletics but the simply designed high top has created a near-perfect template to open the door for collaborations. With an unmistakable silhouette, the brand can introduce and highlight almost any fabric restructuring and colorways due to the strength of the sneaker’s simple shape.
With plain canvas and mostly tonal color schemes the sneaker also inadvertently invites the personal modification and collaboration with the wearer, just ask someone shopping for an “Asking Alexandria” t-shirt in Hot Topic. My favorite collaborations: Brain Dead, J.W. Anderson, Kith, and my sister during her goth phase.
Nike’s foray into the world of skateboarding was nothing short of controversial and iconoclastic, but no matter how you feel about the Swoosh’s place in skating, most skaters would show love to the Nike SB Dunk High. Almost as famous as its low counterpart, the Nike SB Dunk is high on the list of Nike’s best silhouettes. As circumstances would have it, a sneaker that was originally rejected by its target demographic took on a secondary role as a coveted commodity for sneakerheads looking to collect different colorways of their favorite dunk models.
The most famous moment in all of sneaker history even had to do with a dunk sneaker: the “Pigeon” dunk release which landed sneakerheads on the cover of the NY Post and the Nike Dunk at the forefront of sneakerhead’s minds. Best colorways: Sea Crystal, California, Skunk and De La Soul.
Hoka One One (look up the pronunciation) has been on the up and up since the end of 2019, producing eye-catching silhouettes with a high emphasis on materials and functionality. Their utilitarian vibe corresponds with current styles as hiking and outdoorsy silhouettes from brands like Salomon have been enjoying a long stride as a footwear favorite with everyone from actual hikers to SoHo socialites. Hoka One One’s Tor Ultra Hi 2, like most of the brand’s sneakers, features a bulky and built out silhouette with a neutral set of colors, giving off the aesthetic of a military boot.
Despite their obtuse shape, the sneaker is incredibly light. Hoka must-haves: collaboration with Engineered Garments.
It’s the Air Jordan 1, but for skateboarders. A confirmed classic, timeless, iconic and evergreen. The Vans Sk8-Hi originally debuted in 1978, and ever since it’s been an iconic silhouette for skating performance as well as lifestyle. The sneaker features a matchup of both suede and leather overlays with a padded ankle collar and staple rubber waffle print outsole.
Skaters were originally drawn to the added protection of the high collar as well as the all-over stylish design and jazz stripe, a white banner that now graces most Vans styles was first seen on the Sk8-Hi. Classic colorway: Stick with the OG black/white colorway for a vintage dash of timeless style and performance.
The brand with the Three Stripes is not necessarily known for its relevance or prevalence on the basketball court, but the time-tested brand does have some heat still tucked away in the archives. The Adidas Rivalry Hi launched initially to some hype thanks to Patrick Ewing and features its most notable “Knicks” colorway which sees the silhouette in a mostly white colorway with blue and orange accents throughout.
Since then, the sneaker has had some help from the likes of Eric Emmanuel and Keith Haring, two recent drops that have brought some attention to the archival silhouette. Three Stripes for the court: Keith Haring or Eric Emmanuel.
The Nike Air Force 1 High features one of the brand’s best selling sneakers in a high top format. The low silhouette has garnered a reputation as a sneakerhead’s ultimate go-to, a “buy one pair every six months” type of sneaker which speaks to the reliability sneakerheads have come to enjoy over the years since the sneaker’s late ‘80s debut on the court for Nike. The high top iteration of the silhouette includes a high ankle collar with an adjustable strap that crosses in front of the tongue. Best colorway: All except for all-black, collaborations with OBJ, and yours—make your own in NikeID.
As easy as it might be to stay away from high-end designer sneakers, it’s time to give the Balenciaga Speed Trainer its due. As a high top sneaker, the sock-like design separated it from other sneakers—sock-like design seemed to rule sneakers for a moment, most notably the Reebok x Vetements sock sneakers…which I still see in my nightmares.
In short, Balenciaga, for all of their lack of sneaker savvy or sneaker cultural relevance, did a good job capitalizing on the sock sneaker moment and created one of the better high tops from that weird moment in sneaker history. Best of Balenci: Keep it classic in the black/white colorway and, for the love of God, stay away from the ones with the laces.
Straight out of the mythology of Nike is their uber-famous time spent with Kanye West, who is proving to be, perhaps, the most interesting designer of the last decade. Whether you remember Ye’s work with the Swoosh or if you can only recall the 350 Turtle Dove (probably depends on your age), the product of Nike x Kanye was the stuff of instant legend.
The Nike Air Yeezy was a confirmed classic when it dropped in 2009 and only went on to more fame and circumstance with the fans when the Nike Air Yeezy 2 dropped in 2012, continuing to stroke the flame of Ye’s popularity at Nike. Want to feel like Pablo? Pick up the “Red Octobers.”
Starting out hot from his switch to Adidas, Kanye blessed us with the Yeezy 750—the first of countless numbers of silhouettes and versions to come from the collaborative efforts of West and members of the brand with the three stripes. Hyped up off the anticipation of West’s first move since Nike, the 750 was hailed for its high top style and its high top price point, coming in at around $220. The drop was an expensive but accurate representation of what the two had cooking. Return to the start of West x Adidas with the “Grey” 750 that launched the partnership.
No matter your feelings about the brand Common Projects, their ability to produce a clean, high-end silhouette is far from arguable. Their simple design mixed with super high-quality materials has made them the clean and classic go-to of the designer sneaker world. (A similar case might be made for Golden Goose, but that’s for another time.) Common Projects takes a super basic sneaker design and elevates it past the point of functionality by adding a serving of extra luxe to make it something worth bragging about.
The Tournament Leather sees a classic high top sneaker in a variety of simple colorways with gold foil accenting and high-quality grade leather which covers the upper. A nice detail is a zipper on the heel with both stylistic and functional design. Sometimes all-white or black isn’t a bad thing.
At the heart of Nike is one of their lesser-known lines, All Conditions Gear—better known as ACG. Among these outdoorsy and hiking-focused silhouettes is the Nike Air Mowabb, a sleeper pick from deep in the archives that carries the energy of an @organic.zip IG story and some of the biggest IYKYK vibes ever. The sneaker is bulky, busy, and features a variety of design components like a huarache ankle collar, sock liner and upper with premium materials.
The Air Mowabb stands out for a couple of reasons, primarily it looks the best in the colorway of “RATTAN/BRIGHT MANDARIN-BIRCH” which is now widely referred to as “Mowabb.” Additionally the Air Mowabb clashed with the creative designers from Comme des Garcons, another three-lettered acronym brand that subtly replaced the “ACG” branding hit on ankle collar of the Mowabb with “CDG” a perfect detail that makes the simple black and white collab all that better. Outdoors and high fashion. Who would’ve thought?
If you’re tickled fancy by outdoorsy sneakers, trail-running, and super treaded outsoles then Salomon is a brand you’re probably familiar with. If not, it’s probably worth warming up to—with recent collaborations with streetwear juggernaut Palace, the brand’s Xt-6 and S-Lab sneakers are some of the hottest streetwear accessories right now.
The high top versions of the Salomons are just as high-tech, incredibly durable, and somehow incredibly attractive to non-hiking sneakerheads looking to give their style a more technical edge without shelling out for ACRONYM and other brands hawking high tech for a high price. Get extra dirty with Salomon’s collaboration with 11 by Boris Sidjan Saberi.
The Reebok Shaqnosis was a no-brainer. The brand doesn’t have much to offer in terms of palatable high top sneakers, but this wavy design from ‘96 plus the cosign from the big man is certainly enough for real heads to recognize the legitimacy and impact of the Shaqnosis. Taking an interesting concept to fruition and using a simple black and white color scheme are just some of the attributes that make this sneaker a winner.
The seamless transition of the graphic from the upper to the midsole and also considering that 1996 was the first year of Shaq’s long-reigning tenure as a Los Angeles Laker are just a few additional details that round out the shoe as a successful concept. Yes, they’re still available, you just need to know where to look.
Maybe the only non-major brand high top sneaker to be included in the list, the John Geiger 002 is a clean and classic high top sneaker that features a unique lacing system to help the silhouette stand out from other minimalistic, designer sneakers out there. If you haven’t heard about John Geiger, well now’s your chance to tune in—the Pittsburgh creative has had “big things coming” for the past few years and has yet to fail in delivering a well thought out and fantastically designed project.
Gieger has some hot colorways out there but opt for the “Bred” version—that is, if you can track one down for a reasonable price.
All prejudice from the Dior x Air Jordan 1 collaboration aside, the Dior B23 high top sneaker is not only a good model but a successful execution of repeating patterns and the use of translucent materials on footwear. The sneaker looks like the Off-White x Converse Chuck Taylor but less translucent (smart) and more high end (something Off-White also failed to do), so let’s hear it for Dior one time.
The sneaker features a Dior logo repeating pattern with other versions featuring floral arrangements and even dinosaurs. The price is a little too spicy but if you got it like that then this is the sneaker to spend it on.
Quite possibly the weirdest high top sneaker of the last decade has been the Tom Sachs x Nike Mars Yard Overshoe. As a follow up to the equally expensive and hard to get Mars Yard 2.0 sneakers from 2017, Tom went overboard, taking the sneaker and affixing it with a large white bag and new outsole made from thick rubber with two lockdown straps over the forefoot.
Drawing style inspiration from space, the price followed suit, the sneaker sits around the $500 mark on reselling platform StockX.com. The best thing about this sneaker is what creatives did once they bought it, slashing away the white plastic covering the sneaker, a Mars Yard 2.0 can be found at the core of the silhouette. Get DIY with it and slash away until the Tom Sachs Mars Yard 2.0 (or some version of it) is finally yours.
The Yeezy line has a lot going on at the current moment, but don’t worry about trying to keep up with the avalanche of 350 releases. Turn your focus to the 500—undoubtedly a top Yeezy of all time. From the clash of neoprene, suede, and leather, the silhouette seems to channel comfort on every twist and turn of the sneaker. The 500 recently saw a high top iteration of the model and overall it looks great. The sneaker is an excellent go-between having to opt for a Yeezy boot (900, I think) or return to the 750 to get a high top style from the YZY line.
The 500 high only came out in 2019, but with no new colorways to speak of, perhaps the creative team has moved onto other models and colorways. Either way, the 500 High is a sleeper pick from the oversaturated world of Adidas x Yeezy and offers the incredible comfort of the 500 plus the added lockdown and feel of an athletic high top sneaker. Personal advice: Don’t sleep too hard on these.
The Nike Mag (famously mislabeled as Nike Air Mag) is the granddaddy of maybe all sneakers but most certainly high tops. A futuristic spin on what “sneakers are supposed to look like in the future” courtesy of Back to the Future Pt. II, the sneaker saw an initial release in 2011.
Following up in 2016 Nike reintroduced the silhouette, this time with self-lacing, an opportunity to bring the sneaker from the film to life and for Nike to introduce their E.A.R.L. (Electro Adaptive Reactive Lacing) technology to the sneaker world. For most, the Mag is the grail of grails and if it isn’t then you probably don’t care about sneakers too much. If you’re going to take the dive, go all the way in and get the self-lacing iteration which included a super limited release of 89 pairs.
There is arguably no non-Nike athlete signature shoe as iconic as Allen Iverson’s Reebok Question. The sneaker has been having a bit of renaissance lately, with the brand re-releasing a myriad of colorways and collaborations of the classic model.
Who doesn’t love a high top? Adidas always has us covered in this regard, and they just recently dropped their latest iteration this past week. Make sure you check it out!
Don’t you just love a nice classic shoe? We know we do. This ESPN x Top Ten collab gives us major 1990s Stuart Scott ESPN vibes, and we’re absolutely here for it.
These created a heavy stir on SNKRS. While not the most dynamic 1s we’ve ever seen, this version was a unique take from what we are normally used to seeing from 1s design wise.
Look at the material. The neutral cream upper, the suede grey overlays, and the laces make these 1s the perfect eye candy material. Plus the shoe offers a lot of versatility in terms of lace swaps, so you can really create loads of different looks from this one.
Red, white, and black colorways will always be heavy hitters. There’s no ifs, ands, or butts, about it. You can thank Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls for that.
Nobody does high tops better than Converse, and their newest iteration of the Run Star Legacy CX is just one of the many new items to watch for as we hit the peak holiday season. Ultra-comfortable cushioning and lightweight, this bold sleek shoe should definitely be on your holiday watchlist.
And if you need another Converse option to gift the sneaker lover in your life, then you should definitely check out the newest Chuck Taylor All Star Terrain Drop. Complete with a new hiking style and technological features. This is a must have for sure.