Hightops are pretty popular for casual wear and skating. Most people these days wear low-cut skate shoes, but you can still find hightops at the skate park now and again. But are they skateable?
Honestly, hightops skate just as well as low-cut skate shoes and the difference is mostly in the style of the shoe. They do claim to offer more ankle support, but I personally think this is pretty negligible.
Let’s look into the best pairs available and the prices for each pair.
Vans SK8-Hi: $80-$100
Vans is the true classic skate shoe company. Originally founded in the 60s and later developing a skate shoe after the owner’s son took an interest in skateboarding. The California-based company has had ties to skateboarding since the 70s and though the original owners sold the company to a corporation in the 80s, the company still sponsors many riders and even music tours.
Recently, the company has seemed to try and distance itself from its skateboarding image though by changing the logo.
Anyway, their hightops are pretty iconic and they have a good selection of colors and styles to choose from. The image above are the SK8-Hi Core Classics, but Vans also offers a Reissue Trainers model that is pretty sleek and monochromatic compared to the two colors in the classic. These shoes are slightly more expensive than Vans low-cut or mid-cut sneakers.
They skate as well as other Vans shoes which as you might already know, are my preferred shoe. So grab a pair. You won’t regret it.
If you are wondering whether the Vans brand makes quality skate shoes or is just for show, check out my guide on Vans shoes and if you can skate them.
Converse High Top Sneaker: $90-$120
Converse is pretty iconic as a casual sneaker with celebrities such as Hunter S. Thompson and Kurt Cobain wearing them. They are also popular skate shoes and have been used by skaters for decades. Though the kind of stumbled into the skate industry.
These days, Converse offers skate-specific shoes that have much more padding in their upper so as to better take the toll of skateboarding. So when you grab a pair, be sure to get a model that is street canvas or has skate in the name. The other models can be skated, but the upper is so thin that they don’t last long.
Their style is less colorful than options from Vans and the skate-specific models tend to be a bit more expensive going for up to $115 a pair. That being said, the shoes are definitely quality and the converse style is iconic.
Nike SB High Top Sneaker: $90-$120
Nike is a large corporation that tried to break into the skate shoe industry unsuccessfully in the 90s and then successfully in the 2000s with the launch of the Nike SB line. Their first attempt failed because skaters value authenticity alot and Nike is a corporation.
Nowadays, Nike SB sponsors big-name skaters like Nyjah Hudson and also contributes to the skate community by sponsoring contests. You have to imagine that if they weren’t making money from skaters, then they would never do sponsors like this, but sometimes you need to take what you can get.
Regardless of how you feel about big corporations, Nike SB makes great skate shoes and a great pair of hightops. These shoes are durable and skate well. They look somewhat like basketball shoes though and I think are less casual looking than the Converse and Vans versions.
The biggest downside is that these shoes are pricey. Nike makes you pay to have the Nike swoosh on the side of the shoe. Is it really worth the extra $30?
New Balance Numeric 440 High Sneaker: $65-$90
New Balance is underrated for skate shoes in general and honestly, I’m sure most people know they make skate shoes let alone a pair of hightops. Their skate shoe line is called New Balance Numerics for those that don’t already know. These shoes come with a comfortable and loose fit, thick uppers, and a thick, flat rubber sole.
Their hightops run monochromatic and have a subtle style that I quite like. They are available in a few earth-tone colors but don’t over the bright colors available with Vans for instance.
Another big plus though is how reasonably priced they are. They fall into the normal range you’d expect to pay for a skate shoe without being too much extra because they are hightops.
Do your feet cramp while skating? If so, check out the reasons why and prevention tips here.
Emerica High Top Sneaker: $65-$90
Emerica is a skate shoe brand founded by Pierre André Senizergues who was a freestyle skateboarder. The company is one of many under the company Sole Technology. The company sells shoes, clothes, sponsors skaters, and actually researches how to create better skate shoes.
This company is an authentic skate company that you should feel fine about supporting and their shoes are definitely quality. I personally think they look a bit simplistic, but they skate well and Sole Technology has been invested in making the best possible skate shoe for decades.
I also love how reasonably priced they are which goes to show that Nike and Converse cost more only because of their brand recognition. Especially considering most Nike shoes are made in China.
DC Shoes High Top Sneaker: $65-$85
DC Shoes is owned by the controversial skate Rob Dyrdek. Dyrdek is a street skater who is only controversial because he became an entrepreneur and started several companies in the skateboarding industry and others. This led to many people to consider him as someone who sold out and is inauthentic. I think this was partly fueled by how public of a figure he was because of his reality show Rob and Big.
Anyway, regardless of how you feel about Dyrdek, DC Shoes make very durable, comfortable, and skateable shoes. Their models are typically mid-cut and have extremely thick uppers which remind me of the 90s and early 2000s skate shoes and street style.
This style isn’t very popular anymore and I personally prefer the more modern low-cut and minimal skate shoe look. Though if you have a thing for classics, grab a pair of DC high tops. Their high tops are very reasonably priced for the quality that you get and resemble a basketball shoe in style.
Lakai High Top Sneaker: $65-$85
Lakai has some of the cheaper hightops available that are still skateable. The company was founded by Girl Skateboards co-founders Mike Carrol and Rick Howard in 1999. (source)
You will find their hightops for $85 on the company website, but you can find them occasionally for cheaper from an online retailer like Amazon. The shoes are durable, flexible, and comfortable out of the box. They feature a cup sole and more ankle support though most hightops also feature this.
One nice thing is that these shoes also come in a decent selection of colors with brighter color choices available.
Supra High Top Sneaker: $40-$80
Supra is a shoe company that started in 2006 by pairing and collaborating with skaters such as Erik Ellington and Chad Muska who was a big name in skateboarding at the time. The massive growth of the company was unexpected even by its founding members.
Supra shoes are affordable and decent skating shoes that usually feature a thick, suede upper, vulcanized soles, and minimal tread. The shoes are designed by skaters and naturally skate decently well. They have a big selection of models including pro models and come in many colors including bright, flashy colors.
It’s kind of scary how cheap some of their shoes are. Where are they cutting costs?
Anyway, they are a good cheap option for hightops and you can get a pair for the same price on Amazon or the company site itself.
Can You Skate Hightop Sneakers?
Hightop sneakers have come in and out of popularity since the 70s with the birth of skate sneakers and also the popularity of basketball shoes which can also be used to skate.
Hightop sneakers can be used for skateboarding. They have the same thick upper and flat sole as other skate shoes. The shoes also offer more protection of the ankle and are also popular for stylistic reasons. Most skate shoe companies offer a high-top sneaker of some sort though they are usually priced slightly higher than low or mid-cut sneakers.
There really isn’t much difference in skate a hightop sneaker compared to other popular skate shoes. The shoes feel just slightly bulkier and you’re more protected from accidentally flipping your board into your ankle. If you choose to skate hightops then it’s usually just a style choice. Any other difference is minimal to negligible.
Are Hightop Sneakers Good For Skakeboarding?
Hightop sneakers are built like any other skate shoe other than the shoe’s upper extends further up the ankle.
Hightop sneakers are great for skateboarding. They have the same thick upper and flat sole as other skate shoes. The shoes also offer more protection of the ankle and are also popular for stylistic reasons. Hightops skate the same as the low or mid-cut skate shoes. The choice to skate them is typically for stylistic reasons alone.
In my experience, I don’t see skaters wear hightops too often while skating. I tend to notice them more on people who are wearing them casually. Also, hightops are decently popular for teenage girls due to exposure in media like the recent sci-fi series Stranger Things.
If you are curious about what makes a skate shoe skateable, then check out my complete explanation and how to choose a quality skate shoe.
So there is the list of the best high-top sneakers out there that you can skate. There might be a few others that I didn’t mention, but they would be from smaller brands.
Hightops skate just as well as any other shoe so if you enjoy the style, then go for it. Buy a pair. Personally, I appreciate the look of them, but I usually skate low-cut skate shoes. Most people skate low-cut shoes these days, but fashion and trends change with time.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and look out for more content from Board and Wheels.