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What Are the Different Types of High-Top Shoes?

Karize Uy
Karize Uy

High-top shoes come in different types, from rubber shoes to boots and sandals. These shoes are called “high-tops” because they usually come up above the ankles, unlike many shoes that stop just below the anklebone, or are boots that reach the thighs. High-top shoes may have come out as early as the 1900s, but many fashion trends have made them more popular throughout the decades.

One of the earliest and still most common types of high-top shoes is the high-top sneakers, especially those that are popularized by a basketball player named Chuck Taylor. These sneakers were initially aimed at basketball players to reduce injuries by giving increased support to the ankles, but still allow flexibility. The more recent fashion comebacks of wearing the high-top sneakers are less for sport purposes and more for comfort and its classic design. A variation of these sneakers would be the “sneaker heels,” where the sneakers are attached with tall heels or wedges. These heels can create a sporty, yet girly, look.

Bootie stilettos cover the whole foot.
Bootie stilettos cover the whole foot.

Another type of high-top shoe is the boot, and there are all different kinds. One is the classic ankle cowboy boot, preferable for those who do not want the heavier thigh-high cowboy boots. These boots are usually made of different skins, like snake, buffalo, or alligator, and even come with the clacking sound of the heels. Another type is the Ugg boot, unisex boots made from sheepskin inside and out. These boots are very soft, making them ideal footwear during the winter to keep the feet warm.

Sheepskin boots are soft and warm, making them ideal for winter.
Sheepskin boots are soft and warm, making them ideal for winter.

Stilettos can also be a type of high-top shoes. One particular type, called the “bootie stilettos,” has been popular since the early 2000s. These stilettos usually cover up most of the feet up until the ankles. Sometimes, they also feature a “peep toe,” a little hole in the middle where the toes can “peep” through a little bit. These shoes not only give the feet much-needed support, but can also go well with mini-skirts, dresses, and skin-tight pants.

For women who do not like to wear stilettos, but still want to sport the high-top look, then the gladiator sandals are a more comfortable choice. These sandals are named “gladiators” because they are probably inspired by the sandals worn during the Roman Empire, particularly by gladiators in order to protect their feet during combat. These sandals are usually strappy in design and have flat soles, making them comfortable during long walks. Gladiator sandals worn for formal occasions are usually designed with shiny metallic tones, complete with beads and frills.

Discussion Comments


@Oceana – I actually bought a pair of those, and I had to return them. I don't know how women stand to wear them!

To me, the best high-top shoes are gladiator sandals. I love having a flat sole, because I feel so much more stable than when part of my foot is elevated and off-balance with the rest of it.

I like the way the straps go up so high. They seem very stylish, and it is rare to find style and comfort merged into one shoe.


I wore some black high-top shoes in high school that were all the rage back then. They were canvas sneakers with white shoelaces and soles.

The black canvas covered my ankles, and the shoe laces were long so that I could secure them around my legs. They were really flexible because of the material they were made of, and that's what made them so comfortable.


I have some discount shoes that are high-tops, and I wear them around the house to keep warm in the winter. They are knockoffs of an expensive brand, and though they only cost $12, they look like the real thing.

They look like dark brown suede on the outside, and they have some sort of thick fuzzy material lining the inside. A single strip of this fur extends vertically down the outside, as well.

They keep my feet warmer than any other shoe I have ever worn. They are a bit too insulating for autumn, so I reserve them for the coldest nights.


I've been seeing bootie stiletto shoes in stores everywhere! They look awesome, and I would love to be able to wear some, but they are just terribly uncomfortable.

Though they instantly turn any outfit from boring to hot, they have the major drawback of causing foot pain. I tried on a pair in a store, and I could not even walk a few steps in them. I wobbled around, and my feet were at a really deep, uncomfortable angle.

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    • Bootie stilettos cover the whole foot.
      By: Garrincha
      Bootie stilettos cover the whole foot.
    • Sheepskin boots are soft and warm, making them ideal for winter.
      By: lculig
      Sheepskin boots are soft and warm, making them ideal for winter.