Here, I will look at a series of high-top basketball shoes that enhance your game by giving your feet ample support and plenty of extra protection.
I’m a basketball player/fan with more than twenty years of experience in the game. I’ve worn tons of shoes, high top, and low top, over the years. That first-hand knowledge, combined with research and reviews, allowed me to properly cover each shoe in this article.
I believe few high tops can match the Kyrie 7 due to its strength, mobility, and versatile design.
The shoes are on the lighter side and allow for a lot of flexibility, two traits that make them special among other high top models. They also have a sturdy construction as well as a robust design that offers ample support and energy transfer. If you need to move, they deliver.
As great as the Kyrie 7’s are, there are many other exciting high top options as well. Read through the following sections to get a better breakdown of such models.
Who Should Get This
High top basketball shoes are more than a look, they offer a lot of support. Any player with a history of ankle injuries or similar issues will enjoy the extra lacing and top material that better keeps your foot in place. They don’t prevent injuries completely, but they reduce the risk.
The style tends to be more durable than low tops as well. If you’re someone who often finds themselves burning through shoes, a high top can solve that problem. Post players will also particularly enjoy high tops because the extra support offers more stability down on the block.
Best High Top Basketball Shoes: Top Picks
This section analyzes all of the best high top basketball shoes by covering the different niches and attributes that make them special.
1. Best Overall: Kyrie 7
- Best for: Overall
- Key Features: Premium construction. Responsive with great energy transfer. 360-degree traction pattern on top of a sturdy sole. Zoom Turbo unit for cushion.
- Sole: Rubber
- Fit: True to Size
- Weight: 12 ounces
The Kyrie 7 is a high top that kicks off the list due to how it breaks with the traditional mold. Rather than being big or bulky, the shoes are extremely light and have some of the best cushion out there. They also contain a strong Air Zoom Unit and have grippy 360-degree traction.
The other reason they work so well as a high top is that they aren’t restrictive. Where many models keep you rigid in a lot of ways, the 7’s enable you to open up. You’ll have zero issues cutting out on the court, enabling you to remain mobile in a way that’s critical for high-level play.
However, while the Kyrie 7 breaks away from traditional high top issues, it does sacrifice a bit of durability to make that happen. It’s a sturdy shoe that’s well-made, but it won’t be the best option to use when you’re outside. The grip also breaks down a bit more quickly than similar shoes.
2. Lebron Soldier XIII
- Best for: Stability
- Key Features: Comfortable mesh upper. Lightweight and breathable. Zoom Air with cushioned foam. Lockdown straps.
- Sole: Rubber
- Upper: Mesh
- Weight: 3.25 pounds
If stability is what you’re after, the Lebron Soldier XIII is an excellent model. This shoe is big and chunky in a way that provides great stability regardless if you’re a guard or big man. That’s largely due to the dual Velcro straps, which create ample lockdown and keep your foot in place.
The shoe also contains an extremely responsive and comfortable Zoom Air cushion, as well as a foam sole to give you an extra level of padding. Both of those come together above the herringbone tread pattern to create a snug, comfortable package with great energy return.
These shoes, while fun to wear, do tend to be a bit on the small side. Even if you don’t have larger or particularly big feet, you want to get a half size up when possible. In that same vein, it’s important to never pull the straps too tight when locking yourself in.
3. Adidas Pro Bounce
- Best for: Jumping
- Key Features: Synthetic sole. Roomy interior with a snug fit. Durable on both hardwood and blacktop. Strong shaft. Two-tone textile upper. Responsive and springy.
- Sole: Synthetic
- Fit: Regular
- Weight: 2.45 pounds
As the name suggests, the Adidas Pro Bounce is a shoe focused on helping your vertical. Everyone can use an extra inch or two during a game, and these provide that lift through a springy, synthetic sole as well as a tough, stable shaft. The platform furthers that as well.
Even beyond jumping, the shoes come with a comfortable fit and are tough enough to be used across many different spaces. The two-tone textile upper both feels great and looks amazing. Big men will like the ankle protection, while guards will value the extra lateral movement.
Just be aware that these shoes tend to be on the larger side. You should always get a half-size down if you want a more snug fit. As they are lighter, they also don’t have the best power generation. For that, you want to get a model that has a bigger emphasis on traction.
4. Precision 4
- Best for: Lightweight
- Key Features: Resilient foam midsole. Tough rubber outsole. Pivot circles and enhances traction. Reinforced toe and eyelets. Wide range of colors.
- Sole: Rubber
- Midsole: Foam
- Weight: 14.11 ounces
One of the biggest drawbacks high top shoes face is their weight. That’s not the case with the Precision 4, a clean sneaker from Nike that delivers extra support and padding without packing on ounces. The shoe forms to your foot in a way that moves with you as you play.
Other important characteristics include the resilient foam midsole and powerful rubber outsole. The model, despite the lighter design, comes with a good amount of durability as well. The reinforced toe and eyelets go a long way in that regard. It has a sleek look too.
While the shoe is durable for its weight, the lighter shell does cost you a bit when it comes to impact protection. You’ll feel jumps in these more than you would in similar options. Even so, if you don’t want to notice your footwear, it’s hard to find a high top that’s better than this.
5. Lebron Witness V
- Best for: Support
- Key Features: Forefoot lockdown system. Rigid and sturdy. Resilient foam midsole. Momentum 2 Zoom Air Units. Great ventilation. Mesh construction.
- Midsole: Foam
- Fit: True to Size
- Weight: 2.4 pounds
The Witness V is an incredible high top sneaker for players who need extra support. Where many shoes give you targeted protection, these provide a tough base around the heel, forefoot, and midsole. That works perfectly with the rigid design to ensure you can push off with force.
Backing up the rigidity is the Momentum Two Zoom Air units, which add a mix of comfort and responsiveness, as well as unique multi-directional traction. The mesh construction is also breathable. You’re getting a lot of reliability with this pair, and you won’t sweat in the process.
The biggest con to what is an otherwise stellar pair of shoes is the weight. Compared to other models, even some modern high tops, the Witness Vs are on the heavy side. They aren’t so big that they’ll weigh you down, but be aware that you’ll notice them more than other sneakers.
6. Peak High Tops
- Best for: Budget
- Key Features: Lightweight. EVA sole. Integrated weaving for maximum comfort. Solid court feel. Reliable fit. Stable and durable.
- Sole: Ethylene Vinyl Acetate
- Fit: True to Size
- Weight: 2.2 pounds
There are plenty of great high tops on the market, but a lot of them cost quite a bit. The ones from Peak are affordable, and still manage to deliver incredible traits. The pair has a robust construction, wear-resistant rubber, and a lightweight shell so you can run at full speed.
The stabilization module is especially worth noting because it supports and furthers all lateral movement while cutting down on injury risk. The seamless integrated weaving is also nice because it increases comfort. On top of that, the shoes have a clean look anyone can enjoy.
If there’s one thing not to like about the Peaks it’s their cushion. They aren’t uncomfortable to wear, but they definitely lack padding when compared to other shoes. The soles could also be much more durable, especially for players who spend their time shooting outside.
How to Choose The Best High Top Basketball Shoes
When getting high top shoes it’s important to actively watch for all of the following traits in order to make sure the pair works for your play style.
One of the first characteristics to be aware of when getting shoes is weight. Basketball requires speed, jumping, and cuts. Being one second too late or too slow can be the difference between scoring and getting blocked. Getting lighter shoes allows you to be quicker than your opponent.
As a general rule, high tops are heavier than low or mid tops. Even if you get a lighter option, it won’t be as fluid as a smaller model. That’s why you should go out of your way to pick up shoes with a mesh upper or lightweight soles. Cut outs go a long way in that regard as well.
Traction is another vital characteristic because it helps you cut and push off the court. Look for models with special patterns, as that will help you grip the floor as you run. Any unique design will give you a distinct edge and more grip over footwear made with regular patterns.
On top of that, you also want durable shoes with soles that will last. Traction is important, but it does little good if it wears off. Ensure that your shoes come with a certain amount of strength that will hold up over time. The longer your grip sticks around, the more useful it will be.
You also need a comfortable shoe. Basketball is a high-intensity sport that puts a lot of stress on your feet. That can then lead to issues like blisters or soreness. Footwear with padding or special cushioning units fight those problems and make your time on the court more enjoyable.
Even if you know what high tops you want, you may have some questions about them versus other shoe styles. This section answers the biggest ones surrounding that topic.
What’s the Difference Between High Tops and Low Tops?
The biggest difference between the two styles is that high tops have a higher ankle collar for added support. However, they also tend to be more durable and are a bit heavier. High top shoes also come with better impact protection, but they are bigger and can be bulky for some.
Are High Top Basketball Shoes Better?
That’s a subjective question that comes down to what you want from your footgear. High top shoes are better at certain things, including durability and ankle support, but they add weight and size. As with any shoe style, they come with their own pros and cons.
Should I Get High or Low Top Basketball Shoes?
That depends on what you want from your shoe. Guards who need to make a lot of cuts and don’t like being weighed down might want a sleek mid or low top. However, larger players who need power from their shoes or those who want ankle support might want to go with a high top.
Useful Tips and Resources
Good basketball shoes, no matter what brand you choose, undergo a lot of wear and tear over time. You need to work hard to keep them in good condition as a way to protect them and make sure you get the most amount of value out of your investment.
When cleaning your high tops, always use a soft brush or rag. That not only ensures you’ll be able to easily wipe away dust or grime, but it makes sure you don’t accidentally damage your kicks during the cleaning process.
Also, be aware that indoor shoes should only be worn in a gym and always air out your footwear in an open space after a game or practice. Such steps may not seem like a big deal, but they all help you get the most from your sneakers. This video explains why.
I believe that the Kyrie 7 is the best high top sneaker on the market. Where many models choose to add on extra weight in order to get padding and support, the model gives you all of the protection you want without holding you back or being much too bulky.
That middle ground, alongside their long list of performance-enhancing features, is why they’re used by guards and forwards all over the world.