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Best High-Top Running Shoes in 2021

 

High-top shoes are generally known to be for fashion and not for sports.

But they do serve a particular purpose when it comes to running – providing exceptional ankle support (if you choose the right ones).

Runners with weak ankles may find that high-tops give them the support they need to be able to improve their performance. Of course, they’re quite a fashion trend too, so it’s the best of both worlds!

Here are the best high-top running shoes we’ve found for those who need a bit of extra stability.

Our top recommendation is the Adidas UltraBOOST X All Terrain LTD. It has a comfy Primeknit upper with an adaptive arch for the highest level of comfort, and will keep you safe and sturdy on any surface with its Continental rubber outsole.

Check out the full list to find something that suits you in both style and support!

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

adidas UltraBOOST X All Terrain LTD

 

  • Primeknit upper
  • Continental rubber outsole
  • Adaptive arch support
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

Salomon S/LAB CROSS 2

 

  • Soft sock-like upper
  • Integrated gator
  • Contagrip TA outsole
CHECK PRICE

 

Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% FlyEase

 

  • Heel collapses when you step in
  • Flyknit and synthetic upper
  • Midfoot cage for stability
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

Best Overall

1. Adidas UltraBOOST X All Terrain LTD

The Adidas UltraBOOST X All Terrain LTD is a collaboration between sporting apparel giant Adidas and fashionista Stella MCartney. That alone should be an indication that this shoe is great for both running and looking fly!

It’s an unusual-looking shoe, but it has some features that make it pretty good for a running shoe. The Primeknit upper is soft and sufficiently flexible, made of recycled polyester yarn, which gives it a thumbs-up for being eco-friendly.

TPU overlays across the midfoot and heel not only look stylish, but also serve as structural support. The upper is crafted with a sock-like fit, providing light but adequate support to the ankle via the elastic cuff.

There’s also an external heel counter, which helps to keep the feet anchored in the shoes, reducing excess movement that could compromise the ankles.

In the midsole, a full-length Boost cushion offers a nice balance of softness and springiness. This unit is made up of countless TPU pellets which have been fused together to become the shock-absorbing midsole Adidas fans know. You can see the pelleted texture on the outside of the shoe.

An adaptive arch molds to your foot, flexing with you and allowing for a full range of motion, while providing good support when running. It also has quite a rocker design, which helps propel you forward when running.

Underfoot, a Stretchweb outsole features Continental rubber – the stuff the tires are made of! This offers exceptional grip on a variety of different surfaces. It has light lugs that grip nicely to loose, rough, or smooth terrain.

PROS:

  • Primeknit upper
  • Full-length Boost foam cushioning
  • Continental rubber outsole
  • Adaptive arch support

CONS:

  • Runs slightly narrow
 

Top Trail Shoe

2. Salomon S/LAB CROSS 2

If you love trail running, Salomon is a natural choice. This is their high-top offering, and it’s every bit as good as the rest of their shoes.

It also features a sock-like upper with a supportive elasticated ankle gaiter. Not only does this offer support to the joint, but it also prevents debris from getting into the shoe.

The upper uses Matryx technology which is interwoven with aramid fiber. This combination makes it unusually flexible while still being strong and protective.

There’s also Salomon’s trademark Quicklace system, which is an excellent way to prevent loose and flapping laces while on the trail. It’s also super convenient and easy to get a comfortable, effective fit.

Bumps and twists on the trail won’t hurt your feet, with the EnergyCell+ foam cushioning absorbing shock and keeping the feet comfy. An EVA sockliner adds to the comfort.

The Contagrip TA outsole features smooth but deep lugs, in circular and semicircular shapes. Whatever surface you choose to wear these high-tops on, you’ll be safe and stable.

PROS:

  • Soft sock-like upper
  • Integrated gator
  • Contagrip TA outsole
  • EnergyCell+ foam cushioning

CONS:

  • Tight fit may be hard to get on
 

Best Racing Shoe

3. Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% FlyEase

This is a spacey-looking shoe but it’s fun, funky, and eye-catching.

It features some excellent ankle support, with a high tongue and an exaggerated elf ear behind the foot. It’s worth noting, though, that there’s very little lateral support. The front-to-back support is ideal for running, and the lack of side-to-side support shouldn’t be a problem.

This shoe is all about convenience and comfort. A step-in heel means you never have to struggle to get your foot into the shoe again. Nike has added an easy one-handed lacing mechanism, in which you simply pull one loop to tighten the shoe and pull another to loosen it.

Despite the step-in heel, the stability of the shoe isn’t compromised. The heel cups the back of the foot nicely, and a midfoot cage stabilizes the foot as you move.

Nike ZoomX foam provides excellent energy when pushing off. In the heel, Nike React foam offers good shock absorption and a nice bit of bounce. For even more spring, a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot offers a superb energy boost on your toe-off.

The sticky rubber outsole delivers more than adequate grip on almost any surface. Despite its chunky-looking size, the shoe is also reported to be lighter than expected by many users.

Be aware that it may be difficult to get a properly locked-down fit with the lacing system. Nike quick-lacing systems have a reputation for leading to heel slippage, although the degree to which this is an issue depends on the person.

PROS:

  • Heel collapses when you step in
  • Flyknit and synthetic upper
  • Midfoot cage for stability
  • Highly responsive cushioning

CONS:

  • Lacing system may not lock the heel down completely
 

Top Waterproof

4. inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX

The inov-8 Roclite G 345 GT looks like a hybrid of a running shoe and a hiking boot. Technically, it’s classified as a speed hiking shoe, but it works well for running if you need the extra ankle support.

A synthetic mesh upper offers both support and breathability. Another feature we love is the addition of a Gore-Tex membrane, which makes the shoe suitable for road running, trail running, and hiking in all conditions.

It also has something called an ADAPTERWEB cradle. This hugs the foot securely and contours to the foot, allowing it to move freely while still being well-supported. The high ankle collar is plush and comfortable, supporting without being restrictive.

A Power-Flow midsole delivers excellent shock absorption, up to 10% more than regular midsoles according to the manufacturer.

On the G-GRIP outsole, a graphene-enhanced compound makes it super strong and mixed with the aggressive 6mm lugs, ensures a sure footing on almost any surface.

PROS:

  • Gore-Tex technology
  • ADAPTERWEB cradle
  • Power-Flow midsole
  • Graphene-enhanced G-GRIP outsole

CONS:

  • May run small
 

Best Wide Toe Box

5. Altra Lone Peak Hiker

Do you have wide feet and struggle to find shoes that fit and have all the other features you need?

The Altra Lone Peak Hiker is the perfect shoe for those who want a high-top they can run or hike in that won’t pinch their toes.

Altra has a signature FootShape toe box, which is ideal for those who value a bit of extra space around their forefoot. Your toes certainly won’t be cramped in this shoe, so those with a bit of a wider forefoot can wear them comfortably.

The upper features strong, sturdy ankle support. It’s well-padded and reinforced with synthetic overlays to provide extra stability. The lacing system also extends up the ankle, providing a great lockdown from the ankle down.

Altra’s other signature is their Balanced Cushioning zero-drop platform. If you’ve never used a zero-drop shoe before, it could take a bit of time to get used to. But it does a good job of alleviating pressure on the forefoot, so this shoe is an excellent choice for those suffering from metatarsalgia or similar forefoot ailments.

EGO midsole cushion means your every step will be lower-impact thanks to excellent shock absorption and a good bit of responsiveness. You can run safely on trails, roads, and even snowy or wet terrains with minimal jarring to your joints.

Also helping to keep you steady on your feet is a DuraTread outsole, which contains aggressive, arrow-shaped lugs that grip well to a large variety of surfaces.

PROS:

  • Signature FootShape toe box
  • EGO midsole cushioning
  • Zero drop platform
  • DuraTread outsoles

CONS:

  • Not waterproof
 

Best Colors

6. PUMA Ignite Evoknit

These shoes are super stylish along with being a pretty good option for running.

A seamless EvoKNIT upper uses a sock-like look and fit for comfort and protection of the ankle. The cuff is light but still offers helpful ankle support, aided by the heel counter and ankle strap.

One of the most fun things about this shoe is that it comes in a large array of colorways. If you’re into bright shades and funky designs along with your ankle support, this shoe could be it.

A full-length chunk of Ignite foam offers impact-absorbing cushioning, but also a nice pop of responsiveness.

On the outsole, multiple flex grooves promote flexibility and a natural movement of the foot. A large vertical flex groove helps make the heel-to-toe transition more efficient. Two different types of rubber on the sole allow for the best grip possible.

PROS:

  • EvoKNIT upper
  • Available in a variety of colorways
  • Full-length Ignite foam
  • Structured external heel

CONS:

  • Not as breathable as others
 

Top Cushioning – Road

7. On Cloud Hi

On is a relatively new footwear brand, but they’re doing good things. This is their high-top option, and it’s a pretty funky-looking shoe.

It’s not an extremely high-topped ankle collar, but it still offers more support than a regular running shoe.

The ankle collar comes up nice and high without looking like a hiking boot. It’s nicely padded, as is the tongue, providing a good hold for the ankle without being too restrictive.

An upper of vegan leather and suede delivers a good wrap around the foot and supports you in all the right places. It’s also super luxurious, and not only looks good but feels great.

It also features a quick-lace system for convenience. In some cases, it can be difficult to achieve a tight enough lockdown with these kinds of laces, but the TPU heel counter should help keep the foot tight in the shoe.

In the midsole, Helion Superfoam cushions the foot and delivers responsiveness while remaining lightweight. There’s also a Speedboard, which flexes naturally with the foot and promotes a healthy transition from heel to toe.

Underfoot, CloudTec technology is made for shock absorption. This tech is eye-catching, forming pods under the shoe. As you land, these compress and disperse shock, protecting your joints and reducing injury.

The midfoot foam is exposed to the ground, but the forefoot and heel have an extra layer of CloudTec rubber for better grip and durability.

PROS:

  • Vegan leather and suede
  • Loop Lock speed-lacing system
  • Helion Superfoam
  • CloudTec technologies

CONS:

  • May run slightly narrow
 

Top Cushioning – Trail

8. Hoka One One Sky Arkali

Hoka One One is widely known as one of the most cushioned shoe brands out there. The Arkali is a good-looking shoe and it offers some helpful ankle-supporting features.

It features a Matryx upper, which is a light, synthetic material that’s very strong, thanks to strands of Kevlar woven into the mesh. It’s also unusually breathable. The heel is made of more structured synthetic material, complete with two Velcro straps.

One strap around the back of the ankle and one on the top of the foot allow you to really dial in for an excellent fit. This gives the ankle even more support, keeping it from turning or twisting.

The Profly midsole is made of two layers. On the top, EVA is soft and shock absorbing. Underneath, a layer of Rangi foam offers a firmer platform with a responsive boost for toeing-off effectively.

A nice feature is the use of Active Foot Frame technology. This helps the foot to sink into the midsole, rather than simply resting on top of it. This is surprisingly helpful for stability.

The Vibram Megagrip outsole paired with 5mm lugs delivers multi-directional traction and should keep you safe on the trails.

PROS:

  • Matryx upper
  • Profly midsole
  • Active Foot Frame technology
  • Vibram outsole

CONS:

  • Not waterproof
 

Best No-Lace Shoes (men only)

9. Adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro

Tired of bending down to do your laces, or having them come undone halfway through your run?

If you need extra ankle support and want an easy, no-lace system too, we highly recommend this sleep-looking footwear.

It has a sock-like fit, but looks noticeably different from other shoes with the same style. Instead of looking like it has a sock attached to it, it looks more like a single-piece boot. The shoe has a sleeve upper that’s treated to water-repellant. Inside, a soft layer keeps your feet feeling cozy and comfy.

The BOA Fit System lacing system is a big draw. There’s a zip down the center of the shoe, allowing it to open wide to slip your foot inside. When the BOA dial is deactivated, the laces inside are slack. When you dial it in, those laces tighten around the foot. Easy! It allows for tiny, micro-adjustments in fit.

The shoe features Boost foam in the midsole for a highly responsive experience. It also uses an EVA support frame that prevents lateral movement and keeps the ankles even safer. A Continental rubber outsole gives you traction anywhere, any weather.

PROS:

  • BOA Fit System lacing
  • Water-resistant sleeve upper
  • Boost midsole
  • EVA frame

CONS:

  • Fairly expensive
 

FAQs

Wondering if the best high-top running shoes are the right choice for you? Here are some of the most common questions we see about high-tops for running. Hope they help!

Are High-Top Shoes Good for Running?

You may be surprised to hear that high-top shoes can be a good choice for running. It’s down to the individual, though.

Some people may feel uncomfortable running in a shoe that doesn’t allow as much ankle flexibility. But, those who feel like running shoes don’t offer enough support around the ankle might quite like a pair of high-top running shoes.

Not just any pair of high-tops is good for running, though. Make sure you’re choosing something that offers foot support as well as ankle support. Thankfully, many brands are now making high-top shoes that are suitable for running, with in-shoe support and stability as well as cushioning.

Of course, high-tops are also a fashion trend that’s been around for decades and isn’t going away. If you need ankle support, stability, and a cool new look, a pair of high-top running shoes might be for you.

Why is Ankle Support Important?

Have you ever turned your ankle? Then you know! Your entire body weight rests on your feet (ankles included).

When you walk or run, that weight increases by three or four times! This means that even if you’re a skinny 100 pounds, your feet and ankles are taking on 300 to 400 pounds of force with every step.

Because the ankles are joints, they also play a large part in balance, flexibility, and range of motion. Weak ankles lead to instability, poor performance, and a much higher chance of injury.

Most running shoes offer a plush ankle collar that holds the foot in place and prevents excess rotation or bending of the ankle. For many people, that’s enough ankle support for them to run comfortably.

But for others, especially those with naturally weak ankles or runners who have had severe ankle problems or injuries, high-top shoes provide extra valuable support that holds the foot in place and reduces the chance of ankle rotation exponentially more than regular running shoes. Your ankle literally has nowhere to go!

The Wired Runner