How to Wear High Tops

Model walking over zebra crossing wearing long maxi skirt with white high top trainers
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Just when you’d worked out your high top from your hot top, you realise these super fashionable sneakers come in a huge range of styles. From thin high tops to heeled sneakers, here’s our guide to high top trainers and how to style them.

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Thin High Tops

Thin High Tops
Photo Credit: Pinterest. Shop the look: Chuck Taylor All Star, Vans Scotchgard SK8-HI Slim Zip, Converse Chuck II Open Knit
  • As the name suggests, they are thin in shape and fit closely to the foot and ankle.
  • They are typically made of a light material, like canvas, but you can also find them in alternative fabrics like suede, or, as Olivia Palermo stylishly demonstrates, leather.
  • The best known type are Chuck Taylor All Stars.

Thick High Tops

Thick high tops
Photo Credit: Pinterest. Shop the Look: Givenchy Tyson sneakers, Nike Air Force 1 Hi Premium Suede, Chuck Taylor Black Faux Fur Lined Brea Hi Tops
  • As you may have guessed, a thick high top is a bulkier shoe that generally has a loose fit. They are the most like classic sneakers in style, just a lot bigger – a trainer on steroids if you will.
  • They are made with padded fabrics such as suede or leather with fabric accents; leather gives a sporty look whereas suede can be more chic.
  • A classic example is a pair of Nike Air Force 1.

Heeled High Tops

Heeled high tops
Photo Credit: Pinterest. Shop the look: Isabel Marant Etoile Bekett high tops, Michael Michael Kors Nikko high tops, Isabel Marant Etoile Bobby high tops

High tops can also have wedge heels cleverly hidden in the design – a god send for us shorter girls!  Wedges are some of the most comfortable heels to walk in so you can wear these sneakers on-the-go. You can get heels in both thin and thick high tops, but, the thicker style, like Beyoncé’s Isabel Marant sneakers in her Love On Top video, are more fashionable and chic.


How to Tie High Tops

A simple rule for high tops is the lower you lace them and the looser you tie the laces, the more relaxed your look.

How to tie Converse
Photo Credit: Pinterest. Shop the look: Converse

Thin high tops typically have laces. Converse laced all the way up look good with skirts and shorts, but, when wearing jeans keep the laces loose or tie them midway to avoid making your ankles look oddly thin and your legs wide. Converse’s laces are pretty long, so you can either tuck the excess lace into your shoes or wrap them around your ankles before knotting.

Tie Thick High Tops
Shop the look: Isabel Marant Etoile Beckett high tops, Adidas Tubular Invader 2.0, River Island navy strap hi-top trainers
More self-explanatory are thick high tops which can come with straps, laces, or, both.

How to Wear High Tops with Trousers

Thin high tops go best with wide-bottomed trousers – opposites do attract! For a cool, modern look, wear black or white Converse with a pair of cropped trousers that show a little skin around your ankle. This will help balance your proportions and has a fashionable edge that will dress up the casual sneaker
Avoid baggy trousers when wearing thick high tops as together they can make you lose your shape and appear bigger than you are. But, they look great with leather pants; tuck them into the tops of your sneakers for a relaxed and cool look that will draw focus to your stylish shoe choice. High top aficionados, Rhianna and Miranda Kerr are constantly snapped rocking this look.

How to Wear High Tops with Jeans and Shorts

Never tuck your jeans into thin high tops. Instead,  follow style icon Sarah Jessica Parker’s example and wear a pair of Converse with turned-up  boyfriend jeans for a casual and easy look.
Thick high tops look cool and relaxed with a pair of skinny jeans tucked into the shoe; this combo is perfect for the ‘oh I just threw this on’ look.
In the summer, swap your jeans for a pair of short denim shorts to make your legs look (almost) as long as model Cara Delavigne’s.
High tops and shorts
Photo Credit: Pinterest

High Tops with Skirts

Together, Converse-style sneakers and circle skirts create a really cute and youthful outfit. They can be worn with tights, but if it’s warm enough, bare legs and a simple pair of ankle socks are a great option.
Photo Credit: Pinterest

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Thick high tops are a great investment if you have good legs as they go with almost all styles of skirt. Paired with a mini skirt and simple t-shirt, they create a real rock-chick vibe.
Sincerely Jules wearing high tops outfit
Photo Credit: Sincerely Jules
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These sneakers also go with maxi-skirts. A mid-length jersey pencil skirt will create the perfect mix of street-style and fashion. You can even wear thick high tops with flowy maxi skirts; á la Kate Bosworth and Zendaya Coleman.
Olivia Wilde and Kate Bosworth high top sneakers and midi skirts
Photo Credit: Pinterest

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How to Wear High Tops with Dresses

As Dakota Johnson and Alexa Chung have shown, high tops go with almost any style of dress. In the spring and summer, Converses look great with a simple floral dress, adding a tom-boyish twist to an outfit.
Dakota Johnson and Alexa Chung Summer dresses with converse outfits
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Choosing a Colour

Black and white high-tops are the most versatile colours choices as they are easy to style with and compliment other colours and patterns in your outfit.
Red is a popular choice: the bold tone will add a bright burst of colour to dark outfits while mainting the shoe’s sporty element.


Blake Lively Red leather jacket and red high tops outfit
Photo Credit: Daily Mail


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Lots of fashion brands make patterned high top sneakers; Converse and Nike even let you customize your own. Choosing a patterned pair will help you put your individual stamp on an outfit. They are easy to style, just don’t overload on patterns. As well as patterns, some brands add tassels, studs and other extra embellishments, which,  when carefully selected, can really enhance a look.

What are high tops?

High tops are very much ‘what it says of the tin’ shoes; they are trainers with high tops which reach above your ankle. Within this broad grouping, they can be broken down into two main categories; thin and thick.


  • High tops are an easy way of adding a coolness to any outfit.
  • Keep your balance – the heavier and bolder the shoe, the simpler and sleeker you should keep the rest of the outfit.
  • The looser the laces, the more laid back your look. And remember to be particularly careful when lacing Converses.
  • Have fun with colours and prints, but whatever you go for, make sure they don’t clash with the rest of your outfit.

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