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How to Wear High Top Sneakers

As a fairly nouveau adult, one of the largest challenges that I have faced (aside from having to dress myself and no longer taking joint baths) is wearing high top sneakers whilst being taken seriously. 

Generally, an adult in high tops either needs to grow up (I’m looking at you, Bieber) or needs to face the fact that they’re old (Sir Tom Jones) - neither of which demands respect. 

Easy, you say - don’t wear high tops. True, but with that attitude we’d all be speaking German. 

High top sneakers are difficult to get right, but it is most certainly possible. Three things in particular need to be paid attention to - size, colour and outfit choice.


The most important thing to remember when buying high tops is to ensure that they're a good fit. This does sound trivial but frankly it’s easy to get it wrong, especially with online purchasing. 

If anything, go a half size smaller than usual. A pair of high tops that are too large result in what I have coined, the "Bieber look"

Whilst Bieber can be praised for many things (can he?), his choice of footwear is not one of them. Justin’s clunky sneakers result in himlooking like a giraffe-come-camel, and are partly to blame for his complete lack of driving ability.

Filling Pieces Spring/Summer 2014
Filling Pieces Spring/Summer 2014


High tops are at their best in simplicity and the same can be said about their colouring. Black is your best bet, closely followed by white or a block colour like these by Palladium from All Sole

If you are looking at the pair of sneakers that look like Skittles, check yourself, because you’re about to wreck yourself. In terms of keeping it simple, you cannot beat a pair of Reebok Classic Black Hightops (thank you to our aforementioned German friends for that one). 

Small injections of colour are understandable (some of us have personalities) but keep them small or at least keep them to one colour. If you’re thinking of block colour, the success of the look depends entirely on your surrounding outfit.

Street Etiquette for Palladium
Street Etiquette for Palladium


As Kanye West has kindly demonstrated, high tops are best worn with a simple outfit. In Kanye’s case, and I would recommend this to everyone, the colouring of his sneakers isn’t competing with the rest of his outfit, avoiding an overload of extravagance. 

Denim is the best trouser to wear with high tops, black looks best in my opinion but regular denim works well too. I would recommend a couple of tight roll-ups on your jeans, so that they aren’t competing with your sneakers for space, and do avoid wearing your trousers around your knees - it looks spectacularly stupid. 

A well-fitted trench coat looks excellent with the right high tops, although care must be taken not to end up in a Breakfast Club costume. 

Most important of all (and I cannot stress how important this is) is the tying of the laces; no one appreciates an enormous tongue hanging out for all to see (just ask Miley Cyrus). 

Essentially, if you’re wearing high top sneakers, and you don’t look like Justin Bieber, then you’re on the right track.

Jeremy Scott x Adidas 2014
Jeremy Scott x Adidas 2014
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