High-Top Tops

You're probably wondering, "What are High-Top Tops?" Well, after some observation of high-top athletic shoes, I've divided them into four distinct classes.


Converse "Chuck Taylor" All Star grape high-top basketball shoeThe top of the classic Converse "Chuck Taylor" All Star basketball shoe rises to a peak at the back of the shoe. There is a Converse informational flyer ("Eleven Ways Better", point #4) that calls this projection a "peg-top."


PRO-Keds yellow canvas high-top basketball shoeWhile the "Chuck Taylor" All Star took the "peg-top" approach, PRO-Keds had their own design. The top of the PRO-Keds shoe went straight from front to back, neither having a pronounced "peg-top" nor a downward slope towards the heel.


White and natural leather Reebok BB4600 high-top basketball shoeThe Reebok BB4600 basketball shoe rises to a peak at the front. Then, the shoe top has a definite downward slope from the front to the back.


Nike Air Strong High basketball shoe, white with blue SWOOSH and trimRecent Nike high-top basketball shoes (as evidenced by the Nike Air Strong High pictured to the left side) have a notch in the top at the back of the shoe. This is not the most dramatic case of notching I'm aware of. Converse produced a line of shoes in the middle to late 1980's (with the letters "ERX" in the style name) that had very deep notches at the back of the shoe top. They were definitely high-tops along the front and sides, but they were like low-tops along the back.

The significance of all this?

It looks like the biomechanical experts are having some effect in the design of athletic shoes. The notched designs allow free movement back and forth (something the foot can handle, and needs for mobility) while restraining movement side to side (something that can get painful if it gets carried to extremes!).

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Last Updated: 21 July 2017

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