Sneakers can be classified into three types based on construction – the low tops, the mid tops, and high tops. Those that fall under the low top classification are sneakers that do not cover the ankles and usually very minimal in design and structure. They are sometimes referred to as “lows.”
High top sneakers, on the other hand, extends past over the ankle for additional support and a more locked-in fit.
Mid top sneakers fall between the low tops and the high tops. Sneakers under this classification cover the ankles but not as extensive as that of the high tops' coverage, with their collar situated not higher than the ankle.
The majority of sneakers in the market today falls under the low top classification.
Characteristics of low top sneakers
Lightweight. Low top sneakers clearly utilize fewer materials than mid tops or high tops. As such, generally speaking, low top sneakers are relatively lighter in weight compared to the others. Lesser material equates to lesser weight. Nike sneakers are some of the lightest in the business.
Relatively affordable. Following the point mentioned above, low top sneakers are usually relatively cheaper than sneakers with mid cut or high cut construction mainly because of the lesser amount of materials they require. It is not always the case, though, as there are prevalent low top sneakers with a whopping price tag such as the limited releases, special edition models, designer items, or those equipped with top-of-the-line technologies.
Versatile. Low top sneakers allow versatility in terms of styling because of its minimal construction. Unlike mid top sneakers or high top sneakers, they can be paired with anything and look just as fashionable.
Low top sneakers are also versatile in terms of usage. Although sneakers are primarily regarded as a lifestyle footwear, there are some low top sneakers for both men and women that can also be used for other purposes or activities such as training, skateboarding, and running among many others.
Comfortable. Low cut sneakers have sufficient cushioning for the feet and lightweight construction. Some upper materials allow a sock-like fit to the wearer, while others utilize mesh or incorporate perforation to let the feet breathe.
Men’s and women’s low top sneakers, similar to mid top sneakers and high top sneakers, also incorporate cushioning technologies for a more comfortable feel on the feet and added support and stability. Some of these are Nike’s Air and Lunarlon, Adidas’ Boost and Tubular, Asics’ Gel cushioning, New Balance’s AbZorb, and Reebok’s Hexalite.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of low top sneakers?
|Low cut construction||The low cut construction allows freedom of movement for the feet.||Sneakers with low cut construction sometimes have minimal cushioning and a little less support around the ankle.|
|Styling||Low top sneakers are versatile in styling because of their overall shape and construction. They can be worn with almost any kind of outfit from day to night.|
|Type of closure||Most low top sneakers have lace-up closure, while others utilize Velcro straps or a slip-on construction. Regardless of closure type, low top sneakers are effortless to put on and off compared to mid tops and high tops.||Regardless of low top sneakers’ type of closure, they do not provide a locked-in feel around the ankle, unlike in mid tops and high tops, because of their low cut construction.|
|Cleaning||Low top sneakers are easier to clean or wash since they have fewer materials compared to mid top and high top sneakers. Also, the low cut construction allows quick drying.|
What are the usual trends in low top sneakers?
Over the last few years, sneakers have been dominating the fashion scene and slowly replacing stilettos and high heels for women. This occurrence has been evident in fashion events worldwide and even up to fashion bloggers and influencers' social media presence.
Scan through fashion outfit ideas and street style images in the web, and a significant number of web search results will surely land you to photos dominated by sneakers. Below are the usual trends in low top kicks:
- White low tops. White low top sneakers are everywhere since Adidas revamped the classic Stan Smith in 2014. Men and women alike gave in to this trend not only because of its prominent presence in the fashion scene but also because of its minimal look that gives out an effortless yet stylish vibe to an outfit.
- Low top platform sneakers. Not only are low top platform sneakers extra edgy, but they also add extra inches when you need it most. However, with the extra height comes an additional weight, so expect that low top sneakers of this kind are heavier than the usual low tops. Puma is one of the leading brands for this type, particularly with Rihanna’s collaboration.
- Trainers. Trainers are the kind of low top sneakers that you can also wear to the gym or for light exercises. Functional and stylish at the same time, they dominate the street style and the perfect kicks to complete an athleisure look.
- Slip-On. If you are always on the go, a slip-on sneaker is perfect for you. The lack of laces that need to be tied up saves you time. Plus, it is lightweight and works best for casual get up. Usually, slip-on low top sneakers exhibit pull tabs on the tongue and the heel so that the wearer could put them on and off much quicker.
- Velcro Straps. Current sneaker fashion trends do not limit low top sneakers to traditional lace closure. The Velcro straps closure we’ve known back in the good old days as visible only to kids’ shoes have been dominating adult low top sneakers as well. It gives a throwback, old-school vibe and also provide an effortless way of putting on and off a pair.
- Chunky Sneakers. Also known as the "dad kicks," "dad trainers," or the "ugly sneakers" to some, chunky low top sneakers are also in style today. Men and women alike are wearing this kind of low tops for an effortless '80s vibe. The chunky and thick soles unexpectedly add oomph to a casual look, though styling it with the right outfit is crucial. These shoes, however, are undoubtedly comfortable even after a long walk.
- Velvet or Metallic. Velvet sneakers and metallic sneakers are also taking the storm in the sneaker market. This sneaker trend is a different take on the traditional leather, suede, or mesh upper material of low top sneakers. More common in women's low top sneakers than the male counterpart, these kinds of low top sneakers certainly make a statement in an outfit. Brands take some of their classic silhouettes for an upper material upgrade for a more fashion-forward look.
- Classics. The statement "Classics never go out of style." is applicable for sneakers in general, including those that fall under the low top category. Reebok Classics, as well as those from New Balance, are two of the most enduring retro styles. For the past decade or so, footwear brands have been reviving classic silhouettes from their archives. With a bit of material and technology upgrades, design tweaks here and there, or both, classic low top sneakers have been re-released or re-issued in different iterations to suit the modern day sneaker market and trends without losing the essence and totality of the sneakers' classicality.
What are the factors to consider when choosing the right low top sneaker for you?
- The more technologically advanced a sneaker is, the costlier it gets. Premium versions of low top sneakers are also more expensive than the regular models because they utilize high-quality materials.
- Typically, general releases (GR) are more affordable compared to limited releases and special releases.
- In the sneaker market, limited releases almost always create a hype. As a result, this kind of sneakers usually become a must-have or a highly sought-after sneaker, especially for sneakerheads or collectors. This occurrence is also common for men's low top sneakers.
- It also means that when a specific sneaker is a limited edition, it is not widely available across various retail sites. Most of the time, it can only be availed through the brand's official websites and flagship stores, or through the partner sneaker boutique or retailer (for sneaker collaborations).
- Special edition sneakers are released to commemorate an event, to celebrate anniversaries, or to honor a particular person. Some of these sneakers are released in limited quantities, while others are produced in vast amounts that they could easily be attained across different retail shops.
- In a general context, low top sneakers are cheaper than mid tops and high tops. Again, this can be attributed to the fewer materials utilized by low top sneakers compared to the other sneaker types.
- However, the price does not dictate a shoe’s overall performance. It does not necessarily mean that expensive shoes are guaranteed to be of superior quality than the cheaper ones.
- Affordable pairs could also be of top quality in the same way that the expensive ones could be non-durable and uncomfortable.
- One of the first things that consumers consider when buying a sneaker is its style. The style is, of course, a personal preference of the buyer. Thus, it should be noted that some sneakers that deem fashionable by most may not be as appealing to some.
- Style does not always equate to comfort. When choosing low top sneakers, bear in mind that not because they look nice, they would automatically feel nice when worn.
- The sneakers’ background is often considered the basis of style and construction. It is a fact that many of today’s top sneakers took its roots from running, basketball, tennis, skating, hiking, soccer, and training.
- Climate or weather conditions is also an essential factor to consider when choosing a sneaker. The upper materials of low top sneakers vary to suit certain weather conditions.
- Usually, low top sneakers comprised of mesh materials or those with lots of perforations are suited for hot areas as these types allow the feet to breathe. Canvas low top sneakers or sneakers with knit-based, sock-like upper materials like the Adidas’ Primeknit, Nike’s Flyknit, Reebok’s Ultraknit, and Puma Evoknit always top the list for summer staples.
- Low top sneakers are typically less preferred during the cold months. However, there are still low tops (such as winterized, waterproof, or water-resistant sneakers) designed to suit such conditions and keep the feet dry and warm.
- Low top sneakers equipped with rubber soles that have excellent grip and traction should also be considered for the cold months to avoid slipping on wet and slippery surfaces.
Sizing and Fit
- When choosing a pair of sneakers, you should be cautious to get the correct size for a right fit. It is advisable to try on a pair first before buying, but that is not really possible when shopping online. In this case, you could always depend on reliable shoe reviews and retailers’ note on fit and sizing.
- Sizing and fit of low top sneakers always vary per shoe brand and even shoe models of the same brand.
- Generally, low top sneakers fit slightly loose compared to mid tops and high tops because they lack the locked-in fit around the ankle. Mid tops and high tops also have extra eyelets at the ankle for a more secure fit, which is lacking as well in the low tops.
- Materials are also a factor. Usually, materials like leather and suede will stretch out over time, unlike the plastic-based synthetics.
- Some low top sneakers are only available in unisex or men's sizing. Ladies who wish to cop a pair of these sneakers should opt for an approximate of 5 to 2 sizes smaller than their usual size.
- Low top sneakers also vary in terms of hold and support that it provides to the feet.
- Low top sneakers based on basketball, tennis, or skate shoes provide overall sufficient hold and support as they usually have enough reinforcements and the materials used are curated to withstand such activities.
- Low top sneakers based on running shoes, on the other hand, are usually very minimal in construction and allow flexible movement of the feet.
- To determine what low top sneaker suits you best, it is also important to keep in mind how you would use it as these shoes vary in construction, materials, and technologies.
- Lightweight and comfortable low top sneakers are usually preferred by consumers as their go-to kicks for running errands or everyday activities.
- Some consumers use low top sneakers for long walks when traveling, so they prefer those with sufficient cushioning that would keep their feet comfortable all throughout the day. Blisters could be avoided when you get a low top pair with adequate padding around the collar.
- Same also goes for purchasers who buy a pair of low top sneakers as their work shoes, especially those that need to be on their feet for long hours.
- Also, low top trainers are usually preferred by consumers who also use them as their gym shoe for light exercises or workout.