Skip Navigation

Types of Sneakers

Whether you’re playing pick-up basketball with friends or a casually walking around the neighborhood, sneakers provide the right amount of comfort and support you need for many activities. Available in multiple varieties, there are many styles and colors that suit any person or age. When you need a new pair of men’s or women’s athletic shoes, consider the following types of sneakers and features before making a purchase.


Types of Sneakers

High-tops

These types of sneakers extend above your ankle and feature designs suited for athletic or casual footwear.

  • Comes in many styles - These types of shoes are available in standard black and white colors to suit any casual outfit. However, you can find options in flashier colors and patterns to add a pop of color to your look.
  • Ideal for basketball players - Because they extend over the ankle, high-top sneakers provide ample support for basketball players, who can be prone to rolling ankles during a game.
 

Low-tops

Low-top sneakers are cut below the ankle and come in either supportive athletic styles or casual canvas looks.

  • Great for casual use - Whether you’re running weekend errands or heading out for a walk around the neighborhood, these shoes are comfortable for your daily routine.
  • Pair well with a trendy look - While they might appear modest, most types of low-top sneakers blend flawlessly with skinny jeans and designer accessories. If you work in a laid-back office setting, consider wearing a clean pair in black or white.
 
Browse all low-top sneakers

Athletic Shoes

Athletic shoes range in shape from low-tops to mid-cut to high-tops. Most options feature a flexible sole and the ability to absorb impact during athletic activities.

  • Created for various activities - Athletic shoes are catered to different sports and activities. The most common varieties of athletic footwear include running, walking, tennis, basketball and cross-trainer shoes.
  • Perfect for runners - Running is a sport that exerts a great deal of impact on feet and legs. Athletic footwear, such as running shoes, offers plenty of support and flexibility for safety and comfort.
  • Good alternative if you have foot problems - Shoes with high arches, such as stilettos, or no arch, such as ballet flats, can cause foot pain or injury over time. Walking shoes offer the right amount of support for people who want to avoid or recover from foot problems.

                                                          Browse all athletic shoes

 


Slip-ons

As the name implies, these types of sneakers are easy to put on or take off since they typically don't have laces.

  • Fit with summer outfits - If you’re looking for an alternative to flip flops and sandals, slip-on sneakers are a great choice. These types of shoes feel comfortable during the summer or spring, and they’re available in styles fit for the season.
  • Used commonly for skateboarding - Sticky rubber outsoles and durable canvas uppers have made slip-ons a favorite among skateboarders and fans of skater-style for decades.
Browse all slip-on sneakers

Sneaker Features

  • Outsoles - Most sneakers are constructed with hard-wearing rubber outsoles at the bottom for comfort and flexibility. Tennis shoes and other court shoes are relatively flat and feature a smooth surface that won't leave marks on the court. Running shoe constructions range from lightweight outsoles with little cushion to trail-running shoes with thick, rugged soles for maximum impact absorption.
  • Midsoles - This layer of rubber is found between the insole and outsole absorbs shock and varies in thickness depending on the shoe's purpose. Sneakers made for high-impact activities feature a thicker midsole, while more relaxed sneakers offer little or no midsole.
  • Insoles - The insoles, or interior bottoms, control moisture and odor and improve fit. Removable insoles can be added to increase comfort and create a better fit for people with high or low arches.
  • Uppers - The uppers hold the sneaker onto the foot and can be found in a variety of materials, including canvas, leather and synthetic materials. Many athletic shoes typically offer breathable uppers to help sweat evaporate from the foot. This part of a sneaker can feature unique colors and designs, so you can find a style to suit any look.

When Should You Buy New Sneakers?

  • If you run frequently - Running shoe experts advise that you replace running shoes after 300-400 miles of wear. If you run about 6 miles per week, you should consider picking up a new pair after one year. Even if they aren't showing signs of extreme wear or tread loss, the cushion inside the shoes becomes more compressed over time and loses its ability to absorb impact.
  • If the bottom tread fades - If the treads on the bottom of a sneaker wear down, it can become easier to slip and fall. Lines and wrinkles in a sneaker's midsole also indicate the breakdown of the sneaker materials.
  • If you have young children - When you have kids, you know their shoes sizes can change frequently. It's important to measure their feet regularly to determine whether they're wearing the correct shoe size. Wearing shoes that are too small can result in painful conditions, such as hammertoes or bunions.
  • If your shoes have a lingering odor - When you can't remove odors by washing your sneakers, this indicates that they have become permeated with bacteria, creating an unhealthy environment for the feet.