Home » 5 Best High-Top Training Shoes for Lifting, CrossFit, and More

5 Best High-Top Training Shoes for Lifting, CrossFit, and More

When it comes to training shoes everyone has a personal fit preference. If you look around the training shoe market, then you’ll likely notice that there are a ton of low-top training shoes. This is because low-top training shoes are by far the most popular and preferred option to train in, but what about the mid-top and high-top training shoes?

I personally love utilizing mid-top and high-top training shoes from time to time and I wanted to put together discussing some of my favorite mid-top and high-top shoes for training and lifting weights. While there aren’t a ton of mid-top and high-top training shoes on the market, I still think it’s worth breaking the options that are available into different sub-categories.

Not every mid-top and high-top training shoe is created equal, so contextualizing where certain models perform the best will help you make more educated investments. Below, I’m going to break my favorite mid-top and high-top shoes for training into different categories.

On the market for new cross-training shoes? Check out the TF2 Cross-Training Shoe Finder. This calculator matches you with the best shoes that I’ve reviewed per your training goals and wants.

Best Mid-Top/High-Top Training Shoes for Lifting

When considering the best mid-top and high-top shoes for lifting weights, I like to wear options based on the context of my lifting. For example, I’ll rotate between shoes like Vans and Converse if I’m doing relatively static strength work, then I’ll opt for options that are more cross-training focused if my lifting has some versatility to it.

Below, are two of my favorite mid-top and high-top shoes for lifting weights in two different contexts.

Top Pick: NOBULL High-Top Trainer

If you’re in need of a high-top training shoe that excels for lifting weights and also cross-training, then the NOBULL High-Top Trainer is a good shoe to look into. This shoe delivers a strong performance and comes with construction features that are consistent with NOBULL’s popular and widely used low-top NOBULL Trainer.

nobull high top trainer warmth

The NOBULL High-Top Trainer has a SuperFabric upper construction which is awesome for long-term durability and abrasion resistance. My pair of NOBULL High-Top Trainers have been through the wringer and their upper is still standing strong and has yet to show signs for breakdown. For recreational lifting and CrossFit, this is a nice perk.

When it comes to stability, the NOBULL High-top Trainer comes with a high-density midsole that does a solid job under heavyweight. The full rubber outsole utilizes a lug patterning which also provides a nice level of traction on different surfaces. For example, I’ve used my NOBULL High-Top Trainer to compete in powerlifting and they did a really good job across the board.

  • Best For: CrossFit-Style Training and Lifting
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 11.2 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: NOBULL High-Top Trainer Review

NOBULL High-Top Trainer

$139

NOBULL High-Top Trainer
4.4
Stability
4.6
Versatility
3.9
Durability
4.5

Best For

  • Heavy Lifting
  • Day-to-Day Wear
  • Long-Term Durability

Falls Short

  • For Versatile Training
  • For Running
  • For Cost-Efficiency

 

Runner-Up: Vans Sk8-Hi

If you’re interested in a high-top model for more static strength work, then the Vans Sk8-Hi is a good model to look into. This shoe is similar to the Converse Chuck Talor Al-Star High Top in the sense that it’s not designed for lifting, but it works really well in the context of strength training and recreational lifting.

vans sk8 hi for lifting weights

The Vans Sk8-Hi has a 0mm heel-to-toe drop which is good for anyone that prefers lifting with a flatter foot position. This model features a full rubber sole that also does a good job of resisting compression which is why you’ll see a lot of powerlifters and recreational lifters use these for their barbell training and machine work.

The waffle tread on the outsole of this model gives this shoe a good amount of traction on rubber gym floors, wooden platforms, and other surfaces you might be training on. Potentially, the best part about the Vans Sk8-Hi is their upper construction and how well they work for daily wear. For a pretty fair price, this shoe is a great option for both lifting and wearing casually.

  • Best For: Casual Wear and Lifting
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 17.5 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: Vans Sk8-Hi Review

Vans Sk8-Hi

$70

vans sk8 hi
4.7
Stability
4.8
Durability
4.7
Quality
4.7

Best For

  • Barbell Training
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Squats and Deadlifts
  • Daily Wear

Falls Short

  • For Breathability
  • For Versatile Training

 

Best Mid-Top/High-Top Training Shoes for CrossFit

If you like tackling CrossFit and cross-training workouts in mid-top and high-top training shoes, then you’re going to need a model that provides you with stability, but not so much that it limits your abilities to be dynamic.

To be honest, I think mid-top and high-top models can be a bit limiting at times for this style of training, however, you can still use them for this context if you prefer to do so and they’ll likely be fine for you.

Top Pick: NOBULL High-Top Trainer

The NOBULL High-Top Trainer is making the list as a top pick once again. In the context of CrossFit, there are three key reasons why I like this model more than other options for CrossFit and cross-training. First, the shoe as a whole is pretty lightweight and it never feels super heavy during training sessions and WODs which is not always the case for mid-top and high-top training shoes.

nobull high top trainer for crossfit

Second, I like the blend of versatility and stability with this model’s midsole. The stability is really solid in this shoe and the high-density midsole does a good job resisting compression in squats, cleans, deadlifts, and pretty much every exercise you can throw at this model. The midsole also provides an okay amount of responsiveness for things like box jumps and burpees.

Third and lastly, this model as a whole has good durability and that’s due to the simplistic construction utilized in this model and its SuperFabric upper. The SuperFabric is good for abrasion resistance and won’t break down easily from things like rope climbs or dragging the toes during burpees.

  • Best For: CrossFit-Style Training and Lifting
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 11.2 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: NOBULL High-Top Trainer Review

NOBULL High-Top Trainer

$139

NOBULL High-Top Trainer
4.4
Stability
4.6
Versatility
3.9
Durability
4.5

Best For

  • Heavy Lifting
  • Day-to-Day Wear
  • Long-Term Durability

Falls Short

  • For Versatile Training
  • For Running
  • For Cost-Efficiency

 

2. GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Mid-Top

My second pick for CrossFit is the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Mid-Top. This model is similar to the NOBULL High-Top Trainer in the context that it’s a follow-up and continuation to the popular Ballistic Trainer low-top training shoe. I like the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Mid-Top model for CrossFit for two key reasons.

goruck ballistic trainers mid for lifting

First, the upper construction is super durable and is a good option for abrasion resistance from rope climbs and other areas of training where friction may occur on this shoe’s upper. The toe box of this model features a breathable, yet durable knit, and the midfoot and boot utilize a CORDURA Nylon that is super durable and easy to clean.

Second, the dual-gradient midsole is stable with a subtle level of responsiveness, and the outsole provides a nice level of traction and supports this shoe’s overall stability. The outsole is designed with three different types of rubber to provide you with a blend of ground feedback, stability, and versatility. 

  • Best For: Casual CrossFit, Cross-Training, and Lifting
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 15.1 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes (comes with two insole options)
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Mid-Top Review

GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Mid Top

$135

GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Mid Top
4.5
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.3
Durability
4.5

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Barbell-Focused Work
  • Daily Wear
  • Casual Cross-Training

Falls Short

  • For Running
  • For Serious Versatile Training

 

Best Mid-Top/High-Top Training Shoes for Versatile Training

When it comes to versatile training, I define this as training styles that could be described as being more athletic in nature. Workouts may include lifting, plyometrics, and different exercises that would help one improve their abilities in different sports.

Top Pick: STR/KE MVMNT Chill Pill Mid

The STR/KE MVMNT Chill Pill Mid is a pretty slept-on training shoe. This mid-top shoe has a few key construction features that help it excel for more versatile and athletic-focused training. STR/KE MVMNT uses a medium-density AF midsole material in this model which gives this shoe a nice blend of stability and versatility.

STRIKE MVMNT Chill Pill Mid Sizing (1)

If you’re lifting, I think you’ll find that this midsole is plenty stable, and if you’re jumping, running, or doing things like HIIT training, then you should get a nice and subtle level of responsiveness from this shoe’s midsole. It feels lightweight and never feels limiting like other mid-top and high-top training shoes can which is something I really enjoy about this model.

The upper construction in this shoe is durable and lightweight. Additionally, it’s treated with a TRES-FRESH antibacterial treatment which is great for keeping this shoe relatively clean and stink-free. I also like the rubber outsole and last construction in this shoe. These provide this shoe with a nice level of maneuverability which is awesome for multi-directional activity.

  • Best For: Cross-Training and Lifting
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 2.5mm
  • Weight: 11.2 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: Size Up a Full Size
  • Read My Review: Chill Pill Mid Review

STRIKE MVMNT Chill Pill Mid

$130

strike mvmnt chill pill mid
4.6
Stability
4.7
Versatility
4.5
Durability
4.6

Best For

  • Heavy Training
  • Functional Fitness Workouts
  • Daily Wear
  • Casual Sport-Focused Workouts

Falls Short

  • For Longer Runs
  • For Serious Athletic Training

 

Runner-Up: NOBULL High-Top Trainer

The NOBULL High-Top Trainer can also be a viable option for versatile and more athletic-focused training. Since this shoe excels for CrossFit and cross-training, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise though. When it comes to being lightweight, durable, and good for a little bit of everything the NOBULL High-Top Trainer is a good pick.

nobull high top trainer for versatile training

I think if you primarily want to lift and tackle CrossFit workouts in the NOBULL High-Top Trainer and plan to only use them here and there for versatile training, then you’ll enjoy this shoe.

The only area where this shoe falls short for athletic-focused training is that it’s not the most comfortable for running, sprinting, and agility workouts. Since this shoe provides such a high degree of stability, its ability to remain super comfortable in these settings isn’t the best, especially for longer training sessions.

  • Best For: CrossFit-Style Training and Lifting
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 11.2 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: NOBULL High-Top Trainer Review

NOBULL High-Top Trainer

$139

NOBULL High-Top Trainer
4.4
Stability
4.6
Versatility
3.9
Durability
4.5

Best For

  • Heavy Lifting
  • Day-to-Day Wear
  • Long-Term Durability

Falls Short

  • For Versatile Training
  • For Running
  • For Cost-Efficiency

 

Best Mid-Top/High-Top Training Shoes for Daily Wear

One of my favorite aspects about rocking mid-top and high-top training shoes and shoes that you can lift weights in is the fact that they also work really well for daily and casual wear.

I know not everyone likes how mid-top and high-top shoes look, but if you do, then you’d likely agree that this is one of the best perks of this style of footwear.

Top Choice: GORUCK Ballistic Trainers

If you want a shoe that looks great for casual wear and that can hold its own when lifting weights, then the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Mid-Top is a great option to look into. In my opinion, the simplicity of this shoe is what gives it an edge for casual wear. This shoe looks great with shorts, jeans, and pretty much any style of pants.

goruck ballistic trainers mid top training shoes

On top of having a simplistic look that goes well with multiple outfits, I also think this model is pretty comfortable for all-day wear. If you plan to do a lot of walking, wearing them to work, or standing, then I think you’ll enjoy this shoe as a whole. Plus, this model’s upper construction, midsole, and outsole are all pretty easy to clean which is a perk for rainy days and dirty settings.

The fact that this shoe also works well in the gym is an added bonus. I like this model most for recreational lifting and it’s also an okay shoe for some casual CrossFit training.

  • Best For: Daily Wear, Casual CrossFit, and Lifting
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 15.1 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes (comes with two insole options)
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Mid-Top Review

GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Mid Top

$135

GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Mid Top
4.5
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.3
Durability
4.5

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Barbell-Focused Work
  • Daily Wear
  • Casual Cross-Training

Falls Short

  • For Running
  • For Serious Versatile Training

 

Runner-Up: Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star High-Top

The Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star High-Top obviously had to make our list. This shoe is a tried and true classic and it’s tough to beat that simplistic and iconic Chuck Taylor All-Star appearance and look. Whether you’re rocking shorts or pants, this shoe will look good and I like rocking this model a bit more loose to give them a nice casual look.

converse bad for lifting

In addition to looking great for daily wear, the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star High-Top is also a great shoe for lifting weight. This shoe features a stable rubber sole and 0mm heel-to-toe drop which makes them an awesome model for lifters and athletes that love training with a flatter foot position.

The price is also a pro with the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star High-Top. Most standard canvas models come in at $60 USD which is an awesome price point for a shoe that doubles as a daily driver and a model that can be used for lifting weights. The only area where this shoe falls short is for CrossFit and more versatile training, so keep in mind that that’s a limitation in this model.

  • Best For: Recreational Lifting and Casual Deadlifting
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 14.3 ounces (size 10 high-top model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: Size down .5-1 full size
  • Read More: Converse Vs Vans

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star

$60

Converse Taylor All-Star
4.3
Stability
4.7
Versatility
3.8
Durability
4.0

Best For

  • Powerlifting
  • Heavier Strength Training
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Deadlifting

Falls Short

  • For Versatile Training
  • Long-Term Durability

 

Are Mid-Top/High-Top Shoes Good for Working Out?

If you look around the training shoe space, then you’ll likely notice that the most prominent shoes are typically made with low-top boot constructions. This is due to low-top shoes generally offering a slight edge for versatility and the fact that many prefer training in low-top shoes compared to mid-top and high-top shoes.

This doesn’t mean that mid-top and high-top shoes are bad for working by any means. However, I do think there are a couple of important construction aspects to note with mid-top and high-top shoes for working out. For example, this style of footwear may not work well in every training setting.

vans sk8 hi vs converse chuck taylor all star

A good example here would be using mid-top and high-top shoes for CrossFit workouts that vary greatly in nature. If you’re tackling a WOD that involves lifting, jumping, and running, then you may find that a shoe with a higher boot isn’t the most comfortable for ballistic exercises and even running.

In this example and context, the potential limitation of ankle mobility due to the shoe’s boot construction would be something to consider for this style of training. If you have a higher boot and lace them tightly, then you may find that you feel limited when moving into deeper ranges of motion.

nobull trainer vs nobull high top trainer

Outside of this, the weight of the shoe in question could be another factor to consider when looking into mid-top and high-top shoes for working out. Typically, mid-top and high-top shoes will be slightly heavier than their low-top peers which may hurt their performance for jumping and running.

Mid-Top Vs High-Top Shoes

The main difference between mid-top and high-top shoes is the height of the boot. High-top shoes have boot constructions that cover and come well over the ankle. Mid-top shoe boots will be slightly lower and can vary slightly in height based on how a company is defining its shoe.

For example, in this list, the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Mid-Top and NOBULL Trainer High-Top both have similar boot heights. However, GORUCK calls their shoe a mid-top while NOBULL calls their model a high-top.

STRIKE MVMNT Chill Pill Mid Review

That being said, when looking into a company’s shoe, always try to look for imagery for how the shoe fits on the models used on their product page. Even if a company calls their shoe a mid-top, it’s worth looking at where the boot falls on a model’s ankle as this can suggest how they’ll fit for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
What's the difference between mids and highs?

A:
The main difference between mid-top and high-top shoes is their boot heights. High-top shoes will have boots that come up well and over the ankle and cover the ankle entirely. Mid-top shoes will be slightly lower and can sit in line with the ankle bone or sit just over it.

Q:
Are high-top shoes bad for working out?

A:
High-top shoes will vary with their functionality for working out. If you're using high-top cross-training shoes, then you'll be able to generally do a larger range of workouts whereas if you're a high-top Converse model you'll be more limited with their functionality.

Q:
Do high-top shoes help with ankle support when working out?

A:
Some high-top shoes can help provide you with a greater sense of ankle support when working out. The material that hugs the ankle can increase proprioception and the feeling of support especially when laced tightly.

Takeaway Thoughts

I don’t always wear high-top and mid-top shoes for my training, but I do enjoy swapping them in here and there for certain training sessions. For example, I prefer to lift in mid-top and high-top shoes but often opt for low-top models for jumping, running, and tackling versatile training.

All of the mid-top and high-top shoes in this article are awesome picks for working out in certain contexts. Before investing in any of the shoes above, it’s worth noting where they excel and where they tend to fall short so you can make the best selection per your training needs.

If you have any additional questions on the shoes listed in this article, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly).

That Fit Friend is a site that is supported by myself (Jake Boly) and its readers. If you purchase products through affiliates links on this site, then I may receive a small commission on the sale. These commissions help keep the lights on here at That Fit Friend so I can continue to create content and they help me purchase new models to review!

nv-author-image

Jake Boly

I've been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I've trained hundreds of clients, written thousands of articles, reviewed over 100+ pairs of training shoes, and have produced a large list of training videos. I live and breathe fitness and training gear, and I think it's important that reviewers walk the walk with the gear they're testing. As for my educational background, I have my Masters in Sports Science, Bachelors in Exercise Science, and have my CSCS.

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