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You may like high-cut or high-top shoes just for that certain look, but that is hardly the only reason people wear them. According to Brigham Young University researcher Mark Ricard, this shoe design may prevent certain kinds of ankle sprains, especially if you play high-impact sports. But you don't have to be a jock. You might like them if you have weak ankles. There isn't an absolute height range for high-cuts, but they should go well above your ankle.
A sprain damages the inner or outer ligaments of the ankle. Sprains in this area make up nearly half of all injuries in sports such as soccer, football and basketball, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. About 25,000 Americans sprain an ankle every day. Inversion or inward rolling of the ankle accounts for over 80 percent of all ankle sprains. So selecting a shoe that helps keep that from happening is pretty much a no-brainer.
Athletes may choose to wear high-cuts in addition to ankle tape and braces. Bigger and heavier guys may benefit more. But anyone who walks on uneven ground, like rocky trails, may appreciate some extra ankle support. Also, wearing high-cuts when you go out for a short day hike is easier and lighter than wearing a pair of heavier boots, according to REI.com. Those clunky backpacking boots can weigh a few pounds and if your feet sweat a lot, it can get pretty hot inside.
High-cuts are lighter than heavy boots, but they are typically heavier than mid-cut and low-cut shoes, according to iSport.com. The terms high-cuts or high-tops, mid-tops and low-tops are usually used to describe the heights of boots and sneakers. The lower cuts allow you to stay speedy, but fashion aside, if your biggest priority is ankle support and the extra weight and bulk don't bother you, go for the high-tops.
High-cuts can be made of many different materials. Many manufacturers use high-tech materials in place of traditional materials like canvas and leather, because modern synthetics reduce bulk and weight, are more flexible, and reduce break-in time. At the same time, these new materials can increase breathability, durability and sometimes expense. They also dry out faster when they get wet. But some synthetics do not resist abrasion as well as better leathers.