Nike Dunk vs. Air Jordan 1: What You Need to Know

Nike Dunk vs. Air Jordan 1: What You Need to Know

Aren’t Air Jordan 1 sneakers and Nike Dunk sneakers the same shoe? Not quite.

Although they feature the same Nike branding, these sneakers are quite different. What’s more, they almost look alike. Both lines offer similar traction patterns, overlays, shapes, and a retro nostalgia appearance. While sneakerheads may easily tell these two sneakers apart, it can be quite confusing for newcomers.

Before you head out to buy any of these Nike shoes online, you should know what you want and ways to note their differences. Below is a deep dive into Air Jordan 1s and Nike Dunks to help you make the right choice.

History of the Air Jordan 1 and Nike Dunks

In 1985, Nike tapped Peter Moore to create basketball shoes for Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan.He didn’t hesitate to create the Air Jordan 1. These sneakers embodied Jordan’s powerful persona on the court.

From the start, the Air Jordan 1s was much-hyped, riding the wave of Michael Jordan’s successful NBA career. Today, you can find these sneakers in different models and colorways.

During the same year, Moore was also tasked with designing new sneakers for the college sports market. This is when the Nike Dunk came to fruition.

Formerly known as the College Color High, the Nike Dunk was also made for the basketball court. It launched in several collegiate color themes, including Kentucky, Syracuse, and Georgetown. This was part of a “Be True to Your School” marketing campaign.

Air Jordan 1 vs Nike Dunk: Which Nike Shoe is the Best?

Not sure which one to pick? Check out this sneaker comparison guide to learn more about these kicks:

Design and Features

While they may look similar, there are a few differences to note. One notable difference between the two Nike sneakers is seen around the Nike Logo. While it’s thin on the Air Jordan Is, it forms a square on the Nike Dunk.

Elsewhere, Air Jordan 1 features a flat seem between the outsole and the midsole, where Nike Dunks has a bit of variation where the two meet. You’ll notice some raising at the toe, heel, and in the middle.

Looking at the Nike Dunk’s underfoot, you’ll see how the design of these sneakers cut to emphasize the hourglass shape near the midfoot. This helps show a bit of variation where the outsole meets the midsole.

You can note differences in the small details around the sneakers as well. The Nike Dunks tend to feature some ridging and a small loop on the back of the sneaker, while the Air Jordan 1s will have a wings logo on the exterior flap. You’ll also discover that Jordan’s have six panels compared to Nike Dunk’s four. Nike Dunk has less stitching and a wider toe box.


Both sneakers are fairly long and narrow compared to sneakers from other brands, and you may end up wearing the same size for both shoes. But Nike Dunks are more forgiving with their shape as compared to Air Jordan 1s.

They have a wider and taller toe box. This means if you have one part of your foot wider than the other, you can still fit in Nike Dunk sneakers without going up a size.

On the other hand, the Air Jordan 1 is clearly more of a performance fit since it features a less wide toe box. Designed to be close-fitting around your whole foot, you won’t experience any sliding. This makes it the perfect sneaker for sports. However, if your feet don’t match, they’ll be squeezed. What’s more, it may be hard to find a good fit.


The comfortability of the two sneakers will depend on what is below your feet. When it comes to the Nike Dunk sneakers, only a thin insole and hard piece of rubber stand between your feet and the ground. It can be quite uncomfortable walking a whole day in them.

As for Air Jordan 1s, they feature an air unit in the heel. This is in addition to the insole and hard outer sole. You’ll experience much comfort walking in them.

When it comes to supporting, there are some prominent differences. But where the Nike Dunks lack in the insole and outer sole, they cover up with their cupped-shaped and quality ankle padding. On the other hand, the original Air Jordan 1 low design was cut a little bit higher.


When deciding to buy Nike shoes—Jordan 1s, Dunks, Air Jordan 7, and more, you have probably asked yourself which one is cheaper. Between the Nike Dunk and Air Jordan 1, the answer isn’t quite straightforward. This is because they have different variations to choose from.

Their pricing can also vary according to the market values. For example The “Retro Pollen” high-top Air Jordan 1 is more expensive than the “Championship Navy” Nike Dunk sneakers. But you can find that the retail pricing between regular editions of the two sneakers is fairly similar.


Starting as sneakers for the basketball court, Air Jordan I soon became a cultural phenomenon. Most of its popularity in the 80s and over the years was largely due to Michael Jordan’s superstardom. They broke the boundaries of basketball, and people started wearing them as a fashion statement, skateboarding in them, and more.

While Air Jordan 1 has been quite popular throughout the years, Nike Dunks are the rage right now. They are not only durable but also attractive. While it may be too early to tell, some believe that the Nike Dunk may finally overtake the Air Jordan 1 as the zeitgeist sneaker of the present-day hype wave.

Buy Nike Shoes Online

Still yet to decide between the Nike Dunk or the Air Jordan 1?

You can never go wrong with any of these sneakers. Both are classic sneakers with appealing designs and features. What’s more, these shoes are creations of the popular Nike brand. Choosing between the two sneakers depends on your style, budget, and what you plan to do with the shoe.

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