Air Force 1 vs Blazer

Someone in blue jeans wearing all-white Air Force 1 Lows on the left. On the right, someone wearing white Nike Blazer Mids featuring black Swooshes.
Credit: Maria Fernanda Pissioli & Nike

Someone in blue jeans wearing all-white Air Force 1 Lows on the left. On the right, someone wearing white Nike Blazer Mids featuring black Swooshes.
Credit: Maria Fernanda Pissioli & Nike

The Air Force 1 and the Blazer stand as iconic pillars in the world of sneakers, boasting enduring popularity that transcends decades and fast-moving fashion fads.

They're arguably two of the best sneakers ever made as a result, which can make it hard to pick between them when you get that urge to buy a new pair of shoes.

Fortunately, you've landed in the right place if you're in that position. Our guide is here to help by exploring differences and similarities in their design, history, and price to determine which of the two is best. By doing so, you should be able to figure out whether you should make one of the best Air Force 1s or Blazers your next sneaker purchase.

Let's get into it then, and take a look back to where it all began...


While both have pretty long lineages these days, it was actually the Nike Blazer that debuted first out of the two. During the early '70s, Nike, which had not long rebranded from Blue Ribbon Sports, made a bold move to compete directly with adidas and Converse. They stepped onto the basketball court for the first time by introducing the Blazer, named after the regional NBA team the Portland Trail Blazers.

While Converse and adidas continued to dominate the market, the popularity of the Blazer gained a boost in 1977 when George "The Iceman" Gervin, widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players in history, became the first NBA player to endorse the shoe and acknowledge its exceptional on-court performance.

As Gervin's career developed, so did his relationship with the shoe. Nike even released what would now be considered a "Player Exclusive" variation of the original Blazer, featuring the nickname “Iceman” instead of “Nike” across the heels.

Player exclusives like this were fairly uncommon at the time and, while Nike never released the model, this marketing ploy definitely helped the Blazer gain some notoriety.

However, Nike was still in its infancy and certainly didn't have the financial muscle to compete with the best sneaker brands in basketball at the time. So, the shoe eventually transitioned away from the basketball scene and into the lifestyle market, fashion, and even skating, with SB variations released further down the line. But, its timeless style has meant the Blazer never went away, resulting in it still being made to this day.

Nike Blazer '77 product image of a white leather Mid with a black Swoosh and a light grey mudguard and sole.
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Credit: Nike

The Air Force 1's history is similar in many ways. The sneaker debuted in 1982, with Nike trying to compete against some of the best basketball shoes at the time. Nike even drafted six of its top NBA stars to promote the shoes in the "Original Six" campaign.

However, despite Nike's best efforts, the original design by Bruce Kilgore, known as #4190, was eventually discontinued. The demand for new Air Force 1s was there though, with three notable stores in Baltimore vying to stock the sneaker on their shelves once again.

Nike Air Force 1 Highs in red, brown, white, black, and blue on a table next to their original drawings.
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Credit: Nike

Nike, willing to give it another shot, made a deal with the retailers. They agreed they'd send over some Air Force 1s but with a condition: the retailers had to take 1,200 pairs of the two initial colourways.

This was accepted, with 1,200 pairs of the Royal Blue and Chocolate Brown designs shipped. These colour combinations later spawned the "Color of the Month" series and, in doing so, saved the Air Force 1 from extinction as they began to sell once again.


Due to their similar backgrounds in basketball, it's not that surprising to learn the two share several similarities in their design. For instance, both typically feature leather and synthetic builds, and both come in options ranging from high-tops to low-tops.

However, there are a number of key differences, namely the Blazer not featuring the same Air bubbles in the midsole as the Air Force 1. Because of this, the Air Force 1 features a much larger, prominent midsole compared to the Blazer.

Nike Air technology graphic unattached from a white Nike sneaker.
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Credit: Nike
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An Air Force 1 also usually sticks to just leather and synthetic materials across the upper, while the Blazer features suede elements around the mudguard and side panels. Above these panels lies a much larger Swoosh comparatively speaking, while the back features "Nike" in block text rather than the Nike Air logo featured on the Air Force 1.

As a result, the Blazer definitely gives off a more retro feel in our opinion. However, the two designs are timeless and certainly don't look out of place in today's society.


With the history and design of the Air Force 1 and Blazer now covered, you may be considering purchasing a pair of either model for yourself. If so, then we've got you covered if you're wondering which of the two is cheaper.

Put simply, the Air Force 1 is the more expensive of the two. For example, the popular "White" Air Force 1 '07 currently retails for $20 more than a comparable pair of "White Black" '77 Blazer Lows.

Image of someone in brown trousers and black socks wearing a pair of white Nike Blazer low-tops featuring black Swooshes.
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Credit: Nike

Even most mid-top Blazers cost less than or equal to a regular pair of Air Force 1 Lows at the time of writing, which makes the Blazer categorically the cheaper of the two in our eyes.

Air Force 1 vs Blazer: Which is best?

Deciding which of the Air Force 1 and the Blazer is best really depends on personal preference and the intended use. Both have their own distinct benefits and no doubt appeal to different individuals, which makes choosing between them nearly impossible.

That said, it's worth remembering that the Blazer is the slightly older model with its history dating back to Nike's origins as Blue Ribbon Sports. It's also the cheaper of the two to buy in most cases, which makes the Blazer a more cost-conscious addition to your wardrobe.

However, the Air Force 1 isn't out of the running. It's definitely more popular than the Blazer, which means there are significantly more colourways to choose from as Nike regularly releases new and retro designs. There are even an array of amazing sneaker collabs, like the Tiffany & Co. "1837" release, to consider if you're after some more unique Air Force 1 designs.

Ultimately, though, deciding which of the Air Force 1 and Blazer is best isn't something we can decide. You'll need to consider factors such as design, comfort, availability, and price to make your judgement here based on your needs and sneaker preferences.

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