Jordan 1 Low vs High

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Jordan 1 Low in white, black, and red next to a black leather and brown suede Jordan 1 High.

If you're a sneaker fan like us, you've probably wondered what exactly are the differences between the Jordan 1 Lows and the Jordan 1 Highs beyond just the collar height.

The high-tops have become huge fan favourites over the years, but the Jordan 1 Low has never really reached the same heights of popularity as their relatives which, over the years, have become some of the best sneakers ever made. Despite this, Nike is still manufacturing new renditions of both the Lows and Highs to this day.

As a result, we've decided to put together this guide discussing some of the key similarities and differences between the two, before giving our overall verdict on which we think you should buy.

Before that though, we begin by taking a closer look at some of the history behind the Jordan 1, arguably one of the best Air Jordans ever made. Let's get into it...


Michael Jordan was selected as the third overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 1984 NBA draft, and by 1985, the world saw the first Nike Air Jordan 1, which has since become one of the most popular and best basketball sneakers ever made.

Original Jordan Jumpman logo from 1985 with Jordan jumping in the air in a symmetrical pose.
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Credit: Nike

Designed by Peter Moore, the high-top basketball shoe featured a simple Nike Dunk-inspired aesthetic that incorporated the Nike Swoosh, a new Jordan 'Wings' insignia, and Nike Air units in the midsoles.

While Jordan wore the initial "Banned", now referred to as "Bred", high-tops (although later said to have been Nike Air Ships) as well as the "Chicago" 1s, it's rarely acknowledged that the first Jordan 1 Low also came out at the same time.

In fact, the Jordan 1 Low originally debuted in several colorways that mirrored the high-top releases including both the Bulls-inspired and metallic designs.

Having said that, Jordan 1 Highs were the first to return out of the two in 1994, most likely due to their immense popularity, while Lows didn't make a comeback until the early 2000s, which was ultimately towards the end of Michael Jordan's playing career.

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After reviewing the history, you might wonder which of the two variations is cheaper. Well, generally, low-top Jordan 1s, such as the popular "Black Toe" colourway, are typically less expensive compared to some of the best high-top Jordan 1 relatives. Even variations like AJKO Lows, "Bred" low-top being an example, are cheaper than the majority of Highs brought at retail.

Air Jordan 1 Low "Black Toe" product image of a white and black pair of low-tops with red soles and heels.
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Credit: Nike

This is partly due to the extra cost of the materials required to construct the higher collars compared to the best Jordan 1 Lows. However, perhaps the more significant reason behind the difference in price is the higher demand and popularity of the Jordan 1 High. It's the model MJ wore on the court back in the '80s, so it makes sense for it to be the shoe every fan and sneakerhead wants to wear.

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Design and comfort

The main difference to note between the low and high tops is their collar heights, with the High measuring in at around 6.25" from the sole to the top of the ankle collar.

Consequently, if you plan on wearing your Jordan 1s on the court, then you can expect a little more ankle support and lateral stability because of the added collar height.

We discuss this in further detail in our guide on whether basketball shoes are comfortable right here, plus check out our top tips on how to measure your shoe size to ensure the perfect fit.

Jordan 1 Low vs High comparison image of three high-tops and three low-tops.
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Credit: High Snobiety

Conversely, you may find low-tops to be less restrictive on the court which, in turn, could enhance your overall athletic performance, regardless of whether it's purely a placebo effect or not.

It's also important to ensure your sneakers are laced correctly for a secure lock-in. Fortunately, both High and Low Jordan 1s can be laced in almost the exact same way. For more information, check out our guide to lacing Jordan 1s right here.

Ultimately, the decision on which design you prefer and which you find more comfortable will come down to personal preference.

Having said that, it's worth keeping in mind that Run Repeats analysis of 31 academic studies found there to be no significant findings to suggest that shoe top height affects athletic performance.

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Jordan 1 Low vs High: Which should you buy?


It's hard to say which out of the two you should buy because, in our opinion, both the Low and the High Jordan 1s have their place and purpose.

Although technically the same model, their silhouettes are far from identical, meaning they can be styled in completely different ways from a fashion standpoint.

In fact, the low-tops are more akin to some of the best Air Force 1s around thanks to their collar height, making them a great option for everyday wear.

In terms of on-the-court performance though, we'd argue that the high-tops are a little more suited to the fast-paced action, mostly due to the added ankle support provided by the increased collar height.

As we mentioned above though, the choice all comes down to you and your personal preference, but you should now be able to come to an informed decision on which out of the two will suit you best.

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