Jordan 1 Mid vs High: What's the difference?

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The original Jordan 1 High has spawned several mid-top variations over the years, but what exactly are the differences between the two?

We've put together a guide comparing some of the similarities and differences in price and performance to help you figure out the answer. We've also given our overall verdict on which we think are the best basketball shoes out of the two.

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We appreciate that selecting which is best is completely subjective though, but we've made sure to weigh up the pros and cons of both models impartially to give a fair judgement.

We begin though by taking you back to where it all began as we discuss the history behind two Jordan 1 silhouettes. Let's get into it...

Jordan 1 Mid vs High - History

In 1984, basketball rookie Michael Jordan was selected as the Chicago Bulls' third overall pick in the NBA draft.

By 1985, the world saw the first Nike Air Jordan 1 High known as the "Bred" or "Banned" colourway, which is arguably now one of the most popular sneakers ever made.

The story goes the NBA fined Jordan every time he stepped foot on the court as the shoes violated the league's uniform policy. However, Nike used this to its advantage and made it the focal point of its "Banned" commercial which, along with MJ's performances, took the Jordan 1s popularity to new heights.

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In fact, the model is so popular that new colourways are still being produced to this day despite the silhouette being almost 37 years old, recently marked by the debut of the Air Jordan 37.

While the high-tops have continued to grow exponentially in popularity, the mid-top counterparts never really took off in the same way, and often come under scrutiny from sneaker purists.

This is mainly due to the fact that the Jordan 1 never saw a Mid variation until 2001 because, despite MJ expressing a preference for mid-tops, he had already begun wearing the lower-cut Air Jordan 3s by the time this information came to light.

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

By 2001, MJ had passed his peak in popularity despite making a comeback with the Washington Wizards on 25 September. As a result, the Jordan 1 Mids simply got lost in the shuffle and never really became as popular as the Highs.

Jordan 1 Mid vs High - Price

At this point, you may be considering picking up a pair of either the mid-top or high Jordan 1s. If so, you'll probably want to know which of the two is the cheapest.

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Generally, speaking mid-top Jordans, like the "Bred Toe White" 1s featured in our list of the best Jordan 1 Mids, are cheaper than a comparable pair of "Heritage" high-tops, for example.

Air Jordan 1 Mid "Bred Toe White" product image of a pair of black, white, and red sneakers.
Credit: Nike

The popularity of the Jordan 1 High is probably one of the main contributing factors behind this; however, you've also got to take into consideration that more materials are required to create the slightly higher collars of the high-tops.

That, some Jordan 1 Highs, like the "Dark Marina Blue" 1s featured in our list of the best Jordan 1 colourways, are only a tad more expensive than most Mids, thus demonstrating that not all Jordan 1 Highs come with sizeable price tags.

Air Jordan 1 "Dark Marina Blue" product image of a pair of dark blue and black sneakers with white midsoles.
Credit: Nike

Jordan 1 Mid vs High - Performance and comfort

If you're comparing the two to use on the court, then we believe the mid-tops may have a slight edge over the Highs.

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The Mids offer almost identical amounts of ankle support and lateral stability; however, they should be slightly less restrictive on the court due to their lower collars.

Air Jordan 1 Mid vs High height comparison.
Credit: Sneaker Jagers

This is supported by reports claiming MJ found both the Air Jordan 1 and 2 too tall and, in turn, too restrictive. This is why the Jordan 3 began life as a mid-top, which later spawned some of the best Air Jordans ever made.

The unrestrictiveness of the Mids may also help to improve comfort, but this will ultimately come down to personal preference as the two can't be separated in terms of underfoot support.

To ensure you get a secure lock-in though, make sure you check out our guide to lacing Jordan 1s right here.

Which should you buy?

Once again, this will come down to personal preference.

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In our opinion, while the Jordan 1 High comes with a ton of nostalgia and history, the most popular colourways are often hugely expensive and, while they may be a great collector's piece, they're probably not entirely practical to wear every day or during a game.

Also, Nike seems to be pushing Mids in 2022, with a number of great colourways released, like the "Split Black" 1s and the "Alternate Bred Toe" Mids, .

As a result, we believe the Jordan 1 Mids make for a slightly better purchase at this moment in time. Check out our list of the best places to buy Jordans if you're eager to pick up a pair.

Read More: Best Air Jordan 1 under 200