Jordan 1 vs Blazer

A washed grey and white Jordan 1 High on the left. On the right, someone in white Nike socks wearing a pair of Blazer Mids featuring black Swooshes on the sides.
Credit: Nike & Footasylum

A washed grey and white Jordan 1 High on the left. On the right, someone in white Nike socks wearing a pair of Blazer Mids featuring black Swooshes on the sides.
Credit: Nike & Footasylum

Few sneakers have achieved the timeless status and enduring appeal of the Jordan 1 and Nike Blazer. These iconic silhouettes have solidified themselves as icons of footwear over the years to the point where they are still incredibly popular today. This begs the question though - Jordan 1 vs Blazer, which is best?

There's no doubt they're two of the best sneakers ever made, but we're here to delve a little deeper into their histories, designs, and prices to help you figure out which to buy.

Whether you're an avid sneaker enthusiast, a casual collector, or simply intrigued to know how the two shoes transcended basketball, we've got you covered. Like most good stories, we begin at the start and discuss how one of the best Nike shoes in the Blazer and one of the best Jordan 1s ever made first came around...

History

Although both have been around a while, the Nike Blazer is the older of the two. The story begins in the early 1970s when Nike, formerly known as Blue Ribbon Sports, decided to directly challenge adidas and Converse in the realm of basketball. Stepping onto the court for the first time, Nike unveiled a shoe called the Blazer, paying homage to the local NBA franchise, the Portland Trail Blazers.

At the time, adidas and Converse were creating some of the best basketball shoes on the market, and their sneakers were worn by the NBA's top stars. However, in 1977, the popularity of the Blazer gained a significant boost when George "The Iceman" Gervin became the first player to endorse the shoe and acknowledge its exceptional on-court performance.

As Gervin's career progressed, his bond with the shoe developed. Nike went as far as creating a special edition version of the Blazer exclusively for him, replacing the "Nike" branding on the heels with his iconic nickname, "Iceman."

At the time, player exclusives like this were essentially non-existent, and although Nike never officially released that particular model, this clever marketing tactic undeniably contributed to the growing reputation of the Blazer.

However, Nike was still a relatively young company and lacked the financial resources to compete with the best sneaker brands of the time. Consequently, the Blazer gradually shifted away from the court and found its place in the realms of everyday fashion, streetwear, and even skateboarding, as evidenced by the later release of SB variations. Nevertheless, the Blazer's timeless style ensured its continued existence, resulting in it still being in production to this day.

In many ways, the Jordan 1 had a similar upbringing to the Nike Blazer, which makes the Blazer a great Jordan 1 alternative if you're looking to purchase a pair. It all began after the 1984 NBA draft when the then-rookie Michael Jordan signed with Nike over the market leaders adidas and Converse to a deal that revolutionsed the basketball shoe industry.

At the time, Nike still lacked the pull and financial muscle in basketball compared to the aforementioned leaders. However, Nike had faith in this talented youngster, so threw everything they could at him to get him to sign. As a result, Nike agreed to pay Jordan 5% of the earnings from the new Jordan brand rather than a fixed fee. This was practically unheard of, especially for a rookie.

A risk, yes, but one that paid off tenfold. Nike debuted Jordan's own signature shoe named the Air Jordan 1 in 1985 in two colourways, the first a white and black "Chicago" design, the other in red and black which later became known as the "Bred" or "Banned" colourway.

Why "Banned"? Well, the story goes the NBA fined Jordan every time he stepped foot on the court in the sneakers as the shoes violated the league's uniform policy.

Nevertheless, Nike cleverly capitalised on this situation and transformed it into the centrepiece of its "Banned" advertisement. This, combined with His Airness' extraordinary performances on the court, propelled the Jordan 1 into superstardom, becoming one of the most sought-after sneakers of its time. A testament to its popularity is the fact it's still being made to this day as it's just as if not more popular now than it's ever been.

Design

The Jordan 1 and Nike Blazer are visually quite similar. To us, this is unsurprising as both were originally designed in a similar era of basketball. However, there are some pretty significant differences inside the two sneakers.

One of the most notable omissions from the Blazer is Nike's Air technology. First debuted in 1979, Air uses pressurised air within a resilient and pliable membrane to deliver lightweight cushioning. As the name suggests, the Air Jordan 1 features these bubbles in its midsole, while the Blazer debuted too soon to capitalise on this technology. As a result, you may find the Jordan 1 slightly more comfortable and supportive.

Nike Air technology drawings and examples in green and orange.
expand image
Credit: Nike
Have an opinion on this article? We'd love to hear it!

Other than that, the only other real differences are purely cosmetic. The Jordan 1, for obvious reasons, features Air Jordan branding, whereas the Blazer doesn't. You could also argue the Jordan 1 features a slightly bulkier design. A typical Jordan 1 is also made from leather and synthetic materials, but the Blazer includes suede-like elements around the toebox and along the side.

Price

Now we've gone through the history and the design of both the Jordan 1 and Blazer, you may be wondering which of the two is the cheapest if you're interested in buying a pair for yourself.

Fortunately, this question has a pretty straightforward answer. The Jordan 1 is the more expensive of the two. At the time of writing, you'll notice Jordan 1s cost around $180 for high-tops, $125 for Mids, and $110 for Lows (although some are more expensive) if you scroll through the collection at Nike.

Image of a collection of Air Jordan 1s pilled on top of each other next to "The Ones: AJ1" branding.
expand image
Credit: Nike

By comparison, most Nike Blazers cost around $105 to $110 for regular mid-tops at the Nike store. This makes them cheaper than Jordan 1s, although prices can fluctuate, especially on the resale market. Therefore, keep this in mind if you're looking to buy a pair of either model.

Jordan 1 vs Blazer - Which is best?

The question of whether the Air Jordan 1 or the Nike Blazer is better is largely subjective and depends on personal preference. Both sneakers have their own unique characteristics and appeal to different individuals.

Perhaps the first thing to consider is that the Blazer is the slightly older of the two, thus giving it a little more history and, you could say, a more retro look overall.

However, debuting as early as it did meant the Blazer missed out on Nike's Air technology, which is included in a Jordan 1's midsole for added cushioning. This is one of the reasons why the Jordan 1 is the more expensive of the two though, which is definitely an important factor to consider when trying to work out which to buy.

The two are close to being inseparable, although the Jordan 1 may just edge it on a personal note. However, the choice between the Air Jordan 1 and the Nike Blazer is close and it all comes down to personal style, comfort preferences, and the overall aesthetic you are seeking at the end of the day. Ultimately, both models would make for great additions to any sneaker collection, whether you go for the new "Dusted Clay" Jordan 1 Highs or the classic "White Black" Blazer Mids.

This Article's Topics

Explore new topics and discover content that's right for you!

RealKitAffiliates
Have an opinion on this article? We'd love to hear it!