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Jordan 1 vs Jordan 2

A white and black Jordan 1 High with faded gradient orange and blue details on the left. On the right, a white Jordan 2 with black and red trim.
Credit: Nike

Wondering what the differences are between the Jordan 1 vs Jordan 2? We've got you covered.

In order to figure out the answer, we've taken a closer look at some of the similarities and differences between two of the best sneakers ever made, focusing primarily on how their designs and prices compare.

We've also covered some of the history behind these two amazing Air Jordans to help you gain a better understanding of how the original and the successor became so popular to the point where they're still being made to this day.

Interestingly, it's worth noting that the Jordan 2 was the first Jordan influenced by Bruce Kilgore, the man behind some of the best Air Force 1s of all time, with both Bruce and Peter Moore, designer of the 1, working on the shoes together.

With that being said, let's dive straight into the history of the Jordan 1 and Jordan 2 sneakers...


Only a year separates the debut of the Jordan 1 and Jordan 2; however, it all started with the 1 following the then-rookie Michael Jordan being selected as the third overall pick for the Chicago Bulls in the 1984 NBA draft.

Chicago's faith in the talented youngster paid off as MJ's ability on the court instantly became clear. Nike noticed as well and, while companies like adidas and Converse focused on established stars, Nike went about creating the first Michael Jordan signature shoe - the Air Jordan 1.

The sneaker debuted in a white and black "Chicago" colourway as well as a red and black design that later became known as the "Bred" or "Banned" release. 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.

However, Nike used this to its advantage and made it the focal point of its "Banned" commercial which, alongside MJ's performances on the court, made the Jordan 1 one of the most popular sneakers at the time, a point evidenced by the fact that the shoes are still being made to this day.

The success of the Jordan 1, arguably one of the best basketball shoes on the market at the time, saw Nike pretty quickly turn its attention to a follow-up model - the Air Jordan 2.

The shoes were made in Italy which, according to Nike, gave them a more elegant aesthetic complete with faux lizard skin and no side Swooshes. However, they were the last Jordan sneakers designed by both Peter Moore and Bruce Kilgore as the legendary Tinker Hatfield stepped in thereafter.

On the court though, the shoes outshone the originals. MJ scored a league record 23 points in a row wearing the 2s, and ended the season with professional basketball's second-ever 3,000-point season.

Air Jordan 2 "Chicago" product image of a pair of white, black, and red sneakers on a red background.
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Credit: Nike

While MJ performed on the court, it's safe to say the 2s never really hit the same heights in popularity as the 1s. Perhaps the price rise from $65 to $100 was too steep, or the radical change in design was too much - the answer remains unclear.

The Jordan 2 certainly wasn't a failure though, especially as they're still being made to this day. In fact, it's rumoured early sales of the shoe were phenomenal. However, there's definitely a significant difference in popularity between the two today.


As touched on above, Peter Moore and Bruce Kilgore made some pretty radical changes in the design of the Jordan 2 from the popular Jordan 1 model.

For instance, the big blocks of colour and Swooshes along the sides, reminiscent of some of the best Nike Dunks at the time, were removed, with the original shoes featuring a simple white leather backdrop instead.

Air Jordan 2 "Chicago" product image of a pair of white, black, and red sneakers on a red background.
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Credit: Nike

A faux lizard skin texture was also added along with black rather than white rubber for the midsoles. Nike Air branding was also removed from the tongues, and was replaced by the Jordan Wings insignia instead.

However, when it comes to technology, both shoes are relatively well-matched. For example, the Jordan 1 and 2 both feature Nike Air bubbles in the sole units for comfort and to absorb impact when landing. However, the Jordan 2 included a stiffer heel for more support toward the back of the shoe.

That's pretty much where the similarities end though as, visually speaking, the shoes are certainly unique to one another.

Read More: Best places to buy sneakers


Now we've taken a closer look at their designs and have delved deeper into the history, we wouldn't be surprised if you're interested in picking up a pair of 1s or 2s yourself. If so, then you're probably wondering which of the two is cheaper.

Well, at the time of writing, a pair of Jordan 2s will actually cost more than a pair of Jordan 1s, particularly Jordan 1 Highs, if brought at retail.

For instance, the 2022 "Chicago" 2s retailed for $200 on their arrival, while a typical pair of Jordan 1 Highs, like the comparable "Lost and Found" remake, cost slightly less than this. Unsurprisingly, you should find Jordan 1 Lows and Mids to also be cheaper than the majority of 2s on the market.

Air Jordan 1 "Chicago" 2022 product image of a white and red pair of high-tops with black accents.
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Credit: Nike

Keep in mind though that Jordan 1s tend to be more expensive on the resale market, with some of the best Jordan 1 colourways of all time actually ending up as some of the most expensive sneakers to buy second-hand.

Read More: Best places to buy Jordans

Jordan 1 vs Jordan 2: Which is best?

Deciding which of the two sneakers is superior is a difficult task since they both appear appealing and have a strong track record on the court. While the Jordan 1 takes precedence if you desire the original color blocking and style, the 2 boasts a unique aesthetic as it was designed solely by Bruce Kilgore.

When it comes to their on-court performance, there isn't much to distinguish between them. They both possess similar technologies and are available at different collar heights to cater to individual preferences.

Ultimately, choosing the better one depends on personal taste. However, if you plan to purchase a pair, we'd suggest you visit a local sneaker store and try on both the Jordan 1s and 2s to compare their fit and assist in making a decision.

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