Jordan 1 vs Nike Dunk - What's the difference?

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Comparing the Jordan 1 vs Nike Dunk is tricky given they're both so beloved within the sneaker community, with sneakerheads filling out their collections with these iconic Nike models.

Despite being over 35 years old and originally starting life as some of the best basketball shoes on the market, both sneakers have now become staples for everyday wear and are up there as some of the most popular footwear Nike has at its disposal.


A testament to their popularity is the fact new designs are still being made to this day, take the rumoured "Patchwork" Dunks and the 2023 remake of the "Chicago" 1s as examples, the latter celebrating some of the rich history of the Jordan brand.

With so many new sneakers coming to the market, we're here to help you decide which of the two to buy by comparing some of their similarities and differences before giving our overall opinion on which we think are the best.

That said, we appreciate choosing which we prefer is subjective. However, we've made sure to impartially weigh up the pros and cons of both models to make our pick and help you decide. So, without further delay, let's get into our comparison...

Jordan 1 vs Nike Dunk - Price

The first thing you'll likely consider when deciding between them is which of the two models is cheaper. However, the answer isn't entirely straightforward given the wide variety of colourways to choose from.

Some of the best Air Jordans, particularly Jordan 1 Highs, tend to be more expensive than Dunks such as, for example, these "Championship Navy" Dunks.

Jordan 1 vs Nike Dunk "Championship Navy" Dunk product image of a navy and white pair of sneakers.
Credit: Nike

However, the difference between the two is actually closer than you might think in some cases, particularly on the resale market.

For example, these SE "Turf Orange" Jordans, arguably some of the best Jordan 1s under 200, are actually a little cheaper than the average price of some of the best Nike Dunk.

Jordan 1 vs Nike Dunk "Turf Orange" Jordan 1 product image of a white and orange pair of sneakers with black details.
Credit: Nike

If you look at the top end of the scale though, you'll typically find original Air Jordan 1s to not only be more expensive than Nike Dunks, but to be among some of the most expensive sneakers available today.

Read More: Best shoes like Jordan 1s

Jordan 1 vs Nike Dunk - Designs and features

Given that both these shoes come from the same era and are technically made by the same company, it's unsurprising to see that they share a lot of similarities in their designs.

The renowned Peter Moore created both shoes, however, one was made to honour one of the greatest basketball players in the world, while the other was targeted toward college students. In fact, the first Dunk designs were based on America's most renowned basketball universities at the time.

Jordan 1 vs Nike Dunk "Deep Royal" product image of a white and blue sneaker.

That being said, there are a few subtle differences to note. For example, as seen in the AMBUSH x Nike Highs, Dunks only have four panels as opposed to the typical six found on Jordans, as well as less stitching and a wider toe box.

The biggest difference between the two though is what lies underfoot. The Nike Dunk comes with a soft foam midsole, however, the Jordan 1s feature Nike's Air technology. This should deliver even more comfort and protection if you plan on using them on the court.

Jordan 1 vs Nike Dunk - Jordan 1 High CMFT 2 "Grey Fire Red" product image of a pair of grey and black sneakers with Fire Red accents.
Credit: Nike

Some Jordans go a step further, such as these "Grey Fire Red" Highs, and incorporate Zoom technology for extra cushioning and maximum support both on the court and during everyday wear.


Read More: Best shoes like Nike Dunks

Which should you buy?

As mentioned in our guide comparing Jordan 1s and Air Force 1s, deciding which sneakers to buy will ultimately come down to personal preference and when you intend to wear them.

However, we feel the Air Jordan 1 may have little more to offer for both everyday wear and use on the court, hence why some of the best Jordans for basketball over the years have been 1s.

This is, in part, due to the fact almost every Jordan 1 features Nike's Air technology in the midsoles for added comfort and support.

Also, there is an element of reputation and prestige to take into account with the Jordan 1s as Michael Jordan is one of the greatest athletes of all time, not just in basketball, but in sports as a whole.

As a result, his first signature sneaker has spawned an entire range of top basketball shoes over the years, with the Air Jordan 37 being the latest Jumpman footwear to join the Jordan brand.


In terms of price, standard Jordan 1s and Nike Dunks are very similarly matched, although Jordan's can be slightly more expensive, especially when it comes to some of the best Jordan collaborations around. The price difference is so minimal in most cases though, that we believe it's probably worth spending that little extra to pick up your own piece of history.

So, if you're eager to pick up a pair, check out our list of the best places to buy Jordans, Nike Dunks, and sneakers right here.