The Jordan 1 is an icon in the sneaker world. First designed by Peter Moore and subsequently released in 1985, the original Jordan 1 changed how the world perceived and wore performance shoes. Today, however, the sneaker isn't always easy to come by, resulting in the quest to find shoes like Jordan 1s so important.
Moreover, many of the best Jordan 1 colourways throughout history have astronomically high price tags on the resale market, resulting in countless sneakerheads not being able to afford the exact shoes they're after.
Fortunately, we've put together a list of the best sneaker alternatives if you find yourself in this camp. While they may not be the all-time classic Jordan model, our selection of shoes are, for the most part, cheaper to buy at retail, and their designs are not miles apart from the 1 that started it all either.
So, even if some of the best Air Jordans are out of the question, our guide has you covered with these amazing substitutes. Let's get into it...
Shoes like Jordan 1s
1. Nike Dunk
The Jordan 1 and Nike Dunk are often compared due to their uncanny likeness. It's no coincidence the two are so similar though as Peter Moore, the man behind the Jordan 1, also designed the Dunk. Therefore, if you're after something visually similar, this could be the sneaker for you.
The Dunk also has a similar history to the Jordan 1. Both were released in 1985, and both were built for basketball. However, while one was designed for one of the leading stars in the NBA, the other was marketed towards collegiate athletes.
As an added bonus, a typical Nike Dunk colourway retails for slightly less than a comparable Jordan 1. So, you're not only getting a similar-looking shoe with a Dunk, but you're also saving money as well.
All in all, this is an excellent alternative to consider for your shoe collection, made better by the fact it's made by one of the best sneaker brands around.
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2. New Balance 550
The New Balance 550 isn't as visually similar to the Jordan 1 as the Dunk. However, its overall shape does draw plenty of parallels with the Jordan 1 Low, despite being made by a completely different sportswear company.
Perhaps one of the reasons why there are some similarities is because the 550 was also originally made for basketball in the '80s. Unlike the Jordan 1, however, the 550 was discontinued after its initial run, and was only recently brought back in full in 2021.
Upon its return, New Balance has dropped several classic colourways for the 550, including A "True Red", "Nightwatch Green", and a "Team Royal" design, all of which can be compared to some of the original Jordan colourways from its initial run.
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3. Nike Blazer
The Nike Blazer debuted in 1977 and, in our opinion, it's clear some inspiration was taken from its design to formulate the Jordan 1s shape and style.
Visually speaking, the two are fairly similar. Both feature large, expressive Swooshes along the sides as well as chunky sole units. The high-top iteration of the '77 Blazer is also one of its most popular models, much like how the High is one of Jordan's.
That said, while there are a handful of similarities, the Blazer stands out on its own as a great addition to your wardrobe. With exposed foam, grey suede overlays, and classic Nike branding on the heel, the Blazer is an absolute classic in our eyes and up there as one of the best Nike shoes of all time.
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4. adidas Forum
The adidas Forum is arguably the least like the Jordan 1 from a visual standpoint. However, the shoe had a similar upbringing and is perhaps the closest relation you'll find from adidas if you're loyal to the brand.
It's another shoe with its roots firmly planted in basketball, with top NBA stars like Patrick Ewing wearing this excellent adidas model on the court in the '80s. As a result, there are some design similarities. For instance, the midsole is also fairly chunky, and, face-on, the two definitely strike a likeness thanks to a similarly perforated toebox.
However, there are some noticeable differences between the two. For example, the Forum features adidas' famous three stripes down the side as opposed to Nike's Swoosh, plus you get a unique collar strap across the tongue.
So, while the Forum is definitely like a Jordan 1, it stands out on its own as an excellent sneaker for everyday wear these days, and a top alternative to consider.
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5. BAPE SK8 Sta
Moving away from basketball now with the BAPE SK8 Sta. It doesn't have a long history in the sport like the Jordan 1, nor is the model any cheaper to buy at retail. No, the Sk8 Sta makes our list through its visual likeness.
Now, it may be a little closer to a Nike Dunk or some of the best Air Force 1s aesthetically speaking. However, as the Jordan 1 is often compared to the Air Force 1, we can definitely see some similarities in the design.
The star along the side, for example, is akin to Nike's classic Swoosh. Also, the overall colour blocking is not a million miles away from what you'd find on a typical Jordan 1 Low.
The sole unit is also a similar size and shape, as is the style of the BAPE-branded tongue tab. Therefore, the BAPE SK8 Sta is up there as one of the closest non-Nike sneakers to the Jordan 1 we've come across.
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