Nike Dunk vs Jordan 1: Which Sneaker is Best?

Nike Dunk vs Jordan 1
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Two of Nike's most iconic sneakers, the Air Jordan 1 and Dunks, have been perennially popular among casual and die-hard sneakerheads.

Here in this edition of the Slingo lifestyle blog, we explore the different models and similarities between the Nike Air Jordan 1 and Dunk to determine which of these sneaker icons is best.

Before we get into our detailed comparison, let's take a quick look at the history of these two trainers.

We’ve also created a guide comparing Nike Dunk vs Air Force 1, which you might also like!

A Brief History of the Nike Dunk and Air Jordan 1

In 1985, Nike released the Air Jordan 1, the signature sneaker of legendary basketballer Michael Jordan, who had debuted in the NBA just a few months earlier.

A year later, in 1986, Nike introduced another shoe to the basketball court, the Dunk. Despite their similarities and the fact that Peter Moore designed them both, these trainers have had very different trajectories in the years since.

The Dunk was co-opted by skateboarders in the 1990s and became a staple trainer in the 2000s. In contrast, the Jordan almost immediately became a must-have shoe for sneakerheads everywhere, remaining a constant in the cultural zeitgeist ever since. 

Even Nike employees underestimated the Jordan 1's success. The brand expected to sell around 100,000 pairs in its first year and eclipsed this, selling over 4 million.

The Dunk and Jordan 1 have seen numerous iterations, with some silhouettes and colourways sold for astronomical prices, but which one is the ultimate grail? Let's get started with our comparison...

Nike Dunk vs Air Jordan 1: Which Shoe Should You Choose?

Design & style

These trainers have notable design similarities, there are some distinct differences. One of these is found on the top eyelet; the Jordan’s is found as part of the ankle strap, but on the Dunk, the top eyelet sits above the strap.

The Air Jordan 1 features the iconic Nike Air unit in the midsole for cushioning, but the Dunk has a soft foam midsole. Although this is a very subtle difference, it may change how the shoe fits your foot - a crucial consideration when choosing some new kicks.

While the high-top version of the Jordan 1 remains popular among sneakerheads, the low-top version of the Dunk has become a staple thanks to the skateboarding community and its clean, understated aesthetic.

Nike Air Jordan 1 score: 9.5/10

Nike Dunk score: 9/10

Quality

As products of the same brand, the Nike Dunk and Air Jordan 1 undergo the same stringent quality control processes to ensure durability and longevity. However, the Jordan 1's premium materials and construction give it a slight edge in terms of overall quality.

It must be said that the Dunk is no slouch in this department, but the Air Jordan 1's reputation for exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail has made it a favourite among sneaker connoisseurs.

Nike Air Jordan 1 score: 9.5/10

Nike Dunk score: 9/10

Value

Both trainers have a retail price between £100 and £150, so they are evenly matched in terms of initial cost. However, rare and collaborative editions of the Air Jordan 1 have fetched astronomical prices at auctions, with the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG 'Shattered Backboard' selling for over $20,000.

Similarly, the Dunk has seen its fair share of coveted collaborations, with the Tiffany & Co. x Nike SB Dunk Low fetching prices upwards of £10,000 on the resale market.

Nike Air Jordan 1 score: 9.5/10

Nike Dunk score: 9/10

Exclusivity

While both sneakers are widely available, the Air Jordan 1 has an edge in exclusivity due to its numerous 'player exclusive' and 'friends and family' releases. These limited editions and high-profile collaborations with Dior, Travis Scott, and more have made the Air Jordan 1 more highly coveted.

The Dunk, however, is no stranger to exclusivity either, with brands like Ben & Jerry's and Supreme participating in collaborations and the elusive 'Freddy Krueger' and 'NYC Pigeon' Dunk SBs garnering cult-like followings and reselling for five-figure sums.

Nike Air Jordan 1 score: 9.5/10

Nike Dunk score: 9/10

Cultural significance

The Air Jordan 1's cultural significance is unparalleled. As the sneaker that started it all, the Jordan 1 has become a symbol of style, rebellion, and the intersection of sports and fashion.

From its controversial beginnings, when Michael Jordan was fined for wearing the 'banned' black and red colourway on the court, to its enduring popularity among celebrities and fashion icons, the Air Jordan 1 has cemented its place in pop culture history.

Despite its beginnings as a basketball shoe, the Dunk has become a legend in its own right due to its affiliation with skateboarding. During the '90s, the Dunk became popular with skaters because it was cheap and offered good cushioning and ankle support.

Nike leaned into this and launched the Dunk SB, updating the silhouette to make the shoe more structured and give it a thicker tongue. SB Dunks have become one of the world's most popular skating shoes, with skating legend Eric Koston wearing and receiving a signature Dunk shoe.

Nike Air Jordan 1 score: 9/10

Nike Dunk score: 8.5/10

Final scores

The Nike Dunk and Air Jordan 1 are iconic sneakers that have left an indelible mark on footwear and fashion. However, the Air Jordan 1 is the clear winner in this head-to-head battle.

With its unmatched cultural significance and coveted exclusivity, the Air Jordan 1 reigns supreme as the ultimate grail in this battle of two sneaker icons.

Nike Air Jordan 1 score: 47/50

Nike Dunk score: 44.5/50

While the Dunk is a formidable contender, the Air Jordan 1's enduring legacy and impact on popular culture solidify its status as the undisputed king of sneakers.

Now you know which trainer won our comparison, which will you choose? Remember, when it comes to buying and styling shoes, it's all about personal preference and finding a pair you feel most comfortable wearing.

Refresh Your Sneaker Game with Slingo

A new pair of Nike Dunks or Jordan 1s can cost you a pretty penny, especially if you have your eye on one one of those collaborations. Build your nest egg and get that little bit closer to buying some new trainers by winning with Slingo. 

Check out the best slots in the UK and online bingo games, and you could soon be wearing a brand-new pair of Nike Jordan 1s or Dunks.

Do you have a penchant for fashion? Check out the guides below for more: 

FAQs

What are the similarities between Nike Dunks and Air Jordan 1s?

Both the Nike Dunk and Air Jordan 1's original stylings were very similar and could be mistaken for the same shoe to the untrained eye. Some of the main similarities between these two trainers include:

  • Both trainers were designed by Peter Moore in the 1980s
  • They started life as basketball sneakers, with the Dunk being marketed to college students, while the Air Jordan 1 was specially designed for Michael Jordan and released in 1985.
  • The original versions of the trainers shared high-top designs, similar colour panelling and the legendary Nike swoosh logo.
  • The Dunk and Air Jordan 1 are made from similar materials, including leather, synthetic leather, and rubber.

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