Are Air Jordan 1 Good for Basketball?

Let’s be honest here, Air Jordan 1 is an absolute classic, and as it has the Jordan name attached to it, then it’s reasonable to wonder if they are good for basketball. So, are Air Jordan 1 good for basketball?

Well, it’s no surprise to learn that they are indeed good for basketball. After all, did anybody expect anything else?

However, there is a bit of a surprise. You see, while they are good, they are not the best. Actually, in the current market, they wouldn’t even make the top 10 in quality basketball shoes.

That is disappointing. Air Jordan 1 completely transformed the sneaker market like no other shoe, so to find out they are not still as relevant as they used to be is sad.

To explain what we mean, we can delve deeper into why Air Jordan 1 is a decent shoe when it comes to stepping onto the court, but also why it’s not the one you should perhaps be using.

The Original Design

Air Jordan 1 appeared back in 1984, and Nike had the idea of having these shoes focus on being able to be worn on the court. Of course, Jordan was just starting out, so it was a bit of a gamble, but it was undoubtedly something that paid off big time.

But here’s an important point.

We are talking about sneakers designed close to 40 years ago. Shoe technology has changed since then, so while they were undoubtedly good for basketball when they first appeared, the originals are somewhat lacking compared to modern shoes.

However, if you are still interested in learning more, then we need to look at how Air Jordan 1 shoes are constructed.

The Basic Construction

Keep in mind how old these shoes are when you look at the construction. Trying to draw comparisons with modern-day shoes is probably not all that fair.

With Air Jordan 1, they are made of leather, and there is some cushioning in the midsole. That was viewed as being different to anything else on the market back in the day, and it certainly gave some support.

Now, modern shoes, such as those worn by LeBron, are not only far more supportive than Air Jordan 1, but they are also offering far more cushioning and a whole lot more flexibility in the sole. Basically, you feel as if the shoe is really going to help you, and that is something that is not quite there with the Air Jordan 1.

If you even go ahead and compare Air Jordan 1 with something such as LeBron 17, and you will see a vast difference in what is included in the shoes. Of course, LeBron 17 won’t look as cool, but from a playing perspective, there really is no comparison.

Modern shoes are really built for the rough and tumble of the movement in the game. There’s more support through the entire shoe, including the ankle, while the sole is designed to remove fatigue from the feet, allowing you to play harder and for longer.

If you even played half a game with a modern shoe, and then the second half with Air Jordan 1, you would immediately see the difference. After that, you probably wouldn’t look back.

But Jordan Wore Them?

People will argue that Jordan himself wore Air Jordan 1 on the court, and if it’s good enough for him, then it’s good enough for all us feeble ballers. 

Well, while that is certainly true, it all comes back to the way that technology has evolved in the sneaker department, and in particular in shoes designed to be worn on the court.

You need to remember that Air Jordan 1 was viewed as being revolutionary when it came out. Prior to Air Jordan 1, basketball shoes were far more rigid, and they certainly offered next to no cushioning.

Also, support was at a minimum with older shoes, and that is why the Air Jordan 1 really managed to grab the attention of the public.

Will They Help My Game?

Air Jordan 1 won’t do much for your game. Sure, they are better than nothing thanks to the cushioning effect, and they are supportive enough for most people. However, for those serious about being on court, then they aren’t as good as you may expect.

That’s not intended to pull these classic sneakers down. That is just not something you can do with something as iconic as Air Jordan 1. But in all honesty, if you are looking to your shoes to help you out with your game, then this is not the direction to be heading in.

Why Own Them?

Thanks to the passage of time, it’s now the case that Air Jordan 1 is more of a statement fashion shoe rather than one to be worn while playing basketball. Technology has surpassed them, and people turn to a multitude of other options if they want support and flexibility on the court.

So if you are planning on owning an original pair of Air Jordan 1, then look at them as being a fashion statement and something to proudly own. Don’t view them from a basketball playing perspective, or you will be disappointed at what the end result is going to be.

Instead, look at them as simply being a stylish thing to wear. They are primarily practical from that perspective. Also, it just feels like something is wrong in wearing something so iconic on a basketball court now, even though that is what they were designed to do.


So while you can use Air Jordan 1 for playing basketball, they are a bit outdated compared to modern shoes. On the flip side, you will be the coolest one on the court even if your game isn’t up to scratch.

While they can be good for basketball, they are not the best out there thanks to time and technology evolving. That is why they are predominantly viewed as being a normal piece of footwear, and something that is more stylish rather than being practical on the basketball court.