Nike Dunks Vs. Air Force 1: (5 Quick Feature Comparison!)

They say Nike Dunks are the new Air Force 1. And I don’t deny that! Despite their unique styles and purpose, most sneakerheads mistake them for being alike. So, what’s the difference?

Both Nike Dunks and Air Force 1s have a rich history of providing quality wear at a close price. However, Nike Dunks are great for skateboarding, cost less, and have better colorway options, while Air Force 1s are more durable, breathable, supportive, and comfortable due to their Air technology.

But that’s not it. Let’s compare the two in this article.

nike dunks vs air force 1

Origin Comparison: Nike Dunks Vs. Nike Air Force 1 

Popularly designed as a basketball shoe, Nike Dunks was launched in 1985 by the same person who invented Air Jordan, Peter C. Moore. In fact, it was actually launched as an alternative to Air Jordan’s signature model, Micheal Jordan.

But the model took a turn in the 20s and became a staple skateboarding shoe. Since then 

If you search for the most liked shoe in the world, Nike Air Force 1 will always be on your list. Like Nike Dunks, these shoes were originally designed as basketball shoes, but they did manage to be a skateboarding staple. In fact, the Nike Dunks look is inspired by Nike Air Force 1. For instance, Dunks’s outsoles and the upper carry the same essence as that of Nike Air Force 1. 

So, you can assume why they are so similar in their overall looks.

But after hitting the early 2000s, the Dunk series made a cool modification called the Dunk.

Low Pro SB. And yes, you’ve guessed it right. The SB series was constructed for skateboarding, and still today, both Nike Dunks and Nike SB Dunks are popular among sneakerheads today.

nike air force 1

Nike Dunks Vs. Nike Air Force 1 Design Comparison

No matter how similar you find them, noticing Nike Dunks and AFs with an eagle eye uncovers many differences in their designs. Let’s compare.

FeaturesNike DunksNike Air Force 1
UpperSuede, premium leather, Nike Flyleather, canvas, breathable mesh.Beef leather, Nike Flyleather, textile fabric, breathable mesh, and GORE-TEX upper in some.
OutsoleSimilar to Air Force 1s with added flex grooves on the forefoot and slanted tread lines on the heel.
The material is rubber.
Ankle straps, concentric curves at the heel pivot, and forefoot ballpoints with a small notch on the medial arch, siped edges, and star pattern.
The material is Nike Grind rubber.
MidsoleEVA midsoleNike Air technology.
InsoleZoom air unit in the insole’s heel and spongy Poron foam in the forefoot of the insole for shock absorption and compression resistance.Soft foam
Slip-resistanceYes, due to the rubber outsoleThe Air Force 1 GORE-TEX is non-slip, and the other Air Force 1s aren’t designed to be non-slip.
But you can count them as non-slip because of the rubber outsole.
VeganYes, many shoes from the new cruelty-free collection of SB Dunks are vegan. For example, Nike SB Dunk High Baroque Brown.Not all shoes are vegan, but the ones labeled are made from pineapple leather.
Heel heightAround 2.6 inches.Around 3cm/1.2in (elevates more in the ankle)
ToeboxDunks SB has a four-layered toebox: One layer of leather/suede.
A layer of durable plastic/rubber.
Another layer of leather/suede A final layer of the inner material, mostly woven canvas.
Their toe boxes are perforated and have rounded toe bumpers.But unlike the AF-1s, the toe bumpers have a marked notch.
The eye stays at the forefoot have some connection with the sides, but being parallel, they don’t connect at the throat like the Air Force 1s.
Comparatively, more holes are present in the toe box, arranged in a manner different from Air Force 1s, i.e., they run close to the edges of the panel.
Rouder and roomier, but bulky and boxy toebox.
Also has perforations with rounded toe bumpers.
The toe bumper meets the eye stays and connects to the U-throat at the edge for more volume.
Few holes in every rowCentral perforations don’t end in the panel’s front edge.

Do Nike Dunks Fit The Same As Air Force 1?

Not at all. The regular Nike Dunks run a half size smaller than the Air Force 1s. In contrast, the SB Dunks run a full size smaller than the Air Force 1 size. So, you have to go a half and a full size larger for your Nike regular Dunks and SB Dunks, respectfully compared to your Air Force 1 size. 

This big difference between the fits of Dunks and Air Force 1 is because Air Force 1s fit wide, while Dunks have a more regular fit. But beware of the model you are buying. 

For instance, if you buy a Dunks pair from the 90s to mid-2000s, you’ll find it roomier than today’s. Why? Because the older Dunks had a more elastic material and could be worked out with a half-size down option instead of true-to-size. But the toe box of today’s Dunk is still on the roomier side.

But now, you would go true to size for Dunks and have to go for a half size down than your regular size for Nike Air Force 1s (if you’re in between sizes).

nike dunks

Nike Air Force 1 Vs. Nike Dunks Price comparison

When you compare the prices, both Nike Air Force 1 and Dunks are very close, but the Dunks have a cheaper range than the Air Force. It’s probably due to the Air unit that is more composed in the Air Force as compared to the Dunks. Here’s a summary:

Nike Air Force 1Nike Dunks
$130 to $400    $125 to $150

Nike Air Force 1 Vs. Nike Dunks Weight comparison

Nike Air Force 1 and Dunks both are of the same weight and you wouldn’t find much difference:

Nike Air Force 1Nike Dunks
Around 1.215 kgAround 1-1.2 kg for size 10

Pros And Cons Of Nike Dunks And Air Force 1

If you’re still unable to decide between the two, I have something to share.

Despite being incredible pairs, Nike Dunks and Air Force 1s have highs and lows. No, I am not talking about the Nike Dunk high and low models, but how each model has a plus and negative point that makes the decision easier for sneakerheads. Here’s a summary of their pros and cons:

Nike Air Force 1Nike Dunks 
ProsComfortableSplendid tractionSleek styleGreat heel heightClassic details and designBreathable/meshedWide tongueMultiple variations in colorsVery durableGreat for prolonged strenuous activities.
Less expensive than Air Force 1sRun true to sizeExcellent cushioning and traction.Good for all-day wear/comfortableSupports controlled movementFlexibleMore VarietyGreat colorwaysGreat for skatingComfortableNeat construction.
ConsBulkyRun largeExpensive
The heel drop is shorter than Air Force 1s.Sturdy cushioningSlightly unsupportive in the heel areaLess durableBulkyRequires breaking inLacks breathability due to the absence of mesh in some shoes and stuffed tongue.


Nike Dunks and Air Force 1s are incredible shoes with very minute differences. But the differences still carry much weight, and the choice really depends on personal preferences.

Nike Dunks are for you if you are into more colorways, skateboarding, and flexibility and are on a tight budget. But if you don’t find a considerable difference in the price of both shoes and want more breathability, comfort, durability, and height, Nike Air Force 1s should be your choice.

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