Are Jordans Good for Running?

As one of the most iconic sneakers in history, Air Jordans have an undeniable cool factor and street cred. But how do they perform for running? Can the average jogger log miles in Jordans just as well as traditional running shoes? Let’s take a closer look.

A Brief History of Air Jordans

Air Jordans were first released in 1984 and were designed specifically for basketball legend Michael Jordan. The original Air Jordan I was innovative for its time, as it featured Nike’s new Air cushioning technology. This air-sole gave the shoes enhanced comfort and support.

Over the years, new Air Jordan models continued to release annually. While the technology and styles evolved, most retained a high-top cut and firm ankle support ideal for basketball.

However, as the sneaker culture boomed, Air Jordans became ingrained in casual fashion and streetwear. Soon people were wearing Jordans for much more than just hooping.

Air Jordan Models – Do Any Work for Running?

With over 30 models of Air Jordans released since 1984, options abound. But which ones, if any, are suitable for pounding the pavement? Let’s analyze a few of the most popular options:

Air Jordan 1 – The iconic original is flat with minimal support. The high-top collar restricts ankle mobility – not ideal for running. Verdict: Not for running.

Air Jordan 3 – This model has a fuller midsole than the AJ1 which aids shock absorption. But the higher cut and lack of flexibility still makes mobility an issue. Verdict: Not ideal for running.

Air Jordan 4 – Lower to the ground than other models, the AJ4 has a supportive lace cage. But the flat soles and minimal cushioning don’t cut it for running shoes. Verdict: Still a no.

Air Jordan 13 – With advanced cushioning and a curved sole, the AJ13 is made for motion. The low collar increases ankle mobility too. Of all models, it has the most running shoe-esque build. Verdict: The best (but not great) Air Jordan for running.

As this analysis shows, even the “best” Air Jordans still fall short as true running sneakers. The lack of flexibility, improper cushioning, and poor weight distribution make logging long miles a pain. For casual wear, Air Jordans check all the boxes. But performance-wise most models just don’t make the cut.

Why Are Jordans Poor Running Shoes?

At the end of the day, Air Jordans are basketball shoes – not running trainers. They were engineered to meet MJ’s needs for jumping, pivoting, and quick cuts on the hardcourt. Running requires entirely different demands from footwear.

Here are a few reasons why Air Jordans fail as running shoes:

  • Rigid soles – Basketball requires stability for traction. Running needs enhanced flexibility to roll through foot strikes.
  • Higher collar/ankle support – Great for preventing rolls on the court. But this restricts mobility and increases weight.
  • Cushioning – Air units cushion jumps but compact and flatten out. Runners need consistent, durable cushioning.
  • Improper weight distribution – Extra layers and material on Air Jordans make them heavier than running shoes. This slows turnover time.
  • Lack of breathability – Air Jordans can get hot with less ventilation. Running shoes use lightweight mesh.
  • No medial/lateral support – Running causes pronation issues. Basketball shoes just offer front/back support.

By focusing so much on vertical leaping power and lateral containment, Air Jordans overlook the biomechanics needed for safe, effective running.

The Risks of Running in Air Jordans

Can you technically run in Air Jordans? Sure. But doing so – especially regularly over long distances – can lead to some nasty foot and body pains.

Without proper shock absorption, the continuous pounding from running can bruise heels and arches. Rigid Jordans also restrict natural flex points in feet, overworking tendons and joints. This leads to inflamed knees, shins, and ankles. Congrats – you wanted to look cool in Jordans but now you’re icing Achilles tendonitis instead!

Ill-fitting Air Jordans can also cause painful blisters and calluses. And without moisture wicking fabric, bacterial growth in sweaty shoes spreads fungi and other nasty infections.

By wearing improperly designed sneakers, people risk avoidable overuse injuries. While Air Jordans look dope, safety should come before style during athletic activity. Protect those high-flying feet!

Better Shoes for Running

So if not Air Jordans, what shoes should you run in? Any reputable running specialty brand will do. Look for trainers with these key features:

  • Flexible, responsive sole – Allows natural foot strike motions.
  • Cushioning through midsole – Absorbs impact; molded for support.
  • Mesh upper – Enhances ventilation and reduces weight.
  • Flat laces – Prevent top-of-foot irritation.
  • Roomy toe box – Reduces cramping and bone impingements.
  • Medial & lateral stability – Guides neutral foot motion.
  • Comfort collar – Non-restrictive for ankle mobility.

Trustworthy running shoe companies include Asics, Brooks, Saucony, New Balance, Hoka One, and Nike (with their dedicated running line). Visit a specialty running store for a gait analysis to help select the best shoe based on your foot type. Expect to replace running shoes around every 300-500 miles as cushioning breaks down.

While not as eye-catching, legitimate running shoes provide both protection and performance. Safety doesn’t need to come at the cost of style though. Many brands now offer slick colorways and collabs that can still turn heads as you fly by!

The Bottom Line

Can you run in Air Jordans? Technically yes, but it’s advised against. The high tops and flat soles wreak havoc on feet and joints when running significant mileage.

You’re better off choosing real running shoes engineered to match biomechanics. But for casual wear, Air Jordans still bring the hypebeast heat! Just don’t expect the same performance as MJ. Maybe stick to dunking on the blacktop instead.

Frequently Asked Questions about Jordans and Running

Here are answers to some common questions about running in Air Jordans:

Are Air Jordan 1s good for running?

No. The flat soles and restrictive high tops make AJ1s a poor choice for running shoes. You’re better off with flexible, cushioned running sneakers instead.

Can you run long distances in Jordans?

You can physically run long distances in Jordans but this is not advised. The lack of shock absorption and stiffness risks injury – especially when running long mileage. Choose athletic sneakers designed specifically for running instead.

What is the most comfortable Jordan for running?

The Air Jordan 13 likely makes the best running option of available Air Jordan models. This is due to the larger zoom air units, curved sole, and supportive midfoot harness system. But even the “most comfortable” Jordans still fall short of true athletic running shoes.

Are newer Jordans better for running?

Not necessarily. While newer Jordan models contain updated performance technology, these innovations focus specifically on basketball – not running. Air Jordans, old and new, prioritize containment and impact protection for court activity over running demands.

Do Retro Jordans work for running?

Vintage and retro Jordans face the same issues as newer models when used for running. Some retro releases even omit more recent innovations, reverting to slimmer midsoles and less cushioning more reminiscent of original Air Jordans. Bottom line – neither old school or fresh Jordans meet necessary criteria as suitable running sneakers.

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