Jordan 1 Low Black Toe: Kind of Retro
Price: $140 [SOLD OUT; check eBay for Prices]
The Jordan 1 Low Black Toe offers OG color blocking on a design many find more comfortable.
The Jordan 1 Low Black Toe isn’t a true original colorway, and if you want a true OG you might be wasting your money.
|Materials||Leather / Rubber|
|Weight||506 g / 1 lb 1.8 oz|
|Construction||Cemented and Stitched Cup Sole|
|Country of Origin||China|
Any time a Jordan 1 comes out in an OG colorway, people get excited. Maybe because you’re old enough to have seen Jordan play in them. Maybe because you know that they will not look dated in 2 years. Either way, it’s pretty common to have any OG release circled on your calendar.
The Jordan 1 Low has recently come back in its OG form (a change from how it looked a couple years back). Popularity has soared, and the brand is starting to put out more pairs to satiate that demand. Perhaps most notably we saw the natural grey low – the only original low from 1985 – drop just a few months back.
However, his pair raises a bit of a question. Black toes are obviously an original colorway. One of the very first promo shots of Jordan 1s feature it. Lows are also original – even if he didn’t wear them on court. However, despite that, this particular make up is not original.
Since these are not really something straight from 1985, that means not all of the above applies. There is no guarantee that these will still look good 2, 5, or 10 years from now. You need to make sure the sneaker is worth it to you instead of knowing off the bat.
Do these deserve to be in the same conversation with true Ogs? That’s what we are going to figure out today. Without delay, let’s dive in.
The upper of the Jordan 1 Low Black Toe follows the OG 1 low pattern. This is the newer pattern that is actually based off the older pattern Jordan brand started pushing after Jordan 1 highs really started to take off. It’s simpler than the Jordan 1 low was previously – less like a squished high and more like someone took a razor and cut off the ankle support of a high.
For colors, this is exactly what you would expect from a Black Toe colorway. That means black on the mud guard, eyelets, and swoosh, red on the heel cap, and white everywhere else. The only thing that really stands out about these being lows over highs is the red panel featuring the winged basketball at the top of the back.
Overall, it’s a great look. I will say that, at least in my large size 13, the lows do look a bit compressed. However, in smaller sizes they look much better.
One thing that does bug me, however, is the different sheens on the materials. The black is exactly what you would expect on a Jordan 1 high. A bit of gloss, a bit of creasing. The white is more what you find on mids – plasticky, lots of creases. On the back, the red has that very faux-like material lows are known for. Matte finish, and smooth as a baby’s behind.
Any one of these would be OK. Throwing them all together does seem a bit off, though. That may get better with wear, but it could get worse too.
Mid- and Outsole
There is absolutely nothing surprising about the bottom half of this sneaker. Almost every pair of Jordan 1s released in the last 20 years has had the same outsole, and there are no exceptions with the Jordan 1 Low Black Toe.
A white midpanel is held on the sneaker with white stitching. Flipping the sneaker over, the Jordan 1 outsole pattern is shown in a bright red. That means the circular pattern up front with a pivot point, block traction in the rear, and Nike right in the middle.
Overall, the Jordan 1 Low Black Toe is almost exactly what you’re expecting. If you want a sneaker that you can wear with shorts that looks like an OG, this is it. If you can’t stand red and black together, these are not going to change your mind.
One other pure style nitpick, I can’t stand the red laces they come laced with. I used them for the pictures since that’s clearly how Jordan brand wants them seen, but I think it kind of makes them look like a mall-brand knock off. Then again, I’m old and wear almost nothing in red so take that with a grain of salt.
As much as I would like to love these, I think that the mismatched materials combined with my large size makes them look a bit off. That being said, I could see how someone could like that better.
Fit & Comfort
The Jordan 1 Low Black Toe is the same size as any other Jordan 1, which means a little bit long and a little bit narrow. Most people will take their standard sneaker size. Thankfully, in 2023, you can go into just about any shoe store and find some colorway of a Jordan 1 sitting so feel free to get your sizing down before ordering these.
One thing I will flag if this is your first pair of low OGs. Since the Jordan 1 high has significantly more padding around the ankle, you might get a bit more slip as you walk in these. If that’s the case you could consider going down a half size – just know that you might end up crushing your toes. Always better to be slightly too big than slightly too small.
If your top priority is comfort, the Jordan 1 Low Black Toe should not be on your short list. Afterall, this is a design from nearly 40 years ago. Technology has advanced, and the Jordan 1 has been left in the dust. That being said, they are still better than Dunks or Converse All Stars. You’re probably not going to be in pain at the end of the day.
As a bonus, a lot of people find that the Jordan 1 high’s ankle collar to be a bit of a drag when driving. Obviously, the lows don’t suffer from that.
When it comes to support, there really isn’t much there. I recently took a look at some Currex insoles that are really nice, and will be living in these shoes. If you’re wondering if insoles are right for you, take a look at this article.
Materials & Construction
This pair of Jodan 1 Low Black Toes are pretty typical Jordan brand when it comes to materials.
The leather is made up of entirely real leather, though with a bit of an asterisk. The black and white panels are standard Nike stuff – thinner leather with a bit of a plastic coating on them. I know that from a pure durability perspective, at this price point some people may be put off by that. However, leather doesn’t really come in bright white. You need some coating to get the stark colors that Jordan brand is aiming for.
Around the back, the red panels are leather too, but the plastic coating is much, much thicker. I’m honestly surprised they didn’t just use a synthetic panel here.
The tongue and lining are both a polyester with a foam inside. There really isn’t much to complain about here. Sure, they could be leather or something, but these are based off of an athletic shoe. It just makes sense.
Under your foot you have a closed cell insole that WearTesters would hate. That sits on top of a PU wedge that holds a small air unit. All of that rests within a rubber cup sole. Jordan 1 outsoles are extremely durable so even if they are not all that thick, you should get plenty of wear out of them.
The Jordan 1 Low Black Toe is made with a sewn-on cup sole construction. This is an older style of construction where the upper is sewn together, glued onto a cup-shaped outsole, and then stitched along the edge.
This type of construction tends to be very durable. However, it does have some drawbacks – the high sidewalls mean it’s less flexible than more modern styles, and it costs a bit more to make.
For general wear, it’s a great option. Most higher end sneakers – such as common projects – use this type of construction.
The Jordan 1 Low Black Toes came in at the standard price for Jordan 1 low Ogs in 2023: $140. That’s a pretty steep price, and puts it well above most other sneakers in this category. The days where a Jordan 1 low was comparable in price to a basic Stan Smith or New Balance 550 have passed.
That being said, that seems to be about the right price. It’s mostly sold out (with a few bigger sizes sitting on Nike.com), and resale is either a couple dollars above or below retail on eBay. While I would never recommend looking to me for future sale prices, I would expect these to climb over time.
Are the Jordan 1 Low Black Toe Worth It?
It depends. You’ve probably seen me say this a million times, but it’s actually a reverse of my normal suggestion. Most niche retros I suggest only the real hardcore nerds will enjoy them – the NB 990v1, the Stan Smith 80’s, etc. They are way more expensive than their alternative, for details only people who write shoe review websites notice.
Here is the opposite.
For the majority of sneaker buyers, this has it all. Many people find the lows more comfortable, they look good, etc. The price is a bit high, but that’s Jordans for you.
However, for the real sneaker nerds, this is just outside that range of scratching an itch. It’s like the bred mids with the colored eyelet, or the Chicago mids with the black toe. It’s far enough from the OG that you’ll be buying another pair in 2 weeks while these gather dust in the back of your closet.
The Jordan 1 Low Black Toe is a sneaker for the normal people.