The Legacy of Nike SB Dunks
One of the most important shoe ever created, Nike SB Dunk lay the path for the evolution of the sneaker culture as we know it today. The 1985 basketball court staple meant for college athletes went under various transformation processes and designer collaboration and finally made a name among the skateboarders and budding sneakerheads.
Dunk quickly became the icon of the streets in late 90s & early 00s as more and more people started wearing it regularly. Athletes all around the world adopted it, sneaker culture couldn't stop talking about it, the rivals were in awe of the colorful aesthetic silhouette, and thus Nike SB Dunk wrote its name in the history books.
This influential shoe series from Nike created a wave among the shoe folks who made SB Dunks, a legacy to be remembered for.
The Dunk Story
The first Nike Dunk debut in 1985 was designed by Peter Moore had similarities with Jordan 1. But Dunk being available in endless colorways, became a big hit among basketball players and fans. Skaters too showed interest in the Dunks as it offered better cushioning and traction. But the problem was that skaters weren't wearing Nike Skate shoes.
The problem was crystal clear and now the daunting task was to make it suitable for skaters, so the SB division new manager Sandy Bodecker decided to re-engineer the shoe. A new skater version with some technical changes like added padding to the insole to reduce impact, better traction against grip tape, SB's fat tounge were crucial in the making. But one thing that stood out was the aesthetic appeal which no other skater shoe had. Nike SB Dunk wasn't just a skating shoe, it was a shoe you can chill in.
In early and mid 00s, SB Dunks were not only seen on skateboarders, but also on people who loved aesthetic designs. The love receive by Dunks gave birth to sneaker and streetwear culture and Nike started collaborating with big skate brands to create coveted sneakers like "Reese Forbes", Chocolate SB Dunk Low, Dunk Low Pro Zoo York, and Supreme Low Dunk Elephant Print.
In 03 & 04, Nike release standouts like the “Jedi”, “Heineken” Lows and U.N.K.L.E Highs, the most hyped sneakers on the market at that time.
Then in 2005, history was created when Nike collaborated with Jeff Staple, founder of Staple Design, to create a Dunk that represented New York. The all-new, Staple “Pigeon” SB Dunks featured two shades of grey on the upper, a white swoosh, a orange liner on outsole, and an embroidered pigeon on the heel inspired by New York City’s ubiquitous pigeons. The shoe became an overnight success making people camp outside for 4-days straight bringing sneaker culture in the spotlight.
Collaboration continued with Stussy and Diamond Supply, De La Soul, MF Dooms & Concept making Nike SB bigger than ever. SB Dunks became the talk of the town and you could spot Dunks on sportspersons, sneakerheads, fans, and in every nook and corner of the street.
In early 2010s, SBs slowly lost interest of the sneakerheads as they preferred retro Jordans 1s and Flyknits over Dunks. In 2018, Nike attempted to stage an SB comeback by releasing the iconic Tiffany Dunk in three colorways - Black, Yellow and White. Staples came with a white & black SB Dunk Low and Concepts announced a forthcoming "Purple Lobster" SB Dunk Low. Though, Lobster was a huge success in the market with its icy purple theme but again it was just a moment of truth on how SBs would do in the future.
Nike SB truly is a sneaker line that will be regarded as the most influential of its time. A story that winill inspire millions about how sneaker culture was formed, how re-engineering works and how storytelling and collaboration can be a work of art.