Nike SB Dunk
The Nike SB Dunk Low has more cushioning features versus the original high-top silhouette released earlier as a basketball shoe. This skate shoe had a distinct padded filled tongue, cushioned collar, and an insole that incorporated the Nike Zoom Air technology or a full-length cushioning platform just underneath the foot.
The Nike SB Dunk Low was originally a long-time resident on the court from its release in 1985 as a high-top ball shoe called the Nike Dunk. Nike teamed up with some of the leading schools in the US such as the University of Iowa, University of Kentucky, University of Michigan, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, St. John’s, Syracuse, and Georgetown universities to have the original high-top Dunk as the official shoe brand of their basketball teams.
The Dunk High, dressed in different color schemes, however, did not turn into a star player on the court on its initial drop until a series of retro releases started to come out in 1998 that it gradually bounced from the hardcourt to the pavements with its street moniker “Dunks”.
The low profile Nike Dunk thrived in the skaters’ world at the flip of the century as sneakers became a big part of the skate culture. Specifically, in March 2002, Nike re-introduced itself in the skateboarding arena with the unveiling of its sub-brand SB, short for Skateboarding, along with a series of drops of its skate-specific shoes named the Nike SB Dunk Low.
Nike collaborated with a group of pro riders who in turn helped the brand design the initial silhouettes of the SB Dunk Low series. The expert skaters were Richard “Richie” Mulder, Danny “Supa” Supasirirat, Reese Forbes, and Gino Ianucci whose products made an immediate connection with the regular street skaters.
Using the SB Dunk Low as a blank canvas, Richie came up with a White/ Orion blue-White combo reminiscent of the first pair of Nike he owned and skated back in 1994. That was a tennis shoe in a classic white leather and Orion blue stripe. His design inspiration led to the production of the SB Dunk Low Mulder colorway.
Supa had a more vibrant take on the Dunks with his striking Orange and Hyperblue-White colorway as a representation of his East Coast origin and in tribute to the iconic Knicks team in his hometown state of New York. The Supa combo was even brighter than the familiar orange shoe boxes used to package the front line SB Dunk shoe squad of 2002.
The third release from the SB Dunk Low Colors By series was created by Reese which resembles a work cleat made of suede. Instead of using cowhide, Reese opted for the softer, more supple pig suede which is breathable at the same time. Thus, Reese’s original colorway was a blend of Wheat/Twig/Dune, a perfect accompaniment with jeans for its camo hues and construction cleat appeal.
Gino’s masterpiece completed the original Nike SB Dunk Low menu. His colorway sums up his personality, one who’s always been drawn to dark monochromatic hues. With great respect over the original Nike Dunk, Reese tweaked and updated the upper and bottom of the shoe with Obsidian/Light Graphite/Obsidian combo. He added perforations to improve the breathability of the skate shoe.
The demand over the Nike SB Dunk Low was phenomenal as it was widely accepted not only among skaters, but sneaker enthusiasts and collectors globally as well. The original four colorways of the SB Dunk Low remain among the most favorite classic profiles in Nike’s archive with a multitude of variations continue to come out until today.