Since 2018, Nike’s range of Dunks and SB Dunks have made a resurgence in sneaker culture after years of being on the back burner. Here is a look at their history and their current popularity.
In 1996, Nike signed skateboarder Bam Margera for their SB division. Nike released the ‘Schimp’, ‘Air Choad’ and ‘Air Snak’. After the poor performance of their first skate shoe attempt, Nike recruited Sandy Bodecker in 2001 to reconstruct the line.
Nike decided against developing a new shoe for their skate division. Nike chose to revamp an old 80s college basketball shoe called the Dunk. Broadly speaking, the Dunk line can be divided into two distinct sides.
The SB Dunk line launched in 2002 with a specific skate focus in mind. In efforts to differentiate the SB Dunk from the original, Nike added a padded tongue, zoom air cushioning and SB branding.
SB Dunks were often produced in lower qualities, going directly to independent skate shops and not your regular Nike outlet. This gave the SB Dunk community a closer, more tight-knit connection to Nike. As a result, almost all SB Dunk drops sold well through the mid-2000s.
Dunks are also best remembered for their range of colourways and collaborations. Nike’s Dunk range has joined forces with artists and brands like; De La Soul, Madlib/Quasimoto, Wu-Tang Clan, COMME des GARÇONS and Stüssy over the years.
In the wake of the Off-White Dunk collection, the Cactus Jack/Travis Scott collab and the Jordan 1 hype, the Dunk comeback was in full swing by 2020. These factors turned a pair of trainers that retailed for a little over £80 and often went on sale selling for triple their original price.
Because of the Dunk hype, buying a pair is difficult thanks to; bots, manipulated raffles, hype and resellers eyeing up every Dunk drop.
While the hype is primarily to blame for Dunks flying off the shelves, Nike is partly responsible. Nike has been dropping more and more Dunks since 2018 compared to the years before the resurgence. Also, Nike has re-released many sought after Dunks like the Brazil and Kentucky models over the past year.