There’s no denying that Nike is continuously trying to find a way to strike a balance. Since its inception and rebranding in 1971, the firm has grown to become the world’s largest shoe retailer and one of the world’s most sought-after shoe designers.
Every decade, Nike’s limited-edition sneakers like their Nike dunk low sneakers help the company retain a hip image. However, you’ll notice that the Nike Dunk lows have shifted and evolved as eras came and went.
Read on for our full breakdown of Nike dunk low history, from its origins to the current fresh developments.
Nike Dunk Low Sneakers: In the Beginning
Think about the Air Force 1, the Terminator, the Air Jordan 1, and the Legend. These were all used in the creation of the Nike Dunk High, which was introduced in August 1985 as a high-top basketball shoe.
For the Dunk’s general appearance, the AF-1 was a major influence. It had an outsole and an upper influenced by the AJ-1 and Terminator.
The Legend was utilized to assist produce molds for the Dunk. And, its predecessors helped create the Nike Dunk. But, the background surrounding the shoe’s debut release was what gave it its particular appeal.
The debut of the sneaker in 1985 coincided with basketball’s golden period and Michael Jordan’s stardom. After its introduction, the Nike Dunk became an immediate hit in basketball. After all, it was designed to support maneuvers like rotating and blocking. “Be True to Your School” was the 1985 Nike Dunk High’s catchphrase, although it wasn’t the most memorable part of the shoe.
Nike’s initial marketing campaign for the Nike Dunk was “Be True to Your School.” It gave Division I college basketball teams and their supporters a method to show their support for their squad. A different color scheme was utilized for each team’s edition of the Dunk.
Spreading to Wider Audiences
The Swoosh has already agreed to make the Dunk High their official shoe. It debuted at Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Georgetown, St. John’s, UNLV, and Syracuse, among others.
In this way, Nike was able to use the expanding popularity of college basketball leagues to organically advertise the Dunk. Even outside of the college arenas, while also promoting a non-competitive attitude to sports.
The ‘BTTYS’ series would also go on to become a distinguishing feature of the form, unknown at the time, thanks to its infinite colors approach.
Yet, the Air Jordan 1 and other technical advancements quickly made the original Nike Dunk High obsolete in the realm of basketball.
But, the shape continued to be popular with a more casual and unassuming demographic. It was one that really wanted little to do with Nike at the time. This is an introduction to the New York youngsters who are skating about and having fun.
A New Era for the Dunk in the 2000s
Skate culture exploded in the 1990s, and many skaters donned old dunks they discovered in thrift shops as their footwear of choice. As demand grew, Nike responded by creating the Nike Dunk SB and a low-top version of their popular sneakers, the Nike Dunk.
In 2001, Sandy Bodecker was named Nike SB’s General Manager, and the division was officially launched in March 2002. This was the finest phase in the Dunk’s history. While previously working on strengthening and increasing Nike’s soccer business, his new responsibility was to revitalize the company’s skating strategy.
The Dunk Low Pro SB
The Dunk Low Pro SB went into production when Mr. Bodecker and Nike established the SB division after a period of real-world testing and trials.
A whole new shoe was unnecessary. Since Nike was already supplying what the community needed. Basically, skaters demanded it so it would have been extremely difficult for Nike Skateboarding to debut with a different shoe in 2002.
A simple change to the Nike Dunk’s design would be all that was needed to make the shoe more relevant to the target audience.
In response, Nike re-engineered the Dunk. They developed a version for skaters that was not only designed to support their sport but also recognized the whole skateboarding culture.
There are several distinctions between the Dunk Low Pro SB compared to the normal Nike Dunk. And, that doesn’t even include all the other manufacturing adjustments that have occurred throughout the previous 18 years of the SB Dunk brand.
Modification and Development of the Nike Dunk Lows
Throughout this period, the silhouette underwent more structural alterations. This was a huge development since up until this time, Nike hadn’t done a Mid version of the shoe, only a Low and High.
The Mid also included a Velcro ankle strap in addition to its increased height. Toe-to-toe, “stitch and turn” overlay construction, “done to boost overall durability in the region most damaged while attempting flip tricks,” was another major alteration. The SB Dunk subsequently adopted this design in all of its iterations.
New Designs in the Box
The SB Dunk’s box has seen several color periods throughout the course of its existence, all added “to keep things fresh and new,” as the silhouette has been known to do.
This allows the SB Dunk community to identify each shoe by its color and design, as well as to chart its evolution through time and distinguish between SB and non-SB releases. When a prospective deal was in the works, sneaker collectors kept their sneakers in their original boxes to preserve them for future use.
You can shop now for the Nike Dunk Low sneakers and give your summer wardrobe an instant boost.
Popular Nike Sneakers: Exploring the Nike Dunk Lows
Now, the Dunk is a global silhouette that can be owned by no one and everyone at the same time. It’s so global and integral to many different fashion styles and tastes that it’s quite possible to find in the closet of anyone with an interest in sneakers.
We hope that our guide has shed some light on what makes the Nike Dunk Low sneakers tick. And, if you’re still looking for style inspiration, you should check out our fashion section for more tips and guides.