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"Light Iron Ore"
History of the Nike Dunk
The Nike Dunk has lived more lives than any other sneaker. It’s been a basketball shoe, a forgotten shoe, a skate shoe, a hyped shoe, a forgotten shoe (again), a hyped shoe (again), and a now lifestyle shoe that is firmly established in the culture. Each iteration of the Dunk has helped introduce more collectors to the hobby of sneakers, whether it be the original version that debuted on the hardwood in the 1980s, the skate version that helped launch Nike SB in the early 2000s, or the Dunk’s most recent iteration as a lifestyle sneaker. Clearly, the Dunk is a shoe of the people.
The Nike Dunk’s origins can be traced back to 1985, when it first appeared on the feet of some of the best players on college basketball’s top teams, including the Syracuse Orange, St. John’s Red Storm, Iowa Hawkeyes, and more. In many ways, the Dunk was the college basketball equivalent of the Air Jordan 1, the performance basketball shoe worn by Michael Jordan in his rookie season in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls. Like the Jordan 1, the Dunk was designed by Peter Moore, and featured an eye-catching color block, a comfortable fit, and durable rubber outsole. Unlike the Jordan 1, however, the Dunk never truly caught on as a performance shoe, and it was quickly phased out by Nike after its release.
It didn’t take long for the Dunk to catch on with a different crowd after fizzling out as a basketball sneaker. In the late 1980s, the Dunk became indoctrinated into the skateboarding community when the shoe was worn by some of the sport’s top athletes. The Dunk appealed to skaters due to its grippy rubber outsole, supportive fit, and eye-catching colorways. As quickly as the Dunk caught on is almost as quickly as the shoe left skate culture. By the early 1990s, many skaters moved onto more dedicated performance skate shoes, rendering the classic sneaker obsolete.
But not for long. By 2002, Nike was willing to try almost anything to break into the one sport it had yet to really plant its flag in: skateboarding. It turned to the Dunk, a new version of the shoe called the Nike SB Dunk, with tech components specifically designed for skateboarding, to help launch the new skate-focused brand off the ground. And that it did. The new SB Dunk was backed by some of the best skaters and skate shops in the world when it debuted, like Reese Forbes, Danny Supa, Supreme, and others, which helped create hype for the sneaker in the 2000s.
Today, the Dunk is as popular as ever. It’s still released in skateboarding collaborations, hyped collaborations, and in hundreds of colorways, including the famed Panda Dunk, in both its skate and regular models. With so many options to choose from, you’re bound to find a Nike Dunk that speaks to your style at Stadium Goods.
When did Nike Dunks first come out?
The Nike Dunk was released in 1985 as a college basketball team shoe. It was released as the Nike SB Dunk, a skateboarding shoe, in 2002.
How much do Nike Dunks cost?
Pricing for the Nike Dunk varies. The standard Dunk has an MSRP of $110 in adult sizes. Prices vary on the secondary market depending on model, sizing, colorway, collaboration, and other factors.