30 Most Influential Nike Dunks Of All Time
Sneaker obsession is real.
The Nike Dunks has been around for quite a while now and is enjoying its revival now as the world is swept with the obsession for sneakers. Nike’s effort to push its SB subdivision with icons like Travis Scott and late Virgil Abloh adopting the silhouette has been incredibly successful. The Nike Dunk first debuted in 1985 as basketball shoe for college athletes. However, it began to change in the late ’90s onwards when Nike SB adopted the silhouette and made its own.
Sneakers as we know today has become an essential part of our lifestyle. Its believed that Jeff Staple’s “Pigeon” Dunk Low kickstarted the sneaker culture. Its only rightful that the Nike SB Dunk is back to its full glory over a decade later. So lets deep dive into some of the most iconic Nike Dunks (Pssst, they make for great but expensive gifts for any occasion).
1. SBTG X Nike Dunk Low
Release Date: August 2006
Colour: Sable Green/Metallic Gold
Significance: These sneakers were designed by Singapore based artist Mark “Sabotage” Ong. He gave the conventional shoes a makeover with most number of additions at the time including a screened lace flap.
2. Nike SB Dunk High “MF DOOM”
Nike’s collaboration with acclaimed underground rapper MF Doom resulted in the creation of this high-top Dunk. This was Nike’s second hip hop collaboration and the design was inspired by the sights and the sounds of the Native Tongues movement.
Release Date: July 2007
Colour: Black/Black-Midnight Fog
3. Nike SB Dunk Low “Michael Lau”
Hong Kong based toy designer, Michael Lau collaborated with Nike for a very limited production run in 2006. It is based on Lau’s skateboarding coming strip, Gardener. The upper part of the sneaker is imitating dark brown and wood and features four skateboard drill holes on the ankles. The sneakers come in a beautiful wooden box and vinyl toy.
Release Date: September 2006
4. HUF x Nike SB Dunk High “Tie-Dye”
Designed for professional skaters by footwear designer Keith Hufnagel’s to channel San Francisco’s free spirit and individuality, these sneakers are definitely forward thinking. This tie and dye pattern is a homage to city’s orange and black colour scheme.
Release Date: November 2004
Colour: White/Neutral Grey-Black
5. Nike SB Dunk “De La Soul”
Inspired by De La Soul’s debut psychedelic album artwork, the Dunk Low and High Pro SB were a spirited take on De La’s revolution.
Release Date: October 2005 (Low)
6. CONCEPTS x Nike SB Dunk Low “Lobster”
Since its first release in 2008, Massachusetts based Concepts ongoing partnership with Nike has consistently released a number of lobster-inspired-colourways. Some are more rare than others, however, all hold equal significance due to the hype and popularity of Nike Dunks.
Release Date: Various
7. Supreme x Nike SB Dunk High
The shoe was originally supposed to sport the repeat ‘Nike’ icon logo instead of stars. However, it was ditched in favour of stars when the sneaker was released.
Release Date: August 2003
8. Nike SB Dunk Low “Tokyo”
This dunk was part of the ‘White Dunk City Series’ and was strictly limited to 202 pairs allotted via lottery. This pair features an all canvas minimalistic look devoid of any branding or tongue logos, making it a truly blank canvas.
Release Date: January 2004
9. Nike SB Dunk Low “Medicom 2”
The Medicom 2 is still a fan favourite for several reasons. The shoe was offered only through Medicom’s website and was a tasteful follow up to both their first Dunk as well as Resse’s Denim Dunk.
Release Date: December 2004
10. Nike Dunk “Haze” High & Low
Graffiti artist Eric Haze, added his signature style of ‘overspray’ technique to Dunk High & Low. Both pairs were one of the earliest instances if an artist collaborating on a pair of sneakers. They were released in limited quantities, making them a rare edition for any collector.
Release Date: 2003
11. Nike SB Dunk Low “Jedi”
Officially known as the ‘Baroque Brown’, these shoes are said to be inspired by the Star Wars character ‘Yoda’ who was a Jedi Master and trained Luke Skywalker. These dunks are particularly rare as the left shoe is signed ‘Luke Skywalker’. Pretty insane right?
Release Date: May 2004
12. Stüssy x Nike SB Dunk Low “Cherry”
Stüssy Team Manager, Robbie Jeffers designed this Dunk Low inspired by Neapolitan ice-cream. The final detail came in the form of a waffle cone insole design and featured a literal cherry on top. Well, who wouldn’t love to own these sneakers!
Release Date: July 2005
13. Nike SB Dunk Low Pro “Futura”
Legacy graffiti artist, Leonard McGurr a.k.a. Futura took inspiration from the subway steel canvas where he found fame. Using suede, leather and mesh, it birthed a new culture of aesthetic.
Release Date: March 2003
Colour: White/Black/Night-shade shark
14. Nike SB “Hemp Pack”
Hemp Pack Dunks introduced a hemp as new material to the line which was breathable.
Release Date: April 2004
Colours: Hersey Gold/ Red Mahogany, Bonsai, Cascade Blue
15. Nike SB Dunk Low Pro “Chocolate & Zoo York”
This two sneaker pack was designed by New York’s Zoo York and LA based Chocolate Skateboards. Its like East Coast meets West Coast! The cross on the heel of the Chocolate pair was a tribute to team rider Keenan Milton who unfortunately passed away in 2001.
Release Date: June 2002
16. Nike Dunk Pro B “Viotech”
These Biotech Dunks are instantly recognisable due to the vibrant clash of colours with a premium suede finish. he Viotech Dunk Pro has been re-issued multiple times and has become a defining icon.
Release Date: 2002
17. Nike SB Dunk High “Skunk”
The ‘Skunk’ Dunk is one of the most iconic themed Dunk due to its weed inspiration and hairy green suede. Its popularly known as the Nike Weed Shoes. Pretty bold eh?
Release Date: April 2010
18. Nike SB Dunk High “UNKLE”
This Dunk was designed by longtime SB collaborator Futura in partnership with U.N.K.L.E. The band butted colour, material and character against the Dunk’s iconic lines. The High Dunks were released to the public, however, there is also an unreleased low version.
Release Date: September 2004
19. Nike SB Dunk Low “Colors By SUPA”
This is the second ever Nike SB Dunks to be released were designed by Danny Supasirirat. They’re a tribute to New York City and the colours are nod to two of New York’s sports teams.
Release Date: March 2002
20. Nike SB Dunk Low “Heineken”
This iconic Nike Dunks takes obvious inspiration from one of the most popular beers in the world. However, due to legal issues, this pair was never actually released. Its officially called as ‘Classic Green’.
Release Date: June 2003
21. Nike SB Dunk Low “What the Dunk”
The What the Dunk Low Pro SB was created from 31 separate Nike SB Dunks. The goal of the creation was to be the ‘Dunk to end all Dunks’. However, the process was painstaking, meticulous ans ridiculous on purpose. Despite the draw and buzz created, only a very limited run was offered to the public,
Release Date: October 2007
22. Nike SB Dunk Low Pro “Reese Forbes Denim”
Resse Forbes’ second Dunk collab with Nike resulted in creation of this frayed denim pair. This dunk was created by artist and fellow skater, Natas Kaupas. Pretty iconic pair of Dunks, right?
Release Date: December 2002
23. Nike Dunk High “Wu-Tang”
In the late ’90’s, Nike released the ‘Be True’ Dunk collection with a special re-work for University of Iowa. This was transformed into the famed ‘Wu-Tang’ Dunks. Only 36 pairs have been produced making it pretty rare.
Release Date: 1999
Where to buy: GOAT
24. Nike SB Dunk Low “Freddy Krueger”
This blood splattered was created to celebrate A Nightmare on Elm Streets villain by Freddy Krueger. However, the shoes had to be halted due to legal reasons. Thus, only a few pairs made it to the public making it super rare.
Release Date: N/A
Significance: This blood-splattered, Freddy Krueger-inspired pair was created to celebrate A Nightmare on Elm Street’s villain, but product had to be halted due to legal issues. Only a few pairs made it out to the public, making this a real rarity.
25. Diamond Supply Co. x Nike SB Low “Tiffany”
This is one of the first Dunks to go viral and generate a hype never seen before. The sneakers were designed by Diamond Supply Co. (No, its not a jewellery company!) found Nick Tershay and the colours are taken from Tiffany & Co.
So girls, if you’re looking to return the favour to your fiancé for the Tiffany engagement ring he bought you, these shoes are quite the catch!
Release Date: August 2005
26. Futura x Nike SB Dunk High “FLOM”
Brooklyn’s graffiti artist, Lenoard Hilton McGurr also known as Futura designed this ‘For Love or Money’ Dunk high. It features a pattern created from different money denominations and was produced only in a run of 24. These Dunks were auctioned on Sotheby’s for a whooping $63,000. Talk about rarity!
Release Date: March 2004
Where to buy: StockX
27. Staple x Nike SB Dunk Low “Pigeon”
This sneaker is often credited as the one which kickstarted the sneaker culture as we know today. Designed by Jeff Staple of Staple Design, this was one of the wildest Nike drops in history. On the release day, the crowd outside of Reed Space, Jeff’s Lower East Side storefront grew so large that the New York City Police were called to maintain order. These sneakers made it to the New York Post cover and still remains as the example of the power of streetwear hype.
Release Date: March 2005
28. Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Low “White Cement & Black Cement”
These are Supreme’s first ever SB Dunks featuring Air Jordan’s 3’s iconic elephant print. They’re limited to 500 pairs each.
Release Date: September 2002
29. Nike SB Dunk Low “Paris”
Originally these Dunks were supposed to be part of the ‘White Dunk’ city series and was interred to be released exclusively at the ‘White Dunk: Evolution of an Icon’ in Paris. However, due to insane demand, the collab with French Painter Bernard Buffet was delayed and only a limited bespoke pairs were released.
Release Date: August 2003
Colour: Rope/Special Cardinal
30. Nike Dunk BTTYS Pack (1985 OG)
Well many people put Jeff Staple’s ‘Pigeon’ Dunks on the top but can you really ignore the OG ‘Be True To Your School’ a.k.a. BTTYS pack that started the whole Dunk mania? The seven colours are chosen to represent some of the top fight universities that translated to program Dunk High Pro SBs.
Release Date: 1985
Looking at these sneakers, I’m sure you’re tempted to buy one for yourself or for someone you love. However, I am sure you have many questions in your mind about these cult sneakers.
Why do Nike SB Dunks cost so much?
These sneakers are in high demand, there’s almost like a cult for these sneakers. According to esquire.com the average SB Dunk has sold for 375% premium. Crazy right?
What Dunks are coming out in 2022?
Yes, Nike still makes these iconic sneakers. There are a bunch of new releases lined up for Nike SB Dunks in 2022 including a Nike Dunk Low ‘Valentine’s Day’. So if you’re looking for Valentine’s Day gift for her, you know what to get.
What came first, Jordans or Dunks?
According to Nike, Jordans came a few months before Dunks in 1985. However, Air Jordan 1 was first released in late 1984 as Michael Jordan exclusive even though the public release took place in April 1985.
Air Jordan vs Dunk. Whats the difference?
The upper of the Jordans has more panels (6 instead of 4) as well as more stitching. While, the Dunk has a bigger toe space in each direction. Comparing the branding, the Dunk has the OG tongue from ’80s with the signature Nike branding stitched as a separate tab.