The Nike Dunk debuted in 1985 and originally as a basketball shoe for college athletes, but that began to change in the late ’90s and early ’00s when Nike SB adopted the silhouette and made it its own.
Releases such as Jeff Staple’s “Pigeon” Dunk Low kickstarted sneaker culture as we know it today, so it’s only right that the Nike SB Dunk is back to its full glory over a decade later. This ranking wants create highlights of 10 most influential Nike Dunks which have changed and break the rules of the sneakers game, according to Highsnobiety.
Release Date: 1999
Significance: Before Nike SB was officially established in 2002, the Dunk silhouette was turned into a skateboarding shoe as part of the Pro B line. The “Smurf” and “Putty” were Nike skateboarding before Nike SB.
Release Date: December 2002
Significance: For Reese Forbes’ second Dunk collab, he tapped artist and fellow skater Natas Kaupas to create this frayed denim pair that has risen to iconic status.
Release Date: 1999
Significance: Back in the late ’90s, Nike re-released its original “Be True” Dunk collection, with a special reworked goldenrod colorway for the University of Iowa, which was turned into the famed “Wu-Tang” Dunks. Only 36 pairs are believed to have been produced.
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.
Release Date: August 2005
Significance: This is one of the first Dunks to go viral and generate a visceral level of hype unseen before. The colors are taken from Tiffany & Co. and the sneaker was designed by Diamond Supply Co. founder Nick Tershay.
Release Date: March 2004
Significance: Designed by Futura, this “For Love Or Money” Dunk High features a pattern created from different denominations of printed money and was produced in a friends and family run of only 24.
Release Date: March 2005
Significance: This was the final edition of the “City Series” and is the Dunk that probably kickstarted sneaker culture as we know it today. Good enough for spot four, which may prove to be controversial.
Release Date: September 2002
Significance: Limited to 500 pairs each and featuring the Air Jordan 3’s iconic elephant print, we don’t really need to say much more about Supreme’s first-ever SB Dunks.
Release Date: August 2003
Significance: This pair was also part of the “White Dunk” city series and was designed in collaboration with French painter Bernard Buffet. The release at the exhibition was cancelled and pairs were sold through select Nike SB accounts in highly-limited numbers.
Release Date: 1985
Significance: Many would have put Jeff Staple’s “Pigeon” Dunks top of the ranking but can you really ignore the OG 1985 BTTYS pack that kickstarted the whole Dunk mania?