The Interesting History of the Nike Dunk

Did you know that the brand Nike dates back to May 30th, 1971? Named for the Greek goddess of victory, this company has become one of the world’s most successful sports brands, currently employing more than 44,000 people around the world!

With these facts in mind, you might be wondering about the history behind Nike shoes. For example, when and why was the Nike dunk released? And, how has the shoe progressed and changed over the years?

If you came here with questions, you’re in luck. We have the answers! Read on to learn the full history of Nike dunks.

The Beginning of the Nike Dunk

When it comes to the Nike SB Dunk low and other sporty styles, it’s not just about the shoe. These kicks were designed with fashion in mind! That’s part of what makes them one of the most popular shoe choices out there.

It was first created to grab Michael Jordan’s attention. It didn’t stand out quite like Nike Legend did at the time.

When it was created, it wasn’t supposed to be a model shoe. It was instead supposed to capitalize on the league’s growing appeal.

Instead of staying within its proposed audience, it wound up creating a niche all on its own. While there weren’t huge sales during this time, it was starting to gain traction.

Today, it’s one of the best shoes that you can own. There are a variety of different collaborative fashion designs that you can choose from too.

Performance Innovation

The Nike Dunk traces its roots back to the 80s. The design team was looking for something that represented performance innovation, a way for basketball players to increase their play with blocking and pivoting.

During this time, you could find the advertising, entertainment, sports, and music industry working together. Basketball players started hitting the fashion world during this time.

Design Influences

The outside of the Dunk resembles the design of the Air Jordan. The Air Jordan came out a few months before. The Dunk obtained its name from being created from similar material as Nike Legend.

Nike Dunk vs Nike SB Dunk

A common shoe wearer might not notice the difference between the Dunk and SB Dunk. But to skateboarders, there was a distinct difference between them. The Nike SB Dunk broke record sales in 2020 as well, and new shoes are selling out once they hit the shelves.

School Team Play

Nike initially offered the Dunk to Division I college basketball teams and their fans. It was known as the College Color High.

It was a hit during this because people could wear the colors of their favorite team. Nike had a deal with St. John’s, the University of Michigan, the University of Iowa, Syracuse, UNLV, and the University of Kentucky.

This allowed organic marketing for their shoe. Many fans appreciated the shoe since it meant that they could support their favorite team.

Their market during this time were young males. Due to their rarity, they were sought after.

Rough Times

Due to the Air Jordan 1’s debut, the Nike Dunk High didn’t do as well. Those who wound up loving the Dunk were a group of people who initially wanted nothing to do with Nike. The style of the Dunk High changed during this time. It now has a thicker swoosh, a reduction of weight, and a shorter shaft.

When the style changed, the skating world began to notice them. At first, Nike didn’t know that Dunks were gaining traction in the skateboarding community.

Skateboarding Influence

At first, skaters weren’t interested in anything from Nike because they saw it as just another large company. As the Nike Dunks went out of style and sat in discount stores, New York skateboarders took notice.

Skateboarders love the Nike Dunk during this time because it’s inexpensive, and they can find it easily. The shoe also has the traction and support necessary for skateboarding.

Return to the Good Style

There was a pause in the 90s for the Nike Dunk since sales were declining. In the late 90s, they returned.

During this time, their original school designs from their partnership with different colleges came back. In the 2000s, many were interested in owning a pair of Nike Dunks. When this occurs, the CO JP line by Nike comes out.

Consumers started scrambling to grab the hottest styles from Japan. Stussy collaborates with Nike during this time on the Dunk.

This is the first brand collaboration for the company in regards to the Dunk. Collaboration leads to the Nike SB Dunk.

Nike Dunk SB

In the early 2000s, Nike teams up with Supreme who is a skate shop in New York. Supreme chooses an elephant print design that becomes huge with skaters. Sneaker collectors are quick to grab them as well.

This leads to Nike SB dropping the City Pack. These pairs are released to New York, Paris, Tokyo, and London during this time. Jeff Staples contributes by creating the Pigeon Dunk, which is one of the most popular sneakers in history.

The Pigeon Dunk makes front-page news. Sneaker culture is looked at differently around the world and is seen as the mainstream.

Even due to their popularity during this time, they wound up declining in popularity. The Nike Dunks didn’t increase in popularity again until 2015.

Exploring the Shoe History of the Nike Dunk

This guide should give you a better idea of the shoe history of the Nike Dunk. Once you see how iconic this shoe is, you might be tempted to buy a new pair today!

Would you like to read more informative lifestyle and design content? Be sure to check out the other articles on our site today!

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