There’s not many fashion trends, let alone sneakers, that have been so successfully re-purposed like that of the Nike SB Dunk. Here is a chunky shoe born on the hardwood, first seen as a basketball silhouette back in 1985. At the time this was amongst Nike’s best-sellers but it wouldn’t be until 17 years later that the Dunk would get reinvented and become a universal fashion statement!
The launch of the first Nike SB Dunk in 2002 was a pivotal moment. This once dated basketball sneaker made an unprecedented leap to become a skate-ready silhouette. This culture shift brought with it new connotations. The Dunk now represented effortless street-style.
Of course, it was brands like Supreme who set this sneaker on a path of greatness. Their first collaboration in 2002 is still remembered by many as the ultimate grail. Soon major skaters were endorsing the shoe, many releasing their own signature pairs.
The hype would continue long into the noughties and today, the Nike SB Dunk is becoming more popular than ever. A recent revival makes this one of the most talked about silhouettes from Nike of 2020. That said, what better time for us to look back on the 25 best colourways of all time?
Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Low (2002)
Supreme’s long line-up of SB collaborations can be traced right back to this Jordan 3 inspired release. Sporting Nike’s iconic cement print, this is widely considered one of the best ever SBs – so much so that these still fetch over £4,000 on the resell market. It was also the inspiration behind an anniversary colourway released by Supreme in 2012.
Nike SB Dunk Low “Danny Supa” (2002)
The official debut of the SB Dunk consisted of four colourful pairs each assigned to Nike’s team riders: Reese Forbes, Gino Lannucci, Danny Supasirirat and Richard Mulder. Admittedly, each one was a best-seller but Supa’s orange and blue rendition is remembered as the highlight, a release which paid homage to the streets of NYC.
Staple x Nike SB Dunk “Pigeon” (2005)
These were famously so popular that a riot broke out amongst collectors in New York City on the day of release – a story covered in the New York Post. But that shouldn’t detract from why these are still remembered as a classic to this day. There’s been follow-ups since from Jeff Staple but nothing comes close to this OG grey pair which features that signature pigeon graphic on the heel.
Nike SB Dunk Low “Paris” (2007)
Like any great piece of art, these Nike SB Dunks don’t come cheap. In fact, if you’re planning to invest in a pair on the resell market these can set you back as much as £80,000! That’s no exaggeration either, these are amongst the most valuable sneakers of all time. Only 150 to 200 pairs launched back in 2004 across a small handful of retailers. What’s even more impressive is that arty print which is completely unique on each and every pair.
Carhartt x Nike SB Dunk Low (2004)
Like your favourite Carhartt jacket, this pair gets covered in hard-wearing canvas. This work-wear transformation released in 2004 with two colourways up for grabs. Both were quick to sellout but the “shale” colourway might just take the edge over that “triple black” pair. After all, this is Carhatt’s signature colour, a theme which is perfect for the autumn and winter months.
Nike SB Dunk Low “Rayguns” (2005)
The Roswell Rayguns was a fictional basketball team dreamt up as one of Nike’s more unusual marketing campaigns from the 70s. It might have been forgotten if it weren’t for this SB Dunk colourway that pulled inspiration from the fictional team colours. The look even celebrates the UFO theme that was used in the original campaign with a ray gun motif embroidered across the heel.
Nike SB Dunk Low “Newcastle” (2008)
Beer and sneakers; could this be the ultimate combination?! Although it’s not an official collaboration, there’s no denying this colourway is inspired by Newcastle Brown. A simple colour blocking theme features different shades of brown off set by a vibrant blue swoosh. As far as ale-inspired sneakers go, it doesn’t get more satisfying than this.
Off-White x Nike Dunk Low (2019)
No definitive Nike sneaker guide would be complete without mention of an Off-White collaboration. Virgil Abloh chose to miss out the SB Dunk when creating his initial collection known as “The Ten”. Thankfully, he finally showed some love to this icon back in 2019 with the release of both a “green” and “red” colourway. Some fans may have been disappointed at the lack of Off-White’s signature deconstructed styling but these were still all together unique thanks to that elasticated lacing system.
Nike SB Dunk Low “Tokyo” (2004)
Muslin-coloured canvas, a gum outsole and tonal details throughout; could this be the cleanest of all the SB Dunks?! Not surprisingly, this was another hype-fuelled launch as Nike released only 202 pairs via raffle as part of their “White Dunk Exhibition”.
Nike SB Dunk High “FLOM” (2005)
Another stupidly expensive sneaker here, this limited-edition Dunk arriving in 2005 at the hands of famed graffiti artist Futura. Named the “FLOM”, short for “For The Love Of Money”, the uppers get decked out in a print of all the world’s major currencies. Only 24 of these released which would explain today’s eye-watering resell prices.
Nike SB Dunk Low “Reese Forbes Denim” (2002)
As a follow up to his first signature release that year, skater Reese Forbes this time opted for the heavy denim treatment. It was the subtle contrast in denim which makes these so unique not to mention the frayed edges and vibrant red outsole.
Stussy x Nike SB Dunk Low “Cherry” (2005)
Stussy founder Robbie Jeffers looked to his favourite food, Neapolitan ice cream, for the inspiration behind this 2005 release. The cherry even came on top with a fruity graphic stamped to the tongue. This mouth watering exclusive launched as part of Nike SB’s “Team Manager” series.
Nike SB Dunk Low “What The” (2007)
Can’t pick a favourite Dunk colourway? You needn’t as Nike put to use the designs of no less than 31 iconic Dunk styles, combining them all into this “What The” exclusive. Not everyone was convinced at the time but these have since garnered a cult like status.
Nike SB Dunk High “Skunk” (2010)
As the name would suggest, the furry suede of this Nike SB arrived as a homage to marijuana. It launched right on cue during the annual pot head celebration of 4/20. The forest green colourway makes these especially wavy along with special graphics which feature to the inner sole.
Diamond Supply Co. x Nike SB Dunk Low “Tiffany” (2005)
Arguably one of the most luxurious SBs arrived at the hands of Diamond Supply Co founder, Nicky Diamonds. Not only does this feature crocodile-embossed leather and a chrome Swoosh, this pair gets doused with Tiffany-inspired blue – a shade synonymous with grandeur. A high-top arriving in a similar theme followed up in 2014.
Soulland x Nike SB Dunk Low (2017)
Danish based brand Soulland avoided any gimmacks with their collaboration, arguably one of the most underrated drops of 2017. A high-top model launched alongside, both opting for a simple colourway but made unique thanks to the use of canvas material.
Parra x Nike SB Dunk Low (2019)
Following on from the sellout success of the 2018 Air Max 1 and Spiridon, Dutch brand Parra returned the year after with a design just as eye-catching. The familiar colours of red, pink and blue this time featured in the form of a soft chenille Swoosh. The look was kept pleasantly low key with white leather uppers but in true Parra style, a funky graphic was utilised for the inner lining.
Nike SB Dunk Low “Hemp” (2004)
Marijuana provides the inspiration yet again for a pack of hemp-covered Dunks to celebrate 4/20 back in 2004. Three colorways launched, each decked out in this hard-wearing and natural fabric. A gum outsole was the perfect compliant making these far too good to pass up for most pot loving sneakerheads.
Concepts x Nike SB Dunk Low “Lobster” (2008)
The Boston based street-wear emporium never fails to impress with their Nike collaboration. This pack from 2008 was no exception. Two colorways released but it was the in-store drop that was especially interesting. The marine theme is nothing short of impressive with accompanying wooden crate and other goodies courtesy of ‘Concepts Fishing Co.’
Nike SB Dunk Low Pro “Heineken” (2003)
Another beer-inspired colorway, this time a homage to the legendary Dutch brewery. These were never approved by Heineken though and Nike were forced to halt production following an initial stock run of only 4,000 pairs. With vibrant suede overlays and a set of red laces, these are just as eye-catching as they are controversial.
HUF x Nike SB Dunk High “Tie Dye” (2004)
HUF founder Keith Hufnagel pays homage to his roots with this pair inspired by the city of San Francisco. The tye-dye print is a cosmic nod to hippie culture, also featuring in the orange and blue of the Giants baseball team.
StrangeLove x Nike SB Dunk Low (2020)
There’s not many Valentines-inspired sneakers that are remembered in the Nike Hall Of Fame which makes this collaboration from StrangeLove Skateboards all the more unique. Designed by Todd Bratrud and Sean Cliver, this is also one of the few SBs to sport velvet crafted uppers. StrangeLove branding completes the look along with a clear pink outsole.
Nike SB Dunk Low Pro “London” (2004)
Up there with the most limited of SB Dunks, Nike released only 202 pairs of these as part of a “City Series” in 2004. First intended to launch at a sneaker exhibition, the release was later moved to London’s Footpatrol store. Only a lucky few managed to get their hands on this grey suede exclusive, complete with a embroidered blue graphic depicting the River Thames.
Nike SB Dunk Low “California” (2004)
If there was ever a shoe more at home in The Golden State it would have to be the laid back Dunk. That said, you can’t be surprised that California provides the inspiration for this release from professional skater, Paul Rodriguez. Subtle references to the Cali state flag can be seen throughout.
Travis Scott x Nike SB Dunk Low “Cactus Jack” (2020)
For the younger sneakerheads of today, there’s likely one Nike SB Dunk colourway that will have started a future obsession with this silhouette. That’s right, it can only be Travis Scott’s paisley covered exclusive. With other unique details, like rope laces and a pastel pink coloured Swoosh, these also happen to be one of the most unconventional releases. It somehow works and it’s hard to question the appeal given these resell for well over £1,000. These are also credited as re-igniting the hype in 2020, setting the stage for a big revival which places the SB Dunk as one of this year’s most sought-after styles.
All of the latest and upcoming Nike SB Dunk styles can be found here. Take a look and stay glued to The Sole Supplier for more essential sneaker guides like this.