Nike Dunk

The Nike Dunk has basketball and skate corpuscles in their veins, besides belonging to a small circle of sneakers unanimously appreciated by footwear geeks, sports fans and general public. Launched in 1985, right after Jordan 1, Dunks were originally meant as a natural evolution of the Air Force 1, thus featuring an extremely light construction to be worn during NCAA matches, the American college basketball league. Fame came with the “Be true to your school” series, including several Dunks with color schemes inspired by USA colleges: UNC, Duke, Michigan, Syracuse. Designed by former Nike creative director Peter Moore, they’re called Dunk because the shoe’s release ended up coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the first documented in-game slam dunk. Originally featuring a leather upper with perforated toebox and flat sole, the sneaker’s design was reworked in the early ‘00s by the late Nike SB general manager Sandy Bodecker to revitalize the Swoosh skateboarding division. In order to make SB Dunks more suitable for skating, the team led by Bodecker added some padding to the insole, a “fat tongue” replacing the original’s nylon as well as a thicker rubber outsole, more suitable for traction. Credit for bridging the gap between sneakerheads, skateboarding and sports goes to the newly redesigned Nike SB, which pushed many creatives, shops and collectives to join forces with Nike, the reason why most SB Dunks are considered absolute grails as well as great skate shoes. This way Dunks find new life in a variety of subcultures, increasing their relevance through collaborations and special projects that combine for a multifaceted identity. As further proof of their influence, several collaborative relationships between key figures of street culture and the Swoosh actually started with a Dunk - Virgil Abloh paved the way, then came Travis Scott, Yoon Ambush, Parra, Paul Rodriguez and others. A crucial step of a more composite evolution process that turned the shoes into the style that better represents the Swoosh unique approach towards footwear, design and street culture.

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