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2020 Lookback: Nike SB Dunks

A global icon of the courts, streets and skate parks, the Nike SB Dunk legacy is one that shows little to no signs of ever fading. A sneaker that’s endured different lives across its evolutionary journey, both Peter Moore’s ‘80s era Nike Dunk and Sandy Bodeker’s ‘02 design for Nike SB remains a firm favourite of skaters and sneakerheads across the world. Founding silhouettes such as the 2002 ‘Colours By’ Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Reese’, the 2005-released Nike SB Dunk Low Staple NYC Pigeon and the iconic Nike SB Dunk Low Diamond Supply Co. ‘Tiffany’ still captivate the market, whilst skate-store collaborations such as the Concepts x Nike SB ‘Purple Lobster’ Dunk Low Pro OG and the memorialised midnight-fog Nike SB Dunk High from the late MF Doom captures cross-cultural creativity, conceptual innovation and the SB Dunk’s self-acclaimed ‘limited numbers, compelling stories’ life-cycle down to a T.

Honouring Bodecker’s ‘future lies in the history’ tagline for the Nike SB Dunk, 2021, although only a few months in, has already proven its worth when it comes to revolutionary aesthetics and artistic mark-ups across the now grail-like profile. Aside from staple colour-block rewrites, as inspired by the design’s ‘Be True To Your School’ NBA legacy, additions to the #supportyourlocalskateshop Orange Label collection also honour the silhouettes OG ode to skate retailers. The culinary and culturally inclined Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Street Hawker’ marked a prosperous start to the year as they align with the upcoming Chinese New Year, whilst soon-to-released must-cop’s such as the Porsche 917/20 ‘24 Hours of Le Mans’ Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Pink Pig’, Baltimore-based Carpet Company’s collaborative Nike SB Dunk High and the vegan-leather infused ‘Baroque Brown’ Dunk High are set to carry forth 2020’s ‘Year of the Dunk’ accolade well into the dawning decade of 2021.

Nike SB 'Strangelove' Dunk

For those curious as to what our favourite releases from 2020 were, then here’s our chosen five (albeit a hard one to decide). Cast your mind back to last February, prior to the end-of-year ‘Holiday Special’ release, and you’ll swiftly stumble on Sean Cliver’s StrangeLove Skateboards collaboration with Nike SB. A hearty, Valentine’s Day-themed drop mixing crushed velvet with lovey-dovey shades of brushed-white, pink and red-suede, the release is one that captures both Cliver’s artistic appeal and Nike’s endearing passion for skate in a truly heart-felt and unique light.

Nike SB x Travis Scott Dunk Low

An obvious choice, not only due to the ‘JACKBOYS’ hype surrounding its release, but because of its bandana-style aesthetic and its texture-based allure, the Nike SB x Travis Scott Dunk Low Premium added a healthy dousing of fuel to the Dunk Low fire. Sharing the same ‘Cactus Jack’ reference as its Air Max 270 React and Nike Air Force 1 Low counterparts, rapper-come-record producer Scott’s infamous Dunk Low’s played to the tune of the profile’s evolutionary cross-scene stature.

Nike SB x Ben & Jerry's 'Chunky Dunky' Dunk

Ice-cream fan or not, there’s no denying that the Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Chunky Dunky’ sneakers from May 2020 stood out like a sore thumb - and for all the right reasons. Inspired by previous hairy-textured drops such as the Dunk High ‘Dog Walker’ from the year before, as well as Ben & Jerry’s iconic banana chocolate chip frozen favourite, the Chunky Dunky boasted a mirage of flavourful colourings that more than answered the ice-cream pioneers’ ‘If it isn’t fun, why do it?’ motto. 

Nike SB 'Blue Fury' Dunk

Released as part of the ‘Incredible Hulk’ cocktail collection, the Nike SB Dunk Low Pro ‘Blue Fury’ served as a tall glass of Hypnotiq-liquor referencing creativity. With its vibrant colouring and its ties to a tri-part U.S Military cocktail, concocted by mixing Hypnotiq with the ‘Hennessy’ Nike SB Dunk Low Pro and pineapple juice - the ‘Laser Orange’ Dunk Low Pro, the release was both refreshing and revolutionary in its own heritage-minded right.

Nike SB x Civilist Dunk Low Pro QS

It goes without saying that you can’t discuss Nike SB Dunk legacy without mentioning the collaborative Nike SB Dunk Low Pro QS sneakers from Civilist. Thermal transformaties take over its all-black profile to unveil a truly masterful design when optimal temperatures of 88-degrees Fahrenheit are met, while the OG puffy tongue, vulcanised cupsole and the artistic flair associated with the Berlin-based skatewear brand shines through, is uncompromised and non-conformist in construction.

Once eclipsed by the Air Jordan 1 on the courts but now host to a revived and gravitational international following, the legacy of the Nike SB Dunk is far from over. The perfect canvas for artistic expression, concept-led creativeness and culture-minded quirks, Nike’s archival Dunk silhouette remains host to a unifying sense of character and an untameable sense of modern-day appeal. 

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