NIKE DUNK HIGH
NIKE DUNK HIGH: THE CLASSIC HIGHTOP SNEAKER
NIKE DUNK HIGH: ITS ORIGINS
In the early 1980s, the basketball shoe market was predominantly controlled by Adidas, thanks to exclusive contracts with legendary players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Converse, which held a near-monopoly with its iconic All Star Chuck Taylor and its famous endorsers such as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. In 1985, Nike, initially known for its running models like the Waffle Trainer and the Cortez, ventured into the basketball court with the Nike Dunk Low and High. Footwear designer Peter Moore was enlisted to create the Nike Dunk. The name is derived from the impressive move in which a player leaps high enough to slam the ball into the hoop without releasing it from their hand. The aim was to support players from the top college basketball teams. An exclusive contract was signed between the sportswear company and the following universities: University of Iowa, Syracuse, St. John, Kentucky, Georgetown, Michigan, and UNLV. The Be True To Your School pack featured seven Nike Dunk High models. In 1999, 14 years later, the Swoosh brand decided to reissue the pack, adding exclusive colors specific to certain regions worldwide. In 2001, Nike introduced the CO.JP collection, limited edition colorways available only in Japan, sparking a Dunk craze among sneakerheads globally.
NIKE DUNK HIGH COLLABORATIONS
In 2002, Beaverton-based sportswear manufacturer recognized the influence of the Dunk Low and Dunk High sneakers on skateboarding culture and established the Nike Skateboarding division, more commonly known as Nike SB. The distinctive feature of the silhouettes in this new range lies in their technological innovations. A Zoom Air cushioning insole is incorporated into all models in the range, along with a padded tongue for optimal comfort during tricks. Nike's goal was to become a true benchmark in skate culture, as it already was in basketball and soccer. To captivate the niche market, the creative teams at SB partnered with iconic figures in the field to deliver the most original collaborations. Notable examples include the 2003 Supreme High Series pack, consisting of three Dunk High Pro SBs in Varsity Red, University Blue, and College Orange. Their upper sported a crocodile skin-like grained leather and a gold Supreme deubré that matched the stars on the upper. The SB division collaborated with musical artists such as the iconic rap group DE LA SOUL, which received its Dunk Low SB and a Dunk High SB, and the late MF DOOM. In 2010, Hiroshi Fujiwara's Fragment Design label introduced the City Pack, featuring three Dunk Highs dedicated to New York, London, and Beijing. The latter was reissued in 2021. In the same year, Korean designer Yoon Ahn revealed her aerodynamic reinterpretation of the 1985 sneaker in Black White, Deep Royal Blue, Cosmic Fuchsia, and Flash Lime colorways, through her brand AMBUSH.
THE TRENDIEST COLORS OF THE DUNK HIGH
In 2020, the iconic sneaker gained renewed attention with the reissue of OG colorways on the Dunk Low and Dunk High. The retro edition of the Kentucky Blue Game Royal, Syracuse White Orange, Panda Black and White, and University Red became must-haves for sneaker enthusiasts and managed to attract younger fans with the Rebel editions and their revamped design. For purists, Nike unveiled its Dunk High 1985 range, which differs from other versions by replicating the exact structure of the sneakers produced in the 80s. The shoes feature faded uppers that showcase the vintage model's relic aspect, an oversized, distressed-look sole, and thick leather accents, making the special edition a true tribute to 1980s basketball.