5 Sneaker Alternatives to the Nike Dunk
Tired of taking Ls week in, week out for the latest Dunk releases? Perhaps it’s time to consider some alternatives. Here’s a friendly PSA that Nike, and a host of other major brands, actually make other sneakers. In some cases, they might even be better designs! Ignore the Dunk hype and check out some other options available on the market right now.
Nike Air Force 1
Yeah, someone had to say it: the Air Force 1 is more iconic than the Dunk. Sorry, not sorry. In the larger picture of sneaker history and culture, the AF-1 has had more impact in its universal appeal, timeless design, and simultaneous hyped-up and easy-to-cop status. It’s even had a song devoted to it! Practically speaking, the Air sole makes the Uptown a more comfortable shoe on paper (and pavement). Furthermore, AF-1s are more or less available all year round in just about every size, and often in better colourways too. Skip the queue and pick up a pair 24/7.
Reebok BB 4000
The Reebok BB 4000 shares many similarities with the Dunk. Both released in the mid-1980s (Dunks in ’85, BB 4000s about 1987ish) as clean low-cut leather alternatives to the shin-height designs of the time. Like the Dunk’s natural ability as a skate shoe (y’all skating your SBs, right?), the BB 4000 has also quite readily taken to the griptape. Montreal-based Dime confirmed this pedigree with a sell-out colab earlier this year. Thankfully the clean GR colourways can be easily picked up direct in a number of colourways and materials. Another option from the Vector brand is the venerable Club C, which turned 35 last year.
New Balance 550
New Balance may be better known for their rich running shoe heritage, but their retro basketball designs have recently been unearthed from the archive. The BB550 was revived by NY label Aimé Leon Dore and NB (plus unpublicised contributions from Khalli Vegas, whose OG pair helped the brand rebirth the design), and the afterglow from that huge release has reached the GR colourways. They might be constantly sold out in parts of the world, but with word of at least a dozen releases in 2021, chances are certainly relatively higher than getting a pair of Dunks at retail.
The adidas Forum is enjoying one of its biggest comebacks yet, as it celebrates over 35 years in the sneaker game. Returning in its truest-to-OG-yet form late last year as a F&F promo before hitting the masses proper this year, some great colabs and strong inline colourways are helping the Forum be a formidable challenger to the Dunk. And – as Nike tend to quietly ignore, for obvious reasons – the GOAT himself was a fan of the Forum before signing with the Swoosh. Imagine what could have happened had Michael Jordan chosen adidas instead of Nike? While that bizarro world is pure fan fiction, the Forum exists IRL and can be easily copped.
BAPE SK8 STA
The choices that have been presented so far pose no ‘real’ threat to the Dunk, as each are unique silhouettes that are only connected by basketball history. So where does that put the BAPE SK8 STA? Revived for the Japanese streetwear brand’s Spring/Summer ’21 collection, the SK8 STA unquestionably rides in on the Dunk hype wave (and aesthetic) that hasn’t really withdrawn for the past couple of years. Like its older sibling BAPE STA’s disruption of the Air Force 1 back in the early 2000s, the SK8 STA blurs the line between whether the Dunk is popular on merit of its design – or if it’s driven by hype.