The Greatest Nike SB Dunks From the ‘Striped Box’ Era
First introduced in 2002 (fun fact: the same year Sneaker Freaker was conceived), Nike SB are responsible for kickstarting campouts, collaborations, and one of the more loathed creatures of the sneaker community: the reseller. Across its 20-plus year lifespan, the sub-division has enjoyed many prolific eras, largely distinguishable by colour-coded boxes.
The striped box dropped into the market unexpectedly in 2020 and soon busted open yet another golden era for the Swoosh. So, with rumours of the box being phased out this year, we took a look back at the sneakers that helped Nike SB lodge one of their most successful eras on record.
Note: Nike SB refer to all releases from January 2020 onwards as the ‘Striped Box’ era. Some models may actually feature different coloured boxes.
Nike SB Dunk Low ‘StrangeLove’ (February 2020)Nike SB Dunk Low ‘StrangeLove’ (February 2020)
As the most heart-thumping Valentine’s Day release of all time, the Strangelove x Nike SB Dunk Low was love at first sight.
Sean Cliver, a longtime stalwart of the skate community, has been responsible for some of the sickest board graphics out there. In 2020, Cliver and his StrangeLove team turned their attention to the SB Dunk Low, utilising ultra-sexy crushed velvet overlays (did anyone else need a cold shower after seeing these for the first time?).
For more on the Nike SB StrangeLove, check out our interview with Sean Cliver.
Nike SB Dunk High ‘Strawberry Cough’ (October 2021)Nike SB Dunk High ‘Strawberry Cough’ (October 2021)
Nike SB have always had a smokin’ hot relationship with 4/20 – the annual holiday celebrating all things choof. The Nike SB Dunk High ‘Strawberry’ was designed by Todd Bratrud – the brains behind the Send Help skateboard label. Paying homage to the legendary ‘Bubonic Skunk Dunk’, Bratrud got stanky once again with the ‘Strawberry’ Dunk, installing a secret stash pocket on the tongue and a custom-designed strawberry sockliner.
Neckface x Nike SB Dunk Low (October 2022)Neckface x Nike SB Dunk Low (October 2022)
Neckface has been terrorising the streets for years with his entourage from the underworld. In 2022, the California artist flamed the Nike SB Dunk with patches displaying everything in his signature arsenal, from hellish imps to medieval swords. As a burning-hot homage to black metal vests, this was one of our favourite sneaker releases of 2022 (the limited-edition box was also pure unadulterated carnage).
Grateful Dead x Nike SB Dunk Low (July 2020)Grateful Dead x Nike SB Dunk Low (July 2020)
Deadheads are a tough bunch to impress, but this Nike SB Dunk Low turned things up to a headbanging volume in 2020. Released in celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty, these were unequivocally the most psychedelic sneakers we saw all year.
Released featuring a trio of pupil-dilating orange, green and yellow, the collaboration was complete with shaggy fur panels, custom-designed Bear logos, and a secret zip stash pocket.
Remember, kids, the Deadheads never die…
Ben & Jerry’s x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Chunky Dunky’ (May 2020)Ben & Jerry’s x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Chunky Dunky’ (May 2020)
Sweeter than a bucket full of your favourite ice cream, the ‘Chunky Dunky’ delivered the sugar hit we needed in 2020. A whimsical, pastoral ode to the iconic graphics seen on Ben & Jerry’s classic ice cream combos, this one was worth lining up for. From the hairy, cow-print leather overlays to the dripping banana Swoosh, the collaboration was so tasty one sneakerhead even started scooping ice cream from the sole – much to the chagrin of the community.
KCDC x Nike SB Dunk High (April 2022)KCDC x Nike SB Dunk High (April 2022)
Busting open their doors in Brooklyn back in 2001, KCDC continue to serve as a trailblazer for women’s skating. The SB Dunk High model, recently celebrating 20 years on the plywood, utilised two of our all-time favourite colour combinations: pink and black. Replete with antique brass eyelets, tasty clear gum outsoles and KCDC logo branding on the footbeds, this is still one we thrash today.
Civilist x Nike SB Dunk Low (August 2020)Civilist x Nike SB Dunk Low (August 2020)
In 2020, Berlin’s Civilist came through with one of the illest SB Dunks of the Striped Box era.
Paying homage to the burgeoning rave culture that erupted after the Berlin Wall was demolished in 1991, the acid-trip uppers were only revealed once exposed to heat. This clever, heat-activated colourway is still making us sweat to this day – and it’s the perfect shoe to stomp on a rave dancefloor.
Stingwater x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Magic Mushroom’ (May 2021)Stingwater x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Magic Mushroom’ (May 2021)
Enigmatic skate label Stingwater produced some damn trippy sneaker fungi in 2021. ‘It’s a story about ‘groeing’, founder Daniel Kim told us before the release. ‘Empty your mind. Just do it.’
Inspired by his favourite print, the Air Max ‘Safari’, Kim infused the colourway with mushroom panelling and transparent soles that read, ‘Plant emoji with eyes.’ Struggling to comprehend the concept here? Reach into the stash pocket and break open the doors of perception.
Travis Scott x Nike SB Dunk Low (February 2020)Travis Scott x Nike SB Dunk Low (February 2020)
Hype hath no fury like a Travis Scott collaboration. The perpetual rager was a pivotal force in taking SB Dunk mania to extreme heights way back in 2019 by stunting some of the all-time classics of the catalogue.
As one of the toughest models to get your hands on throughout the reign of the striped box, this collaboration is still fetching huge numbers on secondary platforms. The shoe itself is manufactured using a combination of bandana patterns, tartan plaid and khaki, and it’s worth noting that the model also helped kickstart the tear-away phenomenon that’s once again ripping it up in the sneaker industry.
Dawn of a new rage – this time in plaid.
Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Mummy’ (October 2021) Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Mummy’ (October 2021)
Halloween always brings out the most ghoulish of grails. The Nike SB Dunk ‘Mummy’ rose from its sarcophagus in 2021, bringing us one of the greatest GR models from the striped box era.
Building on its lauded predecessor – Nike SB’s Dunk Low ‘Night of Mischief’ – the ‘Mummy’ was wrapped in gauzy, tear-away raw suede overlays dubbed ‘Coconut Milk’. This SB Dunk also featured glow-in-the-dark detailing, reminiscent of the linen bandage used to wrap mummies in Egypt, on the left shoe vamp.
Let’s hope Nike dig up some more monstrous SB Dunks this year!
Nike SB Dunk High ‘Reverse Skunk’ (April 2020)Nike SB Dunk High ‘Reverse Skunk’ (April 2020)
In 2010, Todd Bratrud delivered one of the most legendary SB Dunks of all time: the ‘Skunk’ Dunk. As part of the striped box spree, Bratrud flared nostrils once again with the ‘Reverse Skunk’, a smoking 4/20 tribute that arrived in 2020. This rendition inverted the colour palette and adopted two-toned purple uppers and green Swooshes – all rendered in fuzzy suede.
Hell, the ‘Skunk’ Dunk has been around so long that Bratrud even gave it a flowing white beard on the insoles!
Carpet Company x Nike SB Dunk High (March 2021)Carpet Company x Nike SB Dunk High (March 2021)
Carpet Company tapped into Nike SBs deep DIY veins for their inaugural collaboration, and the Baltimore brothers Ayman and Osama Abdeldayem locked it down with one of the most solid shoes of 2021.
The model infused the founders’ Egyptian-American heritage with its design and featured a double-layered tear-away composition inspired by screen printing. With neck-craning, paint-splattered gold underneath and playful, fez-headed illustrations on the insoles, the Carpet Company x SB Dunk was a conceptual tour de force.
Concepts x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Mallard’ (November 2020)Concepts x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Mallard’ (November 2020)
A deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, further stuffed into a deboned turkey. Culinary odyssey or unholy abomination? Regardless of what you think of John Madden’s Thanksgiving dish, there’s no denying that Concepts’ ‘Mallard’ was one steaming-hot release. Cooked up by the Boston-based outfit, the SB Dunk High ‘Mallard’ (also known as the ‘Turdunken’) featured laser-cut ‘feathers’ on the quarter panels and chicken-printed socks.
Surely this is one turkey that gets a Thanksgiving pardon.
Nike SB Dunk Low ‘What The Paul’ (May 2021)Nike SB Dunk Low ‘What The Paul’ (May 2021)
‘What The’ colourways hold a special place in the hearts of Dunk devotees. For their latest ‘What The’ project, Nike SB again tapped Paul Rodriguez, a legendary figure of the skate community (with a lazy 10 signature shoes under his belt). The ‘What The Paul’ drew inspiration from several of Rodriguez’s previous skate models and incorporated elephant print, Mexican textiles, and even aspects of the OG ‘What The Dunk’ from 2007.
Frankenstein’s monster never looked so gnarly.
Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Polaroid’ (April 2022)Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Polaroid’ (April 2022)
The only thing that’s surged in popularity like Nike SB Dunks is polaroid pics on the IG feed. Nike SB paid homage to the nostalgic instant camera, which debuted back in 1937, with striking tri-toned Swooshes, reflective materials and custom embroidery. And, as one of the cleanest designs we saw from the team across the striped box generation, the colourway even came with seven colour-graded lace options, allowing you to apply real-life filters to your mood.
Gundam x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Banshee’ and ‘Unicorn’ (September 2021)Gundam x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Banshee’ and ‘Unicorn’ (September 2021)
Undoubtedly one of the most lethal anime-inspired sneakers we’ve ever laid eyes on, the duo of high-powered Gundam x Nike SB Dunk Highs were, of course, inspired by the classic anime series of the same name. With both colourways taking their design blueprints from the giant, pop-culture-altering mecha, the sci-fi SB Dunks featured customisable removable Swooshes – always a beloved addition for OG SB-heads (human or machine).
Parra x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Abstract Art’ (July 2021)Parra x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Abstract Art’ (July 2021)
Dutch artist Piet Parra has been integral to the sneaker and streetwear community for many years. Emblazoning the SB Dunk Low with his signature mix of abstract geometric shapes and vibrant colour schemes, Parra’s 2021 SB Dunk paid tribute to the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo (where the artist designed the skate Federation Kits).
Sean Cliver x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Holiday Special’ (December 2020)Sean Cliver x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Holiday Special’ (December 2020)
Another SB Dunk by the OG Sean Cliver, this holiday special had everyone writing desperate letters to Santa. Arriving in 2020, the collaboration was loaded with goodies for the silly season, including ice blue velvet suede, snowflake patterns on the toes and some naughty elves building toys on the insoles.
Naughty, nice, and everything in between – this is one we wish we had in our stockings every single year…
Ishod Wair x Magnus Walker x Nike SB Dunk High (June 2021)Ishod Wair x Magnus Walker x Nike SB Dunk High (June 2021)
Rev-heads and sneakerheads unite! As a three-way ménage à trois hotter than an exhaust pipe, the Ishod Wair x Magnus Walker combined the best of skate and car culture into one of 2021’s most luxurious rides. Replete with numerous classic car racing motifs, the collaboration left its competition in a trail of dust… and laces.
Frame x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Habibi’ (June 2022)Frame x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Habibi’ (June 2022)
Nike SB once again travelled the globe as part of the striped box era. Paying homage to Frame’s hometown of Dubai and the broader UAE’s rich cultural history, the collaboration saw liftoff in June 2020. Every aspect of the model was carefully curated to illuminate the region’s distinct topology, with the red, white, black and green palette echoing the UAE’s flag. Our favourite part of the design? Undoubtedly, the stitched ‘Habibi’ on the inner tongues (Arabic for ‘my love’).
Concepts x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Orange Lobster’ (December 2022)Concepts x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Orange Lobster’ (December 2022)
Who doesn’t love a good ‘Lobster’ Dunk? The brainchild of Boston’s Concepts, the original ‘Lobster’ collaboration was released way back in 2002, and it’s long fed the appetites of ravenous Dunk-heads. Complete with all the buttery details of its predecessors, the ‘Orange Lobster’ is yet another New England delicacy cooked up by the masters over at Concepts.
Atlas x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Lost at Sea’ (September 2020)Atlas x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Lost at Sea’ (September 2020)
San Francisco’s Atlas skate shop reeled in the drip from the deep blue sea in 2020. Arriving in September, the model was inspired by a water-logged 89 Nike Air Flight and utilised pre-yellowed glue and laces for a vintage feel.
Dubbed the ‘Lost At Sea’, the collaboration actually took storytelling cues from ‘The Great Spill of 1990’, where a cargo ship travelling from Korea to the US accidentally sent 61,000 pairs of Nike sneakers overboard. Some of them ended up ‘sneaker-wrecked’ on the California shore – many of which were the Air Flight model.
More proof Nike SB and their skate-store collaborators are second to none in terms of conceptual storytelling.
Pass~Port x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Workboot’ (March 2022)Pass~Port x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Workboot’ (March 2022)
Australia’s very own Pass~Port took the SB Dunk Down Under in 2022. The colab took inspiration from hiking, seeing this Dunk composed of earthy carbon green and fawn brown. The eye-catching gold details are the pièce de résistance for the model, with the gilded look landing on the sockliner branding, custom heel logos, embroidered logo and bold D-ring eyelets.
Digging up certified gold for their inaugural collaboration, Trent Evans’ Pass~Port continue to serve as a trailblazer for skate culture in Australia.
Skate Like A Girl x Nike SB Dunk Low (October 2022)Skate Like A Girl x Nike SB Dunk Low (October 2022)
Skate Like a Girl, a female-founded nonprofit based in the Pacific Northwest, are making a bunch of noise in an often male-centric industry. The team’s 2022 collaboration kept things super clean, drawing on their passion for inclusivity and social justice to create this SB Dunk Low featuring corduroy materials and custom illustrations.
Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Street Hawker’ (January 2021)Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Street Hawker’ (January 2021)
Let’s face it: nothing hits a rumbling stomach like pipin’ hot delicacies from the East. The Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Street Hawker’ paid homage to Chinese street food vendors back in January 2021, with artist Jason Deng creating watercolour paintings that represented six different regional dishes from six Chinese cities. Sweet, sour, and sizzlin’, this one had sneakerheads salivating well into the new year.
Nike SB Dunk Low ‘VX1000’ (February 2021) Nike SB Dunk Low ‘VX1000’ (February 2021)
In 2021, the Nike SB Dunk Low ‘VX1000’ immortalised the humble tech inextricable to skateboarding global success: the Sony Camcorder. After launching in 1995, this video camera became a skate staple thanks to its wide-angled fish-eye lens, stoic durability and user-friendliness. Replete with all the nostalgic tech DNA of the 1990s, the VX1000 has seen a lot of skaters eat concrete over the years.
Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Why So Sad?’ (November 2022)Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Why So Sad?’ (November 2022)
Founded by John Rattray, ‘Why So Sad?’ is an important cycling and skate-oriented campaign driving awareness around mental health and suicide prevention. Part of the genius of the ‘Why So Sad?’ campaign was coining new tricks like the ‘sad plant’, ‘melancholy’ and ‘mayday’, proving that sometimes humour and light-heartedness is the best medicine.
But seriously – look after yourself and talk to your mates.
HUF x Nike SB Dunk Low (November 2022)HUF x Nike SB Dunk Low (November 2022)
Celebrating 20 years of HUF and its fearless leader Keith Hufnagel, the Nike SB Dunk Low ‘HUF’ arrived in 2022. A tribute to Keith’s journeys across NYC and San Francisco, the duo of tear-away SB Dunks came in limited ‘blind bag’ editions that added to the intrigue. Embroidered heel tabs on each pair read, ‘Keith Forever’.
Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Low (March 2021) Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Low (March 2021)
It was only fitting that skate royalty Supreme would drop in on the SB Dunk Renaissance. The collaboration boasted a quartet of colourways and once again utilised faux crocodile skin – a notable addition to Supreme’s Dunk High set from 2020.
Nike SB Dunk High ‘Oski’ (March 2022)Nike SB Dunk High ‘Oski’ (March 2022)
‘Hey Siri, cue the Jaws theme song.’ Oskar ‘Oski’ Rozenberg went swimming with the sharks again in 2022, the Swedish skater transforming the Swoosh into a great white. Embodying speed, unpredictability, and power, nature’s apex predator looked mighty fine on this crisp white leather colourway. Hell, even the kids were invited into the water with a Dunk Low version.
Swim between the flags, fam!
Color Skates x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Kebab and Destroy’ (June 2021) Color Skates x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Kebab and Destroy’ (June 2021)
Does it get any better than a late-night skate and kebab? Short answer: no. An essential ingredient in Athens’ skate scene, Vassilis Aramvoglou and his crew at the Color Skates Shop have been slinging tasty sneakers since 2008. With textured brown elephant print leather heel straps and Color branding, this gyro-inspired collaboration was worth lining up for.
eBay x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Sandy Bodecker’ (December 2022)eBay x Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Sandy Bodecker’ (December 2022)
Nike SB wouldn’t be what it is today without Sandy Bodecker. The team paid homage to the legendary architect of the division with the eBay x Nike SB Dunk Low in 2022, an update to the iconic eBay SB Dunk Low from 2003.
A bit of backstory: the original SB Dunk Low ‘eBay’ arrived in 2003 through a charity auction, which sold a single pair to the highest bidder. There was also a second sample pair, which was cut into multiple pieces. When the initial announcement from Nike arrived, it read, ‘We are putting the pieces back together.’ And they meant it. The 2022 iteration was dubbed ‘Sandy’ and boasted a full patent-leather upper split into three parts via transparent panels.
On the insoles, special details commemorating Sandy Bodecker reinforced the man’s inextricable ties to sneakers and SB’s legacy.
Sandy Bodecker passed away in 2018. For more on Sandy’s life, make sure to read our interview with him from 2003.
Pawnshop x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Old Soul’ (January 2023)Pawnshop x Nike SB Dunk High ‘Old Soul’ (January 2023)
Donovon Piscopo’s skate story is one for the books. Donovan’s dad originally pawned a family heirloom to get his kid on the deck, and the moment later inspired the name of the family owned business. Founded in Covina, California, the collaboration visually alluded to custom culture and work boots.
I swear I’m not crying – Mum’s just chopping onions.