ARTICLE BY Boon Mark Souphanh

OG Dunk Collectors Share Their Thoughts on the Modern Dunk Craze

nike sb dunks pile
via @sneakerboy79

Over the past 24 months, the Nike Dunk has been the undisputed champion of the sneakersphere, taking over news feeds, release calendars, and bank accounts along the way. We saw this renaissance coming from miles away, but the sheer magnitude of the contemporary Dunk comeback has even exceeded our expectations.

Collaborators and the secondary market may be drunk on the Dunk, but for some, this new wave of popularity is a case of the hair of the dog. Present for the so-called ‘golden era’, many OG Dunk collectors have their own beliefs on the iconic silhouette’s emphatic second coming.

Bona fide stalwarts of the scene, we hit some of them up to see what they really think about contemporary Dunkmania!

Johnny Tang – @johnny_tang

The past year has been insane for Nike SB, I think its definitely at an all-time high, and seems like the brand has helped influence another generation of sneaker fans.

I love what Shanghai and Fly Skateshop are doing for the community. The shoes are raffled in a way where skaters are getting them. To me, thats most important. Because not only is it keeping Nike SB authentic, but whatever the skaters plan to do with them, it all comes back into skateboarding. Its a win-win situation. The sad part is a lot of these dope shoes are being held hostage somewhere waiting for ransom money.

Now that I think about it, I don’t regret skating any of my Dunks. If I see them on someones feet or on a shelf somewhere, they always remind me of a time where I was having fun hanging out with my friends skateboarding.

Dennis – @dunk.bar

The recent revival of the Dunk has its sunny and dark sides. It’s great that the Dunk gets the attention it deserves. If you’re down with style and comfort, there is nothing running as deep as the Dunk silhouette. All its colourways and the rich heritage make it unique and special.

However, not every damn release can be an even better release as the one before. Stay calm, there are way too many Dunks on the market. There are releases with horrendous quality and craftsmanship, and it looks like thats getting worse through the hype. This fast pace of the whole thing is decreasing my joy, honestly.

In the past, a good release could be celebrated much longer. More respect and love for the origins would be great, especially when it comes to Nike SB Dunks.

Anyway, this is a whole new generation of sneaker collectors and below the line I am truly happy that the Dunk lives on with glory.

Warner Day – @nike_sb_4life

The resurrection of the Dunk has been amazing! The resurgence has brought back the energy and enthusiasm that had been absent for years. This new crazy level of hype only amplifies that feeling of excitement we all get when we finally get a win. Dunks are fun again, and back at the top where they belong!

Clint – @clintorious

It’s crazy to see the Dunk/SB Dunk resurgence! For me, personally, it’s giving me a headache (laughs). I can’t find a single decently-priced shoe anywhere! Maybe I’m still living in the days where no one cared about them. I, for once, wish everything would just go back to normal, but that’s not going to happen, which is fine. The problem with great shoes is great demand, which brings in the masses – people that never cared about the Dunk, but are interested in it because of the profit and the trend.

I’m also glad the shoe is blowing up. It really made a huge impact for skate shops. It really supported them during the pandemic, and helped them stay open. Also, skate shops are getting more ideas for the raffles to benefit the community, and it helps – food drives, donations, helping put money into skate parks, etc. You can say there are pros and cons to it.

LFF – @lefunkyfantom

For sure, there were some releases of interest, but nothing that pushed desire like in the first wave. Also it being accessible everywhere, I guess thereafter it was inevitable that these kicks would make a nostalgic comeback, which in some respects fortunately brings us to where we are now. You got hype, you got wealthy people, and you’ve got a generation of new heads who – due to the recent pandemic – have more loot to drop on kicks as the bars, clubs, restaurants and travel are momentarily closed. So, I’d say from being something amazing, to something mediocre, to completely wack, it’s now on its way back! Im excited to see what the future will bring us, especially SB with the crazy colabs!

Jürgen Blümlein@skateboardmuseum and @circylar_gallery

I’m seeing the SB Dunk from four sides: as a skateboarder, designer, collector and curator/skateboard-historian.

So, first, why the hype of the ,golden era cooled down from my perspective. Around 2012, Nike tried to integrate the SB department into the, lets say, more mainstream – it was called elevate the Swoosh and get rid of smaller sub divisions like 6.0. That killed a lot of creativity and by removing/integrating the Nikeskateboarding.com into the Nike website was just a bad move. Also, 6.0 integration into the SB line felt like SB was losing quality.

Skateboarding was more focusing on vulc-constructed footwear and slimming down the silhouettes – less puffy and less bright colours. A lot of the Dunks around 2012 were brown, dark blue, and black, grey, overall dark colours. In 2014, with the High version releases of the Cali Dunk and the Diamond Supply Tiffany, Nike SB kinda made a statement – look back how great Dunk was 10 years ago.

As much as I was happy to finally get a new Cali Dunk on my feet, it also displayed that we are missing a bit of the early days. So, in 2017, celebrating 15 years of the SB Dunks, it was a good idea to start with the Dunk Highs of the original colors by campaign, but on the same side the year ended by introducing the Dunk Elite Tech. As much as I like tech for the Koston 3, which was a really great shoe to skate, it kinda was a bold move to celebrate an icon by teching it up at that time.

Looking back, the 15 years helped re-focus again on great collaborations, and bring the fun back to the designs. Nike SB are looking to do official collaborations like Ben & Jerry’s. And after distributing the SB shoes to all chains, internet, etc. we see a concentration again on the key core skate shops. With the global pandemic, its big support for the skate shops to help keep the door open.

Of course, not too many of those hyped Dunks will be skated, but I still very much enjoy the new brightness and creativity behind the designs and stories. The downside is that real skaters will have a hard time to get, and skate shoes are originally made to skate.

Social media plays a huge role in the new Dunk hype, and I would say it will be hot for quite some time. A new, younger generation is hyped by the colourways and designs. I also really like the older colourways, and you can get a new spotlight through some IG channels like sbdunkhistory.

So, lets hope for a long and colourful future for an iconic skate shoe. If the hype cools off, lots of skater will have a chance to rock some great shoes. 2022 also marks the 20th anniversary, and will be celebrated colourfully for sure! I just hope that Nike SB will always focus on the shops and the skaterboarders!

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