ARTICLE BY Gabe Filippa

Drunk on the SB Dunk – Time to Sober Up?

Nike SB Dunk Low Heineken

Thrashed, bashed, battered and bruised on skate parks and the streets for the best part of twenty years, the Nike SB Dunk has experienced an eye-watering resurgence over the last 24 months.

Linking up for some of the dopest collaborations in recent memory, Nike SB again tapped Diamond Supply Co., went fishing for another fabled Lobster with Concepts, enlisted the help of Dutch artist Parra, and even helped Jeff Staple chase another flock of pigeons.

This year, Nike SB helped nurture lonely hearts for the sexed-up StrangeLove x Dunk Low Valentine’s Day, while we all still wait to blaze Todd Bratrud’s ‘Strawberry Cough’ or cop a whiff of the elusive ‘Reverse Skunk’.

Dedicated Nike SB Instagram accounts are skyrocketing, while killer GR releases ('Laser Orange', 'Muslin', 'Blue Fury') and Air Max/Jordan crossovers (a rumoured ‘Bred’ colourway is on the way) continue to pave a way forward and entice a broader audience.

That said, we’ve also seen some fizzers that appear estranged from the legacy of the Nike SB Dunk.

Perhaps the slurpee-slinging 7-Eleven SB Dunk has some (rather tenuous) links to skate culture, but there are questions around what banana ice cream with fudge chunks and walnuts have to do with Nike SB? Are we slurring a little, or not able to walk a straight line? Are we just too drunk on the Dunk?

Supreme Nike SB 'Black Cement' (2002)
Supreme Nike SB 'Black Cement'
Zoo York Nike SB Dunk (2002)
Zoo York Nike SB Dunk (2002)
Chocolate Nike SB Dunk Low (2002)
Chocolate Nike SB Dunk Low (2002)
Supa Nike SB Dunk Low (2002)
Nike SB Dunk Low Supa (2002)

Bodecker Brilliance

Founded in 2002, the Nike SB line was ushered into the world under the guidance of Swoosh royalty, Sandy Bodecker.

Tasked with resurrecting Nike’s ailing skate division, Bodecker’s plan was simple: skate in the opposite direction to everything Nike had done with the label thus far.

No longer leaning on mass production and generic releases, Bodecker enlisted the help of skaters Reese Forbes, Gino Ianucci, Richard Mulder and Danny Supa, to legitimise the label and secure ties to the skate community.

Respecting skate culture was central to Bodecker’s vision for Nike SB.

The first wave of releases, the Orange Box, quickly catapulted the Nike SB into the collective consciousness.

Expertly forging a nexus between skate culture and the still relatively-fledgling sneaker scene, the Orange Box releases went absolutely bonkers, with collaborations alongside Supreme, Zoo York and Chocolate establishing the new-kid-on-the-block as the fired-up renegade of the sneaker world.

The crossover appeal of Nike’s SB line was trailblazing. Soon, partnerships between Nike SB and sneaker boutiques, independent labels, skaters and designers generated meteoric levels of hype over the next decade. Releases like the City Series utterly destroyed anything else on the market, with Jeff Staple’s ‘Pigeon’ Dunk even inciting wild riots in New York City.

Paired with other generation-defining releases like the ‘What The Dunk, ‘FLOM’ and Stussy collaborations, and the SB Dunk was flexing some of the most iconic sneaker releases of the 21st century.

Case in point: the legendary 'Heineken' Dunk Low.

Nike SB Dunk Low Heineken
Nike SB Dunk Low Heineken
Nike SB Dunk Low Heineken
Nike SB Dunk Low Heineken
Nike SB Dunk Low Heineken
Nike SB Dunk Low Heineken
Nike SB Dunk Low Heineken
Nike SB Dunk Low Heineken
Nike SB Dunk Low Heineken
Nike SB Dunk Low Heineken

Dutch Brewing Bliss

Hands up who remembers the ‘Heineken’ Dunk Low? Of course you do. Remember when the Dutch brew masters had a meltdown when skaters actually started referring to them as the Heineken Dunks? (How much would Heineken now pay to put their name on one?)

Nike’s muscle (read: lawyers) pulled the release from stores (alongside the sister release, ‘Pabst Blue Ribbon’), and its limited numbers made it one of the most coveted sneakers of all time.

The bloody-thirsty Nike SB Dunk ‘Freddy Krueger’ release shares a similar narrative. Both releases further solidified Nike SBs renegade status and IDGAF attitudes of its core audience.

Ben & Jerry's Nike SB Dunk Low
Ben & Jerry's Nike SB Dunk Low
Ben & Jerry's Nike SB Dunk Low
Ben & Jerry's Nike SB Dunk Low
Ben & Jerry's Nike SB Dunk Low
Ben & Jerry's Nike SB Dunk Low
Ben & Jerry's Nike SB Dunk Low
Ben & Jerry's Nike SB Dunk Low

The Chunky Dunky

Contrast this with the official, co-branded Ben & Jerry’s ‘Chunky Dunky’ collaboration. The bucolic mashup of faux-shaggy cow hide, dripping banana Swoosh, and pale blue skies may have us all salivating in a kind of pre-summer stupor, but what does it say about the narrative for Nike SB in 2020?

Contrasting what were once irreverent, ironic, iconoclastic colourways, today's SB Dunk releases are edging toward becoming cannon fodder for the ever-churning resale market.

Are we all so drunk on the Dunk that we can't feel the effects of an impending hangover? Are we so wasted on banana fudge chunks to even care?

Sound-off on our Instagram and let us know how you feel!

Check out the in-depth comparison of the Nike SB Dunk and OG Dunk.

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