The number of Nike Dunk releases has exponentially increased in 2021, and so has the statistical likelihood for colourways to be either killer or dead on arrival. As subjective as these choices are, it doesn’t change the fact the Dunk continues to be one of the hottest silhouettes of 2021. These are the best and worst Nike Dunks of 2021 (so far).
BEST: ‘Medium Curry’
It’s said that variety is the spice of life, and the ‘Medium Curry’ Dunk Low added some flavour to a vanilla lineup – without being too hectic on the sneaker Scoville scale. They probably smelled great out of the box too.
WORST: ‘City Market’
Sometimes concepts should stay that way. (Too) many creative sources inspired the ‘City Market’, including up-cycled coffee bags, vintage Oregon signage and, for some reason, nutrition labels. Less is more.
BEST: ‘Michigan’ Low
Any of the seven OG ‘Be True To Your School’ collegiate Dunk colourways automatically qualify for 'Best' status. Nike doubling down in 2021 by releasing a low-cut version of the navy and yellow ‘Michigan’ is an easy win.
WORST: Off-White x Nike Dunk ‘The 50’
Mr '3% Rule' lived up to his design principle by dropping 50 very same-same-but-different-but-mostly-same Dunks. No prizes for guessing what the pack was called.
Chicago boutique Notre have made a couple of solid sneaker co-signs over the years, and their Dunk colab at the beginning of the year had a handshaking Swoosh to seal the deal of approval. Simple suede hits don’t miss.
WORST: ‘Flip the Old School’
Back in 1999, Nike released the underrated ‘Reverse City Attack’ co.jp Dunk. In 2021, Nike decided to ‘Flip the Old School’ and redo the colourway on some Lows. And turned the Swoosh upside down. And covered the shoes in paper. Why!?
According to Nike, the ‘Free.99’ nickname is derived from the cheap bags of assorted lollies sold at neighbourhood corner stores. The candy colourway certainly is sweet, and the gum soles are great.
WORST: ‘Sunset Pulse’
Liberal use of colour is good, but overzealous palette time can result in something akin to an unused Art Attack prop. Wavering secondary market value of the ‘Sunset Pulse’ hasn’t quite matched its enthusiasm for colour.
BEST: ‘Dusty Olive’
Rather than revive some old 2000s colourways (well, they already did), Nike referenced the ‘Ugly Duckling’ pack with the all-suede ‘Dusty Olive’. An excellent spiritual successor to a 20-year-old release.