Introducing the Nike SB Line

A great 20 years in the past the sneaker world regarded very totally different. On the flip of the millennium, skating lastly gained in significance and for the primary time the scene influenced the gross sales figures of the sneaker business. At the moment, Nike gave the whole lot to safe a footprint within the ever-expanding market. They acquired their first signature from Bam Margera – most individuals know him from Jackass or for his skating abilities. – however this relationship turned out to be much less spectacular. The discharge of the primary three Signature Silhouettes proved to be an absolute flop. The primary try to ascertain oneself within the skate scene at the moment failed enormously. Nike’s advertising technique on the time was to enroll present skaters and place their merchandise in “regular” sports activities retailers. Looking back, it made rather more sense to market their merchandise in impartial skate shops with a view to dive deeper into the scene and tackle the target market immediately. However, a handful of skaters had been already carrying Nike sneakers. Well-known names like Lance Mountain and Bones Brigade had been already proudly rocking the Nike Blazer. Skaters like Mark Gonzales and Steve Caballero wore 1er Jordan.

Nike’s greatest mistake right here was not to take a look at the subcultures as an entire and to suppose and act a lot too commercially too early. However the expertise at the moment was thus far superior that you would make a shoe utterly out of leather-based, which was ideally suited for skating.

From the court docket to the halfpipe

This laid the inspiration for a number of the most profitable and well-liked skate sneakers ever made. So in 2001, Nike started making a sneaker that will not solely affect the skate scene, however reform your complete sneaker tradition.

The Nike Dunk was first launched in 1985. Designed by a sure Mr. Peter Moore, who is likely one of the most influential designers in Nike historical past at present. This shoe, had some optical parallels to the 1-series Jordan. Each sneakers had been launched in the identical yr and had been designed by the identical group. However what made the Dunk so particular had been the numerous however distinctive colourways. Initially launched as a school basketball sneaker, Nike launched the Dunk within the matching colours of the respective colleges. The slogan related to the shoe was: “Be true to your faculty”.

It did not take lengthy till skaters grew to become followers of the Nike Dunk, too. Due to the cushioning it supplied and the additional traction the only made potential.

The start of the Nike SB Dunk

At the moment the Nike Dunk was marketed completely as a basketball shoe. Within the late 90’s the Dunk acquired some technical updates – just like the introduction of a nylon tongue – which unintentionally made the shoe even higher for skating. Whereas an increasing number of skaters took an interest within the Dunk, Nike nonetheless had the above talked about downside.

In 2001 Sandy Bodecker was appointed Normal Supervisor of Nike SB, with the duty of fixing the issue with the skate enterprise. Having performed a significant function in constructing the soccer division, Nike hoped Bodecker may discover a solution to the weak efficiency of the SB division.

In brief, Bodecker’s answer was to do precisely the alternative of what Nike had achieved earlier than. Nike SB averted non-specialized sports activities shops, basic releases and mass manufacturing. Bodecker argued that there was no level in creating a very new skate shoe as a result of Nike was already unconsciously producing sneakers for skaters.

One instance was the Air Jordan 1, which was already utilized by skaters within the 90s. As an alternative, he thought-about redesigning the Dunk and making a model particularly for skaters. Whereas Bodecker and the remainder of the SB group had been nonetheless constructing on the basketball shoe, they knew that the SB Dunk needed to be primarily for skateboarding, which meant greater than only a easy redesign. The brand new sneaker needed to know and respect the skate tradition. To be able to appeal to consideration locally, 4 skaters grew to become the brand new face of Dunk: Reese Forbes, Gino Ianucci, Richard Mulder and Danny Supa had been the Model Ambassadors chosen by Nike to extend the recognition of Dunk inside the subculture. The group had been extra than simply athletes. Additionally they performed an important function within the improvement of the Nike SB Dunks. To make the shoe extra appropriate for skating, some modifications had been made to the unique darkish to resist the virtually fixed load. The insole was padded to scale back influence, whereas some adjustments had been additionally made to the only to offer higher traction on Grip Tape. Nevertheless, essentially the most notable change was the introduction of the beloved fats tongue of the SB Dunk. Whereas the technical adjustments had been decisive, the SB Dunk additionally differed from typical skate sneakers in its aesthetics. In keeping with Mulder, the SB Dunk represents a dramatic change from the times whenever you had an additional pair of sneakers in your backpack to chill out after skating. Not like its “chunky” rivals, the SB was not designed only for skating. Much more essential was that the sneakers -not solely on the board- regarded good. “I appreciated to see skateboard tips in these sneakers,” Mulder stated. The recognition of the SB Dunk was primarily based on its crossover aesthetics. In easy phrases, it was in the end a basketball shoe that was become a skate shoe. This was important for achievement. The primary 4 SB Dunks had been solely obtainable in restricted portions and had been offered completely by way of an elite community of impartial skate boutiques – a drastic distinction to the earlier releases of Nike SB. Because of the restricted availability of every shoe, the skaters had been the primary to get their fingers on the sneakers and really skate within the newly launched SB Dunks. With the sneakers of their baggage, which the skaters now had at their toes, Nike SB determined in June of the identical yr to work with Zoo York and Chocolate. Of their day, these had been essentially the most well-known skate manufacturers. Within the early 2000s, Nike SB and Supreme crossed swords to convey out two legendary SB dunks. The sneakers had been the primary non-Jordan sneakers to put on the well-known Elephant Print, as soon as made well-known and well-liked by the Air Jordan 3. They left the pure efficiency space and established themselves more and more as way of life and hype sneakers. The three partnerships that Nike has established by way of its Nike SB line have helped set up the Nike SB Dunk within the core skateboard group, one thing that had by no means been achieved earlier than.

The SB Dunk low Supreme White Cement (2002) Supply: S
Nike SB Dunk Zoo York, Supply: StockX

Nike SB Dunk Los Chocolate, Supply: StockX

Greater than only a shoe to skate in

However it was solely the start of an extended story, as a result of abruptly skateshops had a brand new buyer of their fingers: Sneakerheads. In the beginning of the 21st century, sneakerheads abruptly stood in line for hours – generally for days – to buy the most recent collaboration or creative colourways. Below the “Silver Field Period”, the Nike SB merchandise launched between 2003 and 2004 grew to become identified and coveted. Amongst others the Jedi, Heineken and U.N.Okay.L.E – a number of the most hyped sneakers in the marketplace. Whereas the Jedi and Heinekens had been merely a tribute to Star Wars and the Dutch brewers, the U. N.Okay.L. Es – or formally referred to as Darkish Lights – had been an official collaboration, with the British trip-hop group UNKLE and Futura; the well-known graffiti artist and well-known sneaker fanatic. The Dunkles, launched in September 2004, had little to do with skating. By that point, skaters had by and huge stopped carrying excessive high sneakers. As an alternative, with the SB Dunk, Nike tried to succeed in the newly found goal group by collaborating with a titan of road tradition. By the tip of 2004, Nike SB knew that the Dunk was not simply an strange skate shoe. They did the whole lot they might to capitalize on it. This additionally explains the artistic collaborations that developed over time on the Nike SB Dunk.

SB Dunk low “Jedi”, Supply: StockX
Nike Sb Dunk Excessive Professional “Unkle”, Supply: StockX

Nike SB Dunk Collaborations

To get a greater perception into the world of collaborations and totally different colourways, we’ve picked out a couple of extra fashions and allow you to kind your personal opinion. A few of you might need some childhood reminiscences…

Jeff Staple x Dunk low Professional SB “Pigeon”, Supply: StockX
Dunk low Professional x Comme Des Garcons, Supply: Farfetch
Dunk low “Paris”, Supply: StockX

Dunk low “Yellow Lobster”, supply: StockX
Nike SB Dunk Low Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Dunky (FF Packaging), Supply: StockX

The Nike SB Dunk in 2020

Although Nike not releases a SB Dunk paying homage to these from the early 2000s, the shoe has an archive that few manufacturers can compete with. It is also value mentioning that the Nike SB Dunk brings a cultural range. Given at present’s market, which is dominated by an unprecedented appreciation of archive and classic items, the stage could also be ripe for a self-service comeback.

In my view, the SB Dunk won’t ever return to its former glory. However, it is likely one of the most influential sneakers of the final 20 years, and like Air Drive 1 and Jordan 1, it has surpassed its authentic objective. The SB Dunk was larger than skateboarding and laid the inspiration for up to date sneaker and streetwear tradition. It confirmed how environment friendly a collaboration between large manufacturers and small genuine people who find themselves celebrated like heroes of their surroundings could be.

That is the surest option to authenticity – and in the end to the specified impact, which may additionally overshoot the mark. Even when the SB Dunk dies, it’s going to undoubtedly affect the sneakers that can take its place.