It is the 10th anniversary of the release of the Nike SB Dunk Low “Pigeon,” one of the most well-known releases in sneaker history. The shoe was designed by Jeff Staple to represent New York as part of the White Dunk exhibit, to commemorate the Nike Dunk’s 25th anniversary. Although the Tokyo, London and Paris pairs are all highly sought after, and just as expensive, the release of the “Pigeons” changed the way the world saw sneakers. Whereas every other pair of the collection is known by the city they represent, these are known simply as the “Pigeons.”
A New Yorker through and through, Staple decided what better way to represent the city that never sleeps then with an animal that inhabits the city as much as the 8.4 million citizens. The pigeon was the inspiration for the design of this special Dunk Low, both in terms of colors, along with appearing on the embroidered heels. The same pigeon logo is now the signature of all of Staple’s work and collaborations. Staple himself admits the design “was nothing super innovative, but the mythology really carries it forward” and it’s what he is best known for as a designer.
As with every other sneaker in the White Dunk collection, the release locations for the “Pigeons” was minimal with Staple’s shop Reed Space only getting 30 pairs to sell. To make their pairs more special, the inner heels were lasered with the Staple (STPL) logo as well as individually numbered XX/30.
The night before was a normal long evening for Jeff Staple. After buying the campers, some who were waiting as much as 4 days, some pizza and leaving for the night, he had no clue the pandemonium that the release would cause. Thanks to eBay prices and word of mouth the line grew from about 30 people to triple digits. Also welcoming him to his store were the New York Police Department and media outlets. It didn’t help that baseball bat, knives and even a machete were said to have been seen on the block. The crowd was growing, tempers flared and safety was a major concern. With a near riot on hand the police had to escort the lucky people who got pairs to the rear exit of the shop to grab cabs for hopefully a safe ride home. After the day was done the news from the events were seen in newspapers, television and of course the internet.
The Nike Dunk was already a popular model thanks to Nike SB’s efforts but this took the sub-brand and sneakers to another level. Love them or hate them the release of the Dunk Low “Pigeons” brought sneakers into the spotlight. And if you were into sneakers at this time you saw this impact when other colorways like the “Tiffany” Dunks released a few months later. 10 years old and still being talked about. Not too bad for a sneaker that “was nothing super innovative.”