With the building hype and anticipation of the latest Concepts x SB Dunk “Purple Lobster” release, I wondered if the seemingly dead SB Dunk has possibly been revived. This sudden thrust back into the limelight, made me think to ask, “What really happened to the SB Dunk?”
Then, it all became clear. I figured out the reason for the downfall of the SB Dunk…The Air Jordan 1. Before everyone thinks I’m crazy, really sit and think about it. This accusation makes perfect sense.
As sneakerheads, we all know that styles and sneakers are cyclical. A sneaker can be hated now then, 5 years down the road it’ll come back and it’ll be the most hyped item in the streets. You would assume the same to be true for the SB Dunk, but something was different about their fall off, it almost felt forced to disappear. During the decline of the Dunk hype, Nike began to collaborate their SB line with the ever-popular Jordan 1. This move, to what many might assume, would be to bring back that fire and increase the demand for the brand. Starting in 2014, the Craig Stecyk Air Jordan 1 x SB collab was released and was very successful. Then, following up very soon after in the same year, came the first of the Lance Mountain x Air Jordan 1 collaborations. It was the perfect plan…take an iconic shoe and build upon the stories of skaters wearing them, in the past, as skate shoes. With those releases, Nike was able to almost replicate the demand of skater and non-skater consumers alike, just as colorways such as the original Diamond Supply and Pigeon Dunk did. But, at what cost?
As these collaborations gained steam and high praises from sneakerheads, the dunk seemed to be slowly fading into the background. Then out of nowhere, the SB Dunk was given some life….news of the brand retro-ing of some of the most iconic colorways…Perfect! And of course, it was too good to be true. Instead of giving us true to form retros, we received Diamond Dunk Highs, Cali Highs, and most recently Black Pigeon Dunks. Why!? If Nike can retro a Jordan a million times in (almost) their truest forms, why couldn’t they provide the same treatment to the Dunks? I have a pretty strong personal grudge with this because, at the peak of the SB Dunk hype, I lived and (attempted to) skateboard in a small town that didn’t receive them. So I always hoped as an adult I’d be able to cop when the retros would eventually come around.
Now lets fast forward to the year 2018 and the Air Jordan 1 may be as popular as ever and the SB Dunk is just an afterthought to those who aren’t from the SB Dunk era. With very little discussion of the Dunk, the unthinkable happens, it takes another hit! You may be thinking how and when? The Nigel Sylvester Air Jordan 1 is the culprit. Nike took another extreme sports star, in fact, they took the most influential BMX rider in the world right now and set him up with an extremely well-executed and sought after sneaker, that will be considered a classic. But, why not make it a Dunk? At this point, Nike’s SB Dunk might as well just be pronounced dead for good.
We look ahead once more, to the 2018 Complex Con, and it looks to have resurrected the seemingly dead model. Three new Diamond Supply Dunks, and one limited to 250 pairs…Boom! The anticipation was at an all-time high and of course, there were riots that the release was shut down. I truly don’t condone that behavior, but seeing that made me think that the SB Dunk may truly be alive again….or could it possibly just be that resellers were just capitalizing on the skate culture and rich history of the Dunk while the iron was hot. So who knows for sure if the resurgence is real, but every time I look at my Instagram feed SB Dunks are everywhere again. Partly due to some choice on foot shots of Travis Scott in some pretty popular and hard to come by colorways, putting the SB Dunk back in the conversation. I’m not sure how long they will be in the spotlight but, I hope this new “love” for this sneaker will push Nike to give us some new exciting colorways and the retros we deserve.