Nike Goes Back in Time to Celebrate 15 Years of the Dunk SB - Culture | MERRY JANE
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Nike Goes Back in Time to Celebrate 15 Years of the Dunk SB

Take a trip down memory lane with Nike’s most revered skate shoe.

by Rainey Cruz

It’s been 15 years since Nike made its successful foray into skateboarding. Prior to 2002 the sneaker giant’s attempt to penetrate the unique industry met resistance from skaters who prefered skateboard-owned shoe brands. The opposition forced them back to the drawing board to reconsider how they would market to the ultra-selective and particular demographic. Until that is, they came up with the Dunk SB.

Nike’s retreat eventually led to the genius strategy of catering to skateboarding’s natural ebb and flow of practicality and street buzz. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, the company decided to reverse engineer one of their most iconic silhouettes; the Dunk. The OG Dunk, along with the first Air Jordan, were already go-to shoes for skaters looking for durability and board-feel in their kicks. Nike SB took note and hyped up the Dunk by giving particular riders, companies, and skate shops their own bespoke versions of the shoe. The mosaic design and limited run of each collaboration created the perfect storm of cultural authenticity, performance, and consumer demand. Since then the Dunk SB has become the stuff of branding and sneaker collector legend.

Now, on the big anniversary, The Dunk has reemerged as the Nike SB program’s front-running shoe for their “15 Years of SB Dunk Est. 2002” campaign. To commemorate the occasion and upcoming re-releases, The Swoosh has compiled a nostalgic montage of vintage clips featuring its most revered riders skating in their most coveted Dunks. The piece includes Reese Forbes, Daniel Shimizu, Theotis Beasley, Grant Taylor, Omar Salazar, Gino Iannucci, Paul Rodriguez, Wieger Van Wageningen, Brian Anderson, Shane O’Neill, the late Lewis Marnell, and more. It’s also appropriately set to the Alabama Shakes track, “I Found You.” 


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Rainey Cruz is a Caribbean-born spirit based in New York City with interests in art, music, skateboarding, mysticism, street, and world culture.



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