Nike SB Dunk - The Story Behind the Brand

Besides the classics at Nike such as the Nike Air Force 1, Nike Blazer, and other famous silhouettes, there is another popular brand next to Nike that is currently reaping a lot of hype. Nike SB is simply the line for extraordinary style, which is especially aimed at skateboarders.


The casual style has been very popular in the scene for many years. Now, the Dunk is not only popular among skateboarders, but also with the general public.

Did you know that the actual Nike SB series started in 1997? But, at that time, Nike did not yet have the well-known abbreviation, “SB”. Beaverton ventured into the skateboard scene 23 years ago and designed a whole line of sneakers and apparel to take the skateboard stage. But, since other brands already dominated the market at that time, it was not easy for Nike to directly make a new statement. The skate specialists relied on other brands that had been known in the arena for many years and knew for sure what a skateboarder wanted. Above all, Vans also played a big role at that time, and they were able to take a huge part in the skateboard community.

In 1997, Nike was already 33 years old. By then, the Swoosh already had some experience in the sneaker sector. For 5 years, Nike started further experiments which would eventually lead to great success. But, they could never land the bull’s eye. It was only in 2002 that something really changed at Nike: the Beaverton-based brand decided to create a new line that focused and specialized on a specific market.

Nike SB was Created in 2002

2002 was the same year that the Nike SB line was born. After five years, Nike dared to create a new line. Together with Nike SB, the first sneakers were created, which convinced the skateboarders and gradually replaced the other brands. One of the first sneakers ever created by Nike SB was the Nike SB Dunk Low— the same model that still convinces us in skateboarding today. Even if it didn’t land the bull’s eye at the beginning, it was the first model that skaters talked about. The first Nike SB Dunk Low model came with a padded collar, a padded tongue, and a comfortable Zoom Air insole. These are the same core features that still exist today.

The paradox of this story? The inspiration for the Dunk Low, which was reasonably well-received in the community, came from Nike SB’s earlier models. The fact that the skate specialists were easily tricked by this had certainly escaped many. After the first Nike SB Dunk Low, there were even more attempts at new sneakers from Nike SB to strengthen its place on the halfpipe. After that, the Nike SB Angus, Nike SB FC, Nike SB Delta Force, and Nike SB URL were released. But, these silhouettes came rather hard on the Nike SB Dunk Low.

The Flagship of the Nike SB Dunk Low

Nike SB has finally caught up after a long time. After the first models, more sneakers as well as the first colourways from the Dunk came. But, for Nike SB, the sneakers should not just show a striking presence. Even then, it was already clear that the sneakers definitely needed a strap and above all, a face that the community could identify with. This was how the first face of advertising came quickly and became the figurehead of Nike SB. One of the first collaborative partners was then 20-year-old skateboarder Paul Rodriguez. In 2004, Nike SB decided to sign the pro and continue to build the SB line. Besides numerous collections and models, the hype around the Nike SB Dunk Low continued to grow and it seemed as if it would never end. One year later, Rodriguez got his own distinctive sneaker called the “Nike SB Paul Rodriguez Zoom Air Low”.

But, this model did not end the line just yet. After a short break, Nike SB decided to add another skateboarder to the line, which would then bring another silhouette into the game. Robert Lance Mountain, who had previously been the face of adidas, was taken over by Nike SB in 2005. From then on, the brand, alongside Paul Rodriguez, was to debut a whole new sneaker. Since then, the Nike SB Blazer shone next to the Dunk, which had some updates to offer.

More Models of the Nike SB Dunk

Over time, the Nike SB Dunk Low got older, more mature, and maybe even dustier. Skateboarders needed a breath of fresh air from Nike SB. The Dunk Low was not supposed to be the first and last try. A short time later, Nike SB decided to make other models based on the DNA of the Dunk Low. A clear example of the Swoosh taking after a new development was the Nike SB Dunk High, which reminded of the Nike Blazer. Many skateboarders probably complained of ankle injuries. Of course, Nike SB released a sneaker that was cut a lot higher with pads that protected the ankles much more.

But, not only athletes should enjoy the comfort of the Nike SB Dunk Low and High. Sneakerheads should also get a piece of the awesome shoe. Nike SB decided to go for higher quality sneakers that might not necessarily be used for skating. Apart from the classic Nike SB Dunk Lows and Highs, there were also Pro iterations. The Nike SB Dunk Pro is different in terms of materials. The high quality sneakers reached more fans and broadened their horizon at the same time.

Nike SB Dunk Collabs

For some time now, Nike SB has been working closely with other partners. After all, the silhouette should still be recognized in the future. The Dunk is constantly reaching a new level of hype with well-known partners like Supreme, StrangeLove, and Eric Kosten. Even world-famous stars like Travis Scott want to put their hands on the Nike SB Dunk and bring their own creation to the table. Among the biggest iterations are also the masterpieces with the in-house brand Air Jordan. Last year,  Nike SB released two Nike SB x Air Jordan 1 High OGs with Jordan Brand. Fans celebrated the outer material the most. The colour on the leather wears off over time to reveal a second base colour. For skateboarders, this feature was a definite must-have.

In addition, the brand maintains its consistent value through further iterations that come from other silhouettes. In December 2019, Nike SB released a Dunk High Pro “Space Jam”. The name probably sounds familiar to most people. “Space Jam” was originally released on the thought that the Air Jordan 11th Nike SB colourway would look good on the Dunk High as well. And, they were absolutely right! At the moment, most shops do not have any size in stock anymore.

Will the Nike SB Dunk Also Look Good in 2020?

Absolutely! Nike SB has proven again and again that the Dunk Low and High have both earned their rightful place in the sneaker game. Meanwhile, not only skateboarders show up with this sneaker. The Dunks also offer themselves as lifestyle sneakers and score with their own unique style. Crazy and high-quality materials are usually celebrated by the sneaker community.

We strongly assume that Nike SB will not see an end for a long time yet. Above all, Nike SB must still have an ace up its sleeve. Jordan Brand is continuing to expand its high, low, and mid series. Nike SB, on the other hand, only shows high and low versions. Maybe the Nike SB Dunk Mid Series will be expanded soon?