Size and fit

With its low-top, lace-up design, the Nike Dunk Low model allows the ankles to retain their full range of motion while locking the feet in with a custom fit. This model is available in both men’s and women’s sizing.

Nike Dunk Low Style

Due to its low to the ground profile, the shoe can be sported in an excellent number of ways. The classic design, as some reviewers gave testimonials to its unique character, can be fashioned with almost every outfit ranging from shorts for men to skirts and dresses for women. For more formal events, the shoe also complements suits and long-sleeved shirts.

Notable Features

Probably the remarkable difference between the Nike Dunk Low and the Nike SB Dunk is the grooves found at the outsole. The SB Dunk contains more grooves and fine lines as compared to the Nike Dunk Low. The latter remained almost similar to the outsole design of the Air Jordan I while the former allows more grip whenever the surface touches the skateboard.

A visible SB marking can also be seen in the tongue of the SB Dunk Low, while in the retro Dunk Low, only the Nike Logo can be seen. The women’s and men’s Nike Dunk Low also retained the detail of the original release where the lace patch overlaps the toe overlay. This pinnacle feature enables sneakerheads to quickly spot an Air Jordan from a Nike SB silhouette to a Dunk Low. Another accent that serves as leverage to further determine the differences between these iterations is the laces that are rounded in the SB franchise.

Nike Dunk Low History

The Nike Dunk shoe releases started as a sponsorship between Nike and the top college teams proliferating during the mid-80s. Peter Moore, the sole designer of the first Air Jordan, sketched an initial design for the shoe series that would later innovate customization in a shoe.

Team universities from Georgetown, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, St. John's, UNLV, and Syracuse were ranked as the top schools of the basketball zeitgeist thus securing a collaboration with Nike that enabled the availability of different colorways that match their school.

Different color combinations were not only deliberately customized for the top teams but are also made available in various hues as well, catering to a myriad of other groups. The shoes, depending on the school's preference, were released distinctly in high top and low top forms.

The low top form's aesthetics is inspired by a handful of previous designs hailed from pioneer shoe models of Nike. The Nike Legend, one of the most innovative models from the Nike origins, exhilarated technological breakthroughs with the creation of the perforated toe box and colored outsoles. Another iconic design that gave the holistic concept of the Nike Dunk was the Nike Air Force 1 which advocated the Dunk's unique contour and shape.

A prominent contributor to the Nike Dunk Low's image was probably the silhouette of the Air Jordan I, which was also coincidentally made by the same shoe architect, Peter Moore. His design with the Nike Dunk reflects that of the Jordan I which was made purposely in a vast variety of colorways.

The shoe made its retro return in 2011 with the release of the Nike Dunk Low vintage pack. The series displayed an inverse of the Michigan Dunk colorway alongside the Curry Dunk Low and the Ultraman. Several hues of white, red, and blue were also released subsequently in the same year.

Since the dawn of SB’s reign, the Nike Dunk Lows served as a quintessential piece in uniting sneaker boutiques with the common public. Though Nike itself had showcased several of their ingenious designs, these coveted low tops flabbergasted the sneaker world by conjoining concepts with iconic stores. The absence of the SB sub during the latter stretches of the 90s approaching the mid-2000s gave birth to a surplus of versions which the Nike Dunk Low design team obliged.

Colorways like the Nike Dunk Low White on White embellished the vintage appearance of the sneaker flawlessly which incidentally is a crowd-favorite of the ladies. The Nike Dunk Low in a pink suede upper, or more technically known as Silt Red, is also a viable option for women. For the muskier side of the human gender, Nike released a Nike Dunk Low in Black Suede makeover which was unveiled in October 2017.

Going camo is almost a consistent theme for the Dunks. Speaking of this military-inspired concept, the most expensive, maybe for some who belong to the 99% of society, would be the Undefeated x Nike Dunk Low in camo-based splatters. The coveted sneaker debuted in 2008, and the sneaker-collecting pantheon had never slept since then. Back then, the low-top camo was priced at $6000, and the hell who knows how much it would cost right now.

Nice to know

  • The Nike Dunk Low top was re-released first in 1998, which was the spark plug for creating the SB Dunk series in 2002 after several disappointments penetrating the skating industry.
  • The shoe had its first Flyknit release in August of 2017 that was timed to be outfitted during the summer.
  • The Nike SB Dunk Low has thicker tongues as compared to the Nike Dunk Low which stayed similar to the original release.
  • Laces in the SB Dunk shoes are thicker as compared to the Dunk Lows.
  • Compared to the SB’s, the Nike Dunk Low is cheaper probably due to the absence of a Zoom Air insole.

Facts / Specs

Style: Classic, Sporty, Minimalist
Top: Low
Inspired from: Basketball
Collection: Nike Dunk
Closure: Laces
Designed by: Peter Moore
Material: Leather, Rubber Sole, Cup Sole, EVA

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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.