Our verdict

The Nike Dunk High is a classic hooper, and its reputation precedes it! Despite being a high-top model, it'll definitely vibe with many of your outfits, giving them a vintage touch that we absolutely fell in love with. Our feet were very happy with it as we walked (and bragged) around town, running errands or simply having dinner with friends. Its iconic profile is made using top-quality and incredibly durable materials, which means that you'll enjoy this Nike icon for a long time. The best part? That it'll never go out of style! If we add its comfort levels to the equation, we get the perfect companion for our daily routine. From the court to the street, there's nothing the Nike Dunk High can't conquer!

Pros

  • Iconic and classic look
  • Retro hooper vibes
  • Superb quality
  • Real leather
  • Incredibly durable
  • Very stable and close to the ground
  • Great value for money
  • Eye-catching silhouette
  • Many colorways
  • Extra top eyelet

Cons

  • Not for wide feet
  • Needs breaking in
  • Leather creases easily

Audience verdict

91
Great!

Who should buy

Retro lovers, this is your call. Don't let this blast from the past get away from you if:

  • You're looking for a padded and comfortable pal for your daily routine.
  • You love Nike retired hoopers and you want something that will definitely catch people's eye.
  • Well-structured and stable high-tops are your jam.
  • The skate style of keeping your feet close to the ground matches your vibe.

Nike Dunk High_ii

Who should not buy

When we think about former basketball shoes, sometimes our mind goes to big and cushy models that usually pivots wear. Well... just delete that image from your head if you're thinking about the Nike Dunk High. If you're looking for a comfy and plush ride for your feet, we believe you should have a look at the Nike Zoom Vomero 5. If you want to walk around town all day long or you usually spend many hours standing, our recommendation is that you check our walking shoes catalogue. You'll definitely find your new pair there; and don't worry, there are some stylish models too!

PS: Many of those shoes don't require a break-in period, which is always great news!

High-top shoes are sometimes harder to style than low-top ones due to their design. If you're a fashionista but you want those extra 20 minutes as sleeping time instead of "oh no my outfit is not working" time in the morning, then you should check the Nike Dunk Low. If you don't like the Panda look or any other colour combination, as you'd rather go for a clean style, then the Air Jordan 1 Mid is what you need. Extra points for being budget-friendly!

Nike Dunk High_last

Breathability

Our first test analyses the shoe's breathability skills. We fill up one of the kicks with smoke using a machine and check how much it lets out. We also pay special attention to the key spots where you can see the smoke coming out, as some models are not well-ventilated overall and just let the air flow through some parts.

You can clearly see what we were talking about just now in this video. Look at the Dunks (left), the smoke comes mainly from its tongue area; and then we have the New Balance 57/40 (right), which lets the air out in a constant flow throughout the whole shoe, and not just a specific section.

Consequently, we've given this pair a 3/5 in breathability, which is... actually not bad at all! Don't forget it's a leather sneaker we're talking about. In order to know a bit more about it, we performed our light test. Check it out!

We put the shoe right in front of a light to see if there are any other ventilation holes. We all could see the line shine through the holes of the lace structure, but once the laces are there... that's not gonna do much!

But wait, doesn't this shoe have holes all over its toebox? Microscope, please!

Nike Dunk High Breathability_3

Oh, okay, okay, we get it. Those are not actually holes! There's a layer underneath that won't let the air come through.

Nike Dunk High Breathability_4

Look at that! Well, on the bright side, this detail is perfect for winter, as it'll help your feet stay warm.

Test results
Dunk High 3
Average 3
Compared to 48 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Leather/Suede quality

Have you ever wondered if it's possible to check if a shoe's leather is authentic/real or synthetic/fake? Maybe you have, and we're here to unveil the mystery!

We grab a torch and put it close enough to the material to see if it catches fire or if it doesn't. If you can see a flame dancing around, then the leather is fake.

And... the white pannels have passed with flying colours! What about the black parts?

Also authentic! Wow, Nike, we couldn't be any happier. Now this is quality!

Test results
Dunk High Real leather

Toebox durability

It's finally time for the moment that many of our shoes fear: the Dremel test.

Leather usually performs well, as it's a durable material. Alright, let's get down to it, we can't wait any longer!

The white debris flying around made our legs shake. But we could finally wipe our sweat away when we lifted the tool and blew the "leather snow" away.

Nike Dunk High Toebox durability_7

The Dremel managed to get rid of the first leather layer, but that was it! Its attack couldn't do much more, just leave our Dunks with an aesthetically unpleasant mark. That's why this pair has earned a 4/5 in our toebox durability test. Keep it up, Nike! We're loving this quality!

Nike Dunk High Toebox durability_a

The New Balance 530 (on the right) was not as lucky, as our tool managed to destroy the whole layer of material. But this is a mesh model after all, and even though it scored a 1/5 in our toebox durability test, it passed the breathability one with a wonderful 4/5!

So, you know what they say, different strokes for different folks.

Test results
Dunk High 4
Average 3.7
Compared to 48 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

More good news on the way, it seems!

We took our Dremel all the way back and went for the heel padding. Even though this shoe can easily brag about its high-quality leather, the heel's material is different. Alright, show time!

Hold on a second. That was not that bad, wasn't it? Let's have a look at it.

Nike Dunk High Heel padding durability_10

Oh, wow! Well, yes, indeed, it was not that bad at all! The material held up pretty well against our rolling tool. No wonder your shoes are this popular, Nike. With a wonderful 4/5 in our heel padding durability test, these Dunks sure are ready to be with you for a long time!

Nike Dunk High Heel padding durability_ab

The New Balance 237 can show you what it looks like to score a 1/5 in heel padding durability. Just look at that!

Test results
Dunk High 4
Average 3.4
Compared to 48 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

At 89.9 HC, this shoe's outsole is slightly harder than average according to our durometer.

Nike Dunk High Outsole hardness_bbb

This means that it focuses on durability, which vibes with the whole concept of this iconic pair. And we LOVE it!

Test results
Dunk High 89.9 HC
Average 85.1 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 48 trainers
Number of shoes
72.9 HC
Outsole hardness
90.3 HC

Outsole durability

Now, now, let's see if the outsole is actually durable. In order to test it, we grabbed our Dremel one last time.

We use the same parameters to test every shoe, so after the 22-second-long agony, our Dunks ended up with a 0.8 mm deep dent.

Nike Dunk High Outsole durability_aaa

Which is not bad at all! This shoe's outsole has proved to be durable. Great job, Nike!

Test results
Dunk High 0.8 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 48 trainers
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

When the different brands use a hard type of rubber to make an outsole, sometimes they can just get a thinner layer of the material for this part. These Dunks are a perfect example:

Nike Dunk High Outsole thickness_bb

At 5.0 mm, our calliper confirmed our hypothesis. This is also a strategy some brands use to reduce the weight of their shoes, but... looking at all the padding this one has, that sounds like a challenge!

We'll dive into this in the following sections, don't miss out!

Test results
Dunk High 5.0 mm
Average 5.5 mm
Compared to 49 trainers
Number of shoes
3.4 mm
Outsole thickness
8.6 mm

Weight

When we put this shoe on our scale we literally couldn't close our mouths. We blinked multiple times, put the shoe away and then back on the scale, rubbed our eyelids, and even slapped our cheeks softly. But nope, we were not dreaming! Trust us, all this hype is absolutely justified.

Nike Dunk High Weight_34

At 14.4 oz (407.0g), these Dunks' weight is just 0.2 oz higher than average. Listen, not only is it a high-top shoe, but also a pretty padded one. Let us show you:

Just look at the heel and tongue areas! It's hard for a shoe not to be on the heavier side when it's that comfy and padded, which is exactly what we felt on our wear tests.

Nike Dunk High_hh

Our feet felt happy and cosy in this pair, enjoying its padding and supportiveness. Also, as we can't say it's a heavy model, it didn't make our legs get tired quickly or drag our feet down. Overall, our walking experience with it was a breeze, quite literally too!

Test results
Dunk High 14.36 oz (407g)
Average 14.18 oz (402g)
Compared to 49 trainers
Number of shoes
8.54 oz (242g)
Weight
22.61 oz (641g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

At 22.6 mm, this shoe's heel stack is way lower than average. That means that our feet were pretty close to the ground, which made us feel stable and in control of our every move.

Nike Dunk High Heel stack_dd

After reading about this, you might think these Dunks are a couple of bricks. It's a common misunderstanding to associate the heel stack of a shoe with its plushness or comfort levels. That's just another one of the reasons why we measure so many parameters and explain every section; it's important to know about this when you're about to get a new pair of kicks!

Nike Dunk High_kk

Keep reading to know what all this is about, you'll see!

Test results
Dunk High 22.6 mm
Average 29.5 mm
Compared to 49 trainers
Number of shoes
18.2 mm
Heel stack
41.8 mm

Forefoot stack

Its stack height is not the reason why this shoe's got High on its name, that's for sure! At 14.9 mm, it's way lower than average, which means that you'll feel the ground closely on the ball of the foot.

Nike Dunk High Forefoot stack_c

But this does not mean that this shoe is uncomfortable! Our feet felt incredibly happy when we were walking (and bragging) with it around town, and we loved the stability that this low sole offered. As, in this case, it's not a matter of comfort, we'd say it goes down to your personal liking.

Test results
Dunk High 14.9 mm
Average 18.6 mm
Compared to 49 trainers
Number of shoes
10.6 mm
Forefoot stack
28.3 mm

Drop

This shoe's drop is lower than average, but it's not like your feet will actually feel it.

Nike Dunk High Drop_ee

At 7.7 mm, we only noticed this small difference between the stack height at the heel and at the toes when we cut this shoe in half. This model makes your feet stay close to the ground, no matter which part of them!

Nike Dunk High_oo

Also, there's no such thing as a "better" or "worse" drop. The drop is... the drop, that's it. You might like a low drop better than a high one or vice-versa, it's just a personal preference. If you want to know more about the heel-to-toe drop, check this detailed guide on the topic!

Test results
Dunk High 7.7 mm
Average 10.9 mm
Compared to 49 trainers
Number of shoes
6.7 mm
Drop
17.2 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

This test's result also came off as a bit of a surprise for us, to be honest.

We pressed our durometer against the midsole to check its softness, and after a reading of 32.3 HA, we couldn't help it but frown.

Nike Dunk High Midsole softness_18

It's not the softest of shoes, but we did expect it to be closer to the average! Anyway, it's not like this made us love these Dunks any less, though, as being 12% firmer than average in such a comfy shoe wasn't a problem for us.

Nike Dunk High_ll

If you're looking for an iconic pair of Nike with a softer midsole but you're done with low-tops, you should have a look at the Air Jordan 1 Mid.

Test results
Dunk High 32.3 HA
Average 29.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 39 trainers
Number of shoes
15.0 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
60.0 HA

Insole thickness

The Dunks kept it simple here. At 5.0 mm, their insole is slightly thinner than average, but we still found the shoe incredibly comfortable.

Nike Dunk High Insole thickness_19

This also helped the pair keep its weight down, so commuting, meeting up with friends, going for dinner, running errands... this model made sure our feet were happy and comfortable in every activity.

Test results
Dunk High 5.0 mm
Average 5.5 mm
Compared to 49 trainers
Number of shoes
3.1 mm
Insole thickness
13.9 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

High-top models should give your ankles some more supportiveness, right? That's just pure logic. Well, let's see what the Dunk High has to say about this!

We felt surefooted and supported during our wear tests, letting us know its basketball heritage is still very much alive!

Torsional rigidity

After passing with honours our lateral stability test, we were pretty curious about the overall stability of these Dunks. For them to be stable, they also need a high grade in our torsional rigidity test. Wanna make a bet?

There's a lot to talk about here! So let's take it easy and start explaining the video above:

  1. You can see the shoe moving with our hands, right? But it's more like the upper materials are letting our fingers take charge. The outsole is trying to hold its ground with every inch!
  2. The leather bends easily, as you can see when we flex the ball forefoot. This resonates with our experience walking with this Nike: effortless!

Look at how easy it is for the forefoot to bend with our foot moves! We loved this, especially in trainers that we like to wear all day long. This, added to the fact that this pair itself is not heavy at all, helped us enjoy our days out. The whole experience in our wear tests was just wonderful!

Nike Dunk High_gg

Test results
Dunk High 4
Average 3.4
Compared to 48 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

A very stiff heel counter can cause hotspots and even some bleeding, so even if we need to give up some of that stiff support in order to stay comfy, we happily would! And, luckily, these Dunks have the same mindset.

As you can see, the heel counter was not a wall for our fingers, scoring an average 3/5 in our stiffness test. This translated into comfort from the very first time we took these beauties out of their box, could they get any better?

Nike Dunk High_pp

Test results
Dunk High 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 48 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

A wide midsole is just the cherry on top for this supportive shoe... and it's got it!

Nike Dunk High Midsole width in the forefoot_21

At 111.1 mm, this shoe is slightly wider than average in the forefoot, and we loved every mm of extra space!

Test results
Dunk High 111.1 mm
Average 108.6 mm
Compared to 49 trainers
Number of shoes
100.0 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
121.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel is snugger, though! It makes sure your feet stay in place, just like the heel padding.

Nike Dunk High Midsole width in the heel_23

So yeah, apart from heel rubbing, you can also forget about heel slippage! The narrower heel, the padding, the high top... all those features work together to offer surefootedness, which is exactly what we felt during our wear tests.

Nike Dunk High_ss

Test results
Dunk High 79.5 mm
Average 82.7 mm
Compared to 49 trainers
Number of shoes
69.4 mm
Midsole width in the heel
103.1 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

Our walks were so nice and effortless that we didn't believe these Dunks would get a high score in our stiffness test. But hey, we're here to see if our hypotheses are right! So... gauge, let's go!

At 21.9N, this shoe is slightly less pliable than average. This didn't make our walks any less enjoyable, as these Dunks got more and more flexible day by day. It prevented our feet's early fatigue, and it let us rock these baddies from morning to night!

Test results
Dunk High 21.9N
Average 22.9N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 49 trainers
Number of shoes
5.8N
Stiffness
51.8N

Grip / Traction

Some sections ago we talked about this shoe's outsole, do you remember? We were saying that its rubber is pretty hard, which means this Nike puts durability over grip. Yet, we're not unhappy with its traction!

The shoe performed well on urban surfaces, we were just extra careful when the weather didn't seem to be having a good day, though.

Nike Dunk High Lug depth_28

We loved that Nike decided that even the street fashion killer version of this old basketball shoe should keep the pivot point on the ball of the foot. It helps you change directions with less effort, and even though it rarely comes in handy for casual wear, its sporty aesthetics are a 10/10.

But wait, before we move on... isn't this outsole familiar? If you're nodding right now, let us tell you why with just one picture:

AJ1Mid

Exactly, it looks like the Air Jordan 1 Mid's! Both are basketball-inspired trainers with killing aesthetics, indulge yourself a bit and check this one out too!

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

As expected from Nike, this model doesn't have a wide toebox. Actually, it's around 2 mm narrower than average, so... wide-foot sneakerheads, watch out!

Nike Dunk High Toebox width at the widest par_25t

At 97.2 mm, our standard-sized feet enjoyed a snug fit. Honestly, it's hard to find a Nike shoe that is wide enough for wide-footers to enjoy completely.

Nike Dunk High_vv

Test results
Dunk High 97.2 mm
Average 99.2 mm
Compared to 49 trainers
Number of shoes
94.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
107.7 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

At 76.2 mm, the toebox width at the big toe is slightly wider than average, just not enough to accommodate big-toed sneakerheads!

Nike Dunk High Toebox width at the big toe_25

As we were saying before, Nike is not the best brand for people with wide feet if they want a new pair of trainers. What about New Balance and its multiple widths? If your feet need some extra room, you'll definitely love it!

Nike Dunk High_xx

Test results
Dunk High 76.2 mm
Average 74.7 mm
Compared to 48 trainers
Number of shoes
63.7 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
82.7 mm

Tongue: gusset type

You can see it by looking at this picture: this shoe's tongue is non-gusseted!

Nike Dunk High Tongue: gusset type_27

This helps a bit with its airflow, as it's not these Dunks strongest point. Thanks to the tongue's lace loop, it didn't move around uncomfortably, which is always great!

Nike Dunk High_jj

Test results
Dunk High None

Comfort

Tongue padding

At 9.7 mm, this shoe might as well have a pillow instead of a tongue!

Nike Dunk High Tongue padding_30

Forget about lace bite or uncomfortable rubbing, this Nike is ready to happily embrace your feet in a warm hug from the very first step.

Test results
Dunk High 9.7 mm
Average 9.3 mm
Compared to 49 trainers
Number of shoes
1.0 mm
Tongue padding
38.4 mm

Heel tab

Uhm... that detail at the back... Yeah, well, it's better if you just look at it yourself:

Nike Dunk High_zz

Are our fingers supposed to be able to make it into that? It's called finger loop for a reason, right? But this one is barely a loop!

Nike Dunk High_ff

High-top models are already tough to put on, and the fact that this one doesn't have a proper heel tab makes it even harder. You can just grab that tiny black loop and pull, though, but it doesn't help much! It's quite small, so your fingers might as well slip. The good thing is that the non-gusseted tongue of this pair makes it easier for your feet to make their way in. It's definitely saved these Nikes bacon, that's for sure!

Test results
Dunk High Pull tab

Removable insole

If you need to use your own orthotics, please feel free to do so!

Nike Dunk High Removable insole_32

As you can see in the picture, the Dunk High has a removable insole. We really like this detail, as it means that you can adjust the shoe's ride to your own needs or preferences (within the model's own limits, of course).

Nike Dunk High Removable insole_33

Test results
Dunk High Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Nothing to say here! You can clearly see it in the picture, the Dunk High doesn't have any reflective elements.

Nike Dunk High Reflective elements_29

Test results
Dunk High No