2020: The Year of the Nike Dunk

I was first exposed to the Nike Dunk back around late 2005. Although I started off buying sneakers because of Air Jordans, at the time, Nike SB was arguably at its peak in popularity and I naturally grew to become a fan of the Nike Dunk because of this. I’ve always loved the creativity behind Dunk releases, in particular the SB line, and it felt like so much more went into every pair aside from just a colour swap. In a time when collaborations weren’t a weekly occurrence, for SB Dunks, it still felt like every release had a lot of weight, thought, and uniqueness behind it. Some of my favourites from that time (which I still have in my collection) are the Purple Pigeons, the Tokyo Taxi series, and the Pufnstufs!

Naturally, trends come and go, and I’ll be the first to admit, to a degree, I moved on from the Nike Dunk during the early to mid 2010s. I still picked up pairs here and there, but the energy just wasn’t like it was in the decade prior. Fast forward to a couple years ago, I don’t even know what kick started it, but I started buying up a lot of Dunks that I had either passed on, or sold in the years past. At this time, Yeezys, Adidas Boost, and collaborations like the Off-White x Nike series were all the rage, so the secondary market prices on a lot of these Dunks were very, very low, and sometimes, below retail. I have to give credit to my good timing, because a couple years later, the Dunk Hype would officially arrive and these prices would do a 180 degree turn and hit astronomical levels that the sneaker community had never seen before.

With that said, 2020 has been undoubtedly the comeback year of the Dunk. Though true aficionados will say that their love for the model never left, its rise in popularity permeated throughout the entire culture – with new fans learning to appreciate the model and its history, resellers snatching up every pair of every colourway they could, and some old fans, like myself, feeling the love we once had for the model but in an entirely new generation and era. Nike SB and Nike Sportswear capitalized on this and released a ton of amazing Dunk drops (albeit, usually in disgustingly limited quantities). We saw classics like some of the BTTYS colourways brought back, the return of the Ugly Duckling Co.JP trio, pairs paying homage to other Nike icons like the Air Max 90 Infrared and Chicago Air Jordan 1, and brand new super creative releases like the Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Dunky, Strangeloves, and the Travis Scott collab!

Again, trends come and go, and in typical Nike fashion, if I had to bet I would expect them to strike while the hype is hot and flood the market in 2021 with a slew of releases, both in general release format and in limited Quickstrikes too. In fact, it seems like Foot Locker brands are set to carry Nike Dunks in 2021, so that seems like a good indication that they will be more plentiful compared to their limited nature in 2020. Either way, this has been a weird year for many reasons, but for someone who has been buying shoes for nearly 15 years, it has been great to see the energy come back to a silhouette that I’ve been following since the early days of my sneaker collecting. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store, and if this year was any indication, I’m sure it will be one hell of a ride.

-SG