Like It or Not, Nike Dunks Are (Still) Having a Moment

Don't call it a comeback. No, seriously, don't.

September 7, 2022 10:08 am
A photograph of a modle wearing blue and white Union LA x Nike Dunks on a stone road.
The Nike Dunk is here to stay.
Melodie Jeng/Getty Images

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The Nike Dunk is trending…again. For seasoned sneakerheads, this news might induce an obligatory eye roll; after all, it’s hard to marry the high-profile, low-cut sneaker’s enduring success (the shoe has been “trending” for nearly three years) with its place in the current hype cycle.

But a brief trip to — where the Dunk is perpetually out of stock, the occasional raffle sells out immediately and the swoosh is reportedly jacking up the price of the style next quarter — and subsequently, to third-party resellers like StockX and Grailed, where the $100 style is fetching thousands, reveal just how in-demand Nike’s unlikely star remains. Like it or not, the Nike Dunk is (still) having a moment.

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Originally conceived as a college basketball shoe in 1985, the Nike Dunk found new life in the skate community during the ’90s and early aughts, establishing a kick-flipping cult following around the reinterpreted Nike Dunk SB. A number of imprints, from the causal Dunk Low to a variety of vintage-inspired styles have spawned in the years since, highlighting the sneaker’s illustrious 35-year history.

However, it’s a slew of celebrity endorsements from the likes of Travis Scott and ASAP Rocky and a variety of high-profile collaborations that have skyrocketed the style into a different stratosphere of sneaker hype. From the cutting-edge streetwear labels of Union LA and Off-White to unexpected partnerships (who could forget the fuzzy Grateful Dead collab, or worse, the Chunky Dunky?), the sheer amount of hype around Dunk releases has cemented the style as one of Nike’s most wanted.

a Nike Dunk shoe on a white background
The Nike Dunk SB “Pigeon” remains a highly sought after style.

And unlike a plethora of other sneakers that have made waves in the past years (we’re looking at you, New Balance 550), the Dunk Low seems to have serious legs. With a perpetual influx of new designs and a seemingly insatiable appetite for the laid-back style, the Dunk demand doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. If anything, the ubiquity of the sneakers in recent years seems to be edging towards a heritage status (not totally unlike another red-hot, vintage inspired sneaker of the summer).

If you’re interested in grabbing a pair for yourself, we have bad news. Chances are, you won’t…or not at retail, anyway. While Nike’s aforementioned SNKRS App offers a raffle system — the next Dunk drops 9/9 — stock is highly limited. You’ve got a much better chance of grabbing a pair on the resale market. While you’ll pay a premium at the likes of StockX, hundreds of Dunk styles are up for grabs. We’ve highlighted a couple of more affordable styles to get you started.

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