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  • Writer's pictureBeems

A Sneaker Trader's Guide To Nike Dunks

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

The Nike Dunk has circled back and became one of the most sought after collectible silhouettes on the market today. With its simplistic design, balanced color-blocking and versatility, the Nike Dunk is the sneaker to go after for sneakerheads of all levels.

Originally created as a college basketball sneaker, the Dunk has surpassed this purpose by making its way to skateboarding as well as becoming a fashion staple. One thing for sure…the Nike dunk is here to stay as it continues to bring together different subcultures worldwide.

Below you will find out more about the sneaker and how you can get your hands on a pair by simply creating the perfect trade.

History of the Nike Dunk - The Beginning

Image sourced via Nike

The Nike Dunk was first released in August 1985 as a high-top basketball sneaker that was inspired by the Nike Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1. The Air Force 1 inspired the overall look of the Dunk with the same outsole traction while the upper of the Dunk merged the Air Jordan 1 silhouette.

With the design of the sneaker being geared towards basketball functionality, it soon became a symbolic piece that was dubbed as “Be True To Your School”. As far as marketing goes… “Be True To Your School” was the first attempt to market the Dunk. Nike played it safe by creating different iterations of the Dunk that focused on color blocking related to collegiate teams they already had deals with including the University of Iowa, University of Kentucky, University of Michigan, Georgetown, St. John’s, UNLV and Syracuse. Little did they know that these would later become the staple color ways for the Dunk that everyone would want for years to come.

Even though the “Be True To Your School” campaign was successful, the hype of the Dunk as a functional basketball sneaker soon died down with the Air Jordan 1 taking over as the “it” sneaker to be worn on the court…but don’t worry, that isn’t wasn’t the end of the Dunk.

History of the Dunk - Skateboard Culture

Image sourced via Sneaker Freaker

As Nike saw that the Dunk failed as a basketball silhouette, they went back to the drawing board. This initiated changes in the construction of the silhouette which included a nylon tongue and a thicker swoosh. Still the sneaker was not grabbing the attention that Nike had hoped for.

As skate culture became more prominent , Nike felt the pressure of being left out as brands such as DC and Vans began to create their own footprint in the culture. Nike attempted to create silhouettes that spoke specifically to skate culture but had failed.

Image sourced via The Premiere Store

Remember the failure of the dunk ? Yep, this actually helped Nike unexpectedly as the sneaker began to show up in discount stores across the country. Skaters began to wear the dunk as it became easy to get, was affordable and had the traction needed for skateboarding. This kicked off the Dunk hype in the New York Skate scene.

Soon after, Nike began to notice and realized they were already in the skate culture. They revamped the sneaker by adding a thicker tongue as well as straps and extra padding for better protection while skating. The rest is history.

History of the Dunk - Modern Day

Image sourced via Hypebeast

Fast forward to now, the Dunk has remained a staple piece as different subcultures have made their way into pop culture including the skateboard scene. The dunk can be seen as a simple fashion statement that is a silhouette to fit any event but also work functionally for skateboarding. That is what makes the Dunk so special.

Nike has also leaned into hypebeast collaborations to keep the Dunk prevalent in the scene from collaborations with companies such as Supreme NY, Ben and Jerry’s, Heineken, Jeff Staple, and many many more. These collaborations create a buzz that lends itself to the hype of the silhouette.

Image sourced via Sole Collector

Let’s not forget the OG colorways that kicked off the start of the dunk…the collegiate colors. Nike has continued this initial marketing strategy even to this day by more recently partnering for the first time ever with HBCUS to create their own “Be True To Your School” set inducing partnering with Clark Atlanta University, Florida A & M University and more.

The Dunk is an accessible, affordable, functional sneaker that every sneakerhead needs in their collection. It’s the perfect silhouette to start your collection as well.

How To Buy Nike Dunks

Image sourced via Highsnobiety

With all that being said…the Dunk might seem as if it is unattainable seeing the hype that has surrounded the silhouette from the beginning until now. It retails at from $100 USD to $130 USD which is pretty affordable compared to most. The problem occurs because there aren't too many made in production and the sneaker culture has created a ruthless resell industry but don’t worry because that’s where we come in. The most popular and versatile colorway is the Nike Dunk “Panda”. The “Panda” is constructed of a slick black and white color blocking that allows the sneaker to be an everyday wear while also being a silhouette that can be dressed up or down. Although the “Panda” only retailed at $110 USD…resell, before the resell market stabilized, can oftentimes be upwards to $300 + USD for such a simple staple. As always, Tradeblock has your back! Currently on Tradeblock, there are 5,466 pairs of these with only 4,743 collectors who want them meaning there are 723 pairs up for grabs if everyone who wants a pair completes a trade. Trust us…people are trading them as we have 361 completed trades to date. Although we are specifically speaking on the “Panda” dunk, Tradeblock is home to any dunk you can think of from the most hyped Travis Scott SB Dunk to the reworked Off-White Dunk. Tradeblock allows room for collectors to pick their poison.

Remember though to get a successful trade #ontheblock, one has to first understand the market and the sneaker they are specifically targeting. Let’s continue with the “Panda” Dunk. If I want to get my hands on the “Panda” Dunk, I first must look at the current resale value of it. Right now, this particular Dunk is going for less than $200 USD due to constant restocks. With that being said a reasonable trade for the “Panda” Dunk would be the Adidas Yeezy “Onyx” Foam Runners. Some might say this is off because the Foam Runner isn’t technically a sneaker but each shoe is black as well as priced similarly making it a perfect option IF the other trader wants the Foam Runners.

You can secure your pair on the official Tradeblock app, available on iOS and Android today.

The Takeaway

Nike’s initial purpose for the Dunks was to create a killer basketball shoe but fortunately enough for them, the silhouette was able to surpass expectations and become a key staple universally that everyone in every culture could utilize.

Don’t get lost in the sauce and miss out on your chance to own a piece of history…trade for your Dunks #offtheblock!


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