How the Dunk Went From Hardwood to Half-Pipe to Runway

Celebrating more than 35 years by looking back at the iconic Nike sneaker.


Nike and Rizzoli’s 2018 Dunk-dedicated tome, The Dunk Book, is prefaced by the late Sandy Bodecker, the architect of the SB line, who writes, “If sneakers could talk, I can only imagine the stories you could tell. You’ve given generations of skaters, artists, musicians, and collectors a blank canvas to tell their stories, while continuously fueling the debate between Ride/Collect. I was always on the ride side.”

Surely no one could put the history of the Nike Dunk better than Bodeceker himself.

The Dunk shares its look and lineage with the Air Jordan 1, an undisputed icon that forever changed the footwear and sportswear industries. An uninitiated observer might not even be able to spot the differences between the two. But the Dunk has its own proud legacy, starting as a performance basketball shoe designed for college athletes; later transcending the hardwood to become a cultural icon.