Last year was undoubtedly the year of the Nike Dunk. The hottest players in the sneaker world – everyone from Virgil Abloh to Travis Scott – gave the shoe their own hype-heavy spin. Two of the most sought-after Swoosh collaborations in 2020 were dunks (oddly enough, in partnership with Hippies): first with the Grateful Dead and then with Ben & Jerry’s. If you thought Nike could take off the accelerator for the new year, you’d be wrong. The brand just previewed several 2021 dunks, and it looks like the beloved silhouette isn’t going to go away anytime soon.
The Dunk is set to hit the market in the New Year with a stream of general release drops. The first three colorways of the Dunk Low will arrive next week, the kind of classic and expected Nike tariff: black and white, red and gray, and sail and coast. In February it will be even better with another Dunk Low in black and hyper cobalt. And then, in March, the dunk high falls into a white-orange flame.
None of these sneakers come with vibrant designer co-signs or an extremely rare release. And they don’t really have to. Last year, Nike laid the foundation for the rise of dunk and built the hype and demand through strategic drops and large collaborations. It’s a move the brand has taken repeatedly: creating excitement and buzz for a silhouette, then releasing an unlimited supply for the masses who couldn’t get their hands on the rare things.
Longtime dunkheads will know that this is actually the second advent of the chunky sneaker. In the mid-eighties the dunk was the red hot shoe in the emerging streetwear scene. Diamond Supply Co. “Tiffany” Dunk and Staple Design “Pigeon” Dunk – along with several others – helped make the sneaker something that streetwear fans coveted. It hissed around in the 2010s and stayed under the radar until it came back at full speed last year. It’s pretty rare for a sneaker to get a second round in the sun like this, which is real testament to the dunk’s enduring design appeal. Only time will tell how long the once-forgotten sneaker can stay so hot, but at least for now, get ready for another year of dunks on dunks.