Nike SB is almost ten years old—that's nearly a decade of feverish desire for the Dunk, with eBay prices rising and footwear riots as a result.
But that all ignores the fact the shoe was lightly tweaked for skate performance shoe first and foremost...but the Zoo York and Supreme affiliations didn't hurt. Zoom in the midsole and the Pro Lo padding benefited the shoe for skateboarding, but those alterations were minor. For 2011 the Dunk is getting significant alterations. In recent models (particularly Hi variations) there's been a spot of discomfort towards the forefoot—we thought it was our deformed feet, but it seems there were a few victims of excess rub to the little toe. It looks like team SB were on the case with a solution before we ever noticed the issue. The new Dunk is a good evolution of an iconic shoe that skillfully operates within the perimeters of an old favourite. There's no wack vulc cop-out going on here. They went right back to the drawing board.
How do you go about remaking the Dunk without killing what makes it so cherished as the poster shoe for 21st century collector culture? Beyond the box stacking, its always been one of the easiest wears in Nike's basketball archive. Having been the accessible, versatile and the definitive palette for all sorts of wackiness, this red suede debut of the Pro SB feels like a detox for the Dunk design. Deconstructed on the upper, the toebox feels seamless and less stiff from the first wear, with that rub eradicated. This makes for a better from the get-go. The padding on the tongue stays gone. While we were fans of the SB Mid anyway, we won't mourn the lack of Velcro this time around and the overall look seems like a Dunk Hi takedown that suits a mid-cut loving market rather than a clunky middleground between offerings.
This shoe feels so light that you could be mistaken for thinking there's something missing, but it looks like all things superfluous have been amputated, while the sole unit gets the most dramatic tweaks. A Phylon sole is an established Nike method of trimming crucial grams from a runner, but it does the job here too. As well as being cored, to add an extra level of detailing and free up more weight, the tread on the outsole is completely altered too. Pressure points have been eliminated, but the most immediate alteration to the Dunk Pro is the level of flex it offers—you can bend it in half and it pops back to its original silhouette. Just as the new Paul Rodriguez models have the hot-knife style grooves in the vein of Free technology, this shoe operates with the same level of freedom.
As a teaser for this release, here's the video that Nike SB dropped late last week with a nicely-stylised Quincy-style spot of autopsy action going on...