Nike SB Archives: The First Series of Dunks
Our Nike SB Archives series began last week with a look at those selected 2005 collaborative efforts known as the ‘Team Manager Series’. In examining those drops, we noted that Nike SB had succeeded in the 2000s where earlier Nike skateboarding efforts had failed, in large part because they learned to embrace the existing structure of independent brands integral to the sport. The genesis of this movement could be seen as early as the very first series of Nike SB Dunk releases from March 2002.
The first four Nike Dunk Low Pro SBs took the Low Pro B that had been fat-laced since around 1999, and further connected it to the streets with a quartet of colorways, each designed by a team rider. It was the start of something incredible, the beginning of a line that transformed sneaker collecting and ushered in a new era with fresh concepts that had never before been applied to footwear. The first set of Nike SB Dunks was a game-changing release; let’s examine each pair in detail:
Gino is the one of these four famed OG SB riders who still pushes wood for Nike. He was linked to the Challenge Court SB, but Gino’s real Swoosh signature is the BTTYS-ish blocking pattern complete with perforated leather underlay that he applied to a handful of designs over the years, including this original black, navy and grey makeup. Gino’s still around with Nike today, skating in the revamped Challenge Courts.
Supa rode for SB for a little over a decade before departing in 2012, but his biggest impact came near the start. Orange and blue colorways always have a little something extra, and these were sufficiently popular that a ‘Broncos’ or ‘Un-Supa’ style flipped the main colors for another drop within eighteen months of the first. An unreleased sample of an apparent “Retro” of the Supa Dunks emerged some time ago, but nothing sprouted from that development.
Mulder is not your average skater. Dude transitioned away from the sport in 2006 to become, of all things, a financial planner. He stole away from the world of skating where he first made his name, but in putting a blue
streak Swoosh on an otherwise white colorway in tribute to his upbringing in West Covina, Mulder’s LA Dodgers-inspired first series colorway created one of SB’s early gems.
Forbes is the one of these four riders who is almost certainly better known for a different colorway. His ‘Hunter’ was one of the more unique themes on record, particularly at the time of its release, but Reese’s earthy leanings were clear years earlier thanks to his first series colorway. Wheat, Twig and Dune combined with some rich suede and the unbeatable gum bottom to create a design that proves those with a sharp eye for color have been doing the ‘tonal’ thing for a lot longer than you might have realized.