One of the big catalysts of the sneakerhead/collector craze in the very early 2000s was the Dunk Low, the shorter brother of the Dunk High. While the High was recognized as the representative of the original Dunks, the Low is what kept sneakerheads searching through Niketalk and eBay, simply because Nike was putting out some hot GR goodness. Today Nike revealed three co.jp iterations of the Dunk Low inspired by past collaborations with Japanese sneaker boutiques, conjuring up the fun memories of almost two decades ago, so here’s a quick rundown of the best Dunk Low iterations ever. Fat tongues and unreleased samples need not apply.
Designed by California-based sneaker boutique UNDFTD, this epic Dunk Low featured massive paint splatters above a dark grey reflective 3M upper. The women’s version in pink was equally coveted.
Long before Marvel Comics were dominating the silver screen, Nike dropped this out-of-nowhere “Silver Surfer” Pack. It featured the intergalactic being’s visage on the insoles, but what make these stand out is the metallic mesh used on the toe-box and side panel. Two different coloways released, as did an Air Max 90.
There really is no story behind these – it’s just a bangin’ colorway with 3M reflective and white outsoles. Even Red Sox fans would mess with these.
Two-toned Dunks were all the rage, and none were as fresh as the “Argon”. Featuring two refreshing shades of blue, the Argon Dunks, a Japan exclusive release, was among one of the more sought after sneakers period. In 2006, Nike dropped a GR in a similar colorway, although it was more UNC blue and navy.
Nike teamed up with Eric Haze, a true OG of the NYC graffiti scene, way back in 2003 for this awesome Dunk Low. The design doesn’t need to be explained, but it should be mentioned that Eric was one of the earliest artist collaborations ever.
Another co.jp hit was this super-simple “Dark Curry” colorway, which paired off white with this pleasing brown/tan tone. In addition to these, a “reverse” colorway also dropped in ’99 as well.
In the early 2000s, Nike began collaboration with select sneaker boutiques around the world to bring some buzz around the cool crowd. In comes this dope partnership with Kicks Hawaii, who brought in some regional flair with the woven panels and tropical colorway. It’s one of the few Dunks in history with unique lettering on the heel, too.
Another Japan-exclusive banger with this crisp grey/red pairing dubbed the “Ultraman”. Originally releasing in 1999, this two-toned hit was a flip of the classic UNLV colorway from 1985. There were several other college colorways that dropped during this time as well.
Thanks to the insane popularity of Reese Forbes’ Denim SB Dunks, Nike dropped a set of GR Dunks with a denim-like material with frayed edges. From here, it’s safe to say that the Dunk began a steady decline in popularity as Nike went way overboard with colorways and releases.
Carbon Fiber on sneakers was a rarity, so its sudden appearance on these flashy Dunk Lows for Halloween definitely caught the attention of Dunk nuts everywhere.
As we approached the mid-2000s, Nike started releasing sets of retro shoes with one unifying design concept. We call these “Packs”, and most of what Nike was putting out was gold. The “Dirty Denim” Dunks were a gem as it featured a worn-in finish on the tan and blue uppers (not denim, by the way). The matching Air Max 1 is true grail status as well.
This is just one of the epic Japan-exclusive “City Attack” series that released back in 1999, comprised of both Low and High iterations with amazing two-toned color combinations. The Midnight Navy/Varsity Red pairing is certainly one of the more memorable ones, but we aren’t arguing that this is the best.
Like many of the Dunks in this list, the “Samba” Dunk from 2001 is also a Japan-exclusive. It’s nickname is simply derived from the Samba red color on the carbon fiber Swoosh, heel, and sole.