How did a simple kitchen appliance shape the biggest American sportswear company in history? The significance of the simple waffle iron should be readily known by any Nike fanatic, but for the un-oriented — brand co-founder Bill Bowerman created a near-perfect all-purpose rubber sole using a kitchen waffle iron. The legendary running coach needed a solution in the form of an all-purpose rubber bottom that would be suitable on all surfaces, so he borrowed his wife’s handy appliance — and the Nike Waffle was born. In fact, the actual waffle iron used was given to Nike by Bill’s daughter Melissa Bowerman.
In 2019, an original pair of the Nike Waffle Racing Flat “Moon Shoe” was sold at auction for $437,500. At the time it set a record for the highest-selling pair of sneakers in auction history. Only twelve pairs were hand-made for runners at the 1972 Olympic Trials; they were cobbled by Geoff Hollister, one of Nike’s earliest employees.
While the Dunk Low has no immediate connection to that running model, the Nike Waffle laid the foundation for the design of traction patterns. In the sport of basketball, on-court stability relies on the specific grooves and patterns on the rubber bottoms, which the Dunk has plenty of.
In this upcoming release, the Dunk honors these quirky origins with a freshly-baked tan/brown colorway in leather and suede, characterized by a waffled texture on the mid-panel and labels on the tongue and insole. A buttery off-white covers the laces and Swoosh, while full gum bottoms finish the look.
Truly a creative take on the ’85 classic, the Waffle Dunks are set to release on nike.com in the coming months.
In related news, the Panda Dunks are restocking again on November 16th and are likely to do so again in the month of December.