- Every Single Type of Nike Dunk ...
Image via BlackBox
By Adam Cheung • Editor-in-Chief • 28 Jan, 2021 4:05 PM
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Even if you aren't a fan of the Nike Dunk, you have to admit that it was undeniably the greatest shoe of 2020. Introduced all the way back in 1985, it was designed specifically for college basketball players. Unveiled at around the same time as Michael Jordan's still-legendary Air Jordan 1, it never gained the same status as his Airness' signature shoe, but that just gave it more opportunity to dip into other genres and subcultures that had yet to be explored.
Over the next few years, it was seen as a relatively low cost Nike model that was generally easy to buy. While many hyped collaborations did pop up every once in a while, it was nothing like what happened in 2020.
On the dawn of its 35th birthday, some of the industry's biggest fashion icons such as Travis Scott and Virgil Abloh set their sights on the Dunk. Just like wildfire, the landscape pretty much completely transformed overnight, and suddenly, every single sneakerhead needed a pair in their collection. With that said, do you know what the difference is between every single type of Dunk?
What's the difference between a "regular" dunk and a "SB"? How can you tell between a "Pro" and a "Pro B"? The Sole Supplier is here to answer all of these questions, so stop what you're doing, bookmark this page, and listen up, because things are about to get a little complicated.
If you know, you know. The Nike Dunk 6.0 was specifically designed for action sports. Originally released during the black or gold box era of SB back in 2010, these were made from more rugged materials such as canvas and vulcanised rubber, making them ideal for activities like BMX and Freeride Mountain Biking. While only a handful of 6.0s released, some highlights include the “Rasta” that made its debut in 2012 and the “DMC-12“ that's inspired by the DeLorean.
From a distance, Nike Dunk CLs look exactly like regular Dunks. It’s only when you physically handle them that you will begin to notice the difference. Standing for “Comfort Lining”, the inner lining has been beefed up for a more comfortable fit and feel. While it’s unclear when exactly the CL was introduced, supply was at an all time high back in the early 2000s. With that said, you definitely won’t find a DS pair anywhere as these were mainly used as beaters back in the day.
Just like the CL, the Nike Dunk CMFT was made with comfort in mind but on a different part of the shoe. Focusing strictly on everything under the foot, the Beaverton brand gave this line of Dunks a slightly revamped midsole which resulted in it being a little more streamlined and a lot more lightweight. Some of these pairs were even infused with Air tech, in fact, the moniker is still running wild with the upcoming Air Jordan 1 CMFT that is sure to change the game once again.
We all know what CO.JP means, and if you don’t then you need to educate yourself with The Sole Supplier’s Kicktionary. Standing for Concept Japan, Nike Dunk CO.JPs were made exclusively for the Japanese market back in the mid-‘90s and into the ‘00s. These were produced during a time when the Swoosh had just expanded over to Asia and were doing everything they could to win over sneakerheads in the East. While CO.JP Dunks seem like a thing of the past, they’re actually still being made, with one of the latest ones being the Mita x Nike Dunk Low CO.JP “OnkoChishin” from four years ago.
One of the newest Dunk variants in the business, the Nike Disrupt takes the iconic silhouette and gives it a slightly deconstructed aesthetic. Taking cues from ‘80s Nike Basketball shoes such as 1984’s Air Train, the Disrupt also looks into the future for inspiration, with a tongue and pull tab that seems to be borrowed from the Tom Sachs x Nike Mars Yard. While this series is exclusive for the female footwear fans, that hasn’t stopped guys from squeezing into pairs.
While not many Dunks are labeled ISO these days, there are a few stilling dropping left, right, and centre. An acronym for In-Store Only, the Nike Dunk ISO is exactly what it says in the tin. Pairs like the recent Nike SB Dunk High ISO ”Midnight Navy” were released exclusively in specific skate shops worldwide, making them a lot rarer than the usual pair. Interestingly enough though, these don’t usually resell for much probably due to their generally simple design.
The Nike Dunk LR is probably one of the weirder Dunks out there. Releasing in the early ‘10s, they were originally supposed to be part of the 6.0 line but that series ended way before this one could even begin. Famously made with an extra fat tongue, LR stood for Lunarlon when that was still brand new. This technology was stuffed into a Vans-like midsole which took everything that we loved about the Dunks and threw it in the trash. It’s safe to say that literally nobody liked the LR, but sometimes you need to remember the past to plan for the future.
Does anyone really like chukka-inspired sneakers? Riccardo Tisci sure did, that’s why he introduced the Nike Dunk Lux Chukka back in 2017. Made just when he had stepped down as creative director of Givenchy after a twelve year reign, this passion project was designed with exaggerated proportions and an oversized Swoosh that you could see from the moon. No other Lux Chukkas dropped after collab but it’s still a worthy mention.
The Nike Dunk PRM can be split into so many different sub-lines, but for simplicity’s sake we’ll just keep it as it is. Clearly standing for Premium, this acronym has been used throughout the Beaverton brand’s range for sneakers including the Air Force 1 and the Air Max 95. While it depends on everyone’s individual opinion, PRM pairs are generally made from more premium materials. A worthy mention is the Nike Dunk High PRM “Dark Russet” that’s expected to launch in February 2021. Crafted from leather, nubuck, and suede, you can see that it’s more luxurious without even touching it.
What exactly is a Nike Dunk Pro? I don’t think anyone can really answer this question. While many think that it stands for Professional or Progressive, nothing really makes Pro models stand out from the rest other than extra “Pro” branding. One of the most recent releases include the Nike SB Dunk Low Pro "Elephant" which pays homage to the atmos x Nike Air Max 1 "Elephant" from 2017. Does this story make it more “Pro”? Just like the true meaning of life, this may just be one of those questions that we’ll never get a solid answer to.
If you weren’t confused enough, the Nike Dunk Pro B is also a thing. Contrary to popular belief, this line made its debut before the iconic SB, and was the first model to feature a fat tongue, extra padding, and elastic straps. While more lifestyle-focused than its half pipe-ready counterpart, the Pro B has played a major role in skate scenes across the globe. Two colourways that are worth mentioning include the “Smurf” and the “Putty” which both released over two decades ago back in 1999.
Another term that we define in the TSS Kicktionary, Nike Dunk QS pairs are only available at Tier 0 retailers meaning they’re extremely limited compared to the average release. Standing for Quickstrike, these include exclusive collaborations and special edition releases. One that immediately pops to mind is the Strangelove Skateboards x Nike SB Dunk Low QS from 2020. A shoe that helped kickstart the Dunk revolution, it was made in collaboration with Sean Cliver and is valued at £1000 to £4000 depending on the size.
While Regular is certainly not the official term for a “normal” pair of Nike Dunks, with all these acronyms and abbreviations it’s probably the best way to describe it. It’s not often that you find a Nike Dunk that’s not attached to any of these complicated code words, but the Dunk is, hands down, the most important of them all. Originally debuted back in 1985, it was originally a basketball shoe that was geared towards college athletes. As time went on, the silhouette began to get adopted by more and more sports and subcultures, to the point that we kind of forget its OG court side roots.
Of course, you can’t have a list explaining all the different types of Dunks without mentioning the Nike SB Dunk. Arguably the only kind that most modern sneakerheads know of, the skateboarding division was formed in 2002. Known to be one of the most exclusive lines, when it made its official debut pairs dropped in the most unconventional places. You wouldn’t be able to cop at a normal Nike store like any other shoe, instead, you’d have to wait in line for hours and hours outside of an independent skate shop for a pair. One of the most famous pairs include the Nike Dunk SB Low Staple "NYC Pigeon" which caused mass mayhem back in 2005 - something that Jeff Staple himself goes into more detail in our Under The Influence interview.
What can we say about the Nike Dunk SP? A term used to describe the Oregon brand’s Special Projects, this includes some collaborations and all NikeLab releases. One of the most recent variants include the return of the “Ugly Duckling” Pack which included the “Ceramic”, the “Plum”, and the “Veneer”. Incidentally, these three were also CO.JP pairs as well, releasing exclusively in Japan back in 2001. This just goes to show how confusing this naming system can potentially be.
And last but not least, we have the Nike Dunk Low Warmth. A limited run that was introduced back in 2014, the Warmth Pack comprised of the Low and the High and were made to keep your feet warm during the wet and windy winter months. Crafted from a specially designed fuzzy fabric, there weren’t particular popular among sneakerheads back in the day, but we definitely wouldn’t mind if they got a restock.
And that’s that! While we know for a fact that there are probably a billion other acronyms and abbreviations out there that we may have forgotten to include, these are the main ones to look out for. Did you know any of these? How many pairs of these do you currently have in your collection? Be sure to let us know, and if you haven’t already, check out The Sole Supplier’s Kicktionary for 50 terms that every sneakerhead should know!
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