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Why Are Nike Dunks Called Dunks?

Nike Dunks

Nike has designed a broad range of shoes and some of them have interesting names. Have you ever wondered how Nike chose the names for each collection/model? There is usually a good reason behind the name along with a history that clarifies the choice. We were curious about why the Nike Dunks collection is called Dunks? To satisfy our curiosity we looked up the meaning and how the top-selling sneaker brand decided on the name. To understand the significance of the name you need to know the history of the model and how it came to be. Here's everything we learned about the Nike Dunks.

Who designed the first Dunks?

According to Grailed, Nike's former creative director Peter Moore sketched the original Nike Dunk. He's also credited with the design of the Jordan I and others. He took inspiration from the Air Force 1, the Jordan I, and the Nike Terminator which bore resemblances. The result of Moore's efforts was a model that he first named the College Color High. He gave the name a second thought as the first slam dunk's 40th anniversary was happening at the same time that the sneakers were scheduled for release. This provided the fodder for an exceptional advertising campaign. He changed the name to the Nike Dunk in honor of the grand anniversary event. Moore also took into account that the sneaker collection was designed to honor school basketball teams with corresponding colors for each college team. The Nike Dunk seemed to be the better choice between the two and it was officially adopted as the name of the new collection. This was a last-minute name change, but as it turned out, it was the better choice because the Nike Dunk was one of the more successful models that Nike has produced.

Nike's Be True To Your School campaign

The Nike Dunk is the celebratory sneaker that kicked off Nike's Be True To Your School advertising campaign. This was the official slogan that was used in the launch of the new model. The Nike Dunk was released in 1985 and it stood for everything that a college basketball team should be. It was colorful and entertaining, showing school pride as reflected in the bold colorways. In a way, Nike has been a part of the excitement that we've all experienced on the courts of college basketball games. The Nike Dunk was one of the most influential sneakers to hit the market during the mid to late 1980s and it only picked up momentum in the years to come. It's been more than 35 years since the Dunk became a popular court sneaker with a slogan that supported the team effort to win at the sport of basketball. Since that time, Nike has done its part to continue to improve on the performance of their Dunks to help athletes to perform at their peak on the courts.

Drawing on the best of the best

It's become obvious over time that Peter Moore was himself the designer who delivered a slam dunk for the Nike corporation. He borrowed a variety of different elements, taking the best of the best from existing Nike models, to create a court shoe that turned out to be one of the best fitting shoes that delivered a high performance for those engaged in the sport.

Moving from hoops to the hype

Finishline points out that the Nike Dunk lived up to its expectations and beyond by becoming an icon in the sneaker industry. The popular sneaker was brought back in 2002 as the Nike SB Dunk. This took the Dunk straight out of the basketball court and into the skateboarding arena. The new iteration of the retro sneaker was brought back with a redesign that made it suitable for skateboarders. It took a lot of research to first determine the requirements of serious skateboarders, then delivers shoe that was tailored to meet their every want and needs in a sneaker. When the Dunk SBs were released they came in a variety of colorways that were in line with the general styles skaters preferred. There were a variety of collaborations for the Nike Dunk including the Nike Dunk SB Low Staple NYC Pigeon, which is rumored to have caused a riot outside the retail store. Collaborations with streetwear designers such as Warren Lotas, with a few colorways, a Swooshless dunk, and the Travis Scott SB Dunk low with a spike in the desire to own a pair of Dunks in 2020. It was an all-out frenzy.

Final thoughts

The Nike Dunk is an iconic model that has been around since 1985. It began as a basketball shoe intended to honor school pride reflecting the colors of college basketball teams. Since that time the sneaker has evolved. It has been offered in several different iterations with the same successful results. When you see the name Dunk, even if the purpose of the sneaker is for skateboarding, or as lifestyle streetwear, remember where the name came from. It started out as a basketball shoe as if the name didn't give that away. The Dunk has been offered in so many different editions that it has evolved into an icon. When it appears in a limited edition, it' best to get your pre-order in right away, because the shoes don't last long enough to make it to the retailer in most cases. If they do, you'll need to be among the first in line. They've become one of eh most highly desired models in the history of the brand. In a way, Nike has become a part of the history of the sport of basketball, and the Dunk will always reflect this origin.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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