30 Years Strong: The iconic Nike Dunk

One of my all-time favorite sneakers is celebrating 30 years of iconic goodness. Definitely in my top 3 list. Read on to know more about it.

Nike Dunk

Nike Dunk


Four decades after the inception of the slam-dunk, Nike was just over 10 years old and basketball’s popularity was surging. The year was 1985. It will go down as one of the most pivotal years for Nike Basketball as it marks the year the Nike Dunk was born.

Conceived from the hustle of a young design team, the Nike Dunk basketball shoe was driven by performance innovation that naturally translated to street style. The design solidified Nike’s focus on basketball and reinforced its obsession with creating product to make athletes better.

Nike Dunk
Since 1985



As the world united around the “we are the world” anthem and moviegoers went back to the future, basketball hit its stride in 1985. The worlds of music, entertainment, advertising and sports were fusing together and Nike was a catalyst.

Sport was en-vogue and basketball sneakers now had off-court popularity, even hitting the fashion world. The Nike Dunk’s 1985 debut, with an evolved silhouette from its big brother, the Air Force 1 born three years prior, showcased design lines with bold color blocking. The shoe launched at the perfect time, energizing basketball culture in unexpected ways.

Nike Dunk


Originally sketched by designer Peter Moore and called the College Color High, the Nike Dunk was an artistic mash-up of different shoes, a common design practice at Nike for ‘80s basketball shoes.

The Dunk’s outsole resembled the same traction design of the Air Jordan I, which launched just months before. The Dunk’s upper took cues from the Air Jordan I and the Nike Terminator; interestingly, the three shoes were all developed by the same design minds. The Dunk drew its eventual name from the shoe last on which it was created―the same last used to make the Nike Legend, considered the best fitting basketball last at that time.


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