Nike SB Dunks: What Sets These Skater and Sneakerhead Specials Apart?

Things come and go, fashion trends change, yet one thing that remains a standard when it comes to popularity in the fashion world is Nike as a brand, and their iconic Dunks as the product. Created back in 1985 as basketball shoes that would compete with Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars and Adidas Superstar, it didn’t take long for the design to win the attention of college basketball players, fashion enthusiasts and sneakerheads alike and it was all thanks to the incredible support and cushioning.

Lo and behold, the skateboarding community caught up on this incredible footwear too in the 1990s, which was reason enough for Nike to consider giving a skateboarding twist to the classic Dunk, giving birth to the snug SB Dunks that are still all the rage in the skateboard culture. Although at first glance they look all the same, any skateboarder and connoisseur of Nike and this design in particular will be able to tell them apart.

The best part of it all is you can seamlessly incorporate these Nike shoes in your wardrobe with suitable clothes and accessories. The brand came up with a special skateboarding SB line meant to cater to the needs of skaters with a range of tops, like comfortable and protective Nike SB hoodies and blazers, vests, T-shirts and button-up shirts, as much as shorts and pants to back you up no matter what the weather throws at you. Top off your outfit with a fancy SB accessory, such as a cap or backpack, and you’re good to go, conquering streets and pavements.

black and white nike sb dunks tied up on a pole

Are SB and Dunks the Same?

The answer is no, and we’re going to see why analysing the following properties:

The Fit

Sure, the shape seems almost identical, but the two options have a different fit: the classic is truer to size, whereas the SB version is more snug right out of the box, even though they’re both considered to be true to size. If you’re not into skateboarding, but prefer a somewhat more tight feel to the feet, then the latter is the perfect choice for you.

Keep in mind, though, the older SB models are somewhat softer than the newer alternatives and releases as there is a difference in the choice of materials. Lately, the materials chosen for the padding and outsoles are somewhat sturdier and as such give off a tighter feel which can be a tad bit more difficult to break in at first.

If after trying the two options you feel the looser fit would be better for you and your feet, then choose the older skateboarding Dunks instead. In terms of the design, the hightops are the roomier option as the lowtops have somewhat stiffer padding around the ankles to compensate for the lack of cushioning.

guy wearing nike sb dunks

The Tongue

Part of this snug fit comes from this incredible feature that’s typical for the SB Dunks and looks like a pillow or cushion alternative to the slim tongue of the regular Dunks. This change isn’t accidental as this specific difference in the form of the tongue provides the wearer with an increased dose of protection as the feet won’t slip or wiggle when doing all the tricks and turns of skateboarding. This is further supported with the addition of elastic straps. Instead of having shoes that you have to break into, you get sneakers that mould to your feet. That’s the kind of comfort that’s worth all the investment!

nike sb dunks tongue

The Laces

Perhaps not that easily noticeable, but once you pay attention to this detail, you’re going to see the regular Dunks come with flat laces as opposed to the round and puffy laces of the Nike SB Dunks and there’s a reason for this change beyond the aesthetics. The round and puffy structure of the skateboarding version provides the laces with an added dose of strength and durability, fit for the rigours of the extremes of the sport, so a little wear and tear you put them through won’t be a match for them.

person wearing two different coloured nike sb dunk sneakers

The Soles

When you’re into skateboarding, primarily you do the shoe shopping based on the amount of grip the soles provide, because that’s what you rely on for better performance with the board. You probably would also be after better contact, as well as overall control and safety.

The Nike sneakers don’t disappoint in this aspect either, and even though the traditional Dunks are well-known for the support they provide with the soles on the court, the brand took this a step further with the additional number of rings at the forefoot to increase the flexibility as much as the stability, and enhance the skateboarding experience for their skater customers and fans.

two different coloured nike sb dunk soles placed on a platform

The Underfoot

When it comes to this specific feature of the Nike SB Dunk shoes the brand has taken advantage of the outstanding advancements in technology and added the much-needed change to the simple EVA insoles of the traditional Dunks. To increase the comfort and offer utmost protection for those cases of impact when on the deck performing all sorts of flips and tricks, the shoes can back you up with the Zoom Air unit that’s thin yet provides the required level of cushioning at the heel.

Add to this the dense foam made from urethane at the forefoot and you get a pretty responsive part for a board feel. You also won’t have to worry about the interior environment of the shoes, since odour and sweat won’t mean trouble when you’re out with the board thanks to the top layer of the insoles that’s created to be of help with moisture-wicking.

blue nike sb dunk sneaker and two blue insoles placed on a laminate floor