Inspired by popular sneakers that came before, Nike Dunks aimed to shake up the basketball trainer scene in 1985. Peter Moore, the designer of the shoes, differentiated his creation from others on the market by emphasising colours aside from the standard white. When they launched as part of the ‘Be True to Your School’ campaign, the uppers of the first Nike Dunk high tops had distinct colourways based on 12 schools in the US, all of which would be later reintroduced as retro models. Unfortunately, the overwhelming popularity of the Air Jordan 1 meant that Dunks struggled to compete in the basketball arena, and it was skateboarders who latched onto the trainers, appreciating the use of thick leather padding and a grippy texture. Today, the sneakers are worn by people of all varieties, be they athletes or fashion icons, and there are not just highs, but also low and mid tops spanning dozens of unique colourways, from Panda Black and White to Grey Fog and Valerian Blue.
One of the most popular versions of the shoe is the Low Retro, which has become better known as the Nike Panda Dunk. With its black-and-white colour scheme, the Panda is at its core a simple sneaker, but it stands out for the simple fact that it has wide appeal. On landing in 2021, the trainer quickly became a must-have addition to everyone’s footwear collection, selling out across the board. It has received many re-releases since then, and you’d be hard pressed to find even a casual sneakerhead who hasn’t at least considered grabbing a pair; nevertheless, the Pandamania is still in full swing, with variations like the Dunk High Panda giving fans new ways to enjoy their favourite animal-themed shoe.