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What the Dunk? That was the initial reaction from college basketball fans in response to seeing the bold paneled, low profile, hi-top hoops sneaker during the mid 80's. The Nike Dunk Hi took over college hoops in 1985, and 15 years later, the Nike Dunk would take over fashion, streetwear, and style as we know it.

The Nike Dunk Hi was introduced in 1985 as an exact match to particular NCAA basketball teams' colors. St. John's, Michigan, Syracuse, Kentucky and UNLV were some of the lucky beneficiaries of the "College Colors" program who were able to utilize the shoes to break necks (and opposing team's ankles) on the basketball court with this new edgy design.

In an effort to create a better basketball shoe, the Nike Dunk Hi showcased some new and impressive details. Unlike its counterparts, (Nike Terminator, Nike Blazer, and Nike Air Force 1) the Nike Dunk Hi had a very low profile. The mid-sole of the Nike Dunk Hi was very low to the floor in hopes of improving traction and staying close to the ground. The multi-panel upper of the Nike Dunk Hi not only looked great and easily matched team colors, but it provided extra durability while playing. This same durability of the Nike Dunk Hi would play an integral role in the future of its adaptation as a skateboarding shoe.

The Nike Dunk Hi took a hiatus and was re-released in 1998 in the same "Be True To Your School" color schemes amongst some new ones, as well. The re-released versions of the Nike Dunk Hi and Nike Dunk Low stayed true with the glorious nylon tongue--specific to the original re-released versions. Around this same time, the Nike Dunk Hi and Nike Dunk Low tested the waters with some exclusivity runs. Foot Action was one of the retailers in the United States who were able to see the Nike Dunk first--spawning today's coveted Foot Action exclusives.

Across the way in Japan, the United States fan base could only drool when viewing the colors. This Nike Dunk craze gave birth to designers, artists, companies and brands alike. The Nike Dunk in the early 2000's had design help from Undefeated, Alphanumeric, Jeff Staple, Zoo York, and Haze (plus many more). In addition, icons like Pharrell Williams, Danny Supa and Reese Forbes showcased the Nike Dunk, thus transitioning the former hoops shoe to a staple for the fashion-conscious, as well as skateboarders. Understanding the multi-purposes of the Nike Dunk Hi and Nike Dunk Low, Nike created the SB line of sneakers, launched--naturally--by Nike Dunk.

Nike Dunk SB: the padded tongue, the zoom air insole, the beautiful cushion of the shoe. From Tiffany Blue to Curry Browns, Gino Iannucci to N.E.R.D., the Heineken Star to New York Pigeons. The Nike Dunk Hi, Nike Dunk Low, to the creation of the Nike Dunk Mid, Nike Dunk Trainer and Nike Dunk One Piece, it is safe to say there's one Nike Dunk that has been on every sneaker fiend's "Holy Grail" list. Once started, the craze of collecting the Dunk may have one saying "What the Dunk?"