In The Battle Of Nike Dunk vs SB Dunk, Which Reigns Supreme?


Nike Dunk and SB Dunk shoes are occupying the newsfeed a lot. People are confused about their differences. So, in this Nike Dunk vs SB Dunk article, I will highlight their key differences.

I’ll compare their sizing, design, tongue, outsole, stitching, laces, and factors contributing to the comfort, durability, support, etc. 

Nike Dunk vs SB Dunk

Both shoes played key roles in shaping the sneakerhead community, capturing enthusiasts and becoming collector’s items. The purpose of this blog is to explore the fascinating world of these two legendary sneakers, tracing their origins, exploring their unique characteristics, and investigating their impact on sneaker culture today.

Table of Contents

Origins and Evolution

The Nike Dunk, introduced in 1985, was originally designed as a basketball shoe. Its clean, straightforward silhouette and vibrant colorways quickly made it popular on and off the courts.

However, the sneaker became a symbol of self-expression and individuality when skaters and streetwear enthusiasts embraced it in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

In contrast, the Nike SB Dunk was born in collaboration with skater Sandy Bodecker in 2002. The “SB” stands for “Skateboarding,” and these sneakers cater to skaters. They featured extra padding, improved traction, and a Zoom Air unit for enhanced impact protection.

The Nike SB Dunk soon became a mainstay in the skateboarding scene, attracting both skaters and sneaker enthusiasts alike.

Design and Aesthetics

After Having personal experience with both the Nike Dunk and the SB Dunk, I was immediately taken by their design and aesthetics.

Dunk’s minimalist silhouette and balanced color-blocking make it a versatile and distinctive design. The use of premium materials like leather adds a high-quality feel. It often relies on bold color combinations. 

The SB Dunk, originally a skateboarding shoe, features a ‘fat’ tongue with extra padding and elastic straps for a unique look. Special editions like the SB Dunk Low Pro ‘Abstract Art’ and the SB Dunk High ‘Sweet Tooth’ offer creative designs, blending bold colors and playful patterns.

Both models can complement various outfits, embodying Nike’s commitment to style and function.

Nike Dunk vs SB Dunk Sizing

Nike Dunk vs SB Dunk Sizing

Nike Dunks are generally considered to have a more standard fit. Most people can purchase regular Nike Dunk sneakers with their Nike shoe size.

Nike SB Dunks are often reported to run slightly smaller than regular Dunks. I recommend going up half a size from your regular Nike shoe size when purchasing Nike SB Dunk sneakers. So, if you usually wear a size 9 in other Nike shoes, you might opt for a size 9.5 in Nike SB Dunks.

Nike Dunk vs SB Dunk: Pillow for a tongue

The tongue on regular Dunks is typically made of unpadded nylon or mesh material. At the same time, SB Dunks have a beefed-up tongue with more cushioning and protection. The thicker tongue on SB Dunks provides extra cushioning and helps with the shoe’s overall fit.

SB Dunks were designed to protect the skaters’ feet better.

Nike Dunk vs SB Dunk: The Laces

SB Dunks typically use oval-shaped, slightly puffy laces that are thicker and more durable, designed to withstand the wear and tear of skateboarding. 

Regular Dunks, on the other hand, offer a wider range of textile or flat laces. SB Dunks also often feature the Nike SB logo on the tongue, distinguishing them from regular Dunks. These variations in lace styles cater to each sneaker model’s specific needs and aesthetics.

Differences in Stitching and Swoosh

I found noticeable differences in stitching and swoosh design between Nike Dunk and SB Dunk.

The regular Nike Dunks typically feature a single stitching line along the side swoosh. In contrast, this stitching is absent in Nike SB Dunks. 

Nike Dunk and SB Dunk Outsole

Nike Dunk VS SB Dunk Outsole

I compared the sole design between Nike Dunk and Nike SB Dunk sneakers. There is a difference in their outsole. Nike SB Dunks feature a specially designed outsole with fine rings, carefully crafted to offer superior grip and enhanced flexibility to meet the demands of skateboarding. 

This unique sole configuration optimizes performance and durability while providing skateboarders with the necessary stability. On the other hand, regular Nike Dunks may possess a different outsole design.

Zoom Air Pod

The insole design is the main difference in the Zoom Air pod between Nike Dunk and Nike SB Dunk sneakers. The Nike SB Dunks I’ve seen have an insole with a Zoom Air pod at the heel, delivering enhanced cushioning and impact absorption specifically designed for skateboarding.

On the other hand, the regular Nike Dunks I’ve come across typically feature a simpler foam insole without the Zoom Air pod.

Collaboration Culture and Hype

Creating successful collaborations is one of the key factors contributing to Nike Dunk and SB Dunk’s popularity. The partnerships often include influential figures from various industries, resulting in limited-edition releases that generate excitement and exclusivity.

If you’re a sneaker enthusiast like me, you would probably look forward to these releases, standing in lines outside stores or constantly refreshing websites to secure a pair of these unique shoes.

In my opinion, the culture of collaboration surrounding Dunks has not only elevated the art of sneaker collecting but also provided artists and designers with a platform to showcase their creativity and engage with a global community of sneaker lovers. 

Cultural Impact and Resurgence

In my experience, the Nike Dunk and SB Dunk shoes are not just popular among people who love sneakers. They’ve become a big part of popular culture all over the world. You can see them in movies, music videos, and social media.

These shoes have become a common sight in street fashion and are seen as a way for people to show their personal style and individuality.

I’ve noticed that even though these shoes weren’t very popular in the mid-2000s, they’ve made a big comeback. A mix of nostalgia, smart advertising, and excitement on social media has made these shoes popular again.

If you follow celebrities and influencers as I do, you’ve probably seen them showing off their unique and rare pairs of these shoes. This has made more people want to own a pair of these special sneakers.

Controversies and Social Impact

As with any immensely popular cultural phenomenon, the Nike Dunk and SB Dunk have not been without their share of controversies. The limited supply and high demand have led to issues of reselling at exorbitant prices, making these sneakers inaccessible to many genuine fans.

Such practices have sparked debates on ethical sneaker consumption and the role of manufacturers in regulating the market.

Moreover, some collaborations have faced criticism for cultural appropriation and insensitivity. Sneaker brands must navigate these concerns responsibly to avoid alienating their diverse and discerning audience.

Celebrity Endorsements and Influencer Culture

I’ve seen famous people like singers and actors wear Nike Dunk and SB Dunk shoes. People you might know, like Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, love these shoes. Even sports stars wear them!

Kylie Jenner, who many of you follow on social media, often shows off her Nike Dunks. When she does this, it makes a lot of us want to buy the same shoes. Even a popular singer, Travis Scott is a big fan of these shoes. He has even made his own design for Nike! 

So you see, it’s not just about the shoes. It’s also about who is wearing them. Famous people can make things popular by just wearing them!

Design Innovation and Technological Advancements

Nike Dunk vs SB Dunk Design Innovation

As the rivalry between the Nike Dunk and SB Dunk continues, so does the innovation in their designs and the incorporation of advanced technologies. Nike constantly pushes the boundaries of sneaker engineering, introducing new cushioning systems, lightweight materials, and performance-enhancing features. 

The SB Dunk, in particular, has seen improvements in impact protection and skateboard-specific functionalities to cater to the needs of its target audience. At the same time, the classic Nike Dunk retains its timeless appeal, with slight design updates and improvements to keep up with contemporary trends while preserving its original charm.

Fashion and Streetwear Influence

The Nike Dunk and SB Dunk have profoundly impacted the fashion and streetwear industry. Luxury fashion houses have collaborated with Nike, fusing high-end aesthetics with the classic Dunk silhouette. Streetwear brands, in turn, have been inspired by the Dunks’ versatility and cultural appeal, incorporating similar design elements into their collections.

These collaborations and fashion crossovers blur the lines between high fashion and streetwear, cementing the Nike Dunk and SB Dunk’s status as cultural icons that transcend traditional fashion boundaries.


I want to conclude this Nike Dunk vs SB Dunk article with admiration for both shoes. I hope it helped you to understand the differences between these two shoes. We dived into sizing, fashion influence, technological advancement, social and cultural impact, and features like Zoom air pod, laces, swoosh, outsole, etc.

The Nike Dunk and SB Dunk have captivated sneakerheads for decades with their unique stories and design languages. These sneakers have become cultural icons since their humble beginnings as basketball and skateboarding shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between dunks and SB dunks?

The difference between Nike Dunks and Nike SB Dunks is that the SB Dunks have a thicker tongue for more cushioning and protection. In comparison, regular Dunks have a slimmer tongue. Additionally, the stitching over the side Swooshes is different, with standard Dunks having a single line of stitching and SB Dunks removing this stitching. The SB Dunks are optimized for skateboarding, while regular Dunks excel on the court.

Are Nike Dunks and Nike SB different?

Yes, they are different.

What does SB Dunk stand for?

SB Dunk stands for “Skateboarding.”

Are SB dunks more comfortable than dunks?

Yes, SB Dunks are more comfortable than regular Dunks.

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