The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 28 — Nike's Dunks are the wine of sneaker culture

They just get more value with time

Good morning! Happy Friday! Shoutout to you for making it through the work week as usual. Took it like a champ. Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. Thank you so much for giving me a bit of your time this morning.

Today’s shoutout goes to the WNBA and the WNBA Player’s Association for putting together a comprehensive and truly good collective bargaining agreement. They’re really raising the bar for women’s sports and that’s a great thing for our future. Read more about it here.

With that out the way, let’s dig in.

This is why you hold on to your old shit

A while back I wrote about what felt like a rebirth for my favorite shoe, the Nike Dunk. The shoe changed literally everything we know about sneakers from simple color palettes to how shoes are actually sold. Then it went away for a while.

But the Dunk didn’t die, but it was dormant for most of the 2010s. Now it’s roaring back with a vengeance. The numbers prove it.

  • Between 2018 and Q4 of 2019, the average resale price of all Nike SB Dunks increased by $179 according to data given to me by StockX.

  • From a percentage perspective, the resale value of Nike SB Dunks jumped up by 76% on average.

  • In that same time period, over 95% of the dunks in StockX’s dataset (about 400) increased in value. That means only 5% of Dunks in that time period lost value.

These numbers are unprecedented. That average retail price number is generally something you don’t see. Just for reference, in that same time period Yeezy only jumped up by about $30.

  • That’s not a low number, either, StockX Data Content Director Jesse Einhorn tells me. It’s just that the Dunk blows it out of the water.

For any fan of the Dunk, these numbers are great to see. Your favorite shoe might be expensive, but it’s definitely still cool. Cooler than it once was, anyway. It didn’t fit in with the athleisure wave that took over the last decade.

But vintage is everything in fashion — I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Things are cyclical. Everything comes back into style at one point or another in some way, shape or form. That’s what the Dunk is doing now.

They’re en vogue again. The joints from the mid-2000’s that were hot a couple decades ago? They’re swinging back in style. StockX’s Morgan Baylis wrote a bit about that in October as part of a study on the Dunk the company did.

In the last 90 days, just over 1000 pairs of Nike Dunks from 2002-2009 have sold on StockX. These Dunks have achieved an average resale value of $630, around $150 higher than the all-time baseline. On the premium side of things, Dunks have averaged premiums of 629% in the last 90 days. By contrast, the all-time average premium for Dunks released this mid-2000s is 471%.

They’re actually retroing SB’s and these big numbers show us why. They’ve swung even further in the time since as the Dunk has become more and more relevant in the sneaker space again.

They’re capitalizing on this with retros — sort of like Jordan Brand. Think about it. Since 2017, the Pigeons, Rayguns, Viotechs, Diamond Supply and Lobster Dunks have been reborn. Those were all hits and there are more on the way.

That’s not even mentioning the new looks we’re getting. The most popular of which are probably Virgil Abloh’s take on the Dunk in December — as controversial as that was — and Travis Scott’s take in February.

Here’s my hot take: We’re probably never going to see a golden era for the Dunk like we did in the mid-2000’s again. It’s too hard to replicate. Everything was just timed so perfectly.

But we will get close to that. Fashion is moving out of that athleisure look and back into retrowear and that’s where the color and creativity of the Dunk shines the brightest.

I absolutely love to see it.

Joel Embiid is diving into signature shoes…sigh

(Image via @ayanamy001)

Joel Embiid and Under Armour are launching the Embiid 1 later this fall, the company announced earlier this week.

And I straight up groaned when I read this at first. “Oh my goodness. Not another sig. Please,” is what my first reaction to the news was. Honestly? I feel bad for that. So I’m going to start with love here.

  • It’s every kid’s dream to have a signature shoe with their name on it that reflects their story. That’s always a dope thing.

  • Although basketball shoes aren’t in a great place right now, we still need to shoutout Embiid for getting this done and checking that off of his list. It’s dope. His story is absolutely incredible. It should be appreciated.

Here’s why I groaned. Joel Embiid is going to become the 17th player in the NBA to have a signature shoe — which is great! The part that gets lost here is that he’s the only center. There’s a reason for that.

Big men don’t sell signature sneakers well. We’ve been over it 1,000 times. They mostly never have.

  • There have been few exceptions. Shaquille O’Neal’s signature line with Reebok went crazy, but he was a fan favorite and a big personality in the 90’s where signature shoes were super rare among stars. That’s not the case now.

  • Patrick Ewing’s shoes sell well, too, but he had to break away from Adidas and start his own brand to get things popping.

Embiid is going to face an uphill climb that he and Under Armour both know are coming. “It's not a big man shoe. It's a shoe for any basketball player,” Embiid told DePaula. Under Armour executive Kris Stone said the same. “We didn’t view Joel as a big man. We’re not going to put him in any sort of box.” They know what they’re fighting against.

This is the reason Anthony Davis doesn’t have a signature shoe. Karl-Anthony Towns. Nikola Jokic. All of the cool big men. It’s just hard to sell a shoe when a player can be so limited in when he actually touches the ball and how he scores.

Embiid has a couple things going for him. He’s a great personality, which always helps, and he plays in a big market in Philadelphia which is, obviously, near New York City. Those are great things.

There’s more going against him, though. There’s lots of competition in the signature shoe market including from his brand mate Stephen Curry, who has his own struggles. Plus, the Sixers don’t feel like Finals contenders right now (even though I picked them to play the Clippers in June.)

That latter point can be fixed but the first one can’t. On top of that, I’m sorry, but these just don’t look great.

I like Embiid a lot and I’m rooting for an Under Armour comeback. The sneaker industry is better when there are a ton of big players and not just two.

I just don’t know if these shoes are going to get it done. Hopefully, I’m very wrong.

Beyonce droppin’

(Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash)

The day has finally come, y’all. Beyonce’s Ivy Park collection with Adidas has finally arrived upon us. Well, it will tomorrow.

As far as shoes go, Beyonce has three different models dropping. Her platform Samba shoe for $99, an Ivy Park Ultra Boost for $199 and the Ivy Park Nite Jogger for $160 in two different colorways.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s exciting to see Adidas diving in with a star of Beyonce’s caliber. The rollout had a bit too much mystery to it for me, but that didn’t stop me from being excited to see the entire collection.

Here’s a look at everything they’re coming with plus price points on everything from shoes to apparel.

It looks solid. My only gripe is that it feels like there’s a bit more to be desired as far as kicks go, as guest columnist Greer Engonga so eloquently pointed out a while back. Beyonce should probably have her own design and not just a few PEs. But this is fine for now.

  • This is is the same argument I make with Nike and Travis Scott. Beyonce is too big a name to not launch something new with her. They did it with Pharrell. They did it with Kanye. They can do it here.

Either way, this is exciting stuff. It’s all unisex, so I’m definitely copping something from here. I just need to figure out what it is.

Nike By You is sprouting into a big thing

Remember all of the heat that we got from the We Are Cultivator collaboration with Nike By You? Well, there’s plenty more of that to come.

We Are Cultivator is officially joining Nike By You and becoming the Nike By You workshop. They announced the new partnership in a post on Instagram.

We are very proud to announce that We Are Cultivator is joining the Nike By You family and will now be named @nikebyyouworkshop!
Although we have a new name, our mission remains the same: Helping you share your story by co-creating sneakers with us and selling them through your own storefront on
Stay tuned for more exciting announcements regarding upcoming drops but, more importantly, THANK YOU to all of the amazing Guest Designers and supporters that have been with us throughout this journey.
We wouldn’t be here without you🎉
January 15, 2020

This is dope as hell. It’s great to see creatives have a platform at all, in the first place, but to see it rise to what it has become today is amazing. Shoutout to these two for creating such a brilliant platform.

This also goes back to what we’ve already talked about here — creativity and customization are the next big waves in sneakers. That’s how we landed at the Wotherspoons. That’s how we landed at everything Virgil has dropped. That’s how we landed here.

I can’t wait to see what they cook up next.


Y’all are literally the best community I can ask for. I got so much love from y’all over the last week — it’s been crazy. Whether it’s to share shoes or if you just wanted to reach out with a comment or whatever. Keep it up. I love the conversation.

Let’s dive in to what y’all had on this week.

Here’s Shawn P killing it as always with the Adidas Torsion.

January 13, 2020

These Florida Gator 1’s are crazy and I HATE the Florida Gators…no disrespect if that’s your family lol.

Then I pulled out my Aqua 8’s for a bit. Wear your kicks, y’all. It’s rewarding.

That’s a wrap for this week.

That’s it for Friday, y’all! Thanks for reading, as always! I love y’all, man. Just thinking that we’ve come this far in such a short time it’s pretty fucking spectacular and I only have y’all to thank.

Stay tuned on Monday. I’ll have an update for y’all on the road to 500. We’re going to do 2020 big!

Holla at y’all. Peace and love. As always, be easy. Be kind.

Sykes 💯