The year was 2005. The date, February 22. The place was New York City, specifically, the Reed Space NYC boutique, which had only been in business for two years. The era? The height of sneaker fandom, especially when it came to Nike’s SB Dunk silhouette.
The hysteria started when Nike announced its forthcoming collaboration with Jeff Staple — called the Nike Pigeon Dunk SB. It was to be your normal Dunk silhouette, but with a cute little pigeon under the swoosh.
Sounds dope, right? Well, sound is exactly what sneakerheads had to rely on, as no one had actually ever seen the shoe. As the legend goes, Nike announced the release date, and people showed up and camped outside the boutique THREE WHOLE DAYS EARLY in a blizzard. That’s right; people were absolutely losing it over a shoe they’d never seen. In winter. That’s a special kind of madness.
As it turns out, the shoe was indeed well designed and beloved by the heads. Perhaps the campout was worth it, but the ensuing riot… not so much. According to designer Jeff Staple, who credits the shoe with “catapulting sneaker culture to the masses,” on the day of the release, the cops showed up and told the campers to break up the line. As you can imagine, that didn’t sit well with them and the not-so-happy campers were holding on to the gates of the store, being forcefully pulled away by police until SWAT showed up, as some of the soon-to-be patrons brought their own weapons (presumably as protection while they slept on the streets for three days). For a shoe, let us remind you. A shoe.
Those who didn’t get carted away became a part of sneaker culture history. And the actual kicks — then priced at $32.50, today close to $7,000 — became synonymous with the Hypebeast movement.
Today, Nike dropped another iteration of the shoe called the Nike SB Dunk Panda Pigeon which, as you can guess from the name, is all in black and white, with the dirty bird stitched neatly under the swoosh, per usual. All shoes will be shipped in the classic pink box, making the event even more attractive to collectors.
Thanks to the internet, there probably won’t be a riot, but you’re sure to see sneakerheads firing off angry social media posts, as it looks like resellers have already gotten a hold of all the pairs on the official Nike site and have hiked up the price quite a bit.
The GOAT app seems to have a few pairs left, but because of the history here there will probably be more people keeping their shoes for a spell than wanting to resell them. Unless it’s for a steep markup, of course. Shoes are great, after all, but rent is RENT.