Everything You Need To Know About Nike’s Panda Dunks

When you imagine what a classic basketball sneaker is, what is the first thing you think of? Usually, many people think of a sneaker with the famous Nike logo on it. And for good reason, too; Nike’s dunk sneaker is one of the most collectible, classic pairs of shoes out there today. What started out as one model and colorway of the sneaker has transformed into many of the most popular pairs of basketball shoes on the market, one of which includes the go-to Panda Dunk.

Here we will dive into everything you need to know about the panda dunks, including a brief history of how the sneaker has evolved, different styles of the panda dunk, and all the features of the panda dunk that fans love, and how the panda dunks have leaped into pop culture.

How The Panda Dunk Came To Be

The story of how the panda dunk came to be can’t be talked about until we discuss the history of the Nike Dunk. The Dunk’s origin story is really all over the place, so we’ll start at the beginning and finish with the inception of the Nike Panda Dunk.

The first Nike Dunk was actually a Nike Dunk High, which was released in 1985 as a basketball sneaker. Around this same time, basketball icon Michael Jordan was rising to fame, and the two instantly became a match. The original Dunk had premier basketball technology, becoming a specialized sneaker for moves like pivoting and blocking. The Dunk became even more successful with it’s Be True To Your School collection, which was also in 1985. There appears to be a trend here- 1985 was a really successful year for Nike, especially because of the Dunk sneaker. The Be True To Your School collection was aimed toward Division I college basketball, offering the teams a way to represent their schools through shoes. This trend blew up Nike’s Dunk High, but slowly fell years later with the inception of the Air Jordan.

Since then, Nike had some problems keeping up the popularity of the Dunk, and it wasn’t until the 1990s when skateboarders started to purchase them to skate with. The snug fit and comfortability factor of the shoe is what made many skaters fall in love with the Dunk, because there weren’t many shoes made specifically for skateboarding during this time. Unfortunately for Nike, though, there were struggles and a lot of back and forth trying to design a sneaker specifically for the skateboarding community. A couple of failed designs and campaigns later, a man by the name of Sandy Bodecker started managing the official Nike SB Dunk. And finally, in 2001, there was a successful Nike SB Dunk released on the market.

In 2002, the Dunk Low Pro SB was designed specifically for skateboarders, and seemingly created a fork between the regular Nike Dunk and the Nike Dunk SB (for skateboarding). This new sneaker design included minor tweaks such as a flat tongue, elastic straps, and a sole with increased traction on grip tape, but these minor tweaks are what really appealed to the skateboarding community.

2006 saw another slight change with the Dunk line, with the introduction of the Dunk Mid Pro. The Dunk Mid Pro was the first style of dunk with a Mid version, with previous models only released in the Low or High versions.

Since 2006, there have been many collaborations that have come out with new colorways, styles, and features never before seen on a Nike Dunk. As the years went on, there were even coined terms for certain dunk colorways, the “Panda” colorway being one of them. To make things simple, the Panda colorway is about how you’d expect it to be. It is a mixture of white and black color blocking all throughout the shoe. The first release for the official Panda Dunk High was just recently, in 2021. And the rest is seemingly history.

Source: hypebeast.com

All About The Different Styles of the Panda Dunk

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of the sporadic upbringing of the Panda Dunk, let’s take a look at the many different styles it’s been designed in.

The Nike Dunk Low

Also known as the Dunk Low “Black”, the Nike Dunk Low Panda delivers a classic dunk silhouette that was released with the start of the Nike Dunk Low many years ago. The contrasting white and black heritage color blocking throughout the sneaker offers a fun, sophisticated makeover to a classic shoe. This Nike Dunk Low Panda is perfect for both sneaker enthusiasts and sports lovers alike.

The sneaker is sold out on Nike’s website currently, but you may be able to grab a pair from another such as StockX or GOAT. If you missed out on this release though, you may be in luck. In 2022 Nike is releasing a special version of this sneaker called the Nike Dunk Low Panda 2.0. It is a luxurious version of the original Nike Dunk Low Panda, purely based on the fact that it is fitted with gold accessories and crinkled black leather all throughout. This release will surely make anyone feel like royalty, so make sure to keep an eye out for it!

The Nike Dunk High

The official first in the series, the Nike Dunk High Panda is a special classic that everyone longs to keep in their collection. As mentioned earlier, it was released for the first time in 2021, and quickly sold out after. This sneaker in particular stands out from the rest of them not only because of the classic white and black color blocking, but the University Red Nike branding that is embossed on the tongue. The classic red color is one that has been around since the inception of the first Nike Dunk shoe, which automatically makes any sneaker fitted with it more collectible and valuable.

If you missed out on the first release, don’t worry! There is another round of these sneakers set to be rolled out sometime in 2022, which is perfect for the summertime.

Source: houseofheat.com

The Nike Dunk Low Flyknit

The Nike Dunk Low Flyknit was originally released in 2017, after merging the classic Nike Dunk Low with Nike’s popular flyknit design. This crossover pleased all sneaker fans, from basketball to collectors. The flyknit fabric is a woven fabric that is one of the most flexible and breathable types of fabric that shoes are made out of. Technically called “White Wolf Grey”, this specific colorway very closely resembles that of the traditional and highly sought after Panda colorway, which is why we added this model to our list.

There are many other colorways of the Nike Dunk Low besides the fly knit, so you’ll surely find one pair that you love. Many of the first release pairs have since sold out, so if you want to get your hands on a pair, you’ll likely need to purchase some off of StockX or another third-party website.

The Nike SB Dunk Low Pro Panda Pigeon

Jeff Staple, the owner of Staple Design in New York City, originally created the iconic pigeon aesthetic of sneakers in 2005, when he wanted to capture the feel of New York in a shoe. He did so, and very successfully, by first creating the Nike Dunk SB Low Staple “NYC Pigeon” in 2005. Extremely sought after, the original NYC Pigeon colorway featured a unique pigeon icon by the heel of the shoe, while incorporating different greys as well as a white swoosh and red outsole.

Released in 2019, the Nike Dunk SB Low Panda Pigeon was initially not even going to be donned the Panda Pigeon sneaker. Inspiration from the Nike Dunk Low Panda Pigeon came from, well, a mistake! Staple was releasing early pictures of what was supposed to be Black Pigeon dunks on Instagram, when fans noticed a familiar black and white colorway. The sample that was released on Instagram included the black/white colorway with green accents and the classic pigeon icon on the side. Jeff Staple didn’t have to do much thinking about this sneaker. After fans kept begging him to release it as a Panda Pigeon, he gave in and originally rebranded it that way. This pair became such a hit that they sold out, and have now been sold for over $1,000 online.

Source: hypebeast.com

The Nike Dunk Low Black Panda

If you’re looking for a sneaker that is similar to the normal Nike Dunk Low Panda but darker-toned, then the Low Black Panda is the perfect sneaker for you. Essentially a second colorway in the classic Panda colorway, the Black Panda features a black leather base instead of the traditional white leather base. A sleek look, there are colors of white on the swoosh, laces, and midsole. Although it is unknown when it’ll be released, you may want to keep an eye out for official news so you don’t miss out. It’s sure to sell fast once it comes out!

Source: Houseofheat.com

Favorite Panda Dunk Features That Fans Love

By now, you probably can guess that there’s no shortage of demand for the panda dunk sneaker. But why do so many fans go crazy over it after every release? Let’s take a look!

Overall Design

The overall design of the Panda Dunk is something that fans love the most about the sneaker. Whether you’re getting a pair as a skateboarding sneaker, basketball, or for your collection, the design of the dunk is something that has remained consistent since its first release in 1985. Fans love that the shoe didn’t lose its heritage touch to modern-day culture. The dunk also fits in all the right places and is true to size so you’re not going to have to get fitted for a sneaker every time you want to buy a new pair.

Materials Used

The materials used in the Panda Dunks are another reason why the sneaker community loves the sneaker so much. How many times have you had a sneaker that looks amazing, but doesn’t seem to have the highest quality? Well, you don’t have to worry about that with the Nike Dunk Panda. Not only is the design popping, but the design doesn’t compromise the quality of the sneaker. Some of the early versions of the Panda Dunk included materials such as real leather, high-quality laces, and comfortable fabric inside. For the SB Panda Dunks, the outsoles were designed specifically to have a better grip on the grip tape of a skateboard.

In recent years, the Panda Dunk has been crafted with upcycled materials, as have many other versions of the dunk. But don’t worry, the sustainability of the dunk doesn’t compromise the quality of it either. Nike’s goal was to release the same quality dunk while saving the planet one shoe at a time.


Another factor that makes the panda dunks so popular is the comfortability of the sneaker. If you make sure to get the right size of the panda dunks, it has been coined as one of the most comfortable shoes out there. Choosing the right size of shoe is important and plays directly into its comfort level, so we recommend that you find your correct size before purchasing a pair of panda dunks. At first, it might appear as though the shoe won’t have a high comfortability factor, especially with the flat sole, but once it’s been broken in properly, there’s nothing to worry about.


This may go without saying, but the Nike Dunk is an extremely versatile shoe. Not only is it a comfortable shoe that has many styles, but it can also be used for many different things, too. This shoe can be used for about anything you choose- whether that be everyday wear, sports, collecting, etc. There are even different versions of the sneaker tailored to different sports, like basketball and skateboarding. The amount of time that has gone into each design of the sneaker is a true reflection of the icon that Nike has put tons of effort into from the very beginning all the way in 1985.

Source: Stockx.com

The Panda Dunks In Pop Culture Today

By now, you probably have a pretty good idea of the icon that is the Nike Panda Dunk. Part of the reason why the sneaker is such a hit is that it’s been ingrained in pop culture ever since it was created, in more than just sports. Let’s take a look at just some of the pop culture influences on the Nike Panda Dunk.


Celebrities have a massive influence on pop culture, and when the media sees a celebrity that is sporting a new pair of kicks, everyone is sure to take notice. This list is just some of the celebrities that have been seen wearing Nike Panda Dunks:

Movies and Television

Another place that we’ve seen the Nike Dunks are in TV shows and movies. There have even been collaborations with Nike and popular TV shows to create a fresh look with the Dunks, one really popular one including the Ferris Bueller and Simpsons themed Dunk.


Although perhaps a little obvious, sports have heavily influenced the creation of and continuing of the Nike Panda Dunk. There are countless skateboarding and basketball panda dunks, and the production of them is sure not going to stop soon. And why would Nike stop producing them? There’s always a high demand for the newest model of the Dunk Panda, and they usually sell out fast right after they’re released!


Last but definitely not least, the fashion industry is huge when it comes to loving the panda dunks. They can be styled with many types of outfits because of the simple black and white color blocking. The sneaker seamlessly fits in with any style of clothing and has been seen paired with high luxury items as well as streetwear. There truly is no limit to the functionality of the Nike Panda Dunk.


The idea of the Nike Panda Dunk has been around for many years, nearly since the inception of the first Nike Dunk in 1985. Back then, the Panda Dunk technically wasn’t even termed the Panda Dunk, but seen as the popular black and white colorway on the sneaker. In recent years, some of the latest releases of the dunks have been donned the Panda Dunk, inspired by the fans love for the colorway as well as the panda animal that everyone loves. You’ll have to make sure to keep an eye out for restocks because with nearly all the drops of the Panda Dunk, they sell out quickly. If you don’t want to wait for a restock and you want to buy a pair now, check out a website like Foot Locker, StockX, or GOAT- they’re sure to have a pair that you’ll love.

Source: Sneakernews.com
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