Why the Nike Black Pigeon Dunk Low is a landmark sneaker drop
Nike x Jeff Staples
Our new sneaker columnist, THA ARTIST, documents his trials and tribulations of landing the new Nike SB Dunk Low Black Pigeon — and why it's such a significant drop
It's Saturday morning and I'm sitting in front of three different MacBooks and an iPad on Nike.com, waiting for the release of the Nike "Black Pigeon" Dunk at 11am.
For the handful of you who do not recognise the significance of this drop, come come... let me explain to you why.
In 2005, the release of Nike Pigeon Dunk SB made primetime news and many headlines, not so much because of the significance and exclusivity of the collaboration with Jeff Ng (more widely known as Jeff Staple of Staple Designs), but the "sneaker ruckus" it created outside of Jeff Staple's Lower East Side shop, Reed Space. It was the New York City's first riot for a sneaker drop.
People camped out in the cold three to four days prior, and with each day, the line grew longer. The NYPD had to step in to keep the peace. They threatened to shut the event down, even started pulling kids away from the line. Thugs and gangsters reportedly waited around the block, eyeing the line of mostly 13 to 20 year old kids who had hundred of dollars on them; waiting for the right time to pounce. Reportedly, baseball bats and knives were found around the premises after the release.
In short, the Nike Pigeon Dunk SB is widely cited as the first Nike sneaker drop that started the whole collaboration craze.
Did I mention that all of this happened without anyone knowing what the shoe even looked like? Only a teaser image with Staple Design's birdshit, splattered over the release date, was released to the public before the drop.
Okay, just half an hour till the Nike Black Pigeon Dunk hits Nike.com. Feeling eager.
I digress, back to the original Pigeon sneaker. It was one of four from the Dunk Low City Pack that Nike created in collaboration with Jeff Staple. It featured a two-tone grey upper, pigeon-feet-like orange sole and lining, and a white Nike swoosh with the humble pigeon embroided at the outer heel.
You might then be wondering, why haven't you seen anyone wear this shoe if it's so popular and "hyped". Probably because the 200 pairs — 30 of which were numbered for the Staple release — are so valuable that most of them are currently in glass cases. Yup.
It resells now for USD$7000 and up.
This collaboration started a long list of Pigeon inspired sneakers.
Call it a gift or a curse, but the Staple brand has since been closely associated to that first dunk.
"It's a respect that I have for how great [the Pigeon Dunk] is but... I wish we can be known for other things", Jeff Staple revealed to Sole Collector at the 10 year anniversary of the iconic shoe. "But it's amazing to be known for this one thing... and if people are still talking about it 10 years later, it's probably going to be forever."
For years, there were rumours of a new addition to the Pigeon Dunk family. Chatter amongst sneakerheads escalated when, what seemed to be a Dunk Hi version of the Pigeon Dunk, was teased by Jeff Staple (ever so discreetly) in the same interview with Sole Collector.
12 years later from the original drop, we finally have a new addition to the Pigeon Dunk line-up, and it's a colour way that has been used in other collaborations: Black.
The new Nike Black Pigeon Dunk that drops in like, 12 minutes, has the same orange-pigeon-feet soles of the original but is finished with a beautiful black nubuck leather upper and, of course, the pigeon embroidery on the heel.
And just like 12 years before, massive lines have already formed outside of the Staple pop-up at Extra Butter NYC. In a déjà vu moment, NYPD also threatened to pull the launch again.
But don't get it twisted. This is not a spin-off, but the sequel to the original. The sneaker equivalent of Spider-Man 2, not the Amazing Spider-Man. The long-awaited follow-up of the holy grail of holy grails.
And it's probably the most affordable collaboration of this year. Not a $1,000, not even $300. If you can get your hands on it, it will only cost you SGD$179. Bargain.
Okay. Wish me luck. No "L"s today!
Nike's countdown timer is nerve-wrecking.
Am in the queue.
Still waiting. This is the worst.
Yeah f*ck me. I don't have it. But managed to a score a US7 for the better half.
Word on the street, it's already reselling for USD$600.