Back in 2020, Nike released a collection of SB Dunk Lows to commemorate 50 years of the American rock band Grateful Dead and their most beloved studio album, American Beauty. The fuzzed-up collection featured three neon colourways (orange, yellow, and green) inspired by the band’s iconic cover art and incorporating elements that paid homage to the music legend’s psychedelic rock aesthetic. Much like the band themselves, each pair of Nike SB Dunk Lows was full of little surprises, such as a stash pocket and a hidden graphic on the tongue, making them highly sought after by both sneaker enthusiasts and Dead Heads alike.
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These sneakers are probably as legendary as the Grateful Dead themselves, retailing for up to $3,500 or more in the resale market. The limited-edition nature of these sneakers, combined with their unique design features, created a frenzy among collectors and fans alike, driving up their value significantly. After all, it’s not just a pair of shoes; it’s a piece of rock and roll history that fans are willing to pay top dollar for.
In the spirit of celebrating the Grateful Dead’s iconic legacy and Nike’s legendary sneaker, John Trottier of @johnnyskicks created a ‘bleached’ version of the highly sought-after sneakers that is sure to appeal to anyone who loved the original.
The ‘bleached’ Nike Grateful Dead x Dunk Low SB Bear sneaker features a pale grey/off-white colourway with hits of white and black, giving the previously colourful sneakers a sleek and minimalist look. The sneaker features a pale grey/off-white suede base with a textured finish, adding depth and sophistication to the design.
The ‘bleached’ version maintains the original’s fuzzy, bear-like appearance but swaps out the fluffy, colourful fabric for shaggy white fur, which appears on the toe box, mid-panel, and heel. White laces match the fur, creating a cohesive and clean aesthetic.
The abstract Swoosh, with its frayed outline, now appears in a pale grey suede with black jagged edges, adding a touch of edginess to the overall aesthetic. In addition, the iconic Grateful Dead logo is now replaced with @johnnyskicks own label, adding a personal touch to the design.
For those who prefer a high-top version, the ‘bleached’ GD also comes in an Air Jordan 1 high silhouette. The only significant differences between the AJ1 high and the SB Dunk Low versions are the silhouette (of course) as well as the colour of the laces. The laces on the AJ1 are a pale grey, blending seamlessly with the shoe’s suede upper.
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All in all, these sneakers offer a fresh and stylish take on the Grateful Dead’s signature sneaker, combining the original’s playful design with a fresh colour palette.
So, if you aren’t into the bright and bold colours of the original Nike Grateful Dead SB Dunk Low, or you prefer a high-top silhouette, the ‘bleached’ GD provides a more subdued and versatile option. While it definitely looks like they would be hard to keep clean, it’s nothing that a bit of suede cleaner (or Scotchgard) and gentle care couldn’t handle.
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