The Nike SB x Ben & Jerry’s Dunk Low “Chunky Dunky” (hell of a name, and the last time in this post I will typing it out in full) is one of the most coveted Dunks in years, harkening back to the SB’s glory days in the early to mid aughts, when it served as a canvas for Nike’s wackiest and most out-there designs. It’s also become one of the most divisive, with new fans and OGs split on the style’s bold color scheme and materials, as well as its mere existence (after all, what does Ben & Jerry’s have to do with skateboarding?).
Personally, I think the sneakers are a great trip down sneaker memory lane, even if I acknowledge (admittedly, as a non-skater) that these would get absolutely thrashed in one session. And it got me thinking about their practicality, which most will tell you is very low. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they appreciate their design, but wouldn’t wear them. I think maybe that’s just because people haven’t cracked the code on the right things to pair with a shoe that has a skyline, cowprint, yellow swoosh, and tie-dye lining. And I think you actually could get a fit off in the Chunky Dunkys by taking their outlandish look head-on.
See, if you put these sneakers against the pervasive aesthetic of 2020, i.e., slim black jeans and gray melange T-shirts, then they’re going to stick out like a paint splattered sore thumb. But if you embrace their non-sensical mix of print and pattern while giving some head nods to their color scheme, you can balance out their power and come out looking confident.
In other words, you’ve gotta distract from the shoes by rocking pieces that are equally as attention-grabbing, while still playing off their themes in a way that shows you didn’t get dressed in the dark. (Or at the very least, that you put some thought into it.) One person yelling in a movie theater is annoying, but a room full of people talking loudly doesn’t seem strange.
So, that in mind, I’ve pulled together what I think is the ideal outfit to stand up to the Chunky Dunkys. It’s loud, it’s bold, but most of all, it’s fun. When you’re wearing sneakers inspired by ice cream, isn’t that kind of the point?
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When President Kennedy said, “By the end of the decade we will put a man on the moon,” they said it couldn’t be done. Similarly, they said a man couldn’t wear Chunky Dunkys with leopard print shorts and a tie dye hoodie. That both of these achievements happened is why America is the greatest country on earth. Who wants some ice cream?
Needles Rebuild 5-Cut Tie Dye Hoodie
A tie dye sneaker lining isn’t quite as distracting when you’re wearing a tie dye hoodie that’s made of 5 different hoodies. This is a key part of the look, because without your upper body will be floating out in no man’s land, which will draw everyone’s eyes to your feet. This gives the outfit balance.
Gramicci Leopard Print Shell Shorts
In service of not going full tie-dye like some kind of tie dye lobbyist, I’ve paired this look with leopard print shorts. When mixing print and pattern it’s important to think about scale, and the kitty cat print is different enough from tie dye that it stands up on its own without making you look like an optical illusion.
Off-White Tie Dye Socks
Off-White’s ongoing collaboration with Nike gives some nice internal logic to this choice, while the tie dye design connects the upper and lower halves of this outfit. I went with the pair that’s blue and green tie-dye, which plays nicely off the blue and green rolling hills design on the shoes.
Nike SB Dunk Low “Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Dunky”