Why Is The Nike Dunk Low Panda So Popular

Whether you’re an avid collector, a sneaker enthusiast, or simply someone with a passion for fashion, it’s nearly impossible to overlook the presence of the Nike Dunk Low ‘Panda,’ whether up close or from a distance.

When pondering mainstream sneakers and enduring classics, iconic models such as the Air Force 1 ‘Triple White,’ the White/Green Stan Smith from Adidas, or the timeless Chuck Taylor from Converse immediately come to mind. These are widely recognized designs with a history spanning decades, consistently available at mainstream retailers and frequently selling out in substantial quantities daily. The significance of these models lies in their consistent sales, representing a lucrative market for the respective brands.

Since 2020, there has been a discernible and gradual integration of the Dunk ‘Panda’ into this esteemed category of bestsellers, permeating the footwear choices of sneaker aficionados like a widespread trend.

This prompts a legitimate question: What factors have propelled the Nike Dunk ‘Panda’ to such widespread popularity? Is it a fortuitous occurrence, a result of social media influence, or a meticulously crafted strategy implemented by Nike?

The Pandas Before The Panda

Nike Dunk Low Panda

Looking back at previous releases, there were Panda-themed Dunks before the popular Dunk Panda we know today. Examples include the Dunk High Premium from 2008 and the Dunk Low Ueno from 2015, known for their furry texture and black-and-white colors.

The Nike SB Dunk Low Pigeon of 2019 also earned the Panda nickname due to its colors and materials. Surprisingly, many people are unaware of these earlier versions. This shows that having a cool nickname and classic colors isn’t enough for widespread recognition.

The Marketing Strategy

Nike Dunk Low Panda sneakers

The Nike Dunk Low ‘Panda’ doesn’t come with a compelling backstory, yet it has become ubiquitous. So, why is it so prevalent?

The success of the Dunk Low ‘Panda’ is not attributed to a single factor but rather stems from a meticulously planned marketing strategy by Nike. Looking back to the years before 2019, especially in the last 10-15 years, the Nike Dunk wasn’t a focal point for the Swoosh brand. Most releases during this period were within the Skateboarding branch, known as Nike SB. Notable examples include the Nike SB Dunk Low Marty McFly from 2015 or the Nike SB Dunk Low DJ Clark Kent x Primitive 112 from 2013. Even with releases like the ‘De La Soul’ pack celebrating its 10th anniversary, the hype was minimal, and these remained niche releases for enthusiasts.

In 2019, renowned designer Virgil Abloh collaborated with Nike to create “The Ten,” a collection of 10 iconic sneakers reimagined to transcend the brand’s catalog and infuse a fashion dimension. This collaboration emerged in a competitive landscape where Adidas and Kanye West had claimed a significant market share with the Adidas Yeezy line. The Ten served as a significant rebound for Nike.

Although The Ten didn’t feature any Dunks, the collaboration didn’t end there. Virgil, a passionate skateboarding fan, introduced a 3-pack of Nike Dunk Low x Off White (not SB) in December 2019. This collaboration reignited interest in the Low-Top basketball silhouette, adding a fresh perspective to the Dunk’s allure.

As a result, the secondary market prices for the Nike Dunk silhouette surged, elevating its perceived consumer value. This strategic manipulation of scarcity effectively generated an unsatisfied demand for the model. Simultaneously, Nike expanded its Dunk releases, introducing new variants such as the Women’s Nike Dunk Low Disrupt and engaging in major collaborations with brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Ambush, and Comme des Garcons. This multifaceted approach contributed to the Dunk’s sustained popularity and desirability among consumers.

The Era of the Nike Dunk

The Era of the Nike Dunk

In 2021, we entered a phase marked by peak demand for Nike Dunks, and the brand responded by significantly increasing releases. Rumors at the end of 2020 about widespread availability at retailers like Foot Locker turned out to be true, extending to other outlets such as JD Sports, Courir, and various independent shops.

From 2021 onwards, the flow of Nike Dunk releases has been relentless, encompassing Dunk Low, Dunk High, Dunk SB, collaborations, and even Dunk Mid models. The frenzy was immense, with initial releases consistently selling out rapidly. Nike amplified the hype further in the summer of 2021 with a second wave of excitement generated by Virgil Abloh’s Off-White x Nike Dunk Low Collection, titled “The 50.” Released exclusively through the SNKRS app, this unique collection featured the Dunk in a myriad of never-before-seen combinations of materials and colors.

While the phenomenon has somewhat slowed down since the end of 2022, Nike continues to release Dunks at a steady pace, maintaining the silhouette’s presence in the sneaker market.

Why Are We Seeing It Everywhere

nike panda

In addition to the gradual marketing strategy that maximizes the hype around the Nike Dunk silhouette, the Swoosh brand has implemented a clever approach to promoting the Panda colorway. The Nike Dunk Low ‘Panda’ stands out as an exception among other colorways, and this deliberate choice by Nike is quite intriguing.

Firstly, the ‘Panda’ moniker stems from the pair’s black and white colors, strategically positioned on its structure. This simple, effective, and universally appealing colorway has significantly contributed to the pair’s success.

Secondly, the Dunk Low silhouette itself is one of Nike’s most iconic designs. Its low-top version maintains a minimalist aesthetic with classic swoosh branding and inserts. Originating from basketball courts, the pair has seamlessly transitioned into streetwear, becoming a versatile choice for everyday wear.

Furthermore, the pricing strategy plays a crucial role. Priced at 99.99€/£85/110$ upon its 2021 release, the Nike Dunk Panda offers a reasonable and competitive price point in the sneaker market. This becomes especially noteworthy when compared to the Air Jordan 1 High priced at 150/160€.

Nike’s intentional choice regarding the Panda extends beyond aesthetics and pricing. From the beginning, Nike intended the Panda colorway to have a ‘Never sold out’ or ‘Carry-over’ status. Some stores were informed of restocks, indicating that replenishments would occur multiple times. This deliberate decision allowed Nike to control supply and demand, creating scarcity by strategically scheduling restocks in different regions globally. The strategy is ongoing, with recent restocks and more planned.

This controlled supply mechanism has influenced the secondary market pricing dynamics. Despite initial availability at a reasonable price, the Dunk Panda’s value surged on resale platforms, reaching nearly 300€, tripling its original value. Resale platforms capitalized on continuous availability, absorbing significant quantities from the primary market.

While the Dunk Panda’s resale price has seen a decline since December 2021 due to increased market saturation, all restocks continue to sell out rapidly. As of now, the pair is unavailable at official retailers, underscoring the success of Nike’s strategy.

In contrast, the Nike Dunk High ‘Panda’ followed a different trajectory. With its higher silhouette less favored by the general public, it experienced strong demand initially but has remained in stock more consistently in recent times.

Lastly, the role of social networks cannot be overlooked in the model’s communication and viral effect. Influencers, fans, bloggers, and various content creators across all platforms have played a pivotal role in amplifying the presence and desirability of the Nike Dunk Low ‘Panda.’

A Pair for Everyone

Adding to the surge, the Nike Dunk Panda has seen numerous variations since 2021. Initially released in full family sizing, it expanded to ‘Next Nature’ versions incorporating more recycled materials. To cap it off, the Panda color-blocking is now available through the Nike Dunk by You program, enabling customization of your own Dunk. During the offseason, many took advantage of this program to replicate the iconic Dunk White & Black.

Whether one likes it or not, the Nike Dunk Low ‘Panda’ is poised to etch itself into the history books. It exemplifies brands’ adeptness at manipulating the life cycles of their bestsellers, putting them on hiatus, and reviving them through strategic and well-coordinated marketing endeavors. The question now remains whether the Dunk Panda will transition into timeless products like the AF1 ‘Triple White,’ never to fade from shelves again, or if it’s just part of a cycle that has been significantly extended.

What Can I Wear With Panda Dunks?

What Can I Wear With Panda Dunks

The ‘Panda’ Dunk often shines its brightest when paired with black and white color schemes or other neutral tones. For those seeking to add a touch of color to their outfit, a stylish approach is to opt for black or white pants and complement them with a vibrant top or jumper. This balance allows the distinctive black and white elements of the ‘Panda’ colorway to stand out, creating a visually appealing and versatile ensemble.


Indeed, the Panda Dunk stands out as one of the most versatile sneakers you can have. It effortlessly complements any casual outfit, making it a go-to choice for various occasions – whether it’s your day-to-day activities, a shopping spree, or a date.

Pairing Panda Dunks with light blue jeans creates a stylish and harmonious look. Opting for baggy or flared jeans adds a touch of casual elegance, contributing to a clean and relaxed fit.

For those embracing the trend of nude tracksuits and oversized hoodies in 2023, the Panda Dunks are a perfect match. Whether it’s an essentials tracksuit or an oversized represent hoodie, combining them with Panda Dunks is not only in vogue but also results in a cozy and fashionable ensemble. The adaptability of the Panda Dunk makes it a wardrobe staple, effortlessly elevating your style for any occasion.

What Bottoms Go with Panda Dunks?

The Nike Dunk Low boasts a chunkier silhouette, so it’s advisable to steer clear of overly fitted or tight clothing. Outfits that are too snug can accentuate the bulkiness of the shoe and may not complement the overall look. It’s a good idea to move away from the ultra-skinny jeans trend of 2017 and opt for more relaxed or straight-fit bottoms to maintain a balanced and stylish appearance with the chunkier profile of the Nike Dunk Low.

Nike Dunk Lows with Cargo Pants

Whether you have joggers, Jeans, or Cargo one universal truth exists, Dunks look amazing with all things baggy. Now the simplicity of the panda dunk allows the wearer to utilize almost any color scheme but we often see that with the panda dunk it’s best to express color on the top half and leave the trousers in simplistic colors such as black, grey, or blue denim.

People Love to wear Dunks with Corteiz Cargos, they are straight-legged with a super baggy fit and sit perfectly on Nike Dunk Lows.

Baggy Jogger bottoms like Fear Of God Essentials always look great with dunks and the nude tones always create a great match.

Tops and Sweaters

Now, turning our attention to the upper half of your outfit, the same principle applies: opting for baggy tops can create an excellent aesthetic. However, it’s important to note that there are no strict rules, and personal style choices vary. Some individuals successfully pull off tight tops with baggy pants and Dunks. Ultimately, if you feel it looks good, go for it.

For the sake of this styling guide, we’ll emphasize the appeal of looser-fitting clothing, particularly baggy sweaters. This choice not only aligns with the chunkier silhouette of the Nike Dunk Low but also contributes to a relaxed and stylish overall look.


In summary, the Nike Dunk Low ‘Panda’ has risen to cultural prominence through Nike’s strategic marketing, combining a timeless silhouette, iconic black-and-white colorway, and deliberate supply control. Its versatility makes it a wardrobe staple, effortlessly complementing various outfits. The intentional balance of scarcity and strategic restocks has sustained its popularity, prompting questions about its potential as a timeless classic. The Dunk Panda stands as a testament to Nike’s ability to blend heritage, innovation, and strategic marketing to create enduring sneaker icons.

Prime Sole Team

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