August 2005 changed things forever for Nike SB. Skate shops across the world received limited quantities of a turquoise and black Nike SB Dunk Low designed by Diamond Supply Co. and the brand’s founder, Nick Tershay, aka Nicky Diamonds, and the rest is history. Back then Nike SB sneakers didn’t have definitive release dates, rather they were be sold sometime during a slated month. Think about it: You had to be in the know with the skateshop, or follow their MySpace account, to find out when a shoe was going to release. The “Diamond” Dunk has to be one of the most hyped shoes ever, long before Yeezy was a reality, Instagram was where you flexed your sneakers, and you could resell your latest pickup before it dropped at your door. Nike SB and Diamond Supply Co. are looking to capture this energy one more time, as Tershay has confirmed that they have a new project on the way that may include multiple sneakers and could be very limited, according to him.
This isn’t the first time that Nike SB and Diamond have gotten back together. In 2014, the same weekend the Red October showed up on nike.com, the two released a high-top version of their collaboration. The quality wasn’t the same as the original version, and the hype wasn’t nearly what it was in 2005, but it was well received and made everyone realize the strength of the shoe’s legacy. The sneakers still sold out immediately, and currently are reselling for $231 according to StockX—more than double retail price.
We got the chance to talk to Tershay about not only his upcoming sneaker collaboration, but also the shoe’s impact on the growth of footwear hype over the years, if people are ready for Nike SB to make a return, and whether or not there’s a beef between the “Pigeon” and “Diamond” Dunks.
Talk about the Nike SB. I know you said that you have a new project on the way.
I can’t really say anything yet about the new project except that we have it coming towards the end of the year. Another Nike SB collaboration. This year is our 13th anniversary of the “Diamond” Dunk, which is crazy.
In your opinion, I know you’re biased, but do you think the Diamond Dunk is the greatest SB?
I don’t know if it is the greatest SB. I think at the time it was the most hyped one. In 2005, I feel that maybe a lot of it had to do with that it was such an original colorway that nobody ever used, which is weird because it has been a Tiffany and Co. colorway for so many years. I never saw it on any T-shirts, apparel, sneakers, or anything before, so I was like, “Fuck, man, I’m just going to throw it on a shoe," because I made a T-shirt at the time with the logo in the color and everyone was tripping on it. When I had the opportunity to do the Nike, I did that colorway and I think people freaked out, because no one ever saw it on anything before that. What bugged people out is that I made it look all luxury with the croc skin and the silver Swoosh. It was, like, the most luxury-looking shoe at the time.
The other day on Complex Sneakers, I posted the “Tiffany” Dunk and asked if it was the most hyped sneaker before the Yeezy. Someone was like, “Yo Jeff Staple, they’re calling you out.” He replied, “We didn’t make hype, we made history.” Is that weird?
I don’t know what he meant by that. I saw his comment.
It came out of the blue, I was like, “Why is he taking shots?”
I don’t know why he feels protective over it. I feel like he is feeling really protective over his “Pigeon” Dunk. I don’t know what to say about that, it’s fine. That’s his thing, that’s his whole brand. He still runs that.
Diamond had been around at the time as a hardware company, but I feel like the Tiffany Dunk, to a certain extent, gave the brand a whole other life. Was that a blessing and a curse?
Oh no, it’s amazing, man. Diamond was just a hardware company that mainly only skateboarders knew about, but luckily people liked the name, and my T-shirt graphics were doing well outside of skate. There was already a following with streetwear kids and sneakerhead people, but when we dropped the shoe it took it to another level, because the brand started to get a lot of exposure from Sole Collector and NikeTalk and Hypebeast. Everyone was talking about Diamond because of the shoe. That’s a blessing, man, because then I had a whole new fan base besides the skateboarders.
Did you ever see the image of the kid who was wearing the “Diamond” Dunks?
Of course, Tiffany Kid. That was at the Undefeated release.
What was your thought when you saw that kid doing it?
What’s funny is he looks how kids dress nowadays, but back then he looked so crazed. Everyone was tripping, because he was so matching. I just looked at the picture again recently, and I was like, "This is normal." Back then he looked off the wall.
Nike SB isn’t as big as it used to be, but we saw ASAP Rocky wearing the Futuras .
Is that cool for you to see the newer crop of rappers get nostalgic for that shit?
I love it, man. When Nike SB came out at the time, it was like the newest thing. It was like a new sneaker brand through Nike, even though it was Nike, but it was like a whole new category: crazy colorways, sick collaborations. It basically took away the Jordan hype for a few years. People were still lining up and buying Jordans, but not to the extent as the Nike SB craze. It went off.
Is it crazy to you that some of these kids literally got into sneakers in 2016?
All they know is Off-White x Nike and Jordans. They don’t know anything else. It’s so weird. Kids don't even know what SBs are really. They don’t really know about how the hype was around them. It made the sneaker culture how it is today. It had a big impact on the whole industry.
I guess the biggest criticism back then was like skaters got mad that kids who didn’t skate really got into SB.
Skaters were mad that Nike was making skate shoes, period. It wasn’t just that sneakerheads were skating in Nike SBs back then, it was that most skate companies and skaters were not down with Nike like they are now. Nike is a staple skate brand now, but back then there were no big corporate skate companies at the time. Nike kind of just came in and people were like, “Fuck, they are going to ruin the skateboard sneaker industry,” which they did. Everyone pretty much fell off after Nike came on and started killing it, like eS, Etnies, and D.C. Everyone’s sneaker sales dropped, because Nike is Nike. How can you compete? It’s impossible.
There was the “Black Pigeon” Dunk last year. Do you think the new Diamond x Nike SB collab can have the same energy as the first one?
I don’t know, I don’t think so. I think people are going to like it. I mean, I like it. I think the shoes look really sick, but it was just another time for SB back then. When the "Diamond" Dunk came out there wasn’t really any other hyped shoes before that. The only shoe that had any hype before that SB was the "Pigeon." The "Diamond" came after that, and then that’s when people really started taking notice. After that it went haywire. There were a couple shoes before that, though, like the "Dunkles." The Dunk is a special shoe and the Blazer and all the Nike SBs. Virgil doing the Blazer was tight.
Koston was skating in it.
I mean they’re Nikes, man, they are amazing shoes. It just depends on what kids are into at the time.