The DUNKLE series of shoes was a collaboration between Nike and James Lavelle which took several Futura like design elements used by UNKLE and put them on a Nike SB Dunk. The shoe was available in Hi and Lo variations, and has been used as inpiration by custom shoe designers such as the SBTG x Unkle Dunk Lo and akaLAZY's Lazy DUNKLE.
Nike SB Dunk Hi DUNKLE
In 2004 James Lavelle and Nike collaborated to create the Nike SB Dunk Hi DUNKLE, a pink shoe featuring artwork from UNKLE's Never Never Land album. The shoe is known simply as the DUNKLE to fans.
While many credit the shoes design to Futura, and therefore the shoe as a Nike/UNKLE/Futura collaboration, in the 2005 documentary Sneakerheadz Futura reveals that he had no input in the shoe, telling the documentary the following:
"The Dunkle, which everybody goes crazy over, I see a posting of a Dunkle daily on Instagram, it’s a shoe which is pretty much like a Futura “shoe”, with the UNKLE characters that I created for Mo’ Wax Records in the ‘90s. And I never really liked it. I don’t want to blow up the spot and say it was completely unathorised, but it was a little bit like “Oh…oh you’re doing it? Oh ok.” Y’know, thanks for asking me."
Futura did have his own Nike SB shoe released in 2003 which notably features none of the illustrations associated with him, whereas the DUNKLE features not only the UNKLE Pointmen, but Futura swirl designs.
The shoe was released in September 2004, and was followed by the Nike Dunk SB Low – Unkle Pro SB in 2005.
Nike SB (Nike Skateboarding) began in 2002, initially with four Nike SB Dunk shoe designs. The shoe design itself was based on the 1986 Nike Dunk basketball shoe, with the Nike SB Dunk featuring alterations to make the shoe a better fit for skateboarders. Many of the Nike SB Dunk designs have gone on to become collectors items, including the Dunkle.
Nike SB Dunk Low DUNKLE
Reportedly only five pairs of the Nike Dunk Low Pro SB Unkle were made, and were given to James Lavelle and his friends in 2005, which has caused the value to go upwards of $4,000. The inside of the shoe contains the words "Sample", suggesting these were at one time considered for mass-production.
These were eventually followed in 2014 with the Nike X Mo'Wax Blazer Hi shoe in Black and Olive, released as part of the Nike X Mo’ Wax Build and Destroy Collection.
SBTG x UNKLE Nike Dunk Hi
An image circulated online in 2006 reported as a sample of the original Dunkle, featuring a slightly different design and colours. Many presumed it to be a bootleg, but it was actually a custom job by Mark Ong aka SBTG.
In 2005 SBTG created the SBTG x UNKLE Nike Dunk Hi and SBTG x UNKLE Nike Dunk Low for James Lavelle, with only 24 created of each. 12 of the Hi were made available to purchase from the Surrender store in Singapore, while an unknown amount of the Low were available at the Surrender store in London.