Nike has developed a sneaker inspired by classic rock band, The Grateful Dead.
The new sneakers feature three colorways and pay tribute to both the band and Sandy Bodecker, Nike SB founder. Front and center in the Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead is the band’s dancing bears symbol, which first appear on the back cover of the group’s 1973 LP "History of the Grateful Dead, Volume 1 (Bear’s Choice)."
The shoes also feature bear-inspired detailing, such as a faux-fur, a suede upper, a frayed Nike Swoosh mimicking the bears’ collars and an image of the bear on the tongue. Another Grateful Dead logo, the “Steal Your Face” skull, is printed on the underside of the sock liner.
The connection between the band and the Bear logo comes from an audio engineer, Owsley Stanley who was nicknamed “Bear.” Stanley helped develop the group’s Wall of Sound system as well as the cartoon symbol.
"As the band’s benefactor, Bear was an incredibly huge part of the Grateful Dead’s ability to become who they were,” says David Lemieux, archivist and legacy manager, The Grateful Dead. “They were talented musicians, but they would not have had the financial freedom to forgo jobs, move to Los Angeles and practice for 14 hours a day. The band wouldn’t become what it is today without Bear’s innovations and contributions. The same fiercely independent spirit from Bodecker helped create that authenticity within the skate community.”
The orange colorway of the Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead released July 18. The yellow colorway releases July 24 on SNKRS and at select skate shops, while the green colorway releases on the same day at select skate shops.
Nike’s new collab comes on the heels of its recent partnership with fashion brand Supreme.