The Ultimate Guide to the Grateful Dead SB Dunks: What You Need to Know


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The Grateful Dead SB dunks are the most iconic and popular basketball shoes of all time. They were one of the first sneakers to be made with a rubber sole and multiple colors on the uppers. The classic look has been copied by many different sneaker brands, but it’s still considered one of the best designs out there. Here, is everything you need to know about these iconic shoes: what they’re called, where you can buy them, and their history.

SB Dunks What’s in a name?

Although officially called “The Dead,” the “SB” was simply a clever marketing term used by the brand. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a popular small business at the time was The Wilson Sporting Goods Company. Since almost everyone in California had a pair of Wilson tennis shoes in their closet, the company decided to sell the new basketball shoes in the same company’s stores in a nod to the popularity of The Dead at the time. Wilson Sporting Goods’ Segue to Basketball For those of you who don’t remember, Wilson Sporting Goods is the company that originally brought you the must-have, orange, leather Wilson Red Sox Baseball Shoes of the 1960s. Their most famous shoes, however, were The Gator (replacing the Wilson) which was sold in the 1960s for $9.95.

Where can you buy these shoes?

The brand that has been making the most amazing NBA Dunks are Dunks By Dr. Woo. According to this website, the brand has been producing the shoes since 2002 and they are known for coming up with NBA Dunk Contest winners, top high school basketball players, and even NFL players who have played for several teams. However, the thing that makes the shoes unique is the rubber sole on the shoe. It’s made of a rubber and canvas material, and at the time, the brand was using it in their training shoe. While this is the primary material used for Dunks, the brand still makes other NBA Dunks as well as other types of sneakers with soles made of all types of materials. How much does the shoe cost? In the 1960s, the very first pair of Dunks were priced at $16, which is equal to $82 in 2018 dollars.

A history of the SB Dunk

The SB Dunk was introduced in 1970. The name was a play on the Silver State International Sneaker company. This is where Garcia got his start as a distributor and set up a shoe factory in San Jose, California. The BOGO was an introductory deal: you got one pair of Greatful Dead SB Dunks and one pair of a different shoe of equal or lesser value for $50. Garcia first wore the original SB Dunks in the third show of the tour. It was at an outdoor concert in Pomona, California on March 1, 1970. He has since worn the shoes over 100,000 times. But Garcia has worn some variations of the shoe as well. After he left the band, he kept the iconic double knitted midsole and mesh uppers, but changed the colors of the outsole to red and blue.

How are they different from other basketball shoes?

The most noticeable feature about these basketball sneakers is that the main design feature is the use of a leather upper that wraps around the shoe’s toe area. Other basketball sneakers have a rubber sole. Some, such as the Air Jordan 4 and Nike Kobe A.D. utilize a more modern material, so that they can be used during the winter months. All the SB Dunks are made of this solid material and don’t have any removable soles. The second notable characteristic of the SB Dunks is their colorway. Different variations of each shoe feature black, red, white, and a white colorway. The white shoe is the signature version of the shoe, and the only iteration to feature white uppers with red around the heel.


Hopefully, these small changes will help the Dunks maintain their status as the premiere pair of basketball shoes ever. It shouldn’t be too hard to keep the iconic look going because the uppers and soles are so similar, but they’re not the only ones to draw inspiration from the SB Dunks. These shoes are the definitive design for a pair of basketball shoes because they were the first ones made with a rubber sole. Why was the rubber sole used? There is a common misconception that the rubber sole of the SB Dunks was chosen because it was lighter and more comfortable. However, this isn’t the case. Although they are lighter than other shoes of the time, they were not comfortable. The rubber was made to work on slippery basketball courts and they were never meant for all day wear.


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