Sneaker Talk: Nike Dunk Low Syracuse & Kentucky Review

A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one

During All Star Weekend, Don C of Just Don posted a picture to his Instagram story showcasing a picture of a pair of Syracuse Dunk Lows. Next thing you know, Travis Scott was spotted wearing a pair of these new dunks. All of this speculation of a Syracuse Dunk came to a reality. Announced alongside with the Kentucky colorway, both pairs saw the day of light in March 14, 2020. Both of these colorways are derived from Nike’s old college campaign called BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL “BTTYS”, which was unveiled back in 1985, marking this retro its 35th year anniversary.

Don C’s picture of our first look on the Syracuse Dunks

A brief history on the Be True to Your School pack started off with Nike giving certain schools a chance to make the shoe (which was originally in a Dunk High silhouette) their official team shoe. In 1985, 8 different schools had their own iconic colorway and have cemented their importance with Nike. The original colors were from schools such as St. Johns, Villanova, Michigan, Syracuse, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Kentucky, Iowa (most commonly known as Goldenrod), and Georgetowns. These iconic dunks would soon get their first retro in 1998/1999. Some pairs had been retroed in a Low variation, which includes the Michigan colorway. Nike SB would soon have their take on the BTTYS pack, and in 2005 Nike SB released their take on the campaign. This is one of the first retros for the BTTYS pack where materials had been changed. The original pairs had sported an all leather upper, while the Nike SB version sported a suede upper.

From left to right: St. Johns, Villanova, Michigan, Syracuse, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Kentucky, Iowa, and Georgetowns.

Now onto the 2020 retro. Coinciding Nike’s 35th year anniversary, it was kind of surprising that we got to see a BTTYS pack getting retroed into a Dunk Low silhouette. Off White’s Virgil Abloh helped last year by having his collaboration worked on the Michigan and UNLV colorway, so I don’t think Nike would retro those colorways again this year. St. Johns have been rumored to come out during May, so we might have a chance to see the rest of the colors by the end of the year.


An interesting thing that I saw was that on the box label, colors were named specifically as Orange Blaze and Varsity Blue. The shoe comes in Nike’s new red box, which has been used recently for its past dunk retros such as Plums and Viotechs. The shoe consists of an all white mid-panel, midsole, toe box, and thin mesh tongue. The orange and blue makes up the most of the other color on the shoe. Thankfully, this retro was done in premium material and in all leather.

Overall, if you’re a fan of dunks and appreciate the older ones, you will enjoy this new retro. If you’re getting into dunks for the first time, these will suit you as well. By paying homage to a classic Nike Campaign, Nike has done the job pretty well by pleasing both old-heads and new-heads for dunk lovers. Also, retail on this shoe was a mere $100 before tax, which makes it super affordable if you were able to score it for retail. Even so, paying resell price will only cost you $230-$260 on markets such as Goat and Stockx. My only problem with this shoe is that most pairs had horrible quality control. Whether it was missing extra laces, scratches on the leather, and scuff marks around the shoe, its a small inconsistency that bugged me at first.

IMG_3668 (1)
Dunks not SB Dunks. Come on Nike

Also, Nike these are not SB dunks. SB dunks and Nike Dunks are clearly different. Can’t believe Nike would do a small slip up like this and add in lace bags that say NIKE SB.



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