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What Is a Chunky Dunky, and Why Is It $1,600?

Because nothing makes sense anymore, the most popular shoe in the world at this moment is not your typical grail-making collaboration between a high-fashion designer like Virgil Abloh. It’s not a design from a Travis Scott-level entertainer. Nor is it not a super-luxe, high-design piece of footwear. Instead, for the biggest shoe of 2020, Nike partnered with a brand you’ll recognize from the freezer section of the grocery store— Ben & Jerry’s—for a take on its Dunk silhouette that looks like a souvenir from an LSD trip. Meet the Chunky Dunky. The design is outrageous. The shoe’s coloring borrows the familiar tranquil scene from a carton of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream—a cow backdropped by rolling green meadows and blue skies. The Nike Swoosh on the side is melting, like a scoop running down a cone on a sweltering summer day. The internal lining is a hippy-dippy tie dye. There are more elements on this shoe than on a toddler’s make-your-own sundae. From any angle, it is ridiculous. And yet the Chunky Dunky, which went on sale yesterday for $100 through Nike, sold out immediately. More bracingly, it is now trading for an average sale price of $1,609 on secondary market StockX. The Friends & Family edition of the shoe, which arrived in a sneaker-sized tub of ice cream, is going for $3,828. The last collaboration with a consumer brand that did this well was a pair made with Heineken almost two decades ago. So how is the Chunky Dunky the biggest release of the year so far? The success of the Chunky Dunky is about much more than this single shoe—it’s a lesson in how Nike creates hits by building up its shoe models, harnessing hype, and slowly trickling our pairs. “It’s just supply and demand,” says Josh Luber, the cofounder of StockX. “This is Econ 101 at its most basic. And this shoe is really limited.” So that’s the most obvious answer: the Chunky Dunky’s success is predicated on its limited nature. That can’t be the whole answer, though. If I announced I was selling a pair of sneakers limited to only five pairs in the world, would you buy one? Unlikely. Professional resellers trying to move the Chunky Dunky for close to two grand would be out of luck without anyone who legitimately wants the shoe to wear, or to hold onto as an investment.

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