So Dunked

Just blew it: Nike's Dunk Low 'By You' sneaker drop was a total nightmare

Talk about starting off on the wrong foot.


On January 4, Nike revealed it would add the coveted Dunk Low silhouette to its "By You" program, allowing people to customize their own version of one of the hottest sneakers right now. Three days later, the shoes dropped, and Nike’s website crashed accordingly. Should we feign surprise?

Ironically, the whole point of adding the Dunk Low to its By You program was to ensure more people would be able to get their hands (feet?) on (in?) the shoe. Rumors suggest around 130,000 pairs of custom Dunks were set aside for this release, with consumers limited to one pair each. But as the Dunk continues to increase in popularity, people have been left to pay resale prices or go Dunk-less — until now, which was supposed to be an opportunity for both new and old sneakerheads.

Foot in the door — As one of the many that got snubbed by the By You drop, I’m ready to show Nike where my shoe fits. You would think a brand as big as the sportswear giant would be prepared for such a highly anticipated release and the onslaught of online traffic that tends to come with it. With hundreds of SNKRS launched under its belt — not to say that those always go smoothly — Nike has somewhat of a system down, and is familiar with overwhelming demand. But apparently, that system needs an update, as made evident by the number of loading screens buyers faced during Thursday's Dunk By You drop.

Despite Nike omitting a release time in its announcement, its website became increasingly overwhelmed by Dunk chasers. Pre-saved designs disappeared, new customizations couldn’t be made, and Nike’s pre-made Dunks were labeled “sold out” within a minute. Those lucky enough to reach the checkout stage either faced loading screens or error messages, and one user allegedly got banned from Nike’s website trying to buy the shoes manually.

After witnessing our country nearly collapse prior to the drop, I figured I could at least partake in the American tradition of retail therapy. Instead, Nike denied me the satisfaction, leaving me with no Dunks and this message:

Presented after I desperately clicked away at the "Complete Order" button.

Flunking the dunk — While I’ve tried to remain positive amidst the pandemic, racial injustice, and an attempted coup, Nike’s failed drop has led me to the edge. Am I supposed to fight the upcoming civil war in my dirty old Jesters? The brand has to create a better drop system so we can at least go out looking good, but we all know Nike doesn't care — because, at the end of the day, it sold out of every pair anyway.

Last July, Nike SNKRS presented women with exclusive access during the Off-White Air Jordan 4 release, giving them first dibs on the sneaker. Here, Nike could have done something similar by splitting up the singular drop into multiple, or by hosting a virtual line ahead of time like Adidas does with its Yeezys. Even a call to its IT department would’ve been appreciated.

Assuming that you’re reading this article because you too were snubbed, don’t worry. You can’t have that totally awesome one-of-a-kind pair you designed, but you can look forward to Nike’s spring Dunk drop. For now, let me just cry myself to sleep as I watch our country's democracy catch on fire, and my dream of getting a pair of Dunks in 2021 slowly fade into oblivion.