Back in 2007, Nike had planned to release a trio of sneakers inspired by iconic horror films. An SB Dunk High featured a white, red, and black upper as an homage to Jason Voorhees’ mask in the Friday the 13th franchise, while an Air Trainer took loose inspiration from one of Dawn of the Dead’s original posters from 1978.
Both of those sneakers released without a hitch, but the third in Nike’s horror pack became dead upon arrival. An SB Dunk Low took its green and red stripes from the sweater worn by Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Faux blood splatter covered skin-tone paneling to really drive in a sense of horror, while the metallic Swoosh served as a nod to Krueger’s bladed glove.
Excitement for the ‘Freddy Krueger’ SB Dunk was high on sneaker forums, then the go-to platform for sneakerheads to converse, while horror fans suddenly became interested in the niche world of rare kicks. Then came a major blow, a cease-and-desist from New Line Cinema that would prevent the unlicensed sneaker from ever going on sale.
Rumor has it that a few pairs were smuggled out of Nike’s factory, while a single shop in Mexico “mistakingly” sold some of its stock early. In total, just 30 pairs of the “Freddy Krueger” Dunk are believed to be in existence — but that number could be higher considering the possibility that some collectors kept their mouths shut.
Today, the “Freddy Krueger” Dunk is worth upwards of $30,000. The sneaker resale platform GOAT has just two up for sale, a used pair of size 12s listed for $25,000 and an unworn size 12 with an asking price of $30,000. StockX, meanwhile, has an additional three pairs available for no less than $50,000.
Nike paid tribute to the saga last year with yet another unofficial homage to Freddy Krueger, this time through an Air Max 95. A rough, stripped effort eschewed green in effort to avoid further litigation, while the blood splatter was limited to the metallic silver heel panel. And while the AM95 couldn’t be true to the original Dunk, its successful release did serve as something of a consolation prize 13 years later.
The past year has seen Nike become quite litigious when it comes to perceived copycats, but the story of the “Freddy Krueger” Dunk reminds us that the Swoosh has played it loose with other parties’ intellectual property. Along with a “Heineken” Dunk pulled from shelves for the same reason, this horror homage will live on as one of the rarest and most desirable sneakers of all-time.