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8 Common Quality Control Issues: with Nike Dunk Low

Buying Guides

Billy Lee
October 26, 2022

With a retail price of only 159 SGD (110 USD), the Nike Dunk Low is a low-priced sneaker. The QC reflects this. Our team lists some common issues that are still considered BNDS for Dunk Lows!

Some say the Nike Dunk Low 'Black White', aka 'Panda Dunk' is the new White Air Force 1. In other words: the most popular sneaker of the moment. At Ox Street we guarantee the authenticity and quality of all Dunks bought on our marketplace. But unfortunately, the Quality Control (QC) on Dunk Lows is relatively poor. Our authenticators shared the top QC variations that occur in Dunk Lows which are still considered to be within 'BNDS' range. This way, buyers and sellers know what to expect and can avoid disappointment if their pairs get rejected, or if you notice the stitching is not perfect on pair you just bought. Without further ado, let's jump in: 

Brown or black staining on the upper midsole area

The first super common QC variance to highlight is a certain type of stains on the upper part of the midsoles. It is hard to find a pair that doesn't have this to some degree. We don't know exactly which manufacturing step creates this result, but it seems to be common all almost all Dunk Low colorways. The best remedy is to just wear the shoes. With wear it will become less noticeable over time as the rest of shoe starts to pick-up some dirt.

Shop all Black and White Dunk Lows on Ox Street

A closeup of the rear midsole of a Panda Dunk Low, showing common stains
These yellow, brown to black stains are very common on Dunk Lows, and considered normal variance (Credit: Ox Street)

Visible stains and machining remnants stuck to the outsole

This is a very common occurrence on the the Valerian Blue colorway of the Nike Dunk Low. Sneaker outsoles are usually made in moulds, and in the low-cost manufacturing methods used for the Dunks, they are not always thorougly cleaned when they come out of the machine. The result is a sneaker with some white dust and stains on the bottom. While it's not the most appealing at first sight, this is common in authentic pairs, and doesn't affect the performance of the shoes in any way. With a couple of times wearing the shoes, you should not be able to tell anymore.

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The outsole (bottom) of an authentic Nike Dunk Low 'Valerian Blue', courtesy of Ox Street
Dunk Low 'Valerian Blue' Outsole with visible machining residues (Credit: Ox Street)

Excess glue stains on the tongue, midsole and laces

Another common thing on Dunk Lows is sloppy, excess glue stains on parts of the sneaker. It isn't a great sight, but it's a normal occurrence that will generally pass QC at Nike factories. When this is present on the rubber parts of the sneaker, like the midsole, it can generally be rubbed off with some baby wipes, but on the tongue it's a little trickier to remove. Nevertheless, like with all of these issues, it's only noticeable when looking very closely and doesn't affect the performance of the sneakers.

A closeup of the tongue of a Dunk Low Black White showing excess glue
Patches or areas with excess glue are common on the tongue, midsoles and even the laces (Credit: Ox Street)

Holes in the toe box or lace holes that are not fully stamped

This is another one that gives a clear view at the relatively limited effort that is put into the Dunk Low production process. Often, the holes in the toe box, or even the lace holes will not have been fully stamped through, and material will still be stuck in the hole. This is again something that doesn't really stand-out in normal wear, but it can be weird when you first get the shoes. Usually, you can safely poke the holes with something narrow and sharp. It's like a final manufacturing step that you get to complete yourself at home....I guess...

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It is very common to see excess material in the toe box holes or even in the lace holes. To remove, you can just poke them with a tooth pick (Credit: Ox Street)

Furry and frayed edges of leather overlays

Another very, very common flaw is that the leather on the overlays is not cut cleanly. This is once again due to a low-cost method of cutting at very high volumes. This is one that will also not be very visible if not zoomed in closely. There isn't a very good way to resolve this though, except for trying to pull away bigger frays if possible.

Cut quality on the leather overlays, including the swoosh can be quite bad (Credit: Ox Street)

Excess or sloppy stitching on the upper

Low quality stitching, especially around the Swoosh is a sad but very common issue with Authentic Dunk Low pairs. This is a common problem with these shoes and another sign of the low-cost production process employed for the Dunk Low line. We typically see excess stitching with loose and frayed threads sticking out at inopportune places. Shown here in the swoosh area on the medial side, this also commonly occurs on other parts of the upper.

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An example of a common type of stitching flaw on Dunk Lows (Credit: Ox Street)

Quirky leather shapes on the side panels

One of the fundamental challenges of making shoes is the need to make a round, feet wrapping shape from flat panels of material. Of course, this can be done very well with care, but with Dunks, the sewing is often not done perfectly neatly. As a result, it's very common to see these types of deformations on the soft panels of the shoes. This is one of the more noticeable flaws when first seeing a pair, and slightly less common than some of the previously mentioned flaws. But the good news is that this will buff out with some wear.

Shop the Nike Dunk Low 'Barley Paisley' on Ox Street

The leather panels on the upper are not always sewed together neatly, resulting in some bunched leather on the soft side panels. This will usually buff out with wear (Credit: Ox Street)

Excessive spacing between eye stay panel and overlay

Now for a less common flaw, though still common enough to pass all QC processes on these pairs is extra spacing between the eye stay panel and the front overlay. There is not much more to say except that thankfully this also won't affect the durability or performance of the shoes.

A closeup of the front panels of a Nike Dunk Low 'Gym Red'
There is a noticeable gap where the two red panels overlap. On flawless pairs this would be glued flush (Credit: Ox Street)

Shop Dunk Lows on Ox Street

Now that you know the common factory variations that you can expect, it's time to cop your pair of Dunk Lows on Ox Street: 

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Billy is a sneaker enthusiast who is addicted to sneakers collecting after he bought his first Air Jordan 1 15 years ago!