August 15, 2018 by tinmy2014
Kyrie Irving’s sneakers have been a huge hit with players of all ages since the first model. The shoes combine low ride with minimal cushioning and killer colorways. How does the Kyrie Low stack up? Here we go…
One thing that has been consistent since day one is that Kyrie models will have great traction. The Kyrie Low doesn’t disappoint.
Using a straight-line traction that is broken up and rotated in certain areas, the traction pattern mimics herringbone with the different angles and spacings — and its ability to grip in almost any environment. The spacing is wide enough that wiping was at an extreme minimum — maybe once a session — and the grip was stop-on-a-dime power. Changing direction was smooth and quick because the traction let go as soon as it grabbed.
The Kyrie Low also uses the curved midsole/outsole tooling that first appeared in the Kyrie 4 and, again, once you get used to the “rolling” feeling the combination of rounded outsole and killer traction makes transitions smooth and fast. The only thing holding the Kyrie Low traction from Hall of Fame was the durability. I had two or three pieces of the pattern come off during testing, all done indoor, so outdoor is a definite no on the gum bottoms. Not sure about any solid colorways, but for the color tested, no way.
For the first time ever, a Kyrie model uses both forefoot and heel Zoom Air for cushioning, and we should be excited — when done right, the 20-year-old technology is still one of the top cushioning systems ever made. Unfortunately, the Kyrie Low uses rectangle bags that are bottom-loaded, so the Zoom feel isn’t really there. The bags aren’t exceptionally thin (7mm thick in the forefoot and a serious14mm in the heel), but the stiff Phylon midsole deadens the initial bounce and response you would normally feel. So how did the Kyrie Low get a Starting 5 rating?
Simple: it works great on court. With the killer traction and the idea that this shoe is made for quicker players who cut and shift, the stiff midsole doesn’t compress and cause lag time between movements. With the Zoom being bottom-loaded, you don’t get the feel underfoot of a good Zoom, but the impact is absorbed and deadened through the Phylon as well. The cushioning works with the traction to make the Kyrie Low feel low and fast, so it’s doing its job. As I have gotten older, I know my knees and ankles need a little more protection, but for the design of the Kyrie Low, the cushioning works great.
Ahhh, yes, the lovely mesh and fuse upper. The colorway tested (the ‘Uncle Drew’ grey/royal/gum) has a heavily glued, canvas-style fabric that took some serious break-in time. Even after a few wears, there were still some hotspots around my toes and the upper made a popping feel when flexing my foot. The medial and strap Swoosh are leather, or at least a really good synthetic that add a little premium feel (the black and white colorways are TPU/plastic). There are some areas of fuse around the toebox for a little extra durability.
While the upper is made up of one primary material with no layering except for the strap, Nike did put some effort into design with the molded heel counter. Mimicking the spiked look from the Kyrie 1, the Kyrie Low uses a molded heel counter underneath the fabric to push the look. In this colorway, the strap gets the same treatment, and although it adds nothing to performance, it does a great job in breaking up the upper and giving some texture to the design.
I have held the black and white uppers in-hand (and might possibly pick up the white colorway soon) and they’re made of a different mesh (something more like the Kyrie 3) that is more pliable and feels better to the touch. If you are looking for a ready-to-go upper out of the box, I suggest one of those colorways.
Length and width-wise, the Kyrie Low fits true to size — if you wore a 10.5 in the Kyrie 1-3, get a 10.5 in the Low (the Kyrie 4 fit me a little short so I went up a half size). The midfoot is a little narrow, so if you are a wide-footer or like a little extra space to double sock you may want to go up a half size or try on in-store (the Kyrie Low is everywhere).
The lacing system is the exact same used on the Kyrie 2 with a little diagonal offset on the lace holes. Overall, the shoe pulls nice and tight around your foot, locking everything from the midfoot forward in and down with no movement at all.
The heel had a little bit of slip until the upper broke down a little, but after the materials loosened up the heel slip went away…for the most part. The open Achilles area leaves the top of the collar a little wide, leading to that slip, and the heel counter is solid so the little bit of slip that is left is no worries.
First off, the strap does nothing. It makes the midfoot feel a little tighter, but as far as playability, it adds nothing. Looks cool, though. The main support components are not blatant — subtlety is key. The low-riding midsole and the lacing system are all you need.
The rounded outsole takes a little time to get used to if you haven’t played in a Kyrie before (and thankfully it doesn’t feel at wobbly as the Kyrie 2) but once you do the feeling is controlled during movement. With the lacing system locking you into the shoe and the foot sitting inside the midsole (not directly on it) you are not sliding anywhere you don’t want to.
There is a midfoot shank in the Kyrie Low — the small, standard, hidden TPU kind — that provides a little midfoot support. The heel cup is solid and keeps your foot vertical. This should be enough for most players, even bigger post players, because the solid midsole doesn’t compress to the point of tipping — that helps keep your foot stable.
While I enjoyed the overall cushioning in the Kyrie 4 more (Cushlon, where have you been?), I felt that the Kyrie 4 was bulky and traction took a while to get right. The Kyrie Low comes in a sleeker package with better traction but loses step-in comfort and responsive cushioning.
If you are a quicker, shifty guard who loved the Kyrie 2 and 3, the Kyrie Low is a no-brainer. It’s package of traction, court feel, and fit make the shoe ideal for most guards and actually, any player not needing a wide shoe or supreme cushioning. If you play mostly outdoors, sorry, because like most shoes today you will want to stay away.
To be honest, the first time I wore the Kyrie Low I was almost determined not to like it — it felt stiff and way too solid underfoot for me to enjoy playing in. Luckily, the shoe began to warm up to me and broke in nicely, both in the midsole and the upper. The KD 11 has become a solid rotation shoe that I can count on. Now if I could just get this old guy off my porch to quit screaming, “You reach I teach, youngblood!!”
August 14, 2018 by tinmy2014
Hit the jump for full written review & scores.
Traction – As with most translucent soled sneakers, these worked for a brief period but then the dust quickly became an obstacle that couldn’t be overcome… doesn’t leave me with much hope for the Air Jordan 1. Front to back they were decent at best but players often need stable traction for every direction other than front to back… especially if you are a Guard running around. If the shoe offered more flex or range of motion then maybe things would have been different but as they are… it just wasn’t ideal for indoor courts unless they are kept perfectly clean. Outdoors may prove useful if the court has a bit of texture to it… but I wouldn’t dare play in these on a smooth outdoor surface.
Cushion – Once the Nike Air Foamposite One is broken-in – I’ll get into that in a bit – then the cushion begins to soften up. Its strange having a shoe that features full length Zoom – double stacked in the heel – start out so firm. I will say that once things begin to soften up then you can appreciate how comfortable a Foamposite can be… it just takes a hell of a lot longer than you’d imagine.
Material – I have a love hate relationship with the materials. The foams sturdiness and protective traits are awesome… you just can’t enjoy them for a while until it’s all broken-in. One thing that is apparent in a shoe featuring Foamposite… it’ll last… the materials will actually outlive the glue holding everything together.
Fit – Break-in time… lots of it. Be prepared for one of the most grueling break-ins you’ll ever experience. I’m not even joking either, I knew I was up for a challenge with this one but I honestly had no idea it would ever take as long as it did.
Even after switching to a pair I thought was already broken-in taught me that Foamposite’s will always need to be broken-in again and again when playing in them. After you are done perspiring inside the shoe the shell hardens up a little, contouring to your foot shape but leaving you with a stiff shoe until you warm it up again… it’s like playing with a tight muscle, it constantly needs work which is a little too much maintenance than I can a handle.
Its overall fit is great after it molds to your foot with the exception of the heel… that area needs a lot of work and I couldn’t do anything to keep my heel locked into place. Thanks to the sloppy heel lockdown, it ends up feeling like you have a brick flopping around… like a really heavy sandal or clog. This is probably the shoes Achilles heel… pun moderately intended. If there were better heel lockdown available then the shoe would have played a little smoother and less clunky, even for its weight. These are the same weight as the Air Jordan VIII and you wouldn’t ever know they weighed the same unless you threw them both on the scale… even then I thought my scale was broken because they just feel like dead weight in comparison.
Ventilation – There is only minor ventilation which is featured along the tongue. This is necessary for the materials used so the rating shouldn’t be considered here… unless you absolutely need a shoe that can breathe.
Support – Carbon Fiber, Foamposite and a double last midsole… that’s a lot of support. It would have been better had the heel fit properly but we can’t have everything we want now can we.
Overall – This is not my cup of tea… I know a lot of ball players love to play in Foams but I think I’m much too small for them. If there was ever a shoe made for LeBron James… it was the Foamposite… His Foamposite based sneaker looked much better than this one though – from a performance perspective.
Besides the heel lockdown I would have preferred the shoe to not feature a double last midsole. This made the shoe nearly impossible to flex with your foot the way a quick Guard would prefer. Front to back was fine but I’d have liked some lateral flex so I could maneuver the way I usually do.
Not a bad shoe but not a great shoe either. It’s definitely cool though… I’ll give it that.
August 13, 2018 by tinmy2014
Two of Nike’s biggest releases of 2018 thus far, has been Sean Wotherspoon’s Air Max 1/97 and Virgil Abloh’s Off-White x Nike Air Presto.
Sean Wotherspoon’s Air Max was the winning design from the RevolutionAIR voting campaign in early 2017. It was a hybrid design of the Nike Air Max 97 upper built with corduroy atop the iconic tooling of the Air Max 1.
During March, Nike Air Max fans got to cast their vote part of the ‘RevolutionAir’ design. The winner would have his or her Air Max model put in production. The end result was Sean Wotherspoon’s Nike Air Max which is a hybrid model of the Nike Air Max 97 and the Nike Air Max 1.
Inspiration behind his pair is due to his love of vintage Nike hats from the 1980s. This Nike Air Max 97/1 Hybrid features corduroy on the uppers, frayed edges, velour on the toe that extends to the heel while a unique design lands on the insoles.
Virgil Abloh not only released one, but two Off-White colorways of the Nike Air Presto. One of those was the “Black” iteration that came in its signature deconstructed build.
This Nike Air Presto by Off-White comes dressed in a ’Triple Black’ color theme while accents of White and Cone are used. In addition we have the stitched Nike Swoosh logos, Orange tab and Off-White text which completes the look.
While both pairs were highly demanded, which would you consider was the better release? Cast your vote below, and leave your thoughts in the comments section.
August 10, 2018 by tinmy2014
Nike and Jordan’s yearly collaboration with the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital has raised a large sum of money for the hospital and produced many a highly-regarded sneaker since its inception in 2004. Although many of the collaborative Nike models have their place in sneaker history, few would disagree that when it comes to Doernbecher shoes nothing tops the Jordans. With every Jordan from the Air Jordan 1 all the way to the Air Jordan 13 (with the exception of the Air Jordan 11) being used as a collaborative canvas for the charitable project, classic Jumpman silhouettes have always held an esteemed place in the pantheon of Doernbecher collaborations. Now, reports that the Doernbecher Air Jordan 6—one of the most beloved Doernbecher models of all time—may be returning later this year as part of the annual slate of collaborative releases have surfaced.
Much like the holiday Air Jordan 11s, Nike’s Doernbecher Collection is one of the most hyped releases every year. While we wait for this year’s lineup to be revealed, we take a look back at two previous colorways.
The Air Jordan 6 Doernbecher made its debut as part of the Freestyle Collection back in 2009 designed by Doernbecher patient Jordan Dark. It featured a Blue suede upper with Red and Gold accents for an “Olympic” styled-vibe completed with clear outsoles.
Designing an Air Jordan. It's every kid's dream. For Jordan Dark, that dream was made possible over the past year as he was selected to participate in the latest Nike x Doernbecher Freestyle project. He was told he could pick any material, any pattern, and infuse any details and touches specific to his life. He tapped into his high school colors, touched on his trying chemo dates, and even referenced the classic pre-game phrase of the Chicago Bulls. His shoe also is proudly the first-ever Air Jordan VI with an all-translucent outsole. With a rich suede upper and bonded panels, Jordan was actually surprised with a custom pair all his own that featured red contrast stitching. A last minute request of his that couldn't be changed in time for production, the Jordan Brand team had just enough time to make one pair for Jordan.
The Air Jordan 3 was designed by patient Cole Johnson, a teen cancer survivor from the 2010 Doernbecher Freestyle Collection. Back in 2013, the Air Jordan 3 DB also saw a limited re-release.
Looking back at these Air Jordan Doernbecher models, which do you guys think was the better release? Cast your vote below and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
August 8, 2018 by tinmy2014
The Hyperdunk X celebrates a decade since the line began in 2008. Thus, you won’t find anything new in this Nike Hyperdunk X deconstruction.
Like past setups — most recently the Hyperdunk 2016 — the Hyperdunk X features heel and forefoot Zoom Air units; this offers impact protection at the heel and responsiveness at the forefoot. However, what’s notable in this latest Hyperdunk is just how much Zoom we’re getting.
The heel Zoom Air unit in the Hyperdunk X is 14.10mm thick — that’s nearly double the 8.20mm thick heel unit in the Hyperdunk 2016 (scroll down to the bottom for a comparison). The forefoot unit is only 6.87mm thick, on-par with what we’ve seen in several Nike Basketball models. The units are top-loaded and protected via small 1.24mm thick windows that create 7-8mm gaps between the unit and the outsole.
Gone is the React foam from the Hyperdunk 2017, which many of our kd11sale.com thought was lackluster in its basketball implementation, but the small support plate at the midfoot (used in past Hyperdunk models) is back.
Moreover, it looks like wearers will sit within this tooling, although it is a bit higher off the ground than past Basketball Shoes models. Beneath the thick insole is a layer of white EVA that shows the tooling’s curvature around the foot.
Finally, the upper of the Hyperdunk X is minimal and seems to be designed for breathability. A fairly open-celled mesh is backed by a thin film for reinforcement while the toe (above the mesh) is covered in fuse/TPU to protect against toe-drags.
The Nike Hyperdunk X has retained its $130 price point and is available now at Nike.com in both men’s and women’s sizes.
Did you notice anything unusual in this Nike Hyperdunk X deconstruction? Let us know in the comments below.
August 1, 2018 by tinmy2014
Jordan Brand as used the Air Jordan 4 in some of the most recent bigger collaborations by hooking up with KAWS on two colorways as most recently with Levi’s.
The Levi’s x Air Jordan 4 Denim is part of the upcoming Levi’s x Air Jordan 4 Collection which will release during 2018
This isn’t the first time that Levi’s and Jordan Brand collaborated, the first time was on the Levi’s x Air Jordan 1 Pack which also came with a pair of jeans. This took place in 2008 marking its 10th Anniversary.
This Air Jordan 4 is highlighted in Blue Denim across the uppers while Tan and Red detailing is seen throughout. Following we have a bit of White on the midsole and Gum on the outsole. Finishing the look is Levi’s branding on the insoles.
The Black KAWS Air Jordan 4 was the more limited pair out of the two, first appearing as a friends and family edition.
The KAWS Air Jordan 4 Black will release during November part of Jordan Brand’s Holiday lineup. This marks the second collaboration between KAWS and Jordan Brand on the Jordan 4 which will launch on Cyber Monday.
This Air Jordan 4 by KAWS comes dressed in predominate Black while premium suede runs throughout. Following we have his trademark Mickey Mouse like hands stitched while the ‘XX’ logo is seen on the heel. Other details includes the Jumpman x KAWS branding on the insoles while a Glow in the Dark outsole completes the look.
Kicking of 2018, Jordan Brand and Levi’s dropped their Air Jordan 4 collaboration in its first of three colorways covered in full denim.
If you have both pairs in your collection, consider yourself lucky. Looking back, which would you say was the better release? Cast your vote below and leave your thoughts in the comments section.
July 31, 2018 by tinmy2014
They got it right on the money this time. Leo Chang deserves a round of applause for this one.
Traction – While these perform great on clean courts – as most shoes do – they were surprisingly good on dusty floors as well even with the story telling pattern. Luckily they went with a much more pliable rubber compound with the KD V versus the KD 11 so you have plenty of friction between your foot and the hardwood. As a fast paced PG… I thought these were fantastic.
Cushion – Give them time to break-in and you’ll eventually fall in love with them. I personally would have liked to have fallen in love with them right from the start but impressing me each and every time I finished running in them was actually something I enjoyed as well.
The 10mm forefoot Zoom unit was a nice change of pace – usually the KD signature has a much thinner Zoom unit – and the heel Air unit was a nice addition as well. What I thought was most important was their choice in foam as that can make or break almost any cushion source since it rest directly under foot. This foam breaks in nicely and feels better with each and every wear… not something I experienced with the KD IV.
Material – Fuse is placed along the upper – a very thin layer by the way – and feels great as it wraps around the foot nicely. It still retains its shape better than any other material that we’ve seen placed on a performance sneaker and can withstand heavy beatings. You really can’t go wrong with Nike’s modern Fuse base… it’s probably one of the best synthetics around for performance footwear.
Fit – You like wearing socks right? That’s how these feel on your feet. Like I noted above, the upper wraps your foot up perfectly and once the break-in period is complete you have a sneaker that will last and feel great on foot. I personal feel going ½ size down was appropriate but try them on yourself if possible just to be sure you get the correct size.
Lockdown isn’t an issue in any area of the shoe. Midfoot lockdown is perfect, there is zero dead space at the forefoot and the heel fits perfectly and keeps you secured in place. I didn’t even have to use all the eyelets in order to achieve perfect lockdown so it felt as if I was wearing a low top even though these are mids/ highs.
Ventilation – There isn’t much ventilation but with the materials used and the superb fit, their performance isn’t hindered one bit. Basically, if you feel your ‘feet get too hot’ when playing, you either should look at something else entirely or take care of that athletes foot.
Support – Because the fit and lockdown are so great, the support is awesome. Keeping you secure in the shoe without movement provides you with all the support one would need without adding extra material. Having a lateral outrigger and stable base just improve the support by giving you some additional stability.
Overall – This is one hell of a shoes . Talk about bang for your buck too… at $115 these are a steal. Just make sure you can handle the break-in process and you will love these the way you do your favorite pair of jeans.
July 27, 2018 by tinmy2014
The KD V is available but so is the KD VI… decisions…
Traction – It isn’t horrible but it’s not as good as last years. While I was editing the video review I noticed that the pattern featured on both the KD V & KD VI are nearly identical but executed differently. The KD V‘s pattern was made so that the outline of the pattern was cut away and removed from the outsole, this provided an aggressive pattern which worked well. Meanwhile, the KD VI did the opposite and left the outline of the pattern in place and removed the inner portions which made for a slick surface when dust is involved. Next time… I hope they go the KD 11 route because it was much more efficient on-court.
Just a tip, wipe the outsole at every dead ball and you will be good to go with traction… allow the dust to pile up under your foot and you’ll be ice skating.
Cushion – The cushion is the same exact setup as the KD V but this time around they just feel much better right when you first walk out onto the court. These feel the way the KD V‘s feel after they’ve been broken-in… without needing to be broken-in. Awesome!
These wiped the floor with the Zoom Soldier VII’s (I have been alternating between the two) in terms of comfort which is a surprise because I would have guess it to be the other way around prior to wearing them both. Bottom line… the KD VI won’t disappoint.
Material – The Fuse is thin, pliable and requires nearly zero break-in time. Unfortunately, I do feel as if it isn’t quite as nice as the KD V’s and feels almost cheap in comparison. Why so many direct comparisons to the KD V you ask? Simple… they are sitting on shelves as we speak… right next to the KD VI… only one is priced at $115 while the other is $130. You do the math.
Luckily, I don’t feel as if the materials feel warrants a bad score – it just ‘feels’ cheaper than the KD V’s more rugged upper that I love so much. It’ll still support you while remaining durable so there isn’t much to complain about… unless you have a weird infatuation with the KD V… like I do.
Fit – I went up 1/2 size and it worked perfectly fine for me. You will still want to try them on in-store if possible and if it isn’t possible then I hope you’ve owned the KD IV as that is the one shoe that you can kind of compare it to.
Lockdown though… incredible. Who knew such a low shoe would be so secure. I didn’t have one issue with them once laced up… not one. I haven’t worn a soccer cleat since I was 7 so I cant tell you if they have similar attributes in terms of fit and lockdown but since they look so much like one… its safe to assume that its pretty darn close. These are the best fitting low top basketball shoes since the Kobe V… that is all.
Ventilation – Its better than the KD V but still nothing to write home about. I’m just glad the fit/ lockdown was near perfect so I didn’t wind up walking away with more blisters on my feet.
Support – Most of the support comes from the fit and lockdown and those of you that wish to have plenty of torsional support along with arch support… you may be disappointed. The Air Jordan X was the last time a lack of arch support was apparent while in-game and these have a similar feel. I was able to feel my arch and the shoe separate slightly when in motion – typically after playing for 2+ hours – so if you have arch support insoles… take them with you.
Overall – These are really fun to play in. The only thing that truly bothered me personally was the traction but again, wipe the outsole at every dead ball and you’ll be good to go. Comfort and lockdown are definitely their highlights so if those two areas are high on your list of personal on-court needs then you should be very please.
Its rare that the previous model is still on shelves by the time the next version releases so with that… I’d go with the KD Shoes still as an overall package is concerned – including price. Don’t get me wrong, the KD VI is awesome but the KD V just feels like you get a little more while paying a little bit less… and they haven’t even hit outlets yet.
July 26, 2018 by tinmy2014
Jazz it up....
Traction – This is how you pull off a storytelling traction surface. The entire design is based on MJ’s love for Golf and instead of using some random pattern they went with herringbone – which worked really well. They used contrasting colors to add additional effects without sacrificing coverage. Now, I will say that the traction wasn’t perfect but it was pretty damn close. Only time I had an issue was during certain movements where the shoe flexed at a point where the traction wasn’t in contact with the floor so I had slight slippage but that didn’t happen often so it was nothing crazy… very minor and its the only thing I experienced that I could nit-pick on.
Cushion – This air jordan 17 shoes was built for an aging MJ that required quite a bit of support in order for his knees to hold up on-court. There was a blow molded Air unit in place at the heel – I still don’t know the difference between blow molded Air units vs a regular one – which was housed within a giant TPU (plastic) cage. The entire heel area reminded me a lot of caged Zoom Air but firmer. Was it incredibly uncomfortable? No, but it wasn’t what I’ve been used to with previous Air setups. However, forefoot cushion was fantastic. Zoom Air is placed at the forefoot and the entire forefoot section of the shoe is built traditionally with a Phylon footbed which happens to be double lasted. Its a really interesting way to construct a shoe where you have incredible support with adequate cushion.
Material – I love the materials used on this 2008 CDP version and especially the originals which featured buttery leather uppers. This pair utilizes a nice nubuck at the heel and forefoot. This has its strong points and weak points. Its strength is its fit and feel along with the minimal break-in time required. As for the weakness… its just not as durable as leather overall but again… that’s me nitpicking since the materials are really nice in general. There is a section of woven material – identical to what was used on the LeBron 9’s support wings – at the midfoot that offers great fit and its the most durable section of the upper. My favorite material used is located at the collar… the Neoprene lining is so comfortable it makes all other collars seem inferior.
Fit – They fit true to size and lockdown for me was near perfect. Only gripe is that I had to lace them all the way to the top eyelet and I usually leave one or two free so I have better range of motion for my ankles. I couldn’t do that with these since every time I tried my heel would flop in and out of the shoe a bit but once laced them up the way they were intended then they were perfectly fine. The midfoot lockdown was fantastic and you even have additional lacing options if you wish with the Shroud’s ‘eyelet’ system for a more snug fit. We also have a squared toe again so that area of the shoe is very comfortable while stoping and changing direction without jamming any toes.
Support – As mentioned earlier, this shoe was designed for an aging MJ that needed more support than his past models provided. The TPU heel, lacing system and Carbon Fiber plate running throughout the entire outsole provided some of the best support I’ve had in any Air Jordan 1 to date… almost topping the XX8. Only reason why I’d personally choose the XX8 over these is due to the fact that they offer support that wont restrict my movement at all while these are a bit more restrictive overall.
Overall – This was probably the one shoe – besides the kd 11 – that I was looking forward to wearing the least. I don’t know why… I’ve just never been entirely enthusiastic about the model in general. After playing in them they’ve actually surpassed my initial impression and are among the top performance models featured within the Air Jordan Legacy. This is definitely one model that I’d love to see get the Retro treatment as they are 100% playable even by today’s standards. Truly an innovative sneaker that was ahead of its time.
July 24, 2018 by tinmy2014
Traction – How do you top the KD7’s traction? Simply put… this is how. It’s a modified herringbone pattern that looks as if it’s been digitized. Suffice to say, they played really great on every floor I played on. Only when the local 24 Hour Super Sport showed they desperately needed to clean the floor did I get any slippage, but even with the debris it was more reliable than other traction patterns I’ve used. Only reason why I won’t give them a Hall of Fame badge is because the rubber used is soft and is already fraying after a solid week of use. So, the down side is their potential durability, but while they last you’ll have some awesome grip.
Cushion – A new full length articulated Zoom Air unit was created for the KD 8, and it looks extremely similar to one I designed way back when I reviewed the Nike LeBron 15 . How does the full length Zoom feel? Well…you can’t really feel it most of the time. The main section under the ball of the foot feels amazing – super springy and explosive – but the rest is braced by additional rubber or plastic to keep the bag from compressing and becoming unstable. So while you receive some nice full length cushion that flexes better than previously used full length Air units, I think it could have been implemented a bit better. Personally, I would have encapsulated the cushion while retaining its flex grooves. Basically make it so that the cushion isn’t visible–the same way the Air Jordan 12 did. It’d still flex and move, but it’d be set directly under foot so you could feel the cushion and responsiveness without risking any instability. Either way, you don’t come across full length cushion like this, from Nike, at this price point anymore…and that’s saying something since these things are pretty damn expensive.
Materials – They’ve renamed it Flyweave, but it’s basically the performance woven material that made it’s debut in the air Jordan xx9. It’s awesome. Period. You used to have to pay $225 if you wanted to try out Jordan Brand’s performance woven upper, but now you can try it out for less ($180). Yes, you can currently find the Air Jordan xx9 for under retail, but they don’t come with full length cushion and a performance woven upper like these do. Yeah, +1 for the KD8. The only drawback to a woven upper is durability. So if you’re worried about the potential longevity of your shoes then staying away from softer upper materials would be best. If you grab a shoe with mesh, woven etc. along the upper then don’t complain if they eventually tear… It’s to be expected at some point.
Fit – Their fit is a little tricky. I went up half a size. And I usually never do that so I’d recommend trying them on. They reminded me a lot of the KD5 at first because the tongue is attached to the upper and your foot can definitely feel that upon putting them on. The difference though, these use a woven upper instead of plastic so they break-in in no time. Lockdown is solid as well. The forefoot is pretty snug to ensure that secure fit, while Flywire is in place to help reinforce the area upon lateral movements. Having the Flywire in this specific location might actually alleviate some of the pressure the woven will face while being played in, so it may help it last a bit longer. In the heel there is an internal heel counter that works great, and the interior padding is really nicely sculpted to help keep things secure. Those saber tooth phylon pieces don’t really do any of the supporting though; they’re too thin and are basically there for storytelling purposes only.
Support – Similar to the Zoom Soldier 9, there are support features all over the KD 11. The first, and most obvious, is their form fitting upper. The more natural your foot and the shoe adhere to one another the better the support will be. Then there’s the huge platform the shoe is built on. The Zoom unit is flat and wide, instability is pretty much a non issue here. Any potential instability would have come from the exposed zoom air unit, but like I described in the cushion section, there are support piece in place to ensure the bag won’t fold or collapse when you’re playing so you’re covered from every angle. If you wanted to see the support pieces I’m talking about then check the video, it’s a little hard to write and describe each area without putting you to sleep… if you’re even awake at this point anyway.
Something I personally disliked was the large exaggerated heel. It sticks out way too far and while it never obstructed transition like I initially thought it might, instead it just made it really easy for someone to step on me and take my shoe completely off. Getting flat-tired in a game usually doesn’t happen, but in these it happened more than it should have.
Overall – I really enjoyed the shoe on-court. They have some beastly traction and full coverage cushion. The woven upper is something that I personally love, and I hope others enjoy it as much as I do. As long as you get your the size that’ll fit you properly, support will be amazing. The KD 8 is right up there with the KD 5 and 7 in terms of on-court performance – all three are really awesome 0n-court. Hopefully they continue to get better each year…KD deserves a great performance shoe, and so do those that buy his kicks.