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Anta Kai 1 English Review

Anta Kai 1 Spanish Review

Anta Kai 1

Kyrie Irving signed with Anta in 2023, and his first signature shoe with the brand is the Anta Kai 1, which is the epitome of a Kyrie Irving shoe.

Release Date: 2024

Price: $125

Total Score
Buy Anta Kai 1

When Kyrie Irving left Nike in 2023 sneaker fans were left to wonder which basketball shoe brand he would sign with. Kyrie Irving’s signature line was immensely popular, and Nike’s best-selling signature (basketball) line, so it would be a huge asset for whatever brand was able to land the Australian born point guard.

In the end, Anta came away with the W. Anta has been producing top-notch, high-performance basketball shoes for years at this point, so, they have all the tech and know how to produce a great product, and, not only did they sign Kyrie as a signature athlete, they also announced that he would become the creative director of their basketball divission.

The first Anta shoe Kyrie would use on an NBA court was the Anta Shock Wave 5. It isn’t a signature shoe, and it wasn’t designed for Kyrie specifically, but it was a very Kyrie-esque hoop shoe, and clearly it was a source of inspiration to create the Kai 1. These two models feel very similar in terms of performance, but there are also some key differences. All this being said, let’s jump into the review and see how they perform on court.

Anta Kai 1 Specs:

Anta Kai 1 Traction

The Anta Kai 1 features a solid rubber outsole and an odd, flat traction pattern. Most Kyrie shoes of the past feature very aggressive, protruding traction patterns, so this was surprising to see. Flat traction patterns are usually good for outdoor use, and Chinese brands are known for making good outdoor-resistant shoes, however, this rubber compound is not super tough.

Despite all of this, the shoe offers great indoor traction and excellent multidirectional coverage, as a shoe designed for Kyrie Irving should. One thing to keep in mind is it does tend to accumulate dust and debris on dirtier playing surfaces, but with a quick wipe you should be good to go.

As far as outdoor use goes, performance will be equally great, but again, the rubber durability isn’t elite as it was in the Shock Wave 5. The good news is that, because the traction pattern is so flat, it will wear down evenly. It will offer consistent performance as long as the rubber lasts.

Anta Kai 1 Cushion

This is only the second Kyrie shoe ever to feature full length cushioning, the other being the Nike Kyrie 4. In this case, what we get is Anta’s full length Nitro Edge foam. This is a nitrogen infused foam which offers excellent court feel and bounce, and better durabililty than most foam cushioning setups. It does take some time to break-in and to start feeling elastic underfoot.

The Nitro Edge is well encapsulated, which does make it very stable, but it also mutes the compression to an extent . When it does break in, it’s a very nice and well balanced cushioning system. It will be better suited for smaller shiftier players obviously, but it’s one of those setups that is versatile enough to cater to most playing styles and body types.

Anta Kai 1 Materials

Materials are what you will usually find in a modern hoop shoe: mesh and fuse. But, this is one of the better modern-style material setups we have seen in a while. It’s a very lightweight and attractive design that performs very well on court. There are several things to keep in mind, however. First off, you will need some time to properly break these in.

This mix of textiles and fuse, for whatever reason, needs to be worn in a bit to flex naturally and conform to your foot. The good news is that this wont take long. The other thing is that ventilation isn’t great. There’s one small vent on the medial side of the shoe, but it isn’t enough to evacuate all the heat and moisture you’ll generate while playing. This isn’t a big issue, it’s something that should be improved, but it isn’t a deal breaker.

Anta Kai 1 Support

Support on the Kai 1 is a highlight of the shoe, and might just be it’s best feature. This is a very secure feeling shoe on court. Aside from the wide base of the shoe, the stable cushioning system, and the upper construction, there are a couple more tricks hidden within the Kai 1. There is a TPU wrap on the lateral side of the shoe, that integrates the logo, which adds lateral stability,

lace cables that wrap your foot, a forefoot strap, a carbon fiber shank plate, a substantial heel counter, and considerable interior padding. The Anta Kai 1 wraps your foot up like a glove and keeps it safe and secure no matter what move you throw at it on court, or how hard you stop or change directions on court. It’s designed to keep up with Kyrie, so it’s more than enough for us mere mortals.

Anta Kai 1 Fit

Chinese brands are notorious for odd sizing. The Anta Kai 1 fits true to size, but to be sure, go with your centimeter size or your euro size and you should be ok. Once you have your proper size, they fit great.

Anta Kai 1 Overall

This is the ultimate Kyrie shoe. If you’ve enjoyed Kyrie’s shoes with Nike, you’ll love these. They are secure, agile, quick, and bouncy. This is a wonderful first signature for Kyrie with Anta, and, considering that they retail for just $125, they’re easily one of the best bang-for-your-buck performance models of the year. They take a bit to break in, and ventilation is an issue, but in general, these are great.

Anta threw everything but the kitchen sink into these, something you wont find in other more popular brands *(cough) Nike* which is probably the reason why Kyrie decided to find a different brand to work with. These look good, play good, and are affordable. What else could you ask for.

Buy at Kicks Crew

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