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Nike KD 10 Performance Review

Nike KD 10 Performance Review main

The Nike KD 9 took two steps forward. The Nike KD 10 took one step back.

The Nike KD 10 is available now at Eastbay.com

Nike KD 10 Performance Review traction

Traction – Looks can be deceiving. While the circular pattern looks amazing and should have taken care of multidirectional coverage like no other, the grip was inconsistent on a regular basis — making the Nike KD 10 consistently inconsistent.

The outsole plays very well outdoors, which is a plus, but it wasn’t designed with durability in mind. After only a few outdoor hoop sessions my frayed outsole looks like corn before it’s shucked. Or is it after it’s been shucked? You know all those weird hairy fibers inside the corn husk? That’s what I’m trying to say.

At any rate, there are talks that the initial colorways of the Nike KD 10 have lackluster traction while future colorways will have a slightly improved rubber compound. I’m not sure how true that is and if it is true it isn’t something that should happen — it makes the reviews inaccurate and it confuses consumers as to what colorways offer decent traction. Air Jordan XXXI anyone?

All I can do is share my experiences with the product I wore. In this circumstance, the traction on both of my KD 10s — yes, I have two pairs in two different sizes — just didn’t work out for me.

Nike KD 10 Performance Review cushion

Cushion – Full-length Max Zoom Air is back and it’s a bit firmer than it was the last time around. Don’t be put off when trying on the Nike KD 10 because you don’t feel the bounce right away like you might have with the KD 9. The 10s take a bit of breaking in before you can feel the responsiveness.

From a functional standpoint, the cushion here offers the same thing that the KD 9 did: the best impact protection Nike currently has available. Oh, and it’s still articulated in the forefoot so you can move about the court without too much restriction. I love the cushion and I hope its durability issues have been resolved. Not that I popped any of my pairs, but I know a few people that have — and I have received countless emails and DMs about other people’s pairs popping.

I think Nike has a great thing going with this type of Zoom Air and I hope it’s appreciated by the masses.

Nike KD 10 Performance Review materials

Materials – Flyknit, Flyknit everywhere. I love the materials that were used on the Nike KD 10, I just don’t love how they performed. Although, I believe it was a combination of the materials used and the lacing system that wound up causing my disappointment.

You have Flyknit from heel to toe on the Nike KD 10 and it’s infused with TPU threads — much like the Nike Kobe 11 Elite. Heat was applied to stress zones and the toebox area to weld the TPU and knit together for strength and durability. This causes a bit of a disconnect between the material and the foot, but it felt really nice overall.

The area that features 100% Flyknit is the tongue and collar. You can get these babies on and off your feet without issue, whereas the KD 9 was a bit of a struggle. By a bit of a struggle I mean they were an added workout to your daily regimen.

While being a knit, the Nike KD 10 is durable as hell which is something most people will appreciate. Containment could have been a lot better than it was, which brings me to the next topic.

Nike KD 10 Performance Review fit

Fit – Go down 1/2 size. Seriously. Wide footers, you’ll be good going true to size without needing to size up, but everyone else, go down 1/2 size. The disconnect I discussed above creates a bit of volume around the foot and when you have a knitted upper that isn’t something you want.

However, lockdown is the main culprit. Heel lockdown was great; the lacing system worked really well with the internal heel counter and heavily padded heel.

The midfoot lockdown was atrocious. Having the lacing sit at the bottom of the foot sounds great but when it’s coupled with a super stretchy midfoot section, lateral containment goes out the window. When I’d try to compensate for the lack of containment by tightening the lacing, those loops would pull and dig into the bottom of my feet. Not only was this painful, but it didn’t work.

Using a setup like this really has me appreciating the current method of lacing — nylon loops that run down the foot and attach at the footbed. You’re able to properly tighten sections of the shoe where you need it — at the throat, whether it be at the midfoot, forefoot, or heel — all while the nylon strands act as suspension, bridging the gap between the top of the foot and the bottom of the foot. The KD 10’s lacing system only covered the suspension aspect but not the top of the foot/throat synching that a lot of players prefer.

If you’re a player that plays the game pretty straight then you may never feel or notice this. If you’re a spot up shooter, you may never notice this. Being small, I have to maneuver around the court and get open. Using screens is my best option in most cases and when tightly turning around my screen my foot felt like it was sliding over the footbed. This caused a delay in my shot as I’d then have to try and quickly readjust my footing when I typically don’t have an issue if lateral containment is solid.

Things were just a little too sloppy for me and I prefer the way the KD 9 contained my foot.

Nike KD 10 Performance Review support

Support – If each component of a shoe doesn’t flow together and act as one then you’ll never form Voltron. Er, you’ll never find balance.

The heel area worked beautifully, but the midfoot left much to be desired. That lack of midfoot containment caused a sloppy fit which reduced the support offered. Had those nylon lace loops rode up the sidewall of the shoe a bit more, well, then you’d have the KD 9 Elite, and you likely wouldn’t have had a sloppy fit. Despite the base of the shoe being a solid platform, it just wasn’t enough to say these are cutting it in the support department. The pieces are there, they just don’t work well together.

Nike KD 10 Performance Review overall

Overall – The Nike KD 9 was an amazing shoe. The Nike KD 10 was almost an amazing shoe. It looks amazing, but it suffered in a few areas due to the bold new design.

If you don’t require a ton of lateral containment then you may enjoy these — they just weren’t for me. That isn’t a bad thing because no shoe is made for every person. However, helping you find the shoe that was made for you is why we’re here.

Nike KD 10 Performance Review scorecard

  1. Kinda sad that this wasn’t as good as hoped. Maybe the Elite version will be better. Was gonna cop the Anniversary cw but after this review, maybe getting a discounted pair of KD9s is the much smarter choice.

    1. Agreed. I’m in the same boat. I might just get some discounted KD9s. My foot fit in them fine.

  2. Man I was excited for these but if you were disappointed, I’m probably going to be disappointed. Probably going to get another pair of KD 9’s, Hyperdunk 2016 or Crazy Explosive for the next basketball season.

  3. I think the lacing system got hindered by lack of separate to tongue. The upper could’ve collapsed properly that way even if sizing was off.

  4. to be honest i have no idea how kd’s feet work, because every iteration of his shoes have caused problems for somebody (not me, i tend to really like his shoes, pretty much every kd except the 6 has been better than average for me, though i have had two pairs of the 9s pop on me)….this time, though, i don’t get it, look at the way kd plays, the stepbacks, the big double crossovers, and tell me he doesn’t need more containment than these seem to offer…

  5. I wonder when this one piece upper trend will end. Like Nightwing, I love the look of this shoe, as they are sharp. However, I am a back to the basket kinda guy these days, and a shoe that does not provide serious lockdown is a dangerous trip for me and my game. It’s a shame that I must look to retro’s for a complete package these days but hey, basketball shoes sales are down, and I wonder if that will change things in regard to how shoes are currently constructed. Nice review Mr. Wing.

  6. Taking a step back with traction is unacceptable. The white rubber on the 9s is great. Hard to imagine the same rubber with a more aggressive pattern performing at a lower level. The Kobe 9 rubber was insane. Where is that? Is Nike going to go all nasa on us and say they destroyed their old tech? There is no reason not to have amazing traction on every pair of basketball shoes.

  7. The crack of tube connecting separated zoom will still occur in kd10 and I know it is better to skip them.

  8. Having seen Shaq’s feet the other night on TNT (which can never be unseen again) there is a good chance KD’s feet just look like a little bit like the one’s of Sports Goofy. My best guess is that KD shoes are really modelled after his own two feet and not just “inspired by” like let’s say the last Barkley line for example.
    Which is a good thing for him because after all he has to play in this shoes. We don’t. The Kids who want to be like KD will buy these shoes anyways or get their moms to buy them for them. And they will be playing better than the week before regardless of their actual performance just out of pure admiration. Just like myself when i got my first pair of Jordans. They were Jordan V and they didn’t fit very well but believe me when i tell you…that day i played like Mike.

  9. I have a pair of the KD 9’s and a pair of KD 9 elites. No reason to get the 10’s. Now if we can just get Leo Chang to put full length zoom in the Kyrie 4’s with the Kyrie 3’s traction… oh the possibilities!

    1. Yeah, I was wondering about that. Are they really selling that many elites? I can’t imagine that its a hot item at all. Its basically an in between of the 9 and 10, anyway, so people who are thinking of buying a KD will either go with the 10 or get the 9 on discount.

    2. Nike has been spontaneous with their schedule. Bumped up the Soldier X debut for LeBron to wear in the Finals, which left him to wear the LJ13 Elite for just the first 3 rounds, then delay his 14th signature.

      And then of course we all know Jordan’s 30-31 timeline. But I think for LeBron and KD, they purposely reacted to the Finals as a marketing opportunity.

      As much as people want to hate on the idea of semi-redundant or frequency of shoes, that’s the manufacturer’s investment while we can freely decide if we care for the next model. We can wait out for sales and quite frankly have more open selection before older shoes retire.

  10. Really too bad the 10s aren’t an improvement on the 9s. I had hoped Nike would take the 9 and make some tweaks – a more accommodating fit, better traction, and improved lateral stability (outrigger and tweaks to the zoom bag). It sounds like Nike was close but missed the mark with a more accommodating fit at the expensive of lockdown (big no-no for me), worse traction, and the firmer zoom bag (unsure if that helps lateral stability or not). Still a good looking shoe and will be just fine for casual wear. I will be passing on these for playing ball.

  11. Did all of the Still KDXs come with the snazzy box and pins or was that only for the online “on court” sale gimmick?

  12. Hi there. First posting here so. I’m having trouble whether I should pick up the KD 10 (or KD9 Elite) or just choose other performance shoe. Im a fan of KD so picking this up would be big but I buy shoes only twice a year and I like my shoes to last long . I’m having second thoughts on the KD’s because I heard that the zoom airs we’re popping and being in the Philippines I don’t think I can get a replacement if they we’re to pop. So should I pursue others shoes or stick to KD’s. Cheers!

    1. Pursue other shoes, the last durable KDs are the 7s, get the hyperdunk 2016s or its rival the Dame 3 if you want long lasting shoes.

  13. I feel one of my dented soles, as if the silhouette of the prerecorded foot did not coincide, making me drop the support of the big toe to the hollow where the sole separates parts, the truth that only in one foot, I think it is a manufacturing defect.

  14. These shoes visually look better than the 9s which is why I got them, hoping for slight improvement and a better looking design. But after wearing, I was dissapointed. I have a wide foot and I could not run in these with my toe of the shoe rubbing on the floor as I walked/ran, yet the shoe felt near my ankle, any size smaller wouldn’t fit at all. also, the laces are WAY TOO SHORT. I cannot even tie the darn shoe. disssapointing.

  15. These low set eyelets never work for basketball!!!! Awful lockdown your foot is always free to move everywhere and when you tighten them the laces constrict your foot.

  16. Mine popped after 4 months. About the same time as my 9’s did. KD rubbish. Nike rubbish air bag. Won’t be getting any more

  17. Frustrating product! Just purchased for a month and used for 3 times with an average of 40mins to 1hr playtime, the outsole rubber were already separated from the airsole! It was so frustrating that the quality of the product was not compensated to its price!
    Need a refund, Nike!

  18. I agree these are great shoes! The problem I’m having is with the shoe laces. My son and I have had them for a little over 4 months and now the laces are coming undone. Do you know anywhere that I can get replacement laces for these?


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