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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.