Nike KD 12 | Everything You Need to Know

The Nike KD 12 has officially been unveiled and this is everything you need to know.

Once again, the upcoming KD model has piqued my interest with the tech specs alone.

While the build looks deceptively simple, the interior features look to have had a lot of thought put into it.

The strobel board was the main point of emphasis with this year’s KD 12. Typically made of nylon or a soft foam, the strobel is the one thing that separates the foot from the cushion. While the layer in-between those two areas is extremely thin, when it’s combined with glue during the manufacturing process, you can lose a bit of the cushion’s feel under-foot until broken-in.

The theory here is that the strobel disconnects the athlete from the shoe’s responsive cushioning. But by stitching a full-length articulated Air Zoom bag to the upper, designer Leo Chang and Nike engineers made the Air unit a more dynamic element of the shoe.

For the KD 12, they’ve engineered a way to place the full-length Zoom Air unit within the shoe’s build while keeping the strobel layer underneath it. However, to keep the shoe flexible, they’ve heat welded flex grooves into the Zoom unit, much like the Nike Kyrie 5’s cushioning system.

Because the strobel defines the size of a shoe, there is one Air unit for every half-size of the KD12, all the way from size 3.5 to 18 (Durant’s size). That’s the most specific Air-Sole size scale that Nike has ever done. This would explain why each of these sizes will retail at $150 rather than reducing the price for shoes made without the same technology that the men’s sizes are equipped with.

There is a second Zoom unit that has been bottom loaded in the heel. It’s cool that it’s there but the Hex Zoom units aren’t too impressive in most cases. Placing it under a strike zone at the main point of impact while still retaining actual internal cushion was a smart move.

Additionally, the Phylon midsole has been cored out from heel to toe. While we’ve seen foam midsoles cored out before, I’ve never seen one that has been perforated in this way. With the amount of cores throughout, this should allow this basic Phylon midsole to feel incredibly soft and responsive. Though this required them to wrap the midsole in TPU so that feeling may be subdued a bit, that is where the internal coring comes into play as with each step, the foam will compress into the center of each hole — so you should be able to feel something.

Additional details include Dynamic and independent Flywire that have been engineered in four different directions along with a hinged tongue for easier entry into the shoe.

The launch colorway of the Nike KD 12 has been named “The Day One” colorway and will be available April 6 for $150.

via Nike Inc.

21 Comments

  1. is the strobel piece similar to the lebron witness 3 full length air unit or is it the same as the why not 0.1 full length zoom unit?

    1. It is a full length zoom unit, so definitely the why not 0.1. This one has welded flex grooves, similar to the Kyrie 5s zoom turbo unit in the forefoot

  2. I haven’t been to hyped for Nike basketball models since the kd 9 and Kobe 11. If this upper is similar to the element 87 I think it will perform, and perforating the midsole on the inside and wrapping it on the outside allows for targeted compression in rather than out. This could be a GOAT for me.

  3. That midsole is similar, if not the same, as what was used in the Ultraflights, and it was so comfy that I didn’t have to replace them with aftermarket insoles.

  4. This is a very interesting sneaker, my main question is to see how much this shoe weighs from looking at the photos. I think it’s going to be an awesome experience to feel the full-length zoom stobel stiched on. However I hope the the midsole is soft, not hard. Even if it was hard I notice there are holes in the midsole and that will make the zoom feel extremely springy. Not to hype this show or anything, but this may be a top performer of the year, performance wise. Look wise, not a fan for some reason. That lateral TPU plate throws me off.

  5. That’s pretty smart to have a zoom air bag as the strobel board itself. This should be Nike’s new way of putting their performance shoe together like how Jordan uses the flight plate.

  6. I’m seriously losing my shit looking at the artist renderings and tech spec designs. Really wish they would release stuff like this more for their shoes. Would be an awesome thing to put as a card under the lid of the sneaker box so that consumers understand what all is in the shoe they are purchasing. I like Leo Chang’s designs. I know the KD11 was a let down, but I hope the KD12 lives up to it’s design and functions well!

  7. Double Stacked Zoom can feel pretty good underfoot as it did in some of the Lebrons post XIs. So should we essentially consider they almost triple stack as the full length unit is above the hex unit?

  8. Interesting idea about putting it on top of the strobel board. The strobel is secretly the thing that could make you feel cushioning or not. If its too stiff it could really dampen the zoom or boost or whatever the cushioning is. But could they wistand pressure from 250 lb athletes putting massive force on them every night? If we hear of one popping theyll we’ll know what happened.

    It would be interesting for me to try, but kds are way too slim for me. In years past leather and traditional tongues would let you form it to your foot, but todays shoes are one foot type only. Im curious to know what percentage of the basketball shoe buying demographic are wide footers, cuz companies seem comfortable with not having them as customers in some shoes they make.

  9. as far as the cushion setup is concerned, I wouldn’t say it’s revolutionary or something that we haven’t seen before. as far as the only thing different is that they removed the strobel board which to me is an improvement as the strobel board felt hard and somehow lessen the impact and comfort of the zoom unit. considering how fragile the zoom bag could be and could be more susceptible to popping when directly between the impact area between your foot and the zoom, the strobel board in the past was an integral part of the shoe. I guess the improvement on the durability or modification of the zoom bag could have made the strobel board unnecessary nowadays.

    also, the cushion setup isn’t really that different on having a zoom insole some Nike shoes have/had. different implementation but pretty much appear to have the same result and feel as far as comfort and feedback goes, since I found that generally, zoom insoles felt more comfortable compared to shoes that have the zoom underneath the strobel board. it’s like having the Lebron XI or Kobe 11 full length zoom insole.

    I’m sure this is a good shoe in terms of cushion, but my worries are with regards to fit and durability.

  10. Why does Nike keep ‘re-inventing’ Zoom, reality is that late-90’s Zoom was perfect(my pinnacle sneaker for Zoom is the Jordan XIV, great cushioning, great flex, great support). And I’m not sure how the ‘market research’ keeps coming up with the idea that we need new ‘innovation-stories’, because my guess is, if all Zoom sneakers had that Jordan XIV(or other late-90’s) feel, they’d do better than all this new ‘story-telling/innovation’ stuff.

    I like the look, I think the Zoom is over-elaborate, and would be better in a simple implementation, just under-foot, I’m weary of KD’s though, since KD mentioned he wanted the best-sneakers, and next season(while wearing the KD 10’s I believe), they’d work on the shoes ‘not slipping off on every other possession.

  11. So… hold on. I tend to play with orthotics (like, actual supportive ones, not trash Dr Scholls), and I usually take out the factory sockliner because otherwise the fit gets a little too snug.

    If you take out the sockliner in this, is there gonna be that Zoom unit like, right there and exposed? Or is there still going to be a thin layer of something as a buffer between the sockliner (or orthotic) and the Zoom unit? It’s a little tough to tell from the diagrams. One makes it seem like you’ll be right on top of the unit, and another makes it seem like there’s still some foam but no stiff strobel board.

    1. actually it’s easy to understand. it’s a comparison between the KD 12 versus the traditional zoom air shoe. they are basically saying the KD12 has no strobel board. the one with the blue lining on the right is the typical old zoom air shoe. just to make it simple for you, the KD12 doesn’t have a strobel board. you sit directly underneath the insole and zoom. personally, I don’t find it any different from any Nike/Jordan shoe with a removable zoom air insole.

  12. As much as I hate Nike price inflating everything, this looks like one of those shut up and take my money situations.

  13. The more I hear about this shoe, the more I want it. It sounds like it’s going to be great… I see 1 major down side though…. that traction. It’s so rare home gets translucent traction right. I want the 90s colorway. But I feel i’m going to drop the 150 for it then be highly disappointed when I go to play in them because the court I play in is usually dusty. I don’t like wiping often, I feel the will be dust magnets. I really really hope i’m wrong but last year’s KD translucent was bad, the adapt bb was bad, and the pattern to me seems pretty similar. I bet if any solid ones come out they will be great.

  14. If Nike is putting this much info about this shoe, then it is going to not be as good as advertised. They do this to drum up hype for those who are too concerned about tech as if tech has ever made you a better player. If they’d just made a solid shoe from scratch, there’s be no need for this story telling, right Zion?

  15. So they took out the strobel board, how is that revolutionary? I have a hard time thinking that this new set up is more comfortable than the lebron 11 cushion.

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