Solid performer, with a ridiculous price point.
Traction: I don’t know how else to say it, but one thing that Nike pretty much has down is traction. It’s hard to find a shoe that has any issues in terms of grip on a court, on any court conditions, and the KD 8 is just that. You are covered with the digitized herringbone pattern in the form of nodules, similar to the Kobe 10. The pattern will fail slightly only on super dusty or poorly maintained court conditions, but with a simple wipe or two of the bottoms you will be good to go. Durability is an issue for this pattern, as the rubber nodules started to fray in the toe areas. I recommend to stay strictly indoors with these; I did not even take these outdoors and it has started to fray. While this pattern is still intact you will get some really nice traction.
Cushion: Cushion is solid for sure. Full length Zoom is always promising. This Articulated Zoom Air unit runs full length and is bottom loaded, but don’t worry about that, you get plenty of impact protection and responsiveness still. The most responsive portion of the articulated Zoom is right under the ball of your foot, as nothing hinders the compression, like the plastic support pieces. The unit itself has plastic support pieces to keep you stable, but that hinders the compression of the Zoom unit, thus making it unable to give that responsive bounce we all like. Either way, if you’re just looking for a cushion set up that will be sufficient for impact protection and offer flexibility at the same time, the KD 8 is a good option for you.
Materials: A new material for Nike Basketball is introduced here on the KD 8 and it’s called Flyweave. Basically, you have a woven upper, similar to the Air Jordan 29 (which you can now grab for under retail), but not as thick as the Air Jordan 29. This gives you a very sock-like fit, and contours to the foot’s shape. No break in time is needed since it’s a woven, and very minimal Fuse is used as overlays. The only downside to this type of material is durability, as you can expect any type of mesh, woven, or softer materials to eventually start to tear. Who knows how long though–it depends on every type of player.
Fit: Like some KD models from the past, the fit of the KD 8 is more on the narrow side. Length wise, it’s pretty much true to size but in the midfoot area, near the lacing system, I experienced a very tight fit that almost made it uncomfortable for me, so I had to go up half a size. If you can deal with the tight fit in that midfoot area, then by all means go true-to-size. The lockdown of the shoe was very solid. You have Flywire containing your forefoot to the footbed, while taking the load of your force upon lateral movements to keep you from rolling your ankle. You also get really nice lockdown from the overall fit. Coupled with the internal heel counter and thickly padded heel area, the sabertooth counter really does nothing as it wraps up the internal heel counter, so it is there for more of design purposes.
Support: You are covered in support with the KD 8. You have a Flyweave upper to give you a one-to-one fit, Flywire to keep you locked in, a flat stable base, and the internal heel counter to keep your foot from shifting side-to-side too much. The flat stable base gives you a nice foundation, and the Zoom unit is stabilized where needed by plastic support pieces (see cushion section as well). Flywire contains your foot upon lateral movements and keeps your foot locked to the footbed as well. And we all know what that heel counter does by now, so that’s that. One thing I forgot to note in my video was the extra long heel area in the midsole. It came out beyond your foot too much, so much that people would always be tripping me because they’re stepping on this heel area. Just something you have to watch out for.
Overall: I personally loved the KD 8. It had really solid traction, cushion was overall really good, the fit could use a little work, and you were definitely contained into the shoe and locked in. You can never really go wrong with a woven upper, if used correctly, and it’s something that you just have to try out to enjoy. If only the price point on these weren’t so high, I would be grabbing multiple pairs of these personally. If retail was still at the $150 price range as the KD 7 was, then I’d say you’re getting a hell of a hoop shoe for $150.