WearTesters is reader-supported. When you make purchases using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Why trust us?

Nike KD 9 Performance Review

The Nike KD 9 Performance Review is now available for your reading and viewing pleasure.

Nike KD 9 Performance Review TractionTraction – I keep doing this, but I really can’t help it. The brain can’t help but judge certain things by how they look prior to experiencing it first hand. Traction on the Nike KD 9 looks like it would be trash, but it performed the exact opposite. In fact, there were times when traction was too good. Will every pair perform at such a high level? Without testing each pair it’s impossible to say. What I do know is that the rubber compound used on the versions with solid rubber outsoles will offer you incredibly sticky traction.

Were there times when you had to wipe? Yes, as is the case with most shoes. However, if I didn’t have time to wipe during game play the traction still held strong until I was able to get a chance to clean the outsole real quick.

Nike KD 9 Performance Review CushionCushion – Full length Max Zoom in articulated fashion. This sh*t is amazing. Smooth transition, ultimate impact protection, and ultimate responsiveness. This cushion setup is everything you’d expect it to be and then some. The best feature is not what was just mentioned, but the fact that Nike was able to provide such attributes to the setup while still retaining mobility. All positions will be able to wear and enjoy these bad boys. Unlike full length setups of the past, these aren’t stiff or rigid to move around in. You’re fairly close to the ground, and you don’t feel as if you’re wearing a full length Air unit due to the segregated forefoot.

Nike KD 9 Performance Review Cushion 2I was slightly disappointed with the full length Zoom setup we received in last year’s KD 8, but Nike made up for it with these guys. One thing to note is that the lateral forefoot section will collapse a bit if you land on it. With the KD 8, there were two TPU bumpers in that same location to prevent such a thing from occurring. I never rolled my ankle, or received any injury from the issue. However, it was something that was noticeable enough to throw into the review. When jumping, whether it be for a jump shot, to contest a shot, or for a rebound, try to not land on the lateral section of your forefoot. Sometimes you can’t help it due to being awkwardly vulnerable while in the air, but try to avoid it as best you can.

Nike KD 9 Performance Review MaterialsMaterials – Flyknit. Not the heavily glued Flyknit, this is just Flyknit and some nylon backing it. Someone asked why would Nike use Flyknit if they were going to back it with nylon. The answer: it allows the Flyknit to do what Flyknit does while still providing a level of support that’s playable. Nylon won’t stretch in the same way that a knit would so the material will hold tight while still remaining flexible.

This is the best iteration of Flyknit we’ve received on a Nike Basketball model to date. I’m not going to go as far as saying it’s the best thing in the world, but if you’re like me and enjoy woven/ knitted uppers then you’re most likely going to enjoy the hell out of this setup. The material also got stepped on quite a bit, and while it’s dirty, it’s still in one piece.

The rear section is textile mesh, foam, and Fuse, and it’s nothing fancy. The rear section should provide enough structure and support for the foot so this setup works perfectly even though it doesn’t look as pretty as the forefoot area.

Nike KD 9 Performance Review Fit 2Fit – Like every other KD model that’s ever existed, I highly recommend trying these on in-store prior to purchasing. I went down 1/2 size and length wise they fit perfectly. They’re hard as hell to get on my foot, but once they’re on I’m locked in perfectly, just the way I like it. However, the left shoe’s seam gave me a ton of pain for the first few wears. It eventually broke-in, but it sure as hell was painful until then.

The one piece upper boot construction and the Nylon lacing system work well for the size I’m wearing. However, the lacing cables don’t move much so if you end up with a size that doesn’t fit you perfectly then you may have some minor heel slipping. Even though the heel is heavily padded and sculpted, that won’t makeup for an incorrect size issue.

Brace wearers: it’s pretty important that you bring your brace with you to try on shoes. That’s the only way to really ensure a sneaker will accommodate your additional attachment.

Nike KD 9 Performance Review SupportSupport – The Nike KD 9’s support is essentially riding on one key aspect: the overall fit. If these fit sloppy in any way then we’ll have another LeBron 13 Low situation on our hands — with that shoe I was unable to fit 1/2 size down in which meant that the ankle lacing structure and heel section were just poorly designed. If your pair fits you perfectly then you’ll end up with a shoe that offers a one-to-one fit and plenty of mobility without lacking support.

The rest of the shoe is fairly standard as the rear section has the typical internal TPU heel counter. And, no, the tiny little KD logo is not the heel counter. It’s just a piece of plastic glued to the exterior section of the shoe. Meanwhile, the cushion system is flat and shaped just like your foot, providing you with great stability.

Nike KD 9 Performance Review OverallOverall – Nike did a decent job with the KD 8 while the KD 8 Elite felt like a cheap, unnecessary, and unfinished version of the KD 8. Luckily, that isn’t the case with the Nike KD 9. You’ll receive solid traction, fantastic cushion, great materials, and if you get the size that fits you best, you’ll also receive a solid and secure fit for optimal support. Some may think that getting all this for $150 is a steal, and I whole-heartily disagree. Getting all this for $150 is exactly what we should be getting. $150 isn’t exactly chump change. Paying above $150 for a sneaker is really just paying for a novelty item. It might look cool, but it’s usually not worth it.

However, your money will be well spent when it comes to the Nike KD 9. If I like something enough to want to grab another colorway then that’s how I know that they’re pretty money on-court.

Nike KD 9 Performance Review Score

  1. Now I’m looking forward to the soldier 10s they look really good on foot. Great Job Nightwing.

  2. Looks like the KD 9 lived up to the hype. Good to have reviewers like you nightwing to give us the inside scoop before us hoopers make a purchase.

  3. I’ve been drooling since I first saw the KD9 specs, I am just a little worried about the fit. My feet are wide af and I have arch issues and had some fit problems on both the Rose 6 and the Hyperrev 2016.

    1. I have a wide foot and a tall foot as well. Hyperrev pinched me on the top of my foot when I sized to proper width. Same with the Soldier 9. These one piece booty shoes from Nike do not work well for me so far. I really want to like this shoe, and I’m going to try it, but I don’t have much faith. I think I need to stick with a lace setup.

      1. Yeah, I had to ‘found a way’ to use the Hyperrev. Had to completely changed the lacing to lessen the pressure on the top of the foot and on the sides. Still a bit narrow though and got numb toes for a while. O stopped feeling this after more than a month of use.

      2. I agree i just purchased this shoe for my 11 year old as the team shoe, he was in tears stating that the shoe hurts after wearing only a few minutes, idk

  4. LETS F*CKING GOOOO! One piece upper? THAT IS REAL FLYKNIT?  Fully articulated 360 zoom?  *Down half a size for that 100% containment?**Spiritual successor to Lebron 10?* Only retail for 150?  BASED LEO CHANG. who knows if kd will win a ring as ATM he’s wearing it in playoffs, and totally killing the dubs. This is an amazing shoe from Nike for a great price, now I really can’t wait to get a pair!

  5. are the sixth man fit and support due to unreliable sizing or if i get a pair that fits me it still is not up to the starting five level?

    1. It’s due to the sizing. If I were to give my pair a score based on my experience then they’d be Starting 5, but if someone goes TTS and it winds up not being adequate for them then it’ll likely be a 6th Man. Hard to give something a high score when it’s inconsistent.

  6. Thank you as always Nightwing,
    As your aforementioned, presently kd9 will be a new model for full-length zoom, however, I still prefer to jordan 12, jordan 19, LeBron 6, were best hooping all the time for full-length zoom. Really afraid of this new system like LeBron 10, kd 6 elite,even kd 8 series. While I put in , I,m enjoyed it, but when I hoop it…that is terrible, this kind of new system were absorb my strength, especially when I “drive in” “jump shot” . So in my experience, cushion was great but for hoops , therefore, I can’t change my perspective for currently nike’s new models. Hopefully, hyperdunk 2016 version (full-length zoom) can bring some surprising. By the way,Hyperrev not good as full-length zoom) in my experience as well.

    1. With these, this isn’t 360 Max Zoom but a combination of the typical full-length low profile Zoom and Max Zoom but articulated. Hence, full-length Articulated Zoom that’s loaded. If anything, and given what you preferred, you should try these out and see how your experience will be.

  7. NIGHTWING How would you compare the cushion with these to the Lebron 10’s??? I can see these have more flexibility but as far as responsiveness and bounce what are the differences???

    Would really appreciate the response.

    Keep up the good work!!!!

    1. the lebron 10 is kind of the worst cushioning system i’ve ever used, it’s the best shoe to walk around in in the history of the world, maybe, but if you aren’t 250 pounds it probably isn’t a shoe you want to play in, i’ve never played in a shoe that made me feel like i had bricks on my feet before those…kind of apprehensive about these, but i’m a massive fan of kd and the kd line, and if they’re articulated like the kd8 then there should be no problem at all

  8. Hey Nightwing

    How you you compare the KD9 cushion and feel to the D Rose 6 primeknit boost?

    I just copped a pair of the D rose 6 primeknit for about $80 and was wondering if i should have held off.

    1. These are a bit lower to the ground, but I wouldn’t hold either pair over the other. They’re actually both in my gym bag now just in case I want to wear one.

      1. nightwing, are these suitable for flatfoot?nuetral foot?or arched foot?i like the hyper revs and I find them to be an awesome performance shoe. but they are more suitable for flatfoot thus feel slightly uncomfortable after prolong wear.

  9. nightwing2303, how is the width on these? are they narrow like the kd8s were for a wide footer like myself? btw, I usually wear a size 9 but in the kd8s I went with a sz 9.5. thanks in advance for your help

    1. I went down 1/2 size and they’re snug, but not in a bad way — other than the seam section. I’d really recommend trying them on to avoid any issues.

  10. I have high arches and my foot rolls out a bit when I run, will this and the zoom cushion make it too unstable for me?

    1. Hi! I have the same problem. although I’m a neutral not high arched. I find the Kobe’s are quite good for my feet as Kobe has arched feet. Most other Nikes are a little problematic to wear although they perform really well (Hyperrevs). I wonder if these offer better support for me. Can you tell if the K9 have some arch?or are they flat all the way?I think that is the question most of us with arched feet would like to know. Maybe you can address this.

  11. Heel lockdown is definitely going to be a problem with these shoes. As you mention in the review, you can already foresee it. THEN, take into account that KD’s foot popped out of this shoe MULTIPLE times while wearing them during the playoffs. It’s not a good sign when his own signature shoe doesn’t provide great lockdown on his own damned foot.

    1. I think KD prefers to wear shoes a little larger than his true size. Ray Allen used to do the same and Jason Terry currently wears shoes at least a full size too big. Why? I have no idea lol. But that’s the only thing I can think of as to why his shoes have done that in the past. It’s happened to him in nearly every signature he’s had.

      1. Ray Allen and others in the NBA wear their shoes a size up in order to fit in their ortho’s. This is why the “tech” does not matter in those shoes, due to the ortho’s becoming the cushioning and support of the shoe. Also, this is why they do not lace them but so tight, allowing slippage. Ray is naturally a size 14, I have a few of his PE’s, but he went a size up one year to a size 15. Yo’ Nightwing, keep up the good work, never mind those Pugsley Addams looking mofo’s over on NikeTalk. Not one of those buffoons can walk and chew gum at the same time, let alone bounce a ball without dribbling off of their chin straps.

  12. Thanks for performance review, Nightwing.
    Regarding traction, that setups getting XDR on ID for those who have the budget.
    Yeah, trying these on for anyone wondering about how the Zoom is and fit is recommended.
    These should be widely available and
    hopefully not a problem for people that need to do so.

  13. How do you compare this cushion with the D Rose? More soft and less responsive? What is the best choice for old knees?

    1. Curry 3 will probably be $130 again, and rose 7 $140 again. I think these are decent price points for halo signature shoes. Rose 6 is sub $100 now!

  14. Thanks for the thoroughly done review. KDs are a mixed bag in terms of fit, lockdown and support for me. His narrow feet does not work for most of us, and I have slightly narrow feet. I will definitely try these in store before any purchase.

  15. I’ve been sticking to my 81/2 in the last year..down from a 9 in everything and these fit perfectly at that. I agree though its a tricky fit and people that don’t usually go snug should go down a half of a size. The flyknit will stretch some in a good way to mold to your foot. The cushion is better than the lebron x imo because there’s better court feel and stability without sacrificing impact protection.

  16. U always compare Zoom setups to the OG Zoom, or now to the Hyperrev 2016. What is the Zoom in KD9 compared to them? But they look amazing, cant wait!

  17. Nightwing, which make the cut for you or is better, the KD9 or the jordan 29 low? Thanks in advance.

  18. Thanks for the review Nightwing! Big fan here, been waiting for your KD9 review for the longest time. Just wanted to know what you prefer personally, the KD 9 or the D.Lillard 2? Much respect!

  19. Can you comment vs Hyperrev 2014 which is full zoom and Lillard2 Boost in terms of cushioning and court feel? I am loving the Hyperrev better than Lill2 as it felt lower to ground with superior cushioning which result in better court feel.

    And how about vs Crazylightboost 2016? How would you rank these 4 based on cushioning and overal court feel?


  20. Great review, the fit-warning means I’m out(I’m a wide-footer, so sizing down in KD’s isn’t an option for me).

    But the shoes look great, and if you get it right on-foot, it sounds like a beast performer.

    1. Try em out. They are still a bit more snug than normal. I went TTS when I tried them out and I didn’t have heel slip issues at least when I was trying to move around in the store (I couldn’t go all out simulating cuts and hard stops or they might get mad for me for trashing the pair in store lol)

      I didn’t buy em yet but I might.. Saw the premiere (USA colors) in store and tried ’em on. They look nice but I generally avoid white kicks as I find it tough to keep ’em looking really nice

  21. Awesome review. What’s next for Nike then? Kobe 12, Kyrie 3, Lebron 14 should all be living up to this

    1. June 18 for the oreo colorway and te multicolored ones and the pre heats release on the 20th the USA’s release the 27th

  22. although I like the cushion on these, it’s too bad the fit and lockdown is suspect. anyway, atleast that’s one less shoe to be worried about. I would opt for the LJ 13 Elite instead.

  23. How do you think they’ll be for heavyer guards I’m 6’3″ about 240 and I’d hate for the air max bag to pop.

    1. I’m 6’2 and 165 pounds and the bag in my left shoe popped. It might be just my pair because I haven’t heard from anyone else about this happening.

  24. Hey nightwing. Just wondering and I know u hate them but what makes these different from the lebron 13 low? The shape of the shoe is similar and with the whole bootie/no tongue thing. What do these offer that the lebron:13 low didn’t?

  25. Hi Nightwing,
    Great review! I am stuck between these and the crazylight boost,
    I have noticed you played in the crazylight boosts on instagram,
    in your opinion which is the most comfortable?

  26. Got my kd9s in today in my normal sz 9. They fit tight but not as tight as the kd8s. I’m a wide footer BTW. Length wise they’re a little long but if I gotta sz 9.5 they would’ve been way too big. Bout a thumbnails amount of extra space in the toe box but I can deal with it. Will give a review once I play in them next week.

  27. Do you prefer this over the Kobe 11 EM? Just wondering how those stack up against one another.

  28. played in them last night and theyre really good shoes. very good shoe but like schwollo and nightwing says you could probably go 1/2 size down and have a better fit. wasnt as narrow as the kd8s were for me. just right. the heel collar was similar to the hyperrev 2016. felt too free/loose. if there was a way to tighten it up the shoes would be damn near perfect. I did feel the instability of the lateral side one time during play. I came down with a rebound with my foot landing on the lateral side and felt a little funny. maybe if there was an outrigger you wouldn’t have to worry about it. cushioning and the materials felt great. I think ill get the usa pair half size down and see how much better they play.

  29. Picked up the pre-heats in my normal size of 11.5. Toebox has some room, but the fit is fine overall. If I went half a size down, my toes would definitely bang. Looking forward to trying these out tomorrow.

  30. Nightwing I’m looking at getting these but I was wondering how they compared to the adidas crazylight boost 2016. Which is the better show to get for volleyball and for impact protection?

  31. I was sold on the crazylight boost 2016, but now I saw these and I don’t know what to do. I want a low to the ground low top ball shoe that can hold up on outdoor courts. What you think i should go with?

    1. The Crazy Light Boost 2016 bro. It’s a low to the ground low-top that has a sturdier outsole than the KD 9s. Plus, it’s $30 cheaper!

  32. Is the 360 max zoom durable? The zoom in the kd 8s popped easily so in wondering if they improved on that for this model

  33. Hey NW, I got a pair of KD 9 in the USA colorway. As expected, they are already getting dirty. Is there a way to clean the shoes without damaging the material? Would appreciate a response. Thanks

  34. In terms of bounciness and impact protection, how does this full length zoom compare to BlackFoam in the JC3?

  35. My left shoe feels more plush than my right shoe, almost as if they have different air pressure in each bag. Has anyone else experienced this?

  36. I just hooped in the KD 9 USA color way, they felt pretty damn good. I just did a quick work out to get them broken in, once I get them going in game speed I will expect them to hold up just as nicely. the low collar is still somewhat of a concern but we shall see.

  37. Hey NightWing, I would like to know whether there is a flaws in the articulated part of the zoom that it may break causing the zoom to puncture?

    1. The zoom is fully articulated and it. is. awesome. I have had the pre-heat colorway (June) and have been playing everyday. No problems with durability on the zoom whatsoever.

    1. It’s decent. The forefoot is as low to the ground as any other shoe bc they removed most of the midsole. So your foot is resting on the air unit instead of a midsole then air unit. But the air unit compresses so there will be a slight lag in your response time. Unless you’re a professional level athlete, you likely wouldn’t notice it.

  38. What is the difference between the Full Length Max Zoom (KD9) and Full Length Zoom Air (Kobe 11 ID)? Also, does articulated (in the KD9) mean it is divided into separate parts according to the sole of the KD9?

    Looking for a pair that provides the same ride and support as the Jordan 29. Is the KD9 a good alternative?

    1. My zoom unit popped on me after maybe 10 games. Nuke fully covered and sent me a voucher for the amount of the shoe +$50.

      The cushion I love in these so I bought them again in hopes they last longer.

  39. Zoom bag popped after one month of play. Nike is asking me to send them in so they can inspect it. They will notify me in month if I get store credit or nothing at all.

    So if you don’t mind paying $150 a month for shoes, get these.

  40. My son loved his KD9 USA, his popped in less than 2 months and he weighs 100lbs. Nike mailed a voucher and he really wants them again. He has game shoes from school, these were to be his normal daily shoes but he played ball on our driveway in them a lot. Think the XDR soles would do better? I told him he just couldn’t play ball in them but what a waist if so.

  41. Also popped here. At least got about 7-8 weeks before it popped. That makes these shoes about $20 per week. Not a good option.

  42. Popped after two months – got store cred from the purchased store so all good. Pity cos they were my fav shoes til then.

  43. I have a problem in cushion can you help me please … the cushion of my KD 9 ? i think it just broke the air inside HUHUHUHUH help me please

  44. I just bought these. I agree with the majority of the review except for your review of the traction. I find the traction on these to be pretty bad. Lot’s of slipping. Anytime they try to get cute with the traction design they end up making it worse. I tested the Kyrie 3 and the traction with those was awesome. Just a modified version of old school herring bone that has always worked well. I don’t get why desigers feel like they have to come up with some creative traction design instead of using something that really works. Regular herring bone would work a lot better than the system they used for the KD9. If these KD9s had the the Kyrie 3 traction they would be perfect IMO.

  45. Hey Nightwing,

    I had the chance to try these on recently as my research comparing the 9’s with the elites and the KD 10’s led me to believe the KD 9’s were most ideal for me. After trying them I noticed I stayed away from the 9 elites and the 10’s because I felt there was a lack of support around the ankle. The 9’s seemed to have more support in that area at least when I tried them on. Would you argue these are more supportive than the other two? And also how concerned should I be about the zoom units popping as some wearers described? Any advice would be surely appreciated. Thank you!

  46. Nightwing2303

    Do you recommend a size up for Wide Footers on the KD 9 Elite? I tried my normal size and they pinched me really bad toward the forefoot. So I was thnking of going with an 11. When the KD 8 came out I needed an 11. So Im thinking this could be the same for me. But any feedback would help me a lot. Thanks

Add a Comment

Related Posts