Nike Kyrie 5 Performance Review

The Nike Kyrie 5 performance review is ready, just in time for the upcoming Best Basketball Shoes of 2018 list. Stay tuned.


We’ve seen herringbone in some way, shape or form used on nearly every Kyrie model to date with the exception of the Kyrie 2 and Kyrie Low — and now, the Kyrie 5.

Despite missing the near flawless pattern that most hoopers have come to know and love, the multi-directional pattern used on the Kyrie 5 has been exceptional. My very first run was a bit slick to start, much like it was on the Kyrie 4, but each and every time I’ve played in them since my initial outing, the traction has only gotten better. Even on the worst courts, the outsole has been able to perform with little issue. Maybe a quick wipe here or there when dust has taken over the gym but it’s not like other shoes where wiping may need to be a constant thing you do while you play in order to maintain some sort of grip.

Outdoor players will also enjoy the traction, even if it doesn’t last as long as they may want it to. I’d still recommend the shoe overall for indoor use only, but if you only play outside then you should, at the very least, be satisfied with the grip.

Nike’s new Zoom Air Turbo was the Kyrie 5’s big draw and it’s a pretty nice setup for those wanting the court feel that they’re used to within the Kyrie line while still wanting some sort of cushion under foot.

The Zoom Turbo does not feel like your typical Zoom Air; instead it rides more like a nice foam. It’s kind of subtle, but still noticeable when you pay attention to it. Due to the large Zoom unit having seams, or flex grooves, heat pressed into it, the Air doesn’t have much space to flow throughout under foot — which is why you typically have a bouncy feel from most Zoom Air units. You can feel the larger sections of Zoom, but it’s more like a small pillow rather than a spring. Again, it’s closer to the feel of a nice fluid foam vs. the standard Zoom Air ride that you may be expecting.

The midsole is Phylon: it’s nothing special and a bit on the firm side. I would have loved to have seen Cushlon return as the midsole foam, or a heel Zoom Air unit, but it wasn’t a deal breaker for me.

Overall, the shoe maintains a nice minimal under-foot feel while offering a fast, fluid and agile ride.

Engineered mesh is back and feels just like it had on the Kyrie 4. It’s a little stiff to start but breaks in rather quickly, to the point where it fits and moves like mesh but with the added strength of the Nylon that lines the inside of it.

It would have been nice to have seen some premium touches with the price increase, but from a performance standpoint, the build gets the job done perfectly.

The Kyrie 5 fits very snug but I went true to size and I’m glad I did. Some may want to go up 1/2 size, some may have to due to the Flytrap enclosure, but true to size is what I’d go with if possible.

Lockdown is awesome. The Flytrap overlay does exactly what it was designed to do and its something that I love. Having the top of my foot feel snug and secure is something I love in a shoe as long as its not restrictive. These check all those boxes.

The support has been solid on the shoe and I have no complaints.

The tooling is still rounded, something I’m not a huge fan of, but it’s flat from the heel through the forefoot and just rounded at the edges. It makes me feel much more stable than I had in past Kyrie models. There is not a normal outrigger, but the outrigger section of the tooling is exaggerated a bit and reinforced with TPU to reduce compression in that section of the foam midsole. Fit was fantastic, which kept you safe and secure on the footbed.

Just a solid all-around shoe sans a ton of cushion.

The Nike Kyrie 4 was tied for best shoe of 2017. The Kyrie 5 is not far behind. I still prefer the Kobe 1 Protro over the Kyrie 5, but if I’m picking something other than the Protro to play in, the Kyrie 5 is next in line. They’re extremely fun and they cover you from all angles other than not having a lot of cushion — something a heel Zoom unit could have quickly, and inexpensively, fixed had Nike Basketball wanted to make the price increase feel deserved.

The Nike Kyrie 5 caters to those looking for a shoe that moves smoothly on-court. It offers plenty of court feel, a little bit of cushion, great lockdown and aggressive traction wrapped up in a lightweight package. If those things sound appealing to you, then the Kyrie 5 might be your next go-to on-court.

10 Comments

    1. Yeah that and protro 1… I’m a boost guy which is why I got two pairs of the vol 3 lol (and will get a third next year when they go on clearance)

  1. Nice review. Interesting to hear that outside of first wear the traction is really good. Picked up the Taco version and I felt like there was no grip on a good few occasions. Bad enough that if it doesn’t improve I’d not feel comfortable playing in them. Maybe it’s a colourway thing? Outside that they were fun to play in. I normally have shoes with more cushion than Kyries so this was the first in the range I’ve tried but quite liked the firmer feel compared to my usual. Just hope the traction becomes playable.

  2. Traction fraying off? Upper and midsole separating at the toe? For a guy who weighs less than 150lbs who played only indoors? Got to love that Nike quality. I was hopeful for these with that substantial forefoot zoom bag. Sadly cushion is an absolute must for me so I’m probably gonna pass. Thanks for the review. Get well soon.

    1. Have you tried the LeBron 15 lows or the LeBron 16s? I’m a cushion guy, I get plantar fasciitis all the time, but my feet are so happy in those Lebrons.

      1. Not yet. I have the Lebron 15 highs as well as multiple full length zoom and full length boost shoes. So I own several HALL OF FAME level cushion shoes. Thanks for the recommendations though. I’ve had my eyes on both of those. I was just hopeful the new zoombag would create a Kyrie shoe actually playable for me.

  3. Thanks for the review…I loved the Kyrie 4 and still do. Was waiting on your review before I considered the Kyrie 5. I’m a bigger player, so the lack of heel cushioning is a deal breaker for me. That Cushlon + Zoom setup was awesome in the Kyrie 4. Guess I’ll ID a pair of 4’s before Nike takes them down.

  4. “Fun” is really the word I’d use with this shoe, and the line in general. When the lack of cushion is no problem, I think the appeal to straight up moving in this shoe is that it’s fun. You can drag the medial side with more peace of mind, and lean your legs more creatively.

    Nike did decent in putting out quality designs this year. Made something for everyone. These for maneuverability, LeBron 16’s for bigs, PG2’s for all-around players, Kobe’s for minimal preferences, Westbrook’s for lockdown…price tags aren’t ideal across the board, but when they can be bought, they deliver. Not like the AJ30, LeBron 13/14, original Kobe AD, goofy stuff like that.

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