Nike Innovation Unveils the Nike Air Zoom KD9

Nike Innovation is in New York City today blowing minds and budgets. By unveiling the Nike Air Zoom KD9, the brand looks for “personalized performance” and honestly, looks to truly grasp evolving a design and simply not throwing technology at a shoe.

The KD9 stays with the visible, segregated Zoom from heel to toe while adding a bootie construction to the upper. But why are we telling you this? We will get out of the way and let Nike/Leo Chang handle it (I will say, the shoe looks freaking killer so far):

Just as its namesake personifies a progressive style of play, the Nike Air Zoom KD9 represents the evolution of basketball footwear. In response to Kevin Durant’s trademark versatility and impressive court coverage (approximately four miles a game and 15 marathons a season), it offers support, comfort and responsiveness via the most advanced construction of Nike Flyknit and Zoom Air technologies to date, adapted to basketball’s specifications.

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This aerial view of Durant’s in-game motion shows his versatility and sweeping range expanding the entire basketball court, which equates to approximately 15 marathons in a season.

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Designed by Leo Chang, the low-cut shoe features a Flyknit upper engineered down to the pixel for maximum containment. Specifically, it features a pattern with a distinct honeycomb structure precisely knit for the multidimensional movement of basketball and Durant’s lateral quickness. Flyknit technology engineering locks down the forefoot while still allowing the foot to move naturally. Flyknit’s efficient material use also ensures the upper is lightweight, without compromising strength.

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A visible, tapered Zoom Air unit runs from heel to toe, marking the evolved Air bag’s debut in basketball. Developed over three years of advanced wear testing, the new Zoom Air unit — filled with fibers that compress upon each step, then spring back for unmatched response — is 16 millimeters thick at the heel and progressively narrows to 10 millimeters at the forefoot. This architecture is tuned to provide maximum impact protection while amplifying the bouncy feel of the Zoom Air unit.

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Moreover, the midsole is minimized to enhance the responsive sensation produced by the Zoom Air unit. It also is articulated with anatomical flex groove strategically placed in the forefoot to maximize natural transitions, whereas heel notches add stability to lateral movements.

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Kevin Durant will debut the shoe this summer in the Rio Olympics. Release date is set for June 20. Share your thoughts int he comments down below. Is this a worthy successor to the KD8?

37 Comments

  1. Wow – this might be my first nike model in 15 years.(Not counting j’s)

    Really like them and finally something new from nike

    Any word on pricing?

  2. Wow, I’m really loving the silhouette of it and that colorway actually looks dope. Will be very interested to see these in person (might be the first KD that really looks striking to me in terms of design).

  3. Beautiful. Dang Nike basketball where has this been the last two years lol. That zoom looks heavenly, I have a pair of Kd 7’s and I’ve always thought that if they did full length it’d be incredible. The good thing with kd’s is by the time basketball season starts the shoes are half off.

  4. Wow these look amazing. I feel like the price is going to make it a no buy for me which is a dang shame 🙁

  5. Yo, I’m in. Especially if Nike gets the price point right (i.e. don’t charge rape prices). Nike be like “I’m back, bitches.”

  6. These look amazing. A legit Flyknit bootie plus a Lebron X outsole is going to be crazy. This also fixes the problems from the KD 8 midsole where the Zoom didn’t compress well with the tpu supports around the midsole.

  7. Everything looks great. I especially love the traction pattern and the 16-10 millimeter zoom. I just don’t know how I visually like that hexed forefoot fly knit.

  8. They are trying to change the conversation from the failure of the Jordan 30 to anything else

  9. The crowd goes wild as Nike gets up despite the constant punches landed by Adidas. Nike looks at Adidas, fists up, and pummels Adidas with innovation after innovation. Adidas can’t boost away with this one. Im hype

  10. Hey, a sig with tech that actually justifies the price. I like that they have full length visible zoom, but found a way to give it some flexibility. I hope the tooling doesn’t feel too high, or there are gonna be some twisted ankles in this low top.

  11. All the ingredients to be a shoe I’d love, however the oven-temp must’ve been wrong, the contours are all flat, and squared. If these soles had some anatomic shape, they’d be perfect.

    1. Hey there Nene33 I remember you from the SoleCollector forums in 2005-2007!
      I agree the sole looks so flat that I doubt it will bite the floor.
      One more thing, why the hell didn’t Leo cut the zoom bag after the metatarsals? Are you people really impressed with the design? How will that segmented zoom bag with the same air pressure compress under the toes?
      Some people under 70kg find it hard to compress a regular zoom bag and actually feel the springiness.. Anyway it just looks silly to me when I see that outsole.

  12. Upper has potential. Can’t wait to see other colorways. That zoom setup has me seriously intrigued. 16mm at the heel and 10mm at the forefoot?!? I like Nike tried to do with the KD 8s, but the zoom is overly stiff and dead feeling. If this improved setup is indeed bouncy, responsive, and stable then I will likely have to try a pair since $150 (or less with eventual discounts) is in my price range.

  13. The cross breed of Lilard 2s and KD 8.. These might have been the best looking and performing KDs so far, but until the performance review is out, we will never know how well it works.. Looks interesting, with the upper which seems promising..

    Just pray that they don’t leave us hanging in the air again..

    1. We never really had interest on the kd 8 elite. Most people down voted it when they showed the pics.

      On to the kd9

  14. Sounds sooner than usual, but with Rio in mind it makes sense (same goes for the Hyperdunk). Whole shoe makes me very curious. Really looks like a KD pair that has no shortcuts.

  15. The canyon in the forefoot zoom can be hit or miss. Different foot shapes might get some discomfort where the two bags collide.

    1. dude, it’s just one colorway, i’m sure they have one in the works that will change your mind
      (i like how the kd 8 looks too, i have the infrared ones and the blackouts)

  16. The Zoom Fibers looks like the Max Zoom Fibers that easily can be mistaken as articulated Max Zoom.
    Yeah does have that Lillard 2 look
    Consider that companies do design the signatures well in advance unless something happens in design process.
    Regardless, just because of similarities on aesthetics, and all the tech implemented, how it performance is another thing.

  17. These look very nice. The first KDs I really like. Looks like real fly knit and hopefully you can feel the zoom, though I’m interested to see how that flex groove feels. I feel like it may be hard to feel the zoom’s bounce back under the toes. Just from the looks, you would think to move the groove to right below the ball of the foot. But I haven’t tried them on, so what do I know lol.

    At 150, I really want to grab a pair. That black and iridescent color looks dope!

  18. This plus the HD 2016 are two shoes I am DEFINITELY looking forward to. Gonna be around a year from now for these to hit discount, though lol.

  19. Pretty pumped on this shoe. From the pictures and in hand videos I have seen, the zoom unit looks similar to the Lebron X. I hope it has a similar responsive feel. The worst aspect of the the Lebron X was court feel since the midsole was still pretty thick and the info given sounds like the KD 9 midsole is cut down so this could be a near perfect zoom set up. Nike has seen their flag ship models sit on shelves and hit outlets due to price points. Adidas and UA have put out product that is as good if not better for 160 or less that are just as appealing aesthetically. Plus, we all know flyknit is cheaper to construct so hopefully nike will finally pass that savings on to us consumers. The new hyper dunk is full length zoom as well. This could be a really good summer on court.

  20. Everyone’s all hyped up about this model but what about the D Lillard 2? Almost exactly the same shape and silhouette, except with a swoosh. If you guys want bang for your buck, try the D Lillard 2 for only $105. Almost the exact same shoe.

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