Let‘s see if the two-time NBA Champion‘s eleventh signature model – the Nike KD 11 – shines as bright as those two rings…
WEIGHT: 425.8 g / 15.08 oz
TECH: FLYKNIT, REACT ZOOM AIR, FLYWIRE
FIT: ½ SIZE DOWN
RETAIL PRICE: $150
BD RATING: 7.2/10
BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE
Kicking things off, the KD 11 features a full-length Flyknit upper – no surprise there as this is the third consecutive KD model that features a full-length Flyknit setup. I mean, it‘s definitely different from its forerunners. It‘s super stretchy & form-fitting. It‘s incredibly comfy to the point where you can be easily misled if it‘s a lifestyle or basketball sneaker. And there‘s so much more positive stuff to say about this type of upper. However, I feel like sneakers, in general, are slowly losing their authenticity & originality, mainly because every single brand is now implementing that knit into their products like crazy. Just don‘t get me wrong on this one, I‘m still rocking with this stuff and I think that this is the best that we have as a right now. Still, the other side of me just can‘t wait for brands to finally bring something new to the table. That was my whole point. Now let‘s head back to the performance review.
Picking up from where we left, the upper also houses a few small synthetic overlays at front, obviously, for durability purposes (cuz you don‘t want your toe drags cost you 150$). While the rare portion of the shoe has that nice premium touch – a suede heel wrap which does look like it should work as an external heel counter, but in reality, it’s just there to complete the look. The main stuff that keeps your heel locked-in hides underneath the knit layer.
Talking about what’s hiding underneath, there’s actually a Nylon backing under the toe area just to make it firmer & more supportive experience in that area, while doing business on the hardwood.
ANOTHER BANGER FROM NIKE
Bridging two of the most innovative & best-performing cushion setups in the entire Nike rotation, the KD 11 introduces the first Nike REACT + ZOOM AIR cushion combo in their basketball lineup. In fact, this is Nike‘s second time this year bringing out to us this type of tech collaboration, the first one being ZOOM AIR + AIR MAX on the LeBron 15‘s which is by far the comfiest & squishiest thing I’ve ever tested.
While that AIR sickness on the LeBron 15 mostly caters to powerhouse/heavy players due to „straight up pillow“ like performance, the KD 11‘s tooling, on the other hand, has something to offer for a much wider group of players. Unlike its predecessor’s articulated full-length Zoom midsole (measured at 12.08-16.8 mm. thick from forefoot to heel), the new one did receive a drastic cut off thick wise (measured at only 6.58-7.16 mm.), meaning that the only great thing left is that famous Zoom Air rapid response. But…
This is where REACT foam comes in to save the day, offering you the infinite amount of bounce for your ounce once broken-in. Straight out of the box, the midsole does feel pretty darn stiff, but like in the KD 10’s, the more time you put in, the softer it gets. But that isn’t the main point of this setup…
What I liked the most was the whole ADJUSTABILITY to whatever type of player is wearing them. For instance, if you’re a light guard who prefers stability & control over his moves, the midsole will adjust to that, giving you a stiffer and more responsive ride. While bigger & more explosive dudes will be able to sort of “unlock” that bouncy ride & ton of impact protection that they need.
Where you at adidas?
NO CHANGES HERE
An upscaled version of the 10’s traction pattern can be found on this year’s model, but unlike its shape, the overall performance didn’t receive any noticeable changes whatsoever. Nevertheless, for me personally, the traction did its job pretty nicely more times than not, dealing with everything I threw at it.
Now obviously, this stuff isn’t perfect or on the same level as, for example, the D Rose 8, Jordan Why Not Zero.1 or the Kobe 1 Protro – this is a whole different league. That’s why you’re gonna need to wipe those outsoles consistently due to rather narrow grooves that do attract a ton of dust if you don’t want to end up on your ass or some other messed up sh*t.
Talking about outdoor accessibility, we’re looking at a translucent rubber and nine times out of ten it’s a huge NO – this one being one of those nine times.
COULDN’T MAKE IT WORK
Hands freaking down, these are one of the most if not the most comfortable ball shoes I’ve tested in a while. However, there’s much more than enhanced comfort…
The lacing system being one of the main flaws that pretty much ruined the 10’s chances to be on an elite level carries its way onto the 11’s with a few another major issues along the way. Yeah, that “comfort king” badge comes at a high cost.
I did everything that was in my power – I adjusted the laces probably more than ten times, tried different lacing patterns, still I couldn’t make them work for me the way I wanted to, not even once. Again, it was a combo of Flyknit being too damn elastic & the lacing system being too delicate (like a cupcake), not only resulting in a sloppy fit, but also keeping the heel area (which was the only area that did its job properly) from utilizing itself in the way it should.
So if you still want to try them for yourself, make sure you go down a ½ size as a regular or narrow footer or stay true to size if you have a wider foot. At least, wide footers can now enjoy wearing KD’s. Sheesh…
Hey, when fit ain’t working for you then it’s time for support to F*** things up completely. And it’s pretty much my whole story with the KD 11’s.
Having in mind powerhouse players, like Kevin Durant or LeBron James, the last thing they wanna experience is their feet coming off the footbed while putting all their force & weight to finish a basket or move. Yet, I can’t see how KD is able to play in these without destroying his ligaments during a warm-up before the game even starts. Because for me and a few others reviewers this type of framework didn’t cut it for sure.
I just don’t see why instead of implementing that Nylon backing on the side panels, Nike thought it would be a great idea to randomly put it in the toe area. That’s doesn’t make any sense for me, as I’m 100% sure this small adjustment could have been enough to lock-in & contain your foot upon lateral moves, and finally make the KD line great again. Damn… It’s crazy how those little things can make or break a shoe’s performance.
As I mentioned earlier, apart from that lack of lateral containment, any other support piece seemed to be put together well to do its thing – the heel counter did feel pretty robust, while the platform did offer that nice heel to toe transition, and stable ride giving its width. Unfortunately, I couldn’t utilize or enjoy it to the full potential.
So the KD 11 started really strong but took a huge fall down at the end. If not that lateral containment issue & sloppy overall fit, we would be now talking about how the 11 is a nice of an upgrade from its predecessor. Unfortunately, it was never a thing… Instead, it’s gonna be written in the books as one the weakest member of the entire KD line.
As a right now, I don’t see myself taking them for another ball session any time soon, if ever. Just gonna enjoy the hell of that awesome cushion tooling casually with a pair of joggers.
Hope you enjoyed my Performance Review on the NIKE KD 11 Will you be picking them up? Let me know!
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment down below!