So you probably wondering where I have been for more than a month, almost two actually… Well, my final year in the college is getting to an end so I was forced to spend my whole damn time writing the final dissertation. The struggle was real… But your boy is finally free from paper works and ready to run a marathon of performance reviews. Starting from this one…
Today we’re looking at the new family member of the KD line – the Nike KD 12. Can a completely redesigned silhouette (that I’m a fan of except the ankle area) and tons of new tech (that I love) revive the hype around KD’s sneakers again? Let’s find out!
WEIGHT: 439 g. / 15.48 oz
TECH: QUAD AXIAL FLYWIRE, ZOOM AIR
FIT: TRUE TO SIZE
RETAIL PRICE: $150
BD RATING: 8.5/10
BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE
The Quad Axial Flywire sounds something that NASA would use in their space costumes, although, it has nothing to do with it. We will leave this whole NASA theme for the PG 3 marketing.
Anyways, this new stuff is actually our well-known Flywire tech which got a major makeover. Instead of traditional setup where cables go vertical or have a small angle to it and only take place on the sides (or sometimes wraps around the heel) – the KD 12 has them all over the upper to create a four directional web like contraption. And this whole madness is sandwiched by two paper thin mesh layers to maintain that lightweight construction, yet having some rather solid support due to that Flywire setup.
It’s a half-booty construction which means the tongue is half stitched to the upper. And what I love the most about the tongue is that it’s made completely out of flyknit material which gives you that cozy hug around your ankle. Overall, I think that the upper is definitely nothing else than a well-made piece of the sneaker. Although, from in-hand experience, it does look cheap.
This is, hands down, the most exciting part of the sneaker not only for sneakerheads or the ones who only looking for performance – this should make everyone excited. The LeBron 16 is still holding that #1 spot as the best & the most fun cushioning in my books. Yet, this full-length Zoom Air setup was super close to becoming the new champ, so it ended up sitting in the second place. However, I’m pretty sure that for tons of you guys this could be the best cushioning in the basketball game you have ever experienced. Yep, it’s that awesome.
So for the first time in the history of basketball sneakers, the full-length articulated Zoom Air pillow was stitched right onto the upper. Which means that you’re sitting directly on the air in a true sense of the word and, yeah, it does feel amazing. This is probably the closest you can get to true Air Zoom experience as it follows your foot’s shape, absorbs every bit of energy you put in, and offers splendid responsiveness pared up with the optimal amount of impact protection for any type of player across the board.
Sitting underneath the pillow, there’s a pretty huge chunk of phylon which is surrounded by the rubber cage. Looking at the outsole, you can clearly see that it has a hand full of holes that perform the purpose of directing the phylon midsole compressing inwards, that way improving energy release. But that’s about it. Due to rubber caging the phylon can’t really do much. You just can feel a little bit of life from it. Maybe a really massive dude could make it do more, but it’s doesn’t matter when you have that full-length Air Zoom right under your foot.
Talking about heavier players, I’m definitely more on a heavier side, yet couldn’t feel much from that Hex Zoom unit in the heel area. Yep, that’s right. They also do feature a Hex unit in the heel surrounded by the phylon. Not sure if it was needed that much, but, hey, it’s never too much air. Again, that full-length Zoom Air is freaking fire.
First of all, I wanna say kudos to Nike for getting rid of that translucent rubber curse that has been around for quite some time. Right now I’m almost done testing the Nike PG 3 which has translucent rubber option as well, again, had no major problems with them too.
So the KD 12 is rocking a circular traction pattern – second best traction pattern after herringbone – so you already know this stuff will work, and it does exactly that. Left or right, stop & pop or quick cut to the basket, coverage will be exactly where you need it to be. Same goes for dusty courts, no need for extra wiping, your natural wiping routine will do the trick.
What about outdoor? Well, I wouldn’t recommend them as an outdoor option due to the quite soft rubber. Those tennis like courts might do, but definitely not for concrete surfaces.
Clearly, KD didn’t gain any weight on his feet this season, so the fit of the KD 12 remains narrow. Although, it wasn’t that bad like in a few past models. I went half a size up with my pair as for normal footers I would recommend doing the same unless you like a tighter fit, then go true to size. Widefooters should be very careful, yes, they’re ready to accommodate your big ass foot (no offense, just fun), just make sure you go in store to try them.
Apart from that, the fit was nice, nothing really to brag about. You do have some “Jordan level” inner cushioning paired up with lightweight & breathable materials to ensure enjoyable on foot experience.
Even though the KD 12 did grow an inch or two to fall into a mid-top section, the ankle support didn’t get any better whatsoever due to the wide construction of the ankle area. It creates an illusion of having a sloppy fit or wearing two sizes bigger pair from just looking at it. Yet, you do feel pretty much the same as in any other past KD model. More so, for those who love their ankles being tight in a sneaker, you can easily put an ankle strap since it has plenty of space to do that. For me, I was pretty satisfied with the way they come from the factory.
The Quad Axial Flywire web was making sure that the upper won’t stretch out upon pressure. While the wraparound midsole setup with some help from fuse layer held my foot on the footbed at all times. Same thing in the back – a rigid internal heel counter with heavy inner padding didn’t let my heel to perform any unnecessary move.
Last thing worth to mention is that the platform is pretty narrow, and while I didn’t end up rolling my foot or stuff like that, I still would prefer having a wider platform or extra outrigger to remove any doubts. But that’s just my preference, yours might be different.
The introduction of the KD 12 got me really hyped: new tech, Zoom Air finally going back, something that we know always delivers top-notch performance. However, I was holding myself from not going over the board with the hype since last year I got disappointed by the performance of the KD 11. Luckily, after the first contact with the KD 12 in store, I was like “This is IT”. No doubt about it, this was like a much needed fresh breath of air for the KD line.
From heel to toe, from upper to the very last rubber bit of the outsole – the KD 12 is just simply great and ready to be a reliable on-court companion for any type of player out there.
I know for the fact that some of you guys are not digging the silhouette that much or at all. Maybe looking at some pictures of the KD 12 before the bed would help them to grow on you because these bad boys are freaking awesome. Obviously, I’m just joking around.