After one of the most dominating NBA playoffs’ performances by Kevin Durant, I thought, it would be a perfect time to bring out my finalized experience and performance review of the Nike KD 14.
Are they making it in this year’s elite club? The tech sheet says – Yes. But we ain’t hooked up before it’s properly tested.
Let’s hit it!
WEIGHT: 413 g. / 14.56 oz (size 11.5)
TECH: ZOOM AIR STROBEL
FIT: A HALF SIZE UP
RETAIL PRICE: $150
BD RATING: 8.7/10
The KD 14 is dressed up with TONS of textile material, not in the sense that it goes all across the shoe, but in the fact it’s a quad-layer setup. Yeah, you heard it right… Not one. Not two. But freaking four layers.
You might be thinking it’s the Sahara type of vibes wearing these… I was thinking the same thing. Quite frankly, it’s nowhere near that sensation. Thank God…
The upper won’t get your feet melting like pop cycles on a hot day, but for sure will check all the boxes, and hit the right spots for any type of player across the table.
For those who love to geek out on stuff like this, I’ll do a quick breakdown of this specific mesh tooling.
So the first or inner layer is responsible for comfort – flexible/pliable nature allows ensuring a perfect second-skin-like fit for the rest of the upper to follow. Moving up a bit, you got a structure layer to add solid containment and support aspects in the whole mix. Finally, a screen mesh is there to protect as so to extend the durability/longevity of the setup, while landing some space for velour type of layer that adds style points supposedly.
Nike has been switching the placement of the secondary Zoom Air unit until this year they got rid of it completely. Whaaat? We all know that Zoom never can be enough. Well, all right, you can go ever the board, yet that extra standard Zoom Air pillow was such a great addition in the last two models.
But the swoosh brand didn’t screw us over. While the Zoom Air Strobel remains in place, and it’s the best thing ever, in the exchange for losing secondary unity we have got some super plush Cushlon.
That didn’t noticeably affect the way the forefoot felt compared to the last few iterations; maybe the 13 does play a bit sturdier in that area, but it’s hardly felt. You still do sit quite low to the ground while receiving an instant Zoom Air Strobel explosion in the 14’s.
On the other hand, the changes did not go unnoticed in the back, making the heel section react to your motion in a different manner that I actually was satisfied with.
Once you plant your foot for a rise, the foam layer immediately squeezes in to activate that awesome Zoom Air bounce. But when you’re landing – the same cushlon section starts to act like a sponge to soak up your impact protection and then allowing the entrance to Zoom Air.
It’s like a sequence for what we had in the KD 13. Reminiscent lines, yet different mapping led this traction pattern to go from solid (on the 13), to a freaking beast on the successor.
Without hesitation, this one earns my “Straight up glue” badge as you can go all-in with your on-court moves without thinking about sliding off or whatever – they got you covered big time no matter where you play.
That being said, outdoor courts is where the KD 14 doesn’t get any downgrades in performance, but they won’t be your long-run partners due to a soft rubber compound. But as long as they last, they are going beast mode for sure.
Dust issue? I would think the opposite – it’s the worst nightmare for dust or any other crap on the floors.
Nothing new from the fit camp as the forefoot solidly remains on a narrow side even for regular or semi-wide footers. So for that reason, going half size up would be a smart idea for this type of people. Unless you do have the same ice hook bat type of feet as KD himself. In that case, just simply go true to size. Whereas our beloved wide footers might want to consider picking up a whole size bigger pair. They don’t run long as before, like the KD 11, so you shouldn’t get any unneeded space in the toe section.
As for the on-foot sensations – it’s been all positive for me from the get-go. As I mentioned before, the upper gives you that straight out of box slide-in & play ability. Yet the stability plate along with a sturdier & thicker insole is what should take you a few runs to break in. Beware it might be a painful one for some, you know, blisters and all of that not pretty stuff. If that happens, just bear with it, it should go away pretty soon. Personally, I got away without any of those issues. Lucky me.
The past two models were unable to connect all of the dots for a complete picture. I’m talking about the lack of a wider platform resulting in some unwanted tippiness. But not in the 14… The problem has been addressed – no outrigger, but a wider platform did help to eliminate that concern or fear of busting your foot off the platform.
Other than that, the rest of the support aspects are pretty much identical to its predecessor which accumulates to solid all-around foot lockdown.
Oh, yeah, the strap… You can say it does its job – I was able to get some additional containment out of it. But for the most part, it’s just there for the style points really.
After going off the main road, Nike has quickly gone back on track with the KD 14. It isn’t a perfect comeback as I would have loved to see a double-stacked Zoom Air sandwich. On the flip side, it’s just a minor drawback that definitely doesn’t ruin the whole all-around great experience that the shoe has to offer.
They even got the stability issue finally fixed, which is a huge deal maker for forceful & heavier players out there. If that was something that kept you from jumping on some KD’s – that’s a perfect time to do so.
Overall, the Nike KD 14 is definitely getting a high spot in my personal best list for sure.
Baller from Europe? We GOT YOU.