Every year Nike treats us with ELITE versions of the most popular signature line models and this year is not an exception for them.
Now, the KD8 ELITE version was awfully ugly with that long ass compression sock – the ugliest hoop sneaker I’ve ever saw in my life. I still really don’t understand why Nike thought that this will be a great idea to put compression extension which does NOTHING. Why Nike?
However, we can finally put our hands on the new Nike KD9 ELITE model. In my opinion, they look supper aggressive with those thick Flywire cables and the dark grey colorway – thank god that Nike didn’t decide to put something ridiculously crazy in this version. I was impressed how solid the KD 9 performed on the court – perfect fit, premium materials, crazy impact protection and great traction with little to zero whipping.
So, don’t waste any time and dive into the Nike KD 9 ELITE Performance Review!
Again, we got the same one piece bootie construction with different materials on the forefoot & the heel areas. As on the regular version, the forefoot area is covered with Flyknit, but this time Nike eliminated the Nylon backing underneath, so you’re getting purest possible Flyknit upper – perfect addition to the ELITE version. It offers amazing, even narrower one-to-one fit, much better breathability and with super soft, light and unrestricted Flyknit material the forefoot area becomes amazingly comfy to play in.
Now, the back area looks completely different. They feature the Neoprene material – yes, they brought back the same setup from the KD8 ELITE, but this time they not overdone it (thanks Nike for not making these ugly). To be honest with you, I’m not a big fan of this additional collar that they made – it just too wide.
When you lace them up, the collar sits loose around your ankle, so you are not getting any additional support. However, the Neoprene is super flexible, that’s why they’re extremely easy to put on – even easier than the regular KD 9 model. Also, there’s tons of free space for your ankle brace if you need some extra support.
The KD 9 ELITE has the same articulated full length Max Zoom setup. As I said in my KD 9 performance review, this is the best Nike cushioning system right know – superior impact protection, crazy bounce and the best thing is that with all of this, you’re not sacrificing any court feel – amazing tooling.
In addition, the separated forefoot Air unit is a little bit thinner and offers solid court feel with ability to make quick steps, and with that superb midfoot/heel ZOOM Air unit you’re really can’t go wrong. It will fit any type of player due to great court feel and enjoyable, responsive ride.
The outsole is identical to the original KD 9. We got the same honeycomb style traction which from the first sight looks not so promising. However, don’t judge a book by its cover. In this case, I should say – don’t judge a traction by its pattern 😀 I was super surprised how great this traction performed – BEASTLY grip with the floor, amazing move coverage, A+ stopping power – it feels like the outsole is covered with super glue – crazy sh*t.
In addition, on the dusty courts I didn’t received any major slippage problems, just small ones after a longer playing time – a few wipes here or there and you’re ready to break some ankles again. As always, if traction is one of the main aspects for you, I highly recommend you to pick a pair with solid rubber for the best performance possible. Still, I wouldn’t use them for outdoors due to very delicate ZOOM Air cushioning and weak rubber compound.
The fit was… RIDICULOUS (unfortunately, in the bad way). Now, only by looking at the KD 9 ELITE we can say that they are extremely long and narrow – and this is exactly how they fitted me. I really don’t get it why Nike decided to make them even narrower. I mean, the regular KD 9 version was super narrow, thankfully, I was able to pull them off, but the ELITE version is something crazy. I had to go a whole size up to fit my damn foot – I have never done this before. Of course, a whole size bigger pair left me to deal with solid amount of dead space in the toe area – I was forced to wear double socks to overcome this problem.
Now, I’m very thankful for this new lacing system which was able to keep my foot locked in despite that unnecessary dead space. So, kudos to the lacing system and my socks for helping your boy out. Other than that, the fit is almost identical – pure Flyknit adds a little bit more comfort in the forefoot area, but the heel area has less padding than in the regular version, so overall comfort didin’t change much.
SINZING: If you have a regular or narrow foot you should go true to size. However, I HIGHLY recommend you to just try them on before buying to make sure they fit you right. For wide footers – just pass them, there are tons of other models to choose from. I will probably do my TOP 10 basketball shoes for wide footers, because it seems like it’s a pretty popular topic for you guys. Stay tuned!
TOP 10 BASKETBALL SHOES FOR WIDE FOOTERS | IS AVAILABLE NOW!
As we can see, Nike implemented the new lacing system which not only adds more aggressiveness to the shoe, but it actually performs great. Super thick Flywire cables wrap your foot very tightly around the midfoot area. Also, the last cable goes all around your heel, so when you lace them up this cable pushes your foot into the heel cup and strongly locks it down – really aggressive setup. The support isn’t the greatest compartment in the KD 9 model, but with this improved lacing setup you’re receiving pretty solid support.
The Nike KD 9 ELITE is a great performing sneaker if you have a right type of foot – comfy, premium materials, extra tight one-to-one fit, beastly traction (if you pick the regular rubber option) and super responsive cushion setup with nice court feel for any type of player.
I think Nike made a perfect decision to retail them for the same price as the regular version – $150 is a great price for what you’re getting. On the other hand, now you can easily grab a pair of the KD 9 for under $100 bucks and receive almost the identical performance, so for me it’s a no brainer which version to choose – the KD 9 and $50 in my pocket, sounds great right?
If you want to check the Nike KD 9 Performance Review, click HERE.
Hope you enjoyed my Performance Review on the NIKE KD 9 ELITE. Will you be picking them up? Let me know!
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment down below!