While we were unable to see Kyrie playing this season, luckily, that didn’t put any brakes on his signature sneaker game receiving quite an update.
How about we skip the flagship (Kyrie 7) for another PR, trust me, it’s coming soon. Instead, let’s take a deeper look at the second generation of probably one of the most iconic and unique performance signature line – the Nike Kyrie Kybrid (yeah, it’s k not h) S2.
All the most beloved, best-performing pieces of the Kyrie 4, 5 & 6 have landed on one silhouette. It’s like Dragonball but in the sneaker game. Can it be the most complete guard shoe of this year? There’s one way to find out. Read on…
WEIGHT: 452 g. / 15.9 oz (size 11.5)
TECH: CUSHLON, FLYWIRE, FLYTRAP, ZOOM AIR, +15 to your ankle breaker
FIT: HALF A SIZE UP
RETAIL PRICE: $140
BD RATING: 7.5/10
BEST PLACE TO BUY: NIKE.COM
In order to achieve this crazy looking “what the” effect on the upper, Nike was definitely limited in material options. So a full-length textile upper is what they went for on the Kybrid S2.
No doubt, something like Flyknit or other more premium material option would’ve improved the overall fit & feel of the shoe. But that greatly put-together textile implementation didn’t make me miss any aspects of the upper. Well, maybe better airflow would make it better, but I would take that sick design over some irrelevant tweaks any day of the week.
Probably didn’t know, but… You don’t even need to have sick handles with these. You are going to drop them with that unique look on your feet. Ok, ok, don’t take this for real money. Just joking around. But, hey, they definitely add +15 to your ankle breaker bar for sure.
“One man’s trash it’s another man’s treasure”, this is how I would describe the situation going on in this department. That’s right, I’m talking about the existence of a Zoom Air Turbo unit.
First introduced in the Kyrie 5, it not only made a HUGE performance leap when it comes to adding that best in the game pep in your step type of action. But also making one of the most wearable on-court sneaker line even wider to the masses. Those bigger, more explosive guys who require extra impact protection or improved power return for those first step burst finally got a chance to fully enjoy the Kyrie line. I belong in that group too.
On the flip side, our pure/old school guard play style propagating players weren’t so happy about sort of “ruining” that raw court feel, and complete control over your movements with adding some value in the forefoot section.
That being said, the Kyrie Kybrid S2 had plenty of room to go either way. Un/fortunately, Zoom Air Turbo didn’t make the cut. A full-length cushlon midsole with a Zoom “breeze” unit in the heel section. I called it “breeze” because my tongue doesn’t twist to say Air about this one. A non-exciting cushlon is what takes you for a ride whenever you lice them up. And it’s every goddamn time I would miss that Zoom Turbo unit doing its magic in the forefoot. The tooling is definitely not as harsh on your knees as the classic Kyries, but it for sure caters to those who once fell in love with the Kyrie line. A low profile, minimalistic ride with a spice of impact protection.
You probably wouldn’t mind receiving traction setup from one of the three model options available (4, 5, or 6). Personally, I would go with Kyrie 6’s traction setup. I purely believe it’s one that has quite an edge over the rest of the two. Probably even have a solid spot in the TOP 10 best traction patterns of all time.
However, Nike’s decision was slapping on the outsole setup taken from the 4’s. And if you have read my performance review of the Kyrie 4, I called that traction – “killer badge is gone”. That being said, it no way means that the setup sucks. Definitely no. It just has some dust problems, meaning that you will need to put some extra effort into maintaining it. Other than that the bite is legit. What you expect. It’s a Kyrie shoe.
Stop on a dime effect – check. Rubber compound tough enough taking your butt more than a few times outdoors – check. 360-degree coverage – check.
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If you have ever owned or tried a pair of Kyries, the S2’s shouldn’t bring any new sensations in terms of how they feel on foot. I would say they do fit pretty much identical to the Kyrie 6. That means true to size for narrow footers, while regular footers should be all good going half a size up. But how about those paddle-like foot owners? Well, while grabbing a whole size bigger pair should do the trick in width, it might leave you with some extra space in the toe area. That’s why I highly recommend checking them up in-store, which is actually getting harder to do. You know, that freaking virus. So the most logical thing would be ordering a few pairs at once. That’s it, problem solved.
The main booty construction of the Kybrid S2, like most of the Kyrie models, does play light & agile on foot. Whereas that Flytrap tech taken from the Kyrie 5 over the lacing system in combination with Flywire cables help to obtain close to your foot fit.
The only negative aspect of having a full synthetic upper is that it gets hot playing longer sessions. But it’s not that chicken sizzling hot, definitely something you can live with.
So we already figured it out that this integrated napkin contraption with its cables & loops does its job as good on the S2 as it does on Kyrie 5. Well, that same fashion is carried over onto the rest of the support setup.
The second you lace them up, your feet are pushed down & back straight into the heel section. There your feet are welcomed by both, internal and external heel counters that firmly cup your stuff (feet) by eliminating unwanted sliding motion.
For lateral coverage, you do have those iconic “crocodile teeth” like rubber overlays for some extra rigidity. While still maintaining the unique roundness of the midsole to let that poetry in motion happen.
The Nike Kyrie Kybrid S2 didn’t bring anything new to the table. But that’s not what they were intended to do. They brought something more valuable – all-around performance blended into a modern classic form factor.
Is it the ultimate guard shoe? Yes. But not for everyone. If you’re that classic/original Kyrie shoe lover, the Kyrie Kybrid S2 is your top choice turning back the clock when it comes to that raw, low to the ground type of performance.
Now those Zoom Air lovers like me included, we got our best version of Kyrie sneaker – the Nike Kyrie 7. The review is coming soon.