Kevin Durant has been killing it this NBA season in his 6th signature sneaker with Nike, the Nike KD 6 (VI). Averaging 32 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game and 5.5 assists per game there is no question that he deserved receiving the MVP award this season. Check out the full performance review on his latest sneaker below!
The traction on the KD VI was adequate on different court conditions, nothing amazing but not terrible either. The traction patterns uses a storytelling traction pattern revealing a thunderbolt pattern with several geometric shapes cut out within the grooves. The pattern seems to resemble last year’s Nike KD V traction pattern however the grooves were a lot deeper and more aggressive on last year’s model and able to cover more court conditions. This year’s traction worked great and was really squeaky on clean indoor surfaces but on recreational floors I did have to wipe frequently and these collected a lot of dust. I would not recommend these for outdoors especially since the grooves are very thin and not very deep since they are filled with other rubber composite to tell the story. In addition, the rubber is quite soft so the traction will burn out fast if you play on concrete of asphalt so these should strictly be used indoors. Overall, I wasn’t very impressed the traction on the KD VI but they seem to have resolved the issue on the KD VI Elite pair, which have just recently released.
The cushioning set up on the Nike KD VI was excellent, which was a pleasant surprise. Just like last year the shoe features a 180 Air Max unit in the heel and a forefoot rectangular Zoom Air unit. I really enjoy this set up since it’s not clunky, it provides excellent impact protection in the heel and provides a nice heel-to-toe transition. The set up this year was also caged in a lightweight, soft Phylon midsole, which was extremely comfortable. Upon first try, the step in comfort was on point and even more comfortable than it predecessor the Nike KD V, which took a long break in time. This year, the cushioning was not as responsive as the Nike KD V but had a more plush feeling in terms of heel-to-toe transition since they used a softer foam for the midsole. Cushioning was great in terms of overall comfort but there are more responsive options out there in the market. It all comes down to personal preference in the end whether you’re looking for bouncy responsive cushioning such as the unlocked zoom in the Jordan XX8 or a smooth cushioned ride, which these will provide.
The Lockdown on this shoe was near perfect in my opinion. I was a bit worried about the lockdown since the shoe is extremely low cut so I didn’t know how well the heel cup would contain my foot but this did not pose to be a problem once I started playing in it. The internal heel cup is sculpted so it really contains the heel from sliding around in the foot bed. in addition, the Hyperfuse upper once broken in really provides a snug fit to the foot. The new implemented asymmetrical lacing system, which resembles a soccer cleat did a fantastic job in keeping the foot contained in the shoe once laced tightly. I was really surprised with the lock down of the shoe since this turned out to be one of the shoe’s strongest attributes. The only reason why this didn’t receive a perfect score was due to the tongue system and the flexibility of the upper. Some people felt that the hyperfuse upper doesn’t flex well with the foot and that the tongue was too thin providing pinching problems, which could affect the lockdown. I personally didn’t experience these problems but just hinting that out if you’re planning on buying the shoe.
The heel-to-toe transition goes hand in hand with cushion. I found the cushioning in the shoe provided a really soft, plush ride especially since the combination of Air Max and Zoom Air is excellent for impact protection and smoothness whilst playing. Nothing much to say hear other than it provided a soft and smooth transition. I was really happy with the heel-to-toe transition but the only reason why it didn’t score a perfect score was that I would have like more responsiveness with the Zoom bag. Maybe I have been spoiled by the Unlocked Zoom in the Melo M10 but the responsiveness wasn’t amazing in this shoe so I would like to see that improved in the Nike KD 7.
As you can see the shoe is extremely low cut so there are going to be questions about how supportive the shoe is. The support of the shoe is going to come from the excellent fit and lockdown. The internal heelcup was phenomenal in this shoe since it really sculpts around the back of your heel and I had no slippage whatsoever. The lightweight hyperfuse upper will also provide exceptional fit and will keep the foot strapped to the foot bed. In addition to the evident support, there is an external rubber outrigger to help prevent injuries from lateral movements. Despite there being no carbon fiber shank under the arch of the foot, the 180 Air Max unit in the heel acts as one since the shoe does not flex throughout the middle so it does provide stability. Despite the KD VI being such a low cut sneaker, it is an extremely stabile show and the support will come from the fit and lockdown.
Initially when I first saw leaked images of the Nike KD VI, I was worried that the upper of the shoe would be similar to the skinwire seen on the Nike Zoom Kobe V back in 2010. The Hyperfuse turned out to be very durable despite being so thin so I was really pleased about that. Another aspect I was worried about in terms of longevity of the product was the lacing system since the lace strings go through a fused in string along the upper so I was worried it would rip when laced tightly or if I got stepped on. These held up well and I had no issues with it whatsoever. The outsole of the shoe like I mentioned before I would not recommend outdoors just because of how soft and thin the rubber is. Other than that, this shoe held up great for indoor use!
The Nike KD VI’s upper is composed of entirely Hyperfuse with no perforations whatsoever. The only source of ventilation is based on the two layered tongue system, which seemed to work since I could feel the airflow throughout the shoe when running. Even though my feet don’t sweat much, I am rating this section a 5/10 since ventilation is only seen on the tongue.
This has been one of the most worn sneakers in the NBA this season and hey the league’s MVP seems to like it and has even reverted back to this kick for the playoffs instead of his elite pair. There are definitely some great attributes to the shoe such as the lockdown and fit but there are several aspects that Nike can improve upon for the next model. For me, these don’t make my top 3 rotation for on court but they definitely are a fun shoe to play in for recreational games. If I’m playing a more high intensity full court game I would go for something with better traction personally such as the Kobe 9. Overall, the Nike KD VI is a decent performer.
Improvements – Better traction, increased flexibility, more padding on the tongue, better responsiveness with the Zoom bag
Buying Advice – The KD VI is a solid overall performer but does have quite a few flaws. I would definitely try them on in store and see how they feel before you purchase them. If you’re looking for a lightweight option with excellent cushion and lockdown at a decent price point, then this shoe is a great purchase.