It’s been a great year for Kevin Durant, winning the MVP and the NBA scoring title all in one season. This season he has been an absolute beast offensively and he did so playing in the Nike KD VI. However, his team fell short of making the NBA Finals, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Nike KD VI was a solid performer for Durant and that it was one of the more popular options for NBA players this past season. Now, the 7th installment of Durant’s signature line released last week and it seems to be receiving a lot of attention. Upon first impression, I must say I am very content with Durant’s latest sneaker.
The traction pattern on this year’s model again uses a story telling traction pattern using denser type of rubber much thicker and durable than its predecessor. The rubber composite itself is not your squeaky, pliable traction patterns as used on the Kobe 9 models and the Air Jordan XX8, however, from first impression these look to hold up well on most court conditions. The grooves are very deep and well spread out so dust will hopefully not get clustered within the gaps and the pattern is aggressive so it will grip the floor when making swift and agile moves. The rubber itself is quite durable so these can definitely be used outside and you won’t have the outsole burn out as you would with some softer outsoles. These should perform similar to the Nike KD V since the rubber composite is almost the same, which should be a good look since the KD V was a fantastic on court performer.
This year’s model, Nike Kitchen decided to scrap away the heel Air Max unit and implement Zoom Max in the heel instead as seen on the Nike LeBron X a few years ago and the recent Nike KD VI Elite. This is similar to Air Max, however is provides more impact protection channelling the energy from impact to responsiveness since the unit is verybouncy and responsive. The forefront of the shoe uses an encapsulated Zoom Air as seen on previous KD models, which will do the job providing forefoot responsiveness and court feel. Upon first try, the KD 7’s definitely feel really good on feet but will need a solid break in time to fully enjoy the entire shoe. Cushioning seems to be an upgrade from last year’s model and responsiveness is definitely there since some people were complaining about the responsiveness of the Zoom bag on last year’s KD VI, saying it was inexistent.
I haven’t hooped in these yet but the materials on the shoe are extremely sturdy, which inevitably affects the flexibility of the shoe. First, the outsole itself isn’t very flexible since the rubber is quite dense and the back of the shoe is composed entirely of Hyperposite, which needs a solid break in time so the shoe starts off a little clunky. I’m hoping these break in during gameplay but from first impression I don’t think the heel-to-toe transition will feel as natural as some other models out there.
This was one issue I am quite worried about with the sneaker itself. The forefoot of the Nike KD 7 is exactly the same as the Nike Hyperrev with the mesh toebox and dynamic flywire. Over break in time the mesh will conform to the forefoot so this part I’m not worried about and with the thick plastic strap it will help provide more security in the midfoot well. The midfoot strap, however, in my honest opinion it doesn’t secure the foot as much as I’d like it to since I did feel heel slippage. The Hyperposite in the heel is very stiff and I felt my heel slip out after lacing these tight. I’m hoping after break in time the Hyperposite will conform to the back of my foot but heel lockdown could be a major issue. The design of the KD 7 is awesome but the strap isn’t that helpful I find. If the strap were to be placed higher up on the midfoot extending round to the side of the ankle as seen in the Nike KD 4 and the recent LeBron Soldier series lockdown would be A1. Moving away from lockdown, fit is true to size. I wear a US10 and these fit perfectly fine length wise and width wise and for wide footed players these will be forgiving too as forefoot mesh and dynamic flywire is capable for adjusting to different foot sizes. Fit was pretty solid but I’m concerned about the heel lockdown. If the heel isn’t locked down then the foot is more exposed to injury since it isn’t stable within the shoe making this shoe trash otherwise.
From first wear this shoe is extremely sturdy. The outsole is very sturdy and doesn’t feel unstable when planting the foot on the ground. The heel is made of an extremely stiff Hyperposite known for its lightweight, supportive attributes. However, like I said before, if the heel lockdown isn’t there the Hyperposite will be useless since the foot will be moving in and out of the shoe. If the Hyperposite moulds to the foot then this could be one of the most stable, supportive midtops. Aside from the Hyperposite the midfoot is quite secure with the mesh, flywire and strap able to conform to foot shapes. Underneath the foot, Leo Chang and his group took a different approach. The KD line usually never incorporates a midfoot support shank however in this model they have a newly designed support system instead of it being a TPU plate but individual strands of TPU to resemble the arch of the foot and to help provide natural motion. I don’t know whether this is a gimmick or not but it feels stable and aesthetically looks great too.
Looking at the durability of the shoe, if the Flywire doesn’t rip these should hold up ages. The back of the shoe is very very stable with the Hyperposite material I can’t stress that enough. The outsole is composed of a thick durable rubber and the plastic midfoot strap is a thick plastic rubber material as well. My only concern with durability is the mesh in the forefoot and the exposed dynamic flywire. The Nike Hyperrev is known for its durability issues and the forefront of this shoe is exactly the same design. If the exposed Dynamic Flywire rips, then the shoe is done for as the laces won’t even be able to lace up. Hopefully this does not happen.
Ventilation in the shoe is apparent but not balanced throughout the shoe if that makes sense. The forefront of the shoe is created of the same mesh seen on the Hyperrev and upon first try, I could feel the airflow between my toes. From the midfoot back of the shoe, the airflow was inexistent. the tongue is well padded with some ventilation panels between the lace eyelets. These are however, covered by the strap. The heelcup is an entire Hyperposite back so there are no ventilation holes apparent. This hopefully should be a good thing since I feel Hyperposite needs more heat and moisture from the foot to break in easier and conform to the foot shape. If ventilation holes are apparent there then it could hinder that experience. Overall ventilation was alright but only evident in the forefoot. I myself am not big on ventilation but there definitely is airflow in the shoe.
These shoes are beautiful aesthetically. I have never really been a huge fan of the KD silhouettes but this one really got me out of my seat. The materials used definitely are premium quality and are worth the $20 price jump. These will also hold up for outdoor play but heel lockdown is my major concern. If these break in like I hope they will and the lockdown improves, these will definitely be a solid performer, otherwise these could be trash. I would recommend trying them on in store and see if you they fit you well.