Released in the summer of 2018, the Nike KD 11 is one of several shoes designed and released in collaboration with basketball player Kevin Durant. This model, available only in men’s and boy’s sizes, was created with a player’s primary requirements in mind. Its translucent rubber outsole and unique yarn-based Flyknit upper immediately catch the eye, and its React midsole technology, enhanced further by Zoom Air, enables their technique even further with strong energy transfer and a more powerful spring that comes with each stride. Despite this, buyers do have a few legitimate concerns. Its outsole requires regular cleaning and the upper lacks the support required to keep the foot in place.
A simple translucent
rubber compound makes up the KD 11’s outsole, which extends all along the sides of the shoe. It features a wavy tread pattern that intends for use on basketball courts as well as other everyday surfaces. Unfortunately, this design also means that it lacks durability when used outdoors and its usage is severely limited as a result. Furthermore, this feature requires a surprising amount of maintenance. If its narrow grooves aren’t regularly cleaned of dirt and dust, it with lose its traction and become much more slippery for the wearer.
Nike’s trademarked React
midsole technology is what enhances the KD 11’s performance on the basketball court. Aside from cushioning the foot while providing high amounts of shock absorption, it also transfers energy into an even greater bounce with each stride. This has been enhanced even further with the inclusion of full-length Zoom Air
cushioning on top. Although there are a number of complaints about this model, reviews indicate that the use of this technology was one of its biggest advantages. Consumers are very happy with both its level of cushioning and the added spring that it provides each jump.
The KD 11’s Flyknit
upper has become an incredibly divisive feature among reviewers. This particular model is made of yarn, which enhances the feeling of padded comfort for the wearer. On one hand, buyers enjoy this material’s unique look and the level of breathable comfort that it provides them. On the other hand, a significant amount of them say that it is too stretchy for an athletic shoe and does not give them the necessary support that they look for. A combination pull tab and heel counter are fixed into the back, and its lacing system consists of Flywire cables for a stronger yet more customizable fit.
At a solid 14 oz, the KD 11 is well above the average weight of an athletic shoe. This is appropriate for someone of Kevin Durant’s size and shape, as it gives him the support and security that he will need during long and strenuous games. For smaller athletes, on the other hand, this proves to be cumbersome and counterproductive. Greater weight means an impacted jump and, as a result, a poorer performance when playing basketball.
Though it may not be nearly as supportive as advertised, the KD 11’s unique Flyknit upper still offers the breathability
that Nike fans expect from this material. It does look particularly warm, given that it’s made from yarn, but even this version works to keep the wearer as cool as possible. It provides unrestricted airflow during games and long hours of training, ensuring that sweat is dried away quickly and hotspots are eliminated. Reviewers greatly enjoy this model’s comfortable wear and say its ventilation definitely enhances this quality.
Across all online platforms, reviewers found the KD 11 to be a very comfortable basketball shoe. The React midsole provides the perfect amount of shock absorption and energy transfer, keeping the foot protected from impact, while it still offers a plusher underfoot cushioning. And the Zoom Air unit enhances these qualities even further. Yet it’s the Flyknit upper, made from yarn instead of textile
and mesh, with its soft feel and unrestricted breathability. Buyers state that these are easily one of the most comfortable athletic shoes they ever wore, saying that it surpassed similar models at the same price level.
All-in-all, the KD 11 has managed to keep the same general look of its predecessors. It still features Flyknit material as its upper and uses Flywire cables in its lacing system. However, some very obvious changes have been made. The upper material for this version is made of yarn for a more plush look, and the Flywire
cables are now positioned more towards the top of the foot instead of along the sides at the top of the midsole. This gives a looser and more flexible fit. Standard rubber has also been replaced with translucent rubber, which not only makes it more eye-catching but also enables greater pliability. Aside from an initial black/black version that was first released to the public, this model is also available in several brand new colorways. A black/blue/violet version and another in cool grey are extremely popular with shoe enthusiasts.
One unfortunate drawback of the KD 11 is that it’s not a very durable model. Though its pliable rubber outsole performs well indoors, it will quickly begin to wear down and come apart when worn on outdoor surfaces. And though this version of Flyknit is engineered to be a bit sturdier than the material used on normal running
shoes, it still isn’t enough to withstand extended use on any environment that isn’t an indoor basketball court. As a result, it's extremely important that buyers know how to properly care for this shoe and be mindful of when and when not to bring it out.
Because it’s lacking in durability, it’s fairly safe to say that the KD 11 is also not very protective. Its rubber outsole is useless on outdoor surfaces, especially during wet weather. It does give perfect traction for indoor
courts, yet it can only function when the floor has been properly cleaned. Otherwise, dirt and dust will become lodged into its narrow grooves and cause the wearer to slip. Aside from having no solid overlays, or being unable to safeguard against wet weather, the Flyknit outsole also does an incredibly poor job at keeping the foot contained within the shoe. Even the Flywire-based lacing system isn’t enough to counteract its stretchiness. Reviewers do love how well the React midsole and Zoom Air unit safeguard the foot against impact. They just wish the rest of the shoe could match up to its level of performance.
The KD 11’s React midsole is easily the shoe’s most responsive feature. The perfect material for basketball shoes, it transfers the energy of each impact across the shoe as is compresses underfoot. Upon release, it then springs back into its original shape while providing the wearer with a greater bounce to each step and jump that they make. The Zoom Air unit on top, consisting of tensile fibers, increase this quality even further, providing an even stronger jump when making slam dunks. Considering how well these features perform, buyers are disappointed that the rest of the shoe doesn’t measure up. Though its rubber
outsole is pliable enough to follow the wearer’s natural movements, its poor level of traction does limit its usage a lot.
As comfortable is this model is, reviewers across all platforms say that the KD 11 offers little-to-no real support. The combination of its React midsole and Zoom Air unit does a wonderful job at keeping the foot cushioned and protected. Yet, as comfortable and breathable as it is, the Flyknit upper is so stretchy that it can’t properly contain the foot or support its movement. Though its Flywire based lacing system does help somewhat, it still isn’t nearly enough to ensure that this shoe is completely safe for training and playing. If buyers are still interested in owning this model, their best bet is to try it on in person before purchasing it.
One of the biggest downsides of the KD 11 is its limited usage. Its outsole’s wavy tread pattern features very narrow grooves, which would prove to be too small and flimsy for nearly all outdoor settings. They also require frequent cleaning, as the dirt and dust that gets caught in these grooves can negatively impact traction and cause a great deal of slippage. This, plus its upper’s lack of water repellency, leads buyers to then conclude that it would be completely useless on wet surfaces.
All of Kevin Durant’s signature models have run for an expensive price tag
, and the KD 11 is no exception to this. Though it’s not as high as a number of other special edition models, its cost is way more than the average running shoe. Of course, many diehard fans of Nike and Kevin Durant will gladly pay the full price no matter what. Yet when the average consumer looks at its limited usage and lack of support, they think twice about spending that much on this model.
Without a doubt, one of the KD 11’s worst-received features is its level of traction
. The narrow grooves on it wavy tread pattern may work well for indoor basketball courts, but they become useless once worn outside. The rubber will begin to wear down after considerable use on paved surfaces, and it will perform even more poorly when on wet ground. Furthermore, these narrow grooves require frequent cleaning after they’ve been used. Dust and dirt are known to get caught in these grooves, and they cause the shoe to lose what little traction it can offer.
The KD 11’s flexible wear is a bit of a double-edged sword for most reviewers. On one hand, they appreciate the pliability of its rubber outsole and React midsole, saying that it adds to the shoe’s already high level of comfort. They also enjoy the freedom of movement that its stretchy Flyknit upper gives them. On the other hand, it’s clear that the stretchiness of this material has sacrificed support and proper containment. Its collar, in particular, does a poor job at keeping the foot in place, which renders this shoe quite unsafe for rigorous training and for games.
Because it does not offer much support, the KD 11 also ranks poorly when it comes to stability. The combined efforts of the React midsole and Zoom Air unit absorb the impact of each jump and enable the wearer to keep moving safely, but that’s as far as this quality will go. The rubber outsole’s traction only works on clean floors, as even a small amount of debris will cause the wearer to slip and potentially fall. Furthermore, the Flyknit upper barely conforms to the foot’s shape and stretches so much that it can’t hold it into place. The inclusion of its lacing system and a heel counter at the back do almost nothing to remedy this issue.
No online listings or reviews give any information about how high the KD 11’s heel-to-toe drop is. Yet online photographs and a closer look at the inside of the shoe could give buyers a better idea. From the outside, it looks a lot like a zero drop platform. But images from the inside of the shoe lets them see that there’s an obvious height difference between the heel and toe. Though it doesn’t look like a 10mm drop, it looks to be at least 8mm.
-Translucent rubber outsole for indoor courts
-React midsole technology cushions and gives an added bounce
-Flyknit upper for a unique look and breathable comfort
-Flywire cables in its lacing system for a more secure fit
-Intended mainly for indoor usage
-Available in brand new colorways
-Expensive price tag
Despite having Kevin Durant attached to this model, and the high price tag that it comes with, the Nike KD 11 leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to a good basketball shoe. Its highest rated feature is easily its midsole, featuring Nike's React technology. This durable yet cushiony material fully absorbs the impact of each step and transfers this energy into a more enhanced spring, making it the perfect choice for this type of shoe. Unfortunately, its tread pattern will only work indoors on clean surfaces, otherwise, it wears down or loses traction. And, though comfortable, its stretchy upper does very little to support and protect the foot. Still, there are several dedicated fans of Durant who would gladly purchase this model for the name alone.