Nike KD 12

The 12th edition of the Kevin Durant’s series, the KD 12 brings the ‘90s’ theme in full-swing. The KD 12 will be worn by Kevin as the Golden State Warriors take on the OKC Thunder. Nike took a different approach with the KD and that includes everything from the shoe all the way to the box. This shoe has left the “low” cut look as well as the Flyknit material behind with the last version. You can expect a mid-cut aesthetic with a synthetic upper made of transparent layers that give you visuals of the inner workings. You will not find frills and fancies with this shoe with some features like the Strobel removed from the base. The main highlight of the shoe is the cushioning setup which is unlike anything you will feel in KD shoes.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons

-Breathable Fly knit upper

-Full-length zoom unit for exceptional comfort

-Lots of colorways available

-Zero break-in time



-Poor traction outdoors


Key Features
The KD 12 features a semi-transparent crystal design in the outsole which is seen quite often in the KD line of sneakers. The KD 12 also uses crystal texture on the outsole. You can also see multidirectional list structures and line designs reminding you of car patterns. This pattern covers all directions so you can comfortably use it for jab steps, crossovers or playing defense. Most reviewers mentioned that the rubber felt more premium than the KD 11.

The rubber actually wraps around the side and the TPU cage, similar to the KD 11, with a modification of being exposed on the medial side. This helps the foam to expand on the medial side while keeping lateral stability constant.

You can also see excessive cored out holes within the foam throughout the length of the sole. This restricts the movement of the foam outward and forces compression inward to get underfoot cushion from the foam.
Nike has been using the Phylon insole for many Nike shoes in the past and for the KD12, it has innovated this common insole. You can see a perforated Phylon insole and a hexagonal air cushion on the heel which improves the comfort of the sneaker. The perforations help add breathability and expand as you step hard which in turn helps the shoe bounce back. The teeth in the midsole are reminiscent of the Kobe 1 and pull your feet to work with you as you move. The big selling point, however, is the Zoom air which sits directly underfoot. They do not seem so you can feel the air transferring from the heel to the forefoot.
Instead of going with the traditional leather or the synthetic leather that we’ve seen in the past, Nike has gone with a synthetic translucent material that gives the shoe a little more give. Generally, the tongue is made out of the same material that the upper is made out of but here they have chosen a Flyknit material.

The Flyknit is soft, malleable and fits right around the feet. You can also see padding on the inside of the tongue to reinforce a soft feeling. This is the first time where the zoom is stitched directly on the upper instead of being set into the foam. The KD 12 has traditional laces and aids in securing the feet.
For a men’s size 13, this shoe weighs in at 1.9 pounds or 860g which is lightweight for a basketball shoe. The choice of a mesh upper instead of a knit contributes to its light weight. One reviewer mentioned that this shoe is a lot lighter than the Why Not 2.

Read more about best running shoes for women with wide feet.
Mesh is usually more breathable than knit and even works to hold the front of your feet securely. The tongue is plush and thickly padded which prevents the lace pressure from hurting the foot. However, many reviewers did not like the sweatband material behind it as it soaks up the sweat and keeps the tongue moist.
Cushioning is the highlight of this shoe and you will feel like you’re bouncing on the floor. With the air zoom unit in place of the Strobel board, you will feel like you’ve been wearing it all the time. The thinned down insole also helps this purpose which is quite unique from other basketball shoes which have padded insoles. With the heel being double stacked and a hex-zoom unit underneath it, the impact protection on your feet is amazing.
The shoes arrive in a plain brown box which is a departure from the colorful packaging. With a Virgil-esque appeal, the box displays KD’s name in the front, his logo, the number 12 to signify his 12th signature shoe, and his signature at the back. One design addition that we enjoyed is the perforated Nike logo on the box, unlike the printed Nike swoosh. There are two heel flags with Kevin Durant’s name on one and 12th Edition on the other.

The colorways are 90's inspired as Kevin Durant grew up in that decade and wanted to bring a touch of his history and personality. There are many color options which are always great and there are enough options to appeal to unique personalities. They include White, University Red/White-Black, Black/White-Black, White/Wolf Grey-black, Multicolor, Black/Cool Grey-Anthracite and Blue Gaze/ Blue Tint.
Durability hasn’t been the strongest point for the previous few KD shoes and this shoe does not seem to change that equation. The outsole rubber was chosen to be kept thin to bring the ‘broken-in’ feeling which may affect its longevity.

The shoe is extra durable around the toe to keep you from scraping your shoe. One runner commented that the outsole heel frayed out after playing outdoors a couple of times. So to increase the life-span of these shoes, we would recommend that you wear this shoe only indoors.
The KD 12 features padding on the heel which helps protect your Achilles and gives you extra comfort. Nike has also inset the heel cup a little to give extra stability. The shoe fits true to size for narrow to normal feet but we would recommend you go up half a size for wider feet.
A double-stacked version of the zoom unit provides responsiveness on the heel which is useful when you’re running up and down a court or when you’re landing on your heel. Although you will not get much of a response at the toe, the full zoom unit will provide rebound energy.
A lot of runners didn’t have a lot of expectations in terms of support with the shoe being lightweight and the previous KD’s absence of supportive elements. The KD did not perform very well in terms of support as it was too flexible to keep the foot in place. But this shoe is quite a supportive shoe and can be compared to the Kobe 360.

The outsole doesn’t have an outrigger and the base is not that wide but it is quite flat. This will help a lot of shooters who prefer a shoe with a nice stable base. The heel containment on this is also really good and the plush material keeps the ankle protected. Even though there are no wings, the protruding outsoles act as a lateral outrigger.
Considering Kevin Durant’s popularity, the KD line of shoes are worn by fans all across the world widely outside the court. They are a popular choice for streetwear and since this version is quite light, it can be worn casually to enhance the look of your outfit. But keep in mind not to overdo it as these kinds of shoes have strong ankle supports which can gradually make your ankles weaker.

As for the court, the KD 12 has enough support, responsiveness, and comfort to be worn by players in all positions. One criticism is that dusty courts can reduce the grip of the outsole, so these are best worn on indoor courts.
Many fans of the KD line wondered why the price remained the same as the KD 11 despite not retaining the Flyknit upper. This decision was a joint one taken by Kevin Durant and the shoe designer L Chang who wanted a broken-in feeling for the shoe. And since Flyknit is thicker in comparison and mesh has better break-in properties, the latter was chosen.

You can also see a full-length articulated zoom unit which is a standout feature to give maximum responsiveness. Most other shoes feature a small zoom at the toe box or midsole only. All in all, this shoe is priced in line with all the other KD shoes and is quite worth it considering the amazing comfort.
While we cannot say that shoe has elite traction, it is enough to prevent your feet from sliding underneath you. One runner remarked that he didn’t feel very confident on a dusty court but its performance improved with usage.

These are designed to be indoor basketball shoes with not many diverse areas of usage. We would not recommend wearing this shoe while running on the pavement or marathon runs as it would not give you confidence for a stable run. Another complaint is that due to the narrow grooves on the outsole, this shoe ends up gathering dust and debris at the bottom. To maintain its traction, you will have to wipe them off regularly.
While you wouldn’t want the shoe to be too flexible as this is not a running shoe, you will still be able to glide around the court with the KD 12. The shoe prioritizes giving wearers a broken-in feel and thus has removed most of the stiffer and stronger elements. The shoe uses materials that can adjust to the shape and the feel of your foot. Flyknit is soft, malleable and wraps right around your foot. The grooved outsole helps with the traction but also makes movement smooth.
Being a basketball shoe, limiting movement within the shoe is important to prevent injuries. Nike has introduced a four-axis fly-wire underneath the translucent upper that tenses up your foot the more you move so you have a ‘lockdown’ feeling. The quad-axle Flywire is a new way of implementing Flywire to support you in all 4 directions- up, down, front and back, diagonal left to right and vice versa. This keeps your foot super stable no matter what kind of moves you have to make and keeps it locked down.
While no information has been released regarding this shoe’s drop, we can assume that it will be similar to the previous editions. From photos of the shoe, we can guess that it has an 8mm drop. The drop has never been a priority for the KD line of shoes and the focus has been placed on responsiveness and stability.
Key Features
-Full-length Zoom Air unit
-Hinged Flyknit tongue
-Synthetic lightweight mesh upper
-Perforated Phylon outsole
-Multiple colorways

Bottom Line
If you’ve been a fan of Kevin Durant’s line over the years, you would know that his shoes constantly change- sometimes they’re high, sometimes they’re low or they have straps. With this version, they are redesigning the entire shoe with the removal of the Strobel board being the biggest change. The Strobel board is where your foot is placed inside the shoe. Inspired by KD’s desire to have shoes that feel broken in as soon as they are worn, you can see a thinner insole and a full-length zoom air.

One gripe with the shoe was that a description of the quad-axis Flywire was printed on the shoe which takes away from the stunning aesthetic of the shoe and seems like a marketing push. Traction also is not its strongest point but most fans are okay with this considering the plush feel of the shoe.

A lot of runners had issues with not feeling the zoom in other Nike KD models but you can definitely enjoy the feel in these. The shoe is fluid and responsive enough to meet the basic needs of all positions on the court.
Where to Buy
By Abbie Copeland
Last updated:
Where to buy
Best offer on: Jul. 30. 2021

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