The KD 9 comes after, what I felt, was a very disappointing shoe in the KD 8. The first time I ever laced up the KD8 one of the eyelets broke on me and Nike gave me the runaround on getting a replacement … I was less than pleased. Anyway … on to the review.
Nike went with a solid rubber outsole that looks suspect at first glance, I really questioned how good this traction would be. I couldn’t have been more wrong … the traction on the KD9 performed nearly flawlessly. The performance on these wasn’t quite on par with the 28’s (still my no.1 performance choice) but I left the gym with no complaints. Also, these held up just fine on some of the dustier courts we played on, give ’em a quick wipe down and you’re good to go!
Cushion / Impact Protection
One thing to always keep in mind when you read reviews … all the people providing reviews are a different size. The cushioning setup that works for me might not work for you. I’m 6’3 and weigh around 240 lbs (college football and lots of lifting) so I’m generating some force when I jump, cut, etc. so I need something with plenty of cushion and impact protection. Nike went with an articulated max zoom setup in the KD9 and it’s AWESOME (this is light-years better than the zoom setup on the 8’s)! You feel the energy return with each step and you’re given some solid impact protection in the heel and ball of your foot. This setup also provided solid court feel. This setup is very similar to the Lebron X but provides a better court feel and a bit more flexibility given the shoes articulated setup.
Quality / Value / Sizing
Nike went with a flyknit setup for the KD9 and, in my opinion, this is the best flyknit iteration to date. My only gripe is the last they used to build the shoe … if you’re not a wide-footer I’d suggest going down a 1/2 size. Another thing to note … this shoe is a PAIN to get on!
Anyway, back to the quality and value of the shoe. The KD9 retails for $150 and even at that price this shoe is a solid deal, it’s an elite performer on court that most any guard/wing player can appreciate. If you’re willing to do a bit of searching you can find these online and in outlets for anywhere from $60 (give or take) to $100 (depending on colorway).
Sizing on these is a bit tricky … I suggest going true to size or down a half size if you have a narrow foot. This is definitely a shoe you’re going to want to try on in-store. I had a difficult time getting good lockdown around my ankle and found myself constantly re-tying my shoe. I wish I had gone down a half size (I wear a 13, wish I had opted for a 12.5).
My only gripe on this shoe was the fit around the ankle, I just couldn’t get it tight enough. Don’t let that scare you off, the shoe provides awesome lockdown and I always felt one with the court when I was playing in them. Traction is awesome on clear or dusty courts and cushioning is some of the best I’ve played in. Next time you’re at the mall or the outlets keep an eye out for a pair … you won’t regret it!