Performance Review: Nike KD VI

Overview: In general, the KD VI is an awesome shoe in terms of aesthetics, but not really a great shoe to play in. A lack of lockdown makes for a poor fit, while firm cushioning underwhelms in the way of comfort and offers next to no energy return.

From a composition standpoint, the Nike KD VI is really a minimal shoe, showcasing top of the line technology in a lightweight, bare bones manner. Its technical mainstays of two-layer Flwyire and forefoot Zoom Air back that. While the result is an incredibly lightweight basketball shoe for all, those attributes sacrificed fit and comfort in a major way.

When discussing design, the KD VI takes a lot of risks, namely the split tongue construction. Aesthetically, the results are pretty radical, but from a performance standpoint I wasn’t feeling it. An asymmetrical design doesn’t really influence fit, but its two-part construction made it very difficult to achieve a snug fit throughout the shoe. Yes, the incredibly thin tongue is light and breathable, but it makes for little-to-no protection against the laces when the shoe is tied tightly. The immediate result is discomfort due to the lace pressure. Ultimately, a loose fit results because the foot is constantly pushing against the knot.

A low-top look is really nothing new in performance basketball. Where the KD VI differs from say the Kobe line is that the midsole feels as if its built more for support than speed. For being a lightweight shoe, the KD VI is incredibly sturdy. With that said, I never felt fast in KD VI like other low top contemporaries.

All in all, I love the design of the Nike KD VI, I just don’t like playing in them. The lack of lockdown proved the fundamental flaw on this pair for. From a casual standpoint, I really like the KD VI. They look great on the foot and the push the envelope. Off the court, I’ll continue to wear them, but these won’t remain in my basketball rotation.

Years from now when looking at the Nike Basketball archives, I believe the KD VI will stand out for its unique and daring design much like the Air Worm or the Hyperflight. Still, the shoe just doesn’t get it done on court. Poor fit matched with a lack of flexibility and comfort make the model a frustrating wear when playing. The aesthetic aspects redeem the KD VI for casual wear and continue Nike’s long history of innovation.

For the guard on the run, the lockdown issues make the KD VI a poor choice. For the big man on the block, I think these would feel too light and low to play in the paint. While I don’t personally plan on playing in the KD VI again, that’s not to say that some might not like them. Players looking for a shoe that is lightweight, low to the ground and supportive may like the KD VI. I could see the methodical swingman, like Kevin Durant, enjoying the super light support and firm shooting base that the KD VI offers.

The Nike KD VI is available now at Nike.

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