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Aesthetically, Kevin Durant’s fourth signature shoe, the Nike Zoom KD IV, is arguably the best basketball shoe of the 2011-2012 season. The Adaptive Fit strap, the 5/8 collar and all of its head-turning colorways have combined to garner an incredible amount of interest for this Nike Basketball design. Does the KD IV’s performance capabilities match up with its aesthetic appeal? View our performance review on the Nike Zoom KD IV below to find out.

Nike Zoom KD IV early sketch

Lockdown: The Adaptive Fit strap is obviously the focal point of the KD IV when talking about its lockdown, and it works pretty well. Instead of simply placing a velcro strap on the outer shell of the shoe, Nike incorporated straps that are located in the arch area. So, when you pull on the strap to lock down your foot, the Adaptive Fit kind of conforms to your foot shape. It simultaneously grips the arch of your foot and tightens the laces, which gives the wearer a nice, locked down feel. In my time playing in the KD IV, the Adaptive Fit kept my foot tied down to the shoe, which helped with lateral and vertical stability. It’s always great to have oneness between your shoe and the foot, and the Adaptive Fit definitely aids that. The only thing I had a problem with is the locked down feel lessened the more I played in this shoe. It’s something that is minor, but I had to refasten it at times to get that ultimate locked down feeling I had when I initially laced it up.

Traction: The KD IV’s traction works pretty well. I didn’t have any problems with slipping or holding my ground while playing in it. It’s definitely not as good as herringbone traction, but it gets the job done. Herringbone traction was incorporated on the first three KD models, but the KD IV’s outsole features some sort of thunderbolt design. Also, if you look closely at the bottom of the KD IV, the borders of the outsole seem much smoother and without traction, but those are the areas where I actually felt the most grip in regards to stop-and-go moves, quickly changing directions and reacting on defense.

Cushioning: As with its predecessors, Nike incorporated full-length Zoom in the forefoot of the KD IV, and it possesses a lightweight Phylon midsole. One’s feet are obviously closer to the ground seeing that Nike Zoom is extremely thin but it seems as if the Zoom in the KD IV’s forefoot is non-existent at times. Cushioning in the KD IV seemed too dense and firm unlike the plush, soft landing surface I imagined it to feature. Yet, this is an area of the Nike Zoom KD IV that can be improved by the wearer. NikeiD actually gives the custom creator a choice between the lightweight Phylon midsole, which is incorporated in general release pairs or a more cushioned, plusher ride. I’m pretty sure the latter option would be better for those of you who covet a soft, plusher landing surface for the foot.

Nike Zoom KD IV rendering

Responsiveness: The Nike Zoom KD IV is, by no means, a bouncy, springy shoe, especially with the aforementioned setup it originally owns. Yet, as mentioned in the section above, the Nike Zoom KD IV’s iD sole option is probably the way to go in regards to responsiveness.

Support: Nike carried the TPU midfoot shank from the KD III to the KD IV, so this shoe has a very defined, supportive ride. As for the 5/8 collar, it wasn’t as stable and favorable as I expected. It actually caused quite a bit of discomfort in my first few wears of the KD IV, but as with most shoes, the KD IV felt more comfortable with more wears. I will say that it’s still not the most supportive and comfortable collar I’ve played in. An all-out high top or low top may be more pleasing to wearers in terms of ankle support too.

Breathability: In addition to being durable, I have noticed that most, if not all Fuse-based shoes are very breathable. The Fly Wade 2, Hyperfuse 2011 and the LeBron 8 PS all scored very high in the breathability section. Durant’s fourth signature is no exception. The KD IV’s breathable areas come in the form of the Fuse-based side panels, which are lined with a net-designed mesh layer. There is a nice amount of ventilation for the foot on the lateral sides, which also feature a small, forefoot screen as another area for air to seep through. The Adaptive Fit strap covers up the majority of the ventilated side panel on the medial side of the foot, therefore, in my times wearing this shoe, my foot felt more ventilated on the lateral side. Overall, I never had a problem with my feet sweating profusely after playing a lot of games in these.

Durability: Hyperfuse has, and continues to prove that it is Nike’s most durable, performance technology right now. The KD IV’s upper is primarily composed of Fuse, and it is very, very flexible too. It reminds me of the Jordan Fly Wade 2’s Fuse upper because it seems extremely thin yet sturdy. It undoubtedly retained its shape and is one of the few sneakers on the market today that doesn’t reveal a lot of scratches, slits and creases after multiple plays.

Nike Zoom KD IV early sketches
Nike Zoom KD IV Performance Review Scorecard

Overview: Kevin Durant’s fourth signature shoe is ideal for the player who covets a long-lasting, durable, breathable weapon to go to war with on court. It is definitely a perimeter-oriented sneaker, and its lockdown element definitely aids the player who uses quickness and speed as advantages on the court. The Nike Zoom KD IV is not the most comfortable and cushioned sneaker, but there are ways to customize that through NikeiD. While it’s not Nike’s best shoe on the market, the KD IV, priced at $95, is undoubtedly a great value.

Click the next page to see detailed images of the “Texas” Nike Zoom KD IV.

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