Much has been said and written about Oklahoma’s failed playoff campaign. In the Western Conference Finals the Golden State Warriors rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win the best-of-7 series against OKC. Consequently, the Thunder were dubbed “Chokelahoma” and, yet again, Kevin Durant’s hopes to win his first NBA championship were crushed. But being the unique athlete that he is, KD already left the disappointment behind and is focussed on his next challenges. These are the Rio Olympics and, of course, the upcoming 2016/17 NBA season. With the free agency in full swing and players shifting teams like crazy it’s still hard to tell how things are gonna play out. What we can be sure of though is that the Durantula will be ready like never before. And he has a new weapon: the Nike KD9. Durant’s latest signature shoe had been revealed back in March, but the superstar didn’t start wearing them until May. In Game 3 of the Conference Finals he wore them for the first time and the Thunder demolished the Warriors to take a 2-1 series lead. KD himself performed great in his new kicks, putting 33 points on the scoreboard in OKC’s blowout win. It wasn’t all about the shoes, of course. But you could tell that Durant feels very comfortable in his eighth Nike silhouette. So what is it that makes the KD9 special?
Kevin Durant’s game is all about fluidity. He has to be able to switch directions instantly and pull up on a dime. Previous Nike KDs sometimes came with a strap to lock down the forefoot. The biggest innovation on the KD9 is that it uses FlyKnit which makes the strap obsolete. Durant himself says the shoes feel like they’re molded to his foot. However, it’s not and the flexible FlyKnit ensures that you can have the same feeling. The upper features a distinct honeycomb structure knit with precision for multidimensional movement needed in basketball in general and specifically to support Durant’s lateral quickness. The FlyKnit locks down the forefoot while at the same time allowing the foot to move naturally. The efficient material use also allows for a lightweight built without compromising strength.
With the new cushioning the KD9 sees another debut. A full-length Zoom Air unit runs from heel to toe. It’s filled with fibers that compress upon each step and spring back explosively. Additionally, what’s special is that the the unit is tapered, measuring 16 millimeters of thickness at the heel and narrowing to 10 millimeters at the forefoot. This design provides maximum impact protection while amplifying the bouncy feel of Zoom Air.
So how about the traction? Like the upper the outsole features a honeycomb pattern. The anatomical flex groove is strategically placed in the forefoot to maximize natural transitions while heel notches add stability to lateral movements. With all these innovations the Nike KD9 reflects Kevin Durant’s evolution as a player. Durant is a player who moves a lot. He covers almost the entire basketball court and runs the equivalent of 15 marathons during an NBA season.
Exactly to cater to this kind of play the Zoom KD9 offers the perfect balance of support, comfort and responsiveness. Nike designer Leo Chang managed to improve on the feel of the KD8, which according to Durant was the perfect shoe for him so far (“They felt like I can fly”). So it was a tough challenge to make the Nine even better. “That’s what makes people great. They can do it over and over again,” is what Kevin Durant had to say in response of this achievement.
With Kevin Durant’s input into the design process we can expect some great colorways on the KD9. He’s known for telling great stories and the first few colorways (including USA and Oreo) already look pretty dope. Check out all the available Nike KD9 color options at KICKZ and get your pair(s) now!