The KD X is the tenth signature shoe for Kevin Durant with Nike. The 10th KD shoe aims to follow up with the KD 9’s massive leap in performance. It features Nike Flyknit on the exterior and full-sized Zoom Air on the in-sole. On this KD 10 performance review, we will go over the materials used, cushioning and quality, overall fit, traction, foot support, and lastly, durability (since the shoe has been out for a while now).
— This is strictly a performance review on the KD 10. For more on whether it is a step up from the KD 9, check out our 9 vs. 10 comparisons here
Almost the entirety of the KD 10’s exterior has Flyknit on it. I personally love Flyknit, so with it all over the shoe, I fell in love with the KD 10’s overall design. It looks incredibly modern, and I found I enjoy more of the colorways of this shoe than others, primarily because of Nike’s Flyknit usage.
The tongue and collar of the shoe are completely Flyknit. Because the material is so soft and flexible, putting on the shoe became much more accessible than previous KD shoes. I wouldn’t worry about tearing the tongue either since Flyknit is very durable and malleable. Like the Kobe 11, the Nike KD 10 is instilled with thermoplastic polyurethane plastic, which helps keep the shoe as durable and flexible as it is. The thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and Flyknit combined feel ultra-comfortable.
If you are a fan of Nike’s Max Zoom Air, you are in luck because the KD 10 has it in full length. The KD 9 also had full-length Zoom Air, and it has proven itself to be incredibly comfortable to play in. It helps because of both its bounciness and its responsiveness to on-court movements. I have found myself admiring the KD 9’s Zoom Air because of its ease on my knees when I jump.
The Zoom Air on the KD 10 shoes are noticeably firmer, but after a few games of play, it broke into game shape pretty admirably. I will go out on a limb here and suggest that maybe Nike exited the firmness on its Air unit as a response to the numerous cases of popped KD pairs (here’s one example). After several months of usage, my original “Anniversary” KD X shoes from the release date still hold up well, and the Zoom Air bubble has not popped. Of course, I take care of my shoes and store them at a cool location away from the sun, so take note of that.
Fit and foot support
I am a typical wide-footed basketball player, and the KD 10 is a bit of a full shoe. I went right to size when I preordered my first pair back when it released, and thankfully I did since it gives me an excellent fit. However, for most people, I would recommend maybe going a half size down.
One of my favorite things about KD’s shoes has always been foot lockdown since they typically conform very well to my feet and are simply lace-and-play. With the KD 9’s, a lockdown was on point from heel to toe. All I had to do was lace up moderately tight and then play. With KD X’s, though, a lockdown was not to my satisfaction. The flexibility on the Flyknit + TPU material makes this one of the most comfortable basketball shoes to wear for hours on end. But it comes with a downside, and that is the lack of consistent foot lockdown while playing. It wasn’t the heel part that kept slipping, but more toward the middle and front of the shoe. I noticed as I made hard cuts or sudden shifts from sprinting into a catch and shoot position, that my footing was never wholly in place when I went for my shot. I would attribute this to the pliable mid-section of the shoe.
Luckily, you probably won’t feel it if you are a more significant player since most likely, you won’t be doing the same sudden sprints and stops for a jump shot that a guard such as myself would do. Also fortunate is the fact that KD’s shoes usually have one of my favorite lacing systems. You can lace it up relatively tight and still feel comfortable due to the Flyknit make of the KD 10’s. The KD 9 had better foot lockdown, but the KD 10’s are not deal-breakingly bad that you should not buy them.
I will start this section by saying the traction is not all that great. The traction grip pattern looks pretty damn cool, but the durability of the rubber compound on the bottom is questionable. My “Anniversary” KD 10 still looks ready for gameplay, but the traction is noticeably past its prime. I can even comfortably play in them without fear of slipping, but the adhesion has been better in previous iterations.
I have also listened to some performance reviews of the KD 10’s by a few of my basketball friends. They’ve noted the traction is better suited for outdoor use, but since I don’t play outdoors, I cannot confirm this myself. As an indoor shoe, though, the traction can be better. Look for Kyrie shoes (Kyrie 4 review here) if you are interested in better traction for a fraction of the price.
I had already covered this a little bit in the respective sections above, but it is worth mentioning the durability of the KD 10’s in their entirety. I preordered my first pair back in May 2017 when it first released, and this KD 10 performance review was first published before February of 2018. That would mean we are closing in, but not yet at, a full year of frequent basketball use. Believe me, although I play in a variety of different shoes, I do plenty of training and pickup sessions throughout my weeks that each pair gets a significant amount of playing time.
The first part I’d like to discuss is the structure of the shoe, particularly the Flyknit material. It has held up well, meeting my expectations of the content. It has remained ultra stretchy and continues to be a favorite in the shoe.
The second part is the sole. It had deteriorated quite a bit, offering less traction than when I first broke the shoe in. However, it hasn’t “gone bald,” and I do not expect it to for at least another few months of the same rate of usage. Nike basketball shoes are just made of too good of material to lose full traction that quickly.
Nike KD X Review: Conclusion
The KD X has been released in so many different colorways; it should be reasonably easy to get one on sale.
In total, I think I still prefer the KD 9 to these, but they are still worth purchasing if you have never tried KD shoes before. If you were on a budget and already had the KD 9, making the upgrade to the KD X is something I wouldn’t recommend. That is based solely on buying value. The improvements from KD 9 to KD 10 are not significant enough to warrant an entirely new purchase, especially if you already enjoy the KD 9’s enough.
But if you have yet to try a Nike KD shoe, this is a good entry point. The Flyknit material is exceptionally flexible, stylish, and comfortable while proving to be quite durable despite my frequent abuse of the pair. Also, Zoom Air is bouncy and responsive once it is broken in. Aesthetically, this is also probably my favorite of the entire series.
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