KO Classic : Nike Air Kidd Original
After years of being with Nike, Kidd finally gets his first official shoe.
Jason Kidd is arguably the best point guard in the game today and yet Nike gives him a signature shoe that's little more than a cut-rate version of Gary Payton's shoe. What's a guy got to do to get some respect these days? by Professor K, posted November 30, 2001 The Nike Air Kidd is the most recent offering in Nike's MORF line, which includes the Nike Air Zoom GP III and Nike Air Pippen V. Because all of the shoes in the line use the same internal chassis (the chassis is what provides the cushioning and most of the comfort & fit properties, see our Air Zoom GP III review for more on the MORF concept) they provide nearly identical performance profiles. This means that if you like one, you'll like them all and, because they all share the same internal chassis (the only difference being the color of the chassis, the Air Zoom GP III's being grey, the Air Pippen V's being red and the Air Kidd's being blue) you can mix-and-match across the three. figure 1. Visible here is the outsole of the Air Kidd, which is identical in design to that of the Air Zoom GP III, but provides much better traction. Note also the toe-guard at the toe of the Air Kidd. This is a thoughtful feature that is unique to the Air Kidd in the MORF line and makes an already durable shoe even tougher. But, while the Air Zoom GP III and Air Pippen V at least show some visual differentiation in the design of their outer skins, the Air Kidd appears to be little more than a cheaper version of the Air Zoom GP III. The Air Kidd uses the same material and the exact same outsole design as the Air Zoom GP III, but lacks the Air Zoom GP III's nicer design elements. In an apparent attempt to make up for this, Nike has covered the Air Kidd in a garish screen-printed "design" that looks like a leftover from a Grateful Dead concert. There are, however, a couple of positive differences in the design of the Air Kidd's outer skin. First is the addition of material at the toe area where basketball shoes often see a lot of wear-and-tear. The extra material makes an already durable shoe even tougher and makes the Air Kidd a good choice for use outdoors. The second difference is in the outsole. Though the Air Kidd uses the same exact outsole design as the Air Zoom GP III, the rubber on the Air Kidd provides much better traction. While the Air Zoom GP III could get a bit slippery, the Air Kidd sticks to the court. figure 2. Here you can see the Nike Air Kidd with the inner chassis partially removed. Note that it is shown here with the inner chassis of the Nike Air Zoom GP III. The chassis that comes with the Air Kidd is royal blue. Aside from these differences, the Air Kidd is identical to its more elegantly styled and slightly more expensive kin, which is a good thing. Like the Air Zoom GP III and Air Pippen V, the Air Kidd provides very good cushioning at both the forefoot and heel and comfort & fit are both top notch. Ankle support is also very good thanks to the support structures that run the length of the inner chassis. But like its siblings, the Air Kidd also suffers from a weight problem. At 20.1 ounces, the Air Kidd is the lightest of the three MORF-based shoes, but it's still no featherweight. Bigger players may not notice the weight, but quicker guards almost certainly will. Though the Air Kidd is a very good shoe, given the number of excellent, non-weight challenged shoes available today, I couldn't say that the benefits of the Air Kidd outweigh (no pun intended) its weight penalty. figure 3. In addition to the outsole and basic design, the Nike Air Kidd employs the same pull-strap as the Air Zoom GP III. It's stitched on very well, which is a good thing because switching between MORF skins requires a lot of pulling and tugging. So, to sum up, the Nike Air Kidd is a very good all-around shoe that does well in the key areas of cushioning, comfort & fit and ankle support. It's very similar to the Nike Air Zoom GP III, but offers a slightly lighter and more durable outer skin that provides better traction. The Air Kidd also costs $10 less than the Air Zoom GP III or Air Pippen V, which is appropriate given that its outer skin shows less attention to detail. But even though the Air Kidd scores very well in the critical performance areas, the shoe's 20+ ounce weight makes it difficult to recommend. I also found it disappointing that Nike would put the name of a player as unique and dynamic as Jason Kidd on a shoe that displays neither of these qualities. Hopefully the company will deliver a shoe that better reflects Kidd's stellar on-court abilities in the coming years. Who's Worn It Jason Kidd (for the 2001 - 2002 season while he was G - Phoenix Suns)