The 2015-16 NBA season isn’t close to being finished yet, but we already know what Kevin Durant’s signature sneaker for next year is going to look like. The Nike KD9 introduces a couple firsts to Durant’s eponymous line and Nike Basketball. Here, the player and the sneaker’s designer Leo Chang break down everything you need to know about the Nike KD9, which releases on June 20.
5 Things You Need to Know About the Nike KD9
Kevin Durant and Leo Chang break down their latest sneaker.
This is the first time Flyknit is making it’s way to a Nike KD.
Kobe Bryant was the first to bring Flyknit to basketball. Durant says he was actually jealous that Bryant got to play in Flyknit first, and always wanted it in a KD since 2012.
“Once I seen the [Kobe 9] I was like, ‘Wow. We could really do this,’” Durant said. “They presented this shoe to me last summer, along with the new Zoom bags. So it just worked out well.”
A new Nike Basketball cushioning unit debuts in the Nike KD9.
The KD9’s visible, tapered Zoom Air unit that runs from heel to toe took over three years to develop. The cushioning unit is 16 millimeters thick at the heel and narrows down to 10 millimeters at the forefoot.
“We increased the amount of Zoom and decreased the amount of foam,” Chang said, adding they looked at the cushioning found in the Nike KD6 Elite as a jumping off point. “If you guys play in Zoom, you’re going to feel more of that bouncy springing sensation that you like.”
The designer also said the flex grooves are a point of differentiation from previous cushioning systems.
The KD9 is worth more than it will actually retail for.
At $150, the KD9 will retail for $30 less than its predecessor, the Nike KD8. “You get a $250 shoe for like $150,” Durant said. “That’s a great bargain right there.”
You won’t see Kevin Durant wear this sneaker until the Olympics.
“For the Playoffs, I got my Elites. I’ll wait ‘till the Olympics to wear these,” Durant said referring to the Team USA PE of the KD9.
The plastic tab on the heel with the KD logo is a nod to Durant’s newfound love of photography.
You might have spotted Durant at press row during the Super Bowl snapping photos. Durant first got into photography while he was injured last season.
“I couldn’t play ball. I couldn’t walk. I was on a scooter for like eight weeks. I was just figuring out what I like to do outside of playing basketball. I was at a crossroad. All I did and all I could do is enjoy playing basketball. I always enjoyed photos though,” Durant said. “I started taking some on my iPhone and my iPhone turned into a drone. That drone turned into a camera. And now I’m at the Super Bowl taking pictures. It’s crazy where a thought can get you. It gives me a new perspective on staying in the moment and enjoying where you are.”
Chang paid tribute to this by making the texture on the back of the shoe similar to that of a DSLR camera.