Since its 2014 introduction, Kyrie Irving’s signature line has become known for a handful of things—most notably, its affordability. Ranging from $110 for the first model, to $130 for the most recent, it’s been on the low end of the signature sneaker range.
It’s also been known for its popularity. In 2017, according to then-Nike Brand President Trevor Edwards, Irving had “the top-selling performance basketball shoe in the marketplace.” Irving’s championship heroics undoubtedly contributed to that popularity, but there’s little debate that the price has also factored into why it could be found on so many courts.
One thing that it hasn’t been particularly associated with, however, is innovation. The line has performed from “good” to “great” on court by utilizing tried and true designs and tech. The most notable thing it has brought to the hardwood—its highly radiused outsole—has actually come at the expense of cushioning. The line’s Zoom Air has been delegated to the heel, where its effectiveness is minimized—instead utilizing foam in the forefoot with varying degrees of success (pretty good in the Kyrie 2 and Kyrie 4, pretty bad in the Kyrie 3).
So that the Kyrie 5 actually introduced new tech in the form of the articulated Air Zoom Turbo unit is notable not only for its innovation, but its unique solution to a problem the signature line created itself—all while maintaining a relatively affordable price point. Does it actually work though?