From an aesthetic standpoint, the KD 8 was not a shoe that reached out and grabbed me. I feel that it is a sneaker that, from a looks standpoint, blends in the tapestry of basketball shoes out today. However, this is a not a fashion blog and a beautiful shoe that does not perform will do you no good on the court. So taking my personal thoughts on the look of the KD 8 aside, I shall proceed with the review.
As a lower collared shoe, fit ,along with stability, is one of the ways it must excel in order to provide the adequate support in the ankle area. Contrary to popular belief, collar height has little bearing on a sneaker’s ability to prevent ankle injury. To be accurate, no shoe, regardless of collar height, can prevent those types of injuries. The KD 8 , as a lower collared sneaker excels from a fit perspective. The fit is very good, particularly at the forefoot, where the presence of flywire bolsters not only the fit but also in the support area (more on that later). It is quite noticeable once I slipped my foot into the shoe and it really shone once I took them to the court. The cables, which extends the first four eyelets on the lateral side and three on the medial, give the feel of enveloping the that area of the foot in complete lockdown without being bulky or restrictive.
The attention given to the forefoot fit does not mean the KD 8 slouches off in the other areas of fit; this is quite the contrary. Fit at the midfoot is very good and the internal heel counter, combined with the padding at the heel, helped to keep my heel locked down in place.
The KD8 is playable right out of the box. The Flyweave upper needed little break in time. The material is , according to Nike’s description, is more flexible on some areas and stronger in others. It worked with the aforementioned fit elements not only to provide a high level of fit but also moved with my foot. It is an upper that just feels good to play in. Additionally, the upper manages to be flexible while also holding its share and providing lateral support. The presence of the flywire helps in this aim, but this is true of the overall upper. The KD 8 is able to do this without any overlays which adds weight to the shoe.
A Phylon midsole that sits atop a full length Zoom Air bag takes care of the cushioning responsibilities. Initially the Phylon severely muted the feel of the zoom air; it was the sneaker equivalent of having a body part that “fell asleep” and goes numb, although you can perceive its presence you cannot feel it. The Phylon seemed to break in on my third wearing and that allowed more of the cushioning benefits of the Zoom bag to shine through and provide the responsive cushioning synonymous with the technology, which made wearing the KD8 a much more pleasant experience.
The KD8’s outsole features a solid rubber that has very large sections of herringbone in the forefoot and heel area. I found the 8 provided solid traction right out of the box. This came as somewhat as a shock, considering the width of the herringbone combined with the stiffness of the rubber(which will also lend it to outdoor usage), as I expected those aforementioned qualities to hinder the shoe’s ability to adequately grip the floor. In my time of playing in the KD 8, I only experienced one instance of slippage.
The KD 8 is a shoe that is very enjoyable to play in. It offers outstanding fit, good support and stability and traction and cushioning that do their jobs. The KD 8 is a shoe that can fit a variety of playing styles for most perimeter oriented players. While the midfoot flexibility and subdued cushioning are not what I would term performance positives, they are definitely something I would categorize as deal breakers. These may not fit the bill for big fellas or those who crave maximum flexibility and cushioning feel.
Nike KD 8
Color way Tested:
Weight: oz ( in a size 11)
Pros: Excellent fit (particularly in the forefoot area); excellent support and stability
Cons: midsole starts off a bit stiff; the “numbed” feel of the Zoom-Air