Review Time. The Nike KD IV “Year Of The Dragon”
I love performance shoe reviews. This go around it’s the Nike KD IV. I was fortunate enough to snag the “Year Of The Dragon” editions but I had to pay above retail. Been a while since I spent more than $100 on shoes that weren’t Jordans, but seeing as these may one day aid me in juking the sh*t out of some walkers, I took the plunge. And I’m definitely pleased I did. Keep in mind that I just bought these, so this review may be updated if anything changes drastically over time. First off, big shoutout to Kevin Durant for winning his third scoring title in a row. That’s tough to do in today’s NBA league full of high flyers and offensive juggernauts. Secondly, the Durantula needs to get a ton of praise for explicitly stating that he wanted the designers at Nike to make a high quality basketball shoe with a price point under $100. Top paid athlete caring about the people who buy his stuff? Definitely something that should become a trend.
Traction: Although the translucent outsole on this offering looks to be aesthetic, it’s actually Nike’s X-tra Durable Rubber technology. The XDR means players can use this indoors or outdoors, without having to worry about premature wear. Big plus for folks like me who play ball outdoors most of the time when indoor courts aren’t available. The shoe definitely grips very well and I could make cuts pretty easily without any slippage. I would have preferred a closer herringbone pattern on the bottom, but that’s a minor visual detail because the traction is definitely on point.
Construction: The KD IV does away with leather for the upper and instead rolls with Hyperfuse material. This synthetic construction helps to prevent scuffs and ugly creasing while still staying lightweight. At first the Hyperfuse upper felt almost too thin, but there’s no doubt that it’s rugged. The middle panel of the shoe is vented but the vents are covered with a rubberized material to prevent debris from getting in. No word on if the vents repel water, but I suppose I’ll find out sooner or later.
The Adaptive Fit strap is a one piece design that’s sewn into the upper. Although the strap looks a bit high, it does a good job in locking the foot down. Users not used to straps might find some comfort issues with Adaptive Fit however, as the strap pulls from underneath the arch of the foot. You may have to adjust the strap a few times during play while the shoe fully breaks in as well. Zoom Air is in the forefoot, providing a responsive feel. The downside is that there’s no Zoom Air in the heel. While Phylon foam doesn’t suck by any means, I would have liked to see the Zoom Air or Lunarlon on the rear portion of the latest Durant shoe. Nonetheless, it was still cushy enough for my liking.
Fit: Some reviewers have found painful areas, or “hot spots” on the pinky toe of the shoe due to KD’s unique foot shape. I have somewhat of a wide foot with stubby toes, so I didn’t find the fit to be an issue. However, those with more normal foot shapes might notice a bit of squeezing on the small toe when the shoe flexes. The shoes fit me great, but didn’t necessarily have a glove-like fit that the Kobe shoes of past have. The insoles also don’t cup the heel as deeply as the Kobe V or Kobe VI’s do either. The rear Achilles area broke in within a day, with no chafing issues or rubbing on the Achilles area. Definitely a good thing since Summer is fast approaching and it’s ankle socks and shorts season! Due to the shape of the shoe, make sure you try these on before buying.
Durability: Here’s a closer look of the Hyperfuse material. You’ll avoid scuffs and ugly creases, but after multiple wears some creases are still going to show. I’d have to say these might be my new party shoes as they can withstand more than a few drunken stumbles and spilled drinks. You don’t have to worry about any paint cracks like some retro Jordans either. The entire shoe is colorfast. Some heavier wearers might see some creasing on the Phylon midsole area pretty quickly, but nothing too noticeable.
Overall: 8.5/10. With the funky stylings, nice colorways, and durable construction, this shoe should definitely be in your closet if you navigate in outdoor basketball courts or a metropolitan area. While I would have liked the hexagonal material used in Kobe V/VI shoes in the tongue to provide a little more breathability and full length Zoom Air or Lunarlon in the midsole, Nike scores big with this shoe that can be had for around $95. For that price, it’s actually cheaper than the Hyperdunk, both the hightop and lowtop versions. Can’t say that about many signature shoes from Nike sponsored athletes. Keep an eye out for a potential scoring title edition as well.