The performance review for one of the best basketball shoes of 2021, the Nike KD 14, has arrived.
Traction for the KD 14 has been fantastic. I’ve been fortunate enough to test the shoe indoors and outdoors and they performed exceptionally well in every setting. I found the grip to be so reliable that I consider them my current go-to shoe — at least until my new pair of the Puma Clyde All Pro arrives.
While they might not be quite at that Air Jordan 1, Nike Kobe 9, or Air Jordan XX8 level of bite — the KD 14 is as reliable as any of the models on that list.
Cushion featured on the Nike KD 14 includes a full-length Zoom Air strobel and a Cushlon midsole.
The Cushlon is soft, bouncy and fairly responsive for being as soft as they are. It’s Zoom Air unit keeps the shoe feeling snappy under-foot rather than sluggish and the midsole isn’t too thick (you sit inside most of it despite how thick they look) so you end up with a plush ride that offers a spring-like effect with every stride.
This is one of those shoes that you can have a great time in indoors and outdoors. I never felt the concrete or blacktop when outdoors. Just a comfortable ride that felt like it cradled my feet in comfort.
Materials aren’t really my personal cup of tea, but from a performance standpoint they work and they work really well.
The build is much more supportive than last years KD 13 while still maintaining a lightweight feel. Break-in time is quick and the shoe just ended up feeling made for my foot after a short time. Again, these are a current go-to for me. I love everything about them.
The fit is a bit tricky. I was able to recently (after filming the video review) try on a pair of my usual size 9 and I wound up buying a brand new pair in a size 9.5, the same size as the pair I tested. When the KD 14 initially released, size 9 was nowhere to be found so size 9.5 was all that was available to me unless I wanted to go down 1/2 size.
Most KDs fit snug so I didn’t want to risk it. I won’t definitively say that going true to size is best, even though the size 9 fit as snug as I typically prefer, but the size 9.5 just felt perfect all around so that’s what I ended up with. I would highly recommend trying them on in-store if possible to avoid any potential issues.
Lockdown was fantastic. The build doesn’t stretch at all so I was secure from the ankle to the forefoot. The strap doesn’t really stay strapped all the time so that aspect was a bit useless, but it also didn’t bother me enough to stop playing in the shoe.
Support is pretty standard as far as modern Nike Basketball shoes are concerned.
A standard shank is in place along with an internal heel counter. As mentioned above, the strap is pretty useless, but the fit plays more of a role in the shoes support and in that sense they were great. The TPU sidewall helps keep you on the footbed which helps reinforce the soft Cushlon. Finally, the base of the shoe is wide and cradles the foot nicely.
The Nike KD 14 is one of my favorite basketball shoes of 2021 so far. Will they remain on top? Who knows. It’s only June so there’s still plenty of shoes yet to release. All I know is that the KD 14 provided me with great traction, great cushion, decent materials, solid fit and decent support. It’s a well-rounded all-around performer. These bad boys also made our best high tops for the year and our list of the shoes with the best ankle support.
The Nike KD 14 has some big shoes to fill. The KD 12 introduced the Zoom Strobel, while the KD 13 took it up a notch with an additional forefoot Zoom unit. This gave their users a low-to-the-ground, bouncy feel while also keeping their knees fresh enough for prolonged play. It would be a bummer if the progression of the line stopped there, and it looks like it’s not going to.
What’s in the video?
In the video, Chris provides detailed information from all the usual categories, providing the in depth information you need. He supplies expert level opinions on the materials, cushioning, traction, support, and fit. Here’s some of what he discusses:
- Reminiscent of Chris’s favorite KDs ever
- Traction pattern and design cues
- Removed tech with cushioning?
- Same insoles as the Kobe 6 and KD 13
- Cushlon foam
- Possible stabilizer plate issue
- Interesting aesthetics
- Four-layered upper
- “Slim Reaper” call out?
- Sizing recommendations
- Nike’s return policy
As an added bonus, Mrs. Wing teases their upcoming podcast and announces two giveaways for our Discord community members.
Let us know your opinion on the KD 14 on YouTube or Twitter.