Nike Zoom KD IV - Away

The Nike Zoom KD IV

Introduction

Over the past few weeks, the Nike KD line has made a big splash among sneaker collectors with releases of two extremely limited color schemes of the fourth Kevin Durant signature shoe – the green colored “Weatherman” and multi-colored “Nerf.”  So far, the line has delivered on the performance end, but last year saw an expansion in both signature touches throughout the design of the shoe, as well as limited releases (including the Christmas, All-Star, and EA Sports editions).  This year, the simple shape of the shoe has been updated with a Hyperfuse upper and the return of a strap (last seen on the KD II), entitled the Adaptive Fit system.  With Championship expectations for Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder, this version of the KD may be seen on the NBA Finals stage.  A Christmas treat for our readers and supporters, the fourth version of the Nike Zoom KD hopes to bring joy on the court.

What may mark a upswing in popularity for the line, the much anticipated Nike Zoom KD IV looks to continue the exception performance for one of the best in the NBA.  The features include the following:

  • Hyperfuse construction for light weight performance
  • Adaptive Fit velcro strap
  • Cushioning provided by a Nike Zoom unit in the forefoot and Phylon midsole
  • 5/8 collar height for versatility
  • Rubber outsole with lighting bolt traction pattern and Kevin Durant personal details

Aesthetics and Styling

Last season, the KD III was full of personal details, observed mainly on the outsole, making it one of the most unique signature models in the Nike catalog.  This year, the designers have traded the leather and Flywire combination in favor of a seamless one-piece Hyperfuse upper.  Cushioning remains unchanged with a Phylon midsole and Zoom unit in the forefoot, while the Adaptive Fit strap adds some style and looks to bring a more tighter fit.  For our Performance Review, this Oklahoma City “Away” color scheme was chosen, but sneaker fans can look forward to some more eye-catching versions if the Weatherman and Nerf limited editions are any indication of what is to come.

Nike Zoom KD IV - Away

On the outsole, a slew of personal details defines Kevin Durant

From an aesthetic point of view, the KD IV has a narrow and sweep look from the side.  The long diagonally placed Adaptive Fit strap covers the top area of the shoe, ending at the collar and heel.  And because of the efficient use of materials, the shoe simply looks small and tight.  Lengthy and narrow through the midfoot, the contoured rubber outsole is where all the discreetly integrated personal details are found.  These details include the following:

  • “WORK HARD” and “STAY FOCUSED” at the medial midfoot
  • “WP” heart logo at the toe with “Barbara” and “TONEY MAN” alongside
  • “DESIGNED AND ENGINEERED TO THE EXACT SPECIFICATIONS OF Kevin Durant” at the midfoot
  • “SEAT PLEASANT” with stars on the heel and “BIG CHUCKY” on the back heel
  • “4” pattern ingrained throughout the traction pattern

For performance, a lighting bolt pattern covers the entire outsole, with four forefoot diagonal flex grooves.  A smooth outline covers the lateral side.  The outsole creeps up to form a toe cap and lateral outrigger, while the medial side has added traction in the form of simple vertical grooves.  At the midfoot, the contour is very dramatic, with a stiff plate sculpted to fit the area perfectly.  The heel area is made up of six flex grooves on a star pattern, with medial traction similar to the forefoot.  Completing the tightly constructed foundation is the Phylon midsole, running simply around the shoe above the outsole.  Extra thickness added at the heel, the midsole creeps up the lateral side, which has the faint “4” pattern from the outsole molded into the foam.

A simple smooth and brushed one-piece Hyperfuse upper replaces the usual leather in this version of the KD series.  The toe box area is made of the three layers with a reinforcement layer placed on the medial side.  A small stitched Nike swoosh logo sits at the throat line, which runs diagonally to the lateral side.  On the lateral side, the lighter layers of fuse are found, with a small patch found at the forefoot, while the quarter panel is made of nylon webbing.  A large velcro patch flares towards the heel and beneath the patch a plastic strip has the “4” pattern embedded in.  The medial side also has a nylon webbing quarter panel, but is covered by the shiny synthetic strap.  Stitched on the interior (on the foot bed), two hooks hold the strap on the medial side.  Rows of perforation holes line the strap which also has a large Nike swoosh logo.  On the underside of the strap, the “ADAPTIVE FIT” branding is printed and the velcro material cut with the lighting bolt design.  The last part of the medial side is simple an Orange Nike swoosh logo running across the heel.

A large plastic “kd” logo is pasted right in the middle of the fuse layered heel.  The Achilles support runs high, cupping at the top.  Along the collar, the 5/8th cut has very minimal padding, with lining coming in the form of a soft and silky synthetic material.  Also thin is the insole, with another “kd” logo printed on the heel.  This insole sits above the Adaptive Fit straps.

The lacing system for the KD IV is minimal, running at a slight diagonal.  Soft standard flat laces  run through five eyelets and a lace hoop.  The eyelet system includes reinforced layers of fuse material, as well as support from the Adaptive Fit strap on the medial side.  A single lace hoop is placed on the inside, before the final eyelet on the collar, which allows space for the strap to not interfere with the laces.  Last, a simple light weight, high rising mesh tongue, with the silky synthetic lining, sits with a lace holder under the shiny synthetic upper patch.  Cut at a diagonal, the pointy patch bears the “345” design.

Comfort and Fit

Staying true in all aspects to the Durant line, a slim and narrow opening does not leave much room for the foot to slide through.  Once strapped in, the fit is a snug true to fit.  Lace pressure is felt on the medial side, where the strap hooks reinforce the center 3 eyelets, while the Adaptive Fit strap completely holds down the foot.  Rigid and close, the Hyperfuse upper melds to the foot.  At the front, the toe box area is flat and there is little to no wiggle room.  Some may find crowding around the small toe area, but otherwise the fit is just very close.  Ankle support is light, with the ankles left exposed and the rear rising high enough to keep the Achilles protected.  The shoe feels very much like a low cut with soft support in the front and the rear coming from the tongue and Achilles support.  For the heel, the stiff counter holds well and lockdown is very good.  Cushioning is on the solid side, but the insole provides good comfort.  Because of the narrow fit through the center, arch support is excellent, and accentuated by the contours of the outsole.  The Zoom unit in the forefoot is very compact and solid, consistent with the solid feel at the heel.  Overall, a snug, supportive, and rigid fit can be expected from the KD IV .

Nike Zoom KD IV - Away

Snug and stiff, the Hyperfuse upper sits close, while the Adaptive Fit strap solidifies the fit

Performance

Out of the gate, the Hyperfuse upper and solid outsole require a slight break in period.  Hard spots around the upper are felt on the medial side where the strap hooks are stitched, as well as around the ankles, as the sharp pointy areas stand stiff.  In a static position, the contoured outsole does not sit flush on the court surface due to the curvature at the toe area and midfoot cavity.  With that, the shoe pushes forward and plays on the aggressive side.  Running is a bit stiff, with little flexibility around the upper.  However, the curvature of the outsole and tight grip around the midfoot, pushes the player forward on the forefoot.  As Durant himself is a player who plays on his toes, the responsiveness at the forefoot is clearly evident.  The Zoom unit, in this instance, is very responsive.  Flashing by an opponent with a first step and finishing at the hole or with a pull up is best performed with aggression.  And when playing face up, the responsiveness of the shoe allows for subtle fakes on the perimeter and quick abrupt movements.  In terms of the weight, the shoe is light, which is perfect while playing on defense.  The toe box area is flat, tight, and close to the court which makes lateral movement very quick.  Transiting to jumps is also very fast, with landings supported well by the thick Phylon midsole.  Quick, aggressive, and responsive the KD IV is an excellent performer for the offensive minded player.

With a Hyperfuse based upper, the designers have put a premium on stability.  Keeping the foot still and providing a responsive base is what the KD IV brings in terms of stability.  The rigid Hyperfuse upper, Adaptive Fit strap, and narrow fit do a great job of holding the foot in place with minimal materials.  This keeps the shoe light weight, while providing the necessary stability and support for a fast stop and start player.  Furthermore, the low profile forefoot to toe area, complete with a wide outrigger, keeps the foot from failing while moving or stopping laterally.  Complimenting the rigid upper, the foundation of the shoe is solid.  The Phylon midsole, compact Zoom unit, and midfoot plate bring responsiveness, but also keep the foot in place.  Even for the most active of players, there is little movement of the foot, if any at all, during play.

Traction performance for the KD IV is superb.  With the outsole not touching the court surface flush, due to the curvature at the toe area and cavity at the midfoot, there is plenty of grip for abrupt stops, while keeping exceptional responsiveness.  Moving laterally, the smooth outline around the sole aids in fluid movement, allowing the player to transition without feeling stuck in place.  The medial side provides extra traction through the vertical grooves, which grip well when bending low.  Tying everything together is the solid cushioning base, which is fit for aggressive and fast play.  Ventilation performance is satisfactory.  At times, the tight and close fit can lead to sweat build up especially on underside of the foot.

Conclusion

Last year, the KD III Christmas and All-Star versions arguably out shined the Kobe and Lebron lines in terms of color and flash.  On the court, the KD III was clearly in another class, out performing the two more highly touted models.  In the KD IV, the designers have continued the consistent performance.  The very snug and solid shoe is fit for fast and aggressive players looking for a light weight performer that has excellent traction and responsiveness.  Delivering in performance, this year, the KD IV also looks to be breaking through on the collector side with a slew high profile limited editions already released.  Fans who have not gotten their hands on the Weatherman or Nerf editions may be out of luck, but the Oklahoma City Away color scheme is available now at the Official Nike Online Store.

This shoe is comparable to:

Nike Zoom Hyperdunk 2011
Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011