After a very successful Nikey KD 12, the 13th model seems like it barely has areas to improve on. Same price, similar weight, near-identical tech specs, and even the silhouette itself is extremely reminiscent of the 12th.
Well, in this KD 13 review, I’ll be breaking down the shoe’s performance & comfort aspects, decide if it’s worth the price, detail the differences and improvements from the last model, and finally, recommending it for the most fitting players/playstyles.
Model: Nike KD 13
Weight: 14.32 oz / 409 g.
Retail Price: $150
Cushion: Full-length Zoom Air & forefoot Zoom Air unit
Best Offer On: Amazon | Finish Line
I. COMFORT & FIT
KD’s shoe releases are known to be quite narrow and compact, especially in the forefoot area – the KD 13 follows a similar construction to the 12th and it’s also just as narrow as Durant’s other signatures.
So just as for the KD 12, I went up half a size for these since I’m a wide footer and the fit feels extremely close to the last model. After I broke them in which really didn’t take too long (thanks to an upper with a lot of give), I achieved a very snug and condensed fit.
Though not in a bad way – some people prefer a more roomy fit with more space for your foot to operate it, some prefer a tighter, more snug fit like KD’s shoes bring. Regular/narrow footers will want to go true to size for a snug and condensed fit, and half a size up if you want the shoe to feel a bit less condensed and tight.
Comfort overall is nothing special but nothing bad either – I felt comfortable inside the shoe and never felt like it was lackluster in that area. Looks like there’s even more internal padding than on the KD 12 which is always awesome.
Due to the change in the upper, the shoe does feel secure and stable mostly but foot containment took a bit of a hit in the result.
During idle or lesser movements, my wide foot felt perfectly fine, I was extremely secure and stable, seems like the upper was holding my foot in place at all times. During more aggressive movements such as quick cuts, I did feel like my foot almost wanted to jump out of the footbed, which is not a cool feeling to have when you’re worried about the game at hand.
It’s nothing very major though – I never felt my foot slid out of the footbed completely or the shoe’s upper collapsed – it just felt like the upper is too flimsy and all over the place to properly hold me in place 100% at the time. My feet never escaped what it shouldn’t have but it’s still a bit bothering to have a feeling of insecurity during movements.
I think this is due to two things mainly: first, it’s the flimsy upper with more give than it should have during movements.
Second, it’s the way my foot sits inside the shoe – usually, for a narrow shoe like this one, you would sit pretty deep into the carrier, making your foot more secure and cupped around the frame since the shoe’s base is narrow to start, so you won’t be getting much stability from that.
On the KD 13, it almost feels like an unfinished job – I did feel my foot was somewhat inside the carrier but not to an extent where it could’ve felt much more stable and secure.
Overall though, I probably made it sound like it’s really bad – it’s not, as the sliding out feeling happens occasionally and on the quickest, hardest movements. Though that’s still something to keep in mind as it might bother some players more than others.
The shoe comes in several different outsole variants – there’s the translucent one, there’s a semi-translucent one and there’s the full-on solid rubber option.
I went with the solid rubber version of course, just to be safe and I wasn’t disappointed – the shoe offers fantastic traction that’s effective on pretty much all courts.
I would say the performance of the traction feels the same as on the KD 12’s translucent outsole option since I only tested that one. The KD 13’s outsole didn’t require to wipe them almost at all, I’ve played on a synthetic rubber court outside and on a wood court inside. Both scenarios brought great results, no complaints there.
As for outdoor durability, I do feel the same as for the 12th – I wouldn’t take these as my primary outdoor shoe since the rubber doesn’t seem very reliable. Even after a few games on a rubber court, I can see some chipping here and there on the sides but performance definitely hasn’t suffered yet.
This is once again more of the same from the Nikey formula – you can take these outdoors and they will play well for a while, just don’t expect to be it that way for too long.
The cushion setup on the KD 13 is full-length Zoom Air directly under your foot and an additional Zoom unit placed just under the full-length Zoom in the forefoot area.
It sounds awesome and it plays awesome. These are no joke, seriously – if you loved the setup on the KD 12, then this is pretty much that ALONG with even more bounce, softness, and more fun to jump around in these.
I’d call this a near-perfect setup, hell it might even be perfect for certain players. One of the rare occasions where the setup is balanced and versatile and doesn’t sacrifice any major elements pretty much every player is appreciative of.
The ride overall is silky smooth, it’s bouncy and it’s seriously comfy to play in, no matter the movement. Thanks to an extra Zoom unit in the forefoot, the forefoot area rarely feels as alive and springy as on the KD 13. Forget the usual dead feeling you get in the forefoot area on most hoop shoes today – the KD 13 delivers more than enough forefoot cushion without making it feel clumsy or slow.
Whether you’re a shooter, a quick guard, an explosive forward, whatever – this setup will get the job done and then some.
The support area is where some issues might occur for certain players. Let’s start with the good stuff first.
The shoe does have critical support features in place – you got your internal heel counter, the mid-cut ankle collar is pretty stiff and thanks to the extra plastic midfoot strap connected to the laces, tightening these up results in superb ankle & heel lockdown. There’s also a torsional plate implemented under the foot for torsional protection which is also nice and works well.
The slight issue is the overall foot containment I was talking about earlier. I don’t know what’s up with Nikey and the KD line, but it seems that we rarely get to see quality outriggers implemented to his shoes for proper lateral coverage. The KD 13 doesn’t have those either.
Pair that with the upper not holding your foot in sometimes along with the way your feet sit inside the shoe (which is kind of half-assed) and you might have some containment/stability issues at hand if you like to play aggressively.
I for sure like to play with force and driving to the hoop is my #1 weapon, and I felt like that was taken away from me or at least altered my intentions at times. Not saying all the time but it was enough to where I was thinking about it pretty often.
I mean you got a shoe that’s got a narrow base and your foot doesn’t sit deep inside the carrier. What could be done about that?
Place proper outriggers on the lateral areas of the shoe. Implement some kind of internal webbing system to hold the foot. Reinforce the upper with TPU or something to make it more sturdy. Put a cage inside the shoe to handle the load for containment.
You can see that many things could’ve been done to correct the issue but I feel like they were overlooked due to either making the shoe still retail at $150 or keeping the shoe’s weight in check along with mobility.
I don’t know why exactly some of this stuff wasn’t thought of but from a pure user’s perspective, I’d say there’s room for improvement here. Or maybe just go back to the KD 12 and go from there.
V. BUILD & MATERIALS
The upper is pretty much made of a soft synthetic textile along with some stitch work on certain areas for durability.
I’m not mad at this setup – I am totally a performance-first guy when it comes to basketball shoes and the upper didn’t bother me. It’s still comfortable enough to not be thinking about it, breathability won’t be that good though since it’s all one-layer synthetics.
The upper requires virtually zero time to break in as it’s really soft and flexible. So for any wide footer, this eases up the process and helps us out.
For $150 though, this is far from premium and doesn’t look too durable. Plus, that containment issue is likely partly due to the flimsy upper, so I would surely have to give the edge to the KD 12 in this area.
I don’t see any chippings or frayings on the upper thankfully but don’t expect these to hold up well if you’ll be wrecking them outside.
I don’t see this upper worth this price tag but since the rest of the shoe is awesome, it could be justified I guess.
I liked the Nike KD 12 and I liked the KD 13 as well. However, I feel like some steps were taken forwards while some were taken backward, which seems to be common these days in the performance basketball market.
The shoe is absolutely fantastic in almost any area, it’s extremely versatile and meant to be played with many different players. Its cushion setup is one of the best EVER, traction’s great, the shoe is comfortable.
The containment scenario is something to think about before getting these. The $150 price tag is not too bad when you think about it – for that amazing Zoom setup and great traction, I think the price is justified even despite the little hiccup.
If you’re someone who doesn’t rely on driving and throwing yourself around hard on the court – the KD 13 is definitely a viable option to check out. Otherwise, sticking with the KD 12 will be the safer bet.
Grab the KD 13 on:
Why Amazon or Finish Line? Click to find out!
I’ve been ordering a solid 70%-80% of my hoop shoes from Amazon and can confidently say it’s almost always the most trustworthy and convenient option to buy your shoes.
Yes, it’s great to find the shoe you’re looking for on an original retailer such as Nike or Adidas but the reality is a bit different – a lot of times, especially for shoes older than 1-2 years, it’s a very small chance you’ll find the shoe or better yet find it in your size & color.
You’ll mostly find the latest releases directly from the brand’s store but the period is usually pretty short until they’re out of stock.
This is where Amazon comes in.
Amazon is not strictly one retailer giving you the products, it’s a whole chain of thousands of different sellers, all supplying different products, including basketball shoes. You will mostly find more color and size options on Amazon for your desired shoe than on an original retailer or even a general sporting goods store.
Sure, there will be exceptions where Amazon won’t have a particular shoe but that’s on the rare side.
And the best part is the pricing – you can find older shoes and at times new shoes priced under retail, sometimes at crazy low prices, which is something you’ll never see on Nike.com, adidas.com, and other retailers (except during discounts/sales of course).
To sum things up and give you a generalized idea of why Amazon beats other stores more often than not, I’ve compiled a shortlist of the most notable advantages the massive store chain has over its competitors.
- Usually, higher stock, size & color/edition availability compared to other stores
- Blazing fast shipping times (sometimes delivered the SAME DAY if you’re close to the seller’s stock)
- A good chance to find shoes priced under retail
- Extremely convenient return/refund policies
WHY FINISH LINE?
Finish Line is my usual #3 option to get my basketball shoes from if Amazon currently doesn’t have it and the brand’s retail store (Nike.com, adidas.com, etc.) might be out of stock or doesn’t have my size.
I find them, along with a handful of other sports stores, to bring in new major and also lesser-known releases just as quickly as the main brand retailers, most of the time.
Very similar advantages to manufacturer’s stores here: very quick shipping times (and it’s free), convenient return & refund policies and you’ll never find any shoe priced over retail.
For some reason, Finish Line seems to be good at keeping a healthy stock of products, as there’s always a wide variety of sizing for most mainstream models. Something you can’t say about Nikey, Adidas, AJ, or Under Armour stores.
Of course, there will be exceptions and rare shoes that are hard to find globally won’t magically be available in large quantities here either.
Buying from the store will only be applicable for U.S. residents, so not an option for international users (unless you’re using a third-party service to ship internationally from US stores as I do).
Overall, I consider Finish Line to be the top pick out of the US’s popular sports retailers. Or perhaps I’m a little biased but regardless, I think I’ll be sticking to it for quite some time.
- All shoes priced at retail
- Good stock most of the time
- Fast & free shipping for the U.S
- Convenient refund & return policies
- You can find quite detailed and relevant reviews left by buyers
Still not sure? I’ve made a comprehensive guide and compiled some general tips on where to buy basketball shoes online. Check it HERE!
Comfort Rating: 8
Performance Rating: 8
Value for the Price Rating: 7
Suitable for Outdoors: Questionable
Recommended for: All positions | players who don’t rely on driving & athleticism
Overall Rating: 7.8
If you’re not satisfied with what you read in terms of the KD 13’s performance, I would highly encourage you to check out the review of the KD 12 here – it’s the safer option to go with, no matter the player.
Alright, that’s it for the KD 13 review! I hope you enjoyed it and found it informative! What do you think about the shoe? Do you have any questions or suggestions?