Let’s not waste any time. The KD 12 and KD 13 were great basketball shoes but not without the issues some people, including me, had. Hence I present to you my comprehensive 4-month KD 14 review! Durant’s latest signature model looks to make improvements and bring an extremely well-rounded performance sneaker to the table.
Is it mission accomplished or it still needs some work despite the hype? Let’s break it all down and test the shoe’s fit & comfort, performance, value for the price, versatility, and changes from the KD 12 & 13.
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. SPEC SHEET
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THE KD 14 IS AVAILABLE ON 🛒
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II. 1-MIN REVIEW 🕒
For those in a hurry: the Nike KD 14 keeps what it ain’t broke but fixes what wasn’t quite working. It’s a direct successor to the KD 13 bringing the same overall feel but a more refined, well-rounded experience some people thought last year’s model lacked.
The shoe fits in a very snug manner but only the biggest of wide footers should go up half a size. Containment issues were fixed, and the traction is deadly no matter the surface.
The full-length Air Zoom Strobel is back but now it’s better than ever, partly thanks to the addition of a Cushlon midsole making things MAD comfortable.
Security is on-point and despite a fairly basic multi-layered mesh upper, I didn’t have any complaints about it performance-wise. This is the age of synthetics, accept it or not.
The only small gripes I had with the build is the strap that can’t stay tight, the laces sometimes getting stuck in the velcro sticker and questionable outsole durability for regular outdoor play.
> The full review is below
III. FIT & COMFORT
Do they fit true to size or should you adjust? How comfy are they? Anything else to know?
A compact, narrow fit that hugs your foot in a very snug manner. Something some people love, while some don’t like that much.
But either way, I don’t think most of you will have a hard time picking the right size.
Regular/narrow footers will want to stick with their true size or the size you’ve worn the KD 13’s & 12’s. Expect the shoe to sit extremely close to your foot though but the materials do stretch out a tad bit over time.
I’m a pretty heavy wide footer myself, so just like the KD 13, I went up half a size and have no regrets. If you put yourself in the same category as I do, definitely go up 1/2 a size since you might have too much pressure in the toebox.
Length-wise, the KD 14 is near-perfect for me with a size 10.5 (my regular is 10) with about a half-inch of space for my toes. Width-wise, things were a little too tight up at the front but everything normalized in about a week’s time.
The end result is still a snug, near-one-to-one feel but due to some internal padding and a comfy upper, these are absolutely playable even for the most hardcore wide footers. Just give these some time and you’ll be alright.
The most glaring issue for a lot of hoopers of last year’s KD 13 was the lackluster lateral containment due to a pretty flimsy build.
Good news – looks like this is fixed.
And the awesome thing is, I really didn’t notice too much of a difference in the structure/bulkiness of the build while we received a nice upgrade in the containment department.
The KD 14 still rocks a fairly minimal upper but it’s well-structured where it needs to be while keeping the rest lightweight to preserve comfort and freedom of movement. Despite a slightly heavier weight on paper when compared to the 13, there’s really no degrade in on-court performance that I would notice.
As for sheer comfort, not a lot different going on from the last few models but that’s not a bad thing at all.
Moderate amount of padding around the ankle, there’s enough forefoot flex to accommodate for smooth step transitions, the shoe doesn’t feel overly heavy and the build moves well with the foot while being slightly beefed up to better contain one’s movements.
No distractions, no real issues or annoyances that I would think about while playing so it’s definitely a pass. Nothing crazy or revolutionary but a job well done in my book.
Does it grip various surfaces well? Is dust a factor? How long will these last outside?
Finally, the KD 14 is the first shoe in a loooong time that I was able to hoop in an actual gym. Boy, it feels damn good to step on the hardwood again and soak in those nasty squeaks. Music to my ears.
We’re not getting herringbone but I can’t be mad – these outsoles worked just fine gripping just about any surface I stepped on.
Indoors, I play on a local school gym, so it’s not the best condition floor there is but it’s being cleaned occasionally so it’s not that bad. I’ve had no issues accelerating, stopping, cutting, or slashing to the rim at all.
I’ve managed to play a couple of 4-quarter, full-paced games inside and never slid out or slipped.
The bite is great and doesn’t really degrade despite a bit of dust piling up in the pattern. This is probably due to the tall grooves of the pattern which helped preserve that A-grade grip no matter the condition.
Most of my action was still in the park though and the traction was even deadlier there. Abrasive surfaces will do that to shoes, of course, so don’t worry about losing traction outside. Unless you’re hooping on glass.
One thing I’ve heard a few people report is the traction starts off a bit iffy but quickly breaks in after a few games. I happened to start my hours in the KD 14 outside on concrete which is probably why I never experienced this myself.
So if you plan on having your initial run with the KD 14’s in a gym, be sure to not panic if you’re experiencing some slippage or lag since some of Nikey’s hoop shoes always come with some kind of coating on the rubber that needs to rub off before you can experience the full potential of these aggressive grooves staring at you.
That’s right – I said staring. Put both shoes next to each other and the pattern forms a skull. Nice touch? I think so.
After just over 4 months of action (about 3 months of outdoor action 2-3 times per week), things are very similar to the KD 13 durability-wise.
Even though the grooves of the pattern are tall, they’re not very hard and it’s only a matter of time before you burn through the outsoles if you constantly hoop outdoors. Occasional games here and there should be fine though.
For my pair, the pattern is still okay for the most part, though some grooves in the forefoot portion are getting pretty banged up. I’m still not feeling a noticeable difference in performance though, so I guess the KD 14 is 4-month certified.
The main KD line was never an outdoor line, so keep that in mind. The KD Trey 5 VIII and IX are your options if you’re a Durant fan but would like to assure yourself with multiple-season durability on the blacktop.
How’s the impact protection? What about step comfort, energy return? Is it stable?
Don’t get me started on the Air Zoom Strobel goodness. Alright, I’ll start. It’s really, really good.
We’ve got a full-length Zoom Strobel stitched directly to the upper, which means your foot sits right over it for maximum feel. There’s also a Cushlon midsole this time, and the forefoot Zoom Air unit we’ve got on the KD 13 was scrapped.
No worries though – this feels still like the fantastic ride we got from the 13.
It’s literally all you can ask from a basketball shoe’s cushioning system: I was feeling bouncy, comfy, there’s ample energy return without slowing you down or making you sink into the midsole, and there’s enough court feel even for shifty guards despite the beefy setup.
It’s what Zoom Air at its full potential can do but it’s not overdone. If you want things to be close to overdone – look into the LeBron 18. That’s a niche shoe. The KD 14 is a shoe for everybody – you’ll feel comfortable but also fast and precise.
It really doesn’t get much better than this.
And unlike Air Max or some of the iterations of Phylon that Nikey uses, you really don’t need any real break-in time for the cushion’s full potential to shine.
It’s awesome right out of the box and while people like to say Cushlon dies out quickly – give me an example since I’ve virtually never experienced it.
Don’t mean to be offensive or anything – it’s just that people love throwing statements around they might or might not have heard from someone (and somewhere) instead of letting actual experience speak for them.
Sure, there are a few shoes that had Cushlon and it ended up bottoming out fairly quickly but saying it’s a regular occurrence with Cushlon is just not correct.
How much security does it offer? What about stability and lockdown? Any restrictions?
The KD 14 comes with standard support features you’d see from Nikey: there are excellent internal heel counters in place (ankle & heel lockdown), midfoot plates acting as sidewalls/reinforcements to help stabilize the exposed Cushlon foam, torsional plates for rigidity, and a hook-and-loop strap to top it all off.
The lacing system is traditional and works well. The reinforced portions of the upper also help hold it all in place without making the shoe feel rigid or stiff.
The platform of the shoe isn’t that wide but wide enough to promote good stability, as well as the outsoles slightly protruding laterally acting as small outriggers for further lateral protection.
But of course, it’s the snug, secure fit that provides the foundation of the shoe’s security and it’s definitely the KD 14’s strong point.
You can really tell the design team has drawn some conclusions from the last year’s shoe and the people’s reception on the lackluster containment/security – this year’s shoe nailed that down while keeping comfort & mobility levels in check. Bravo!
I guess the only thing that doesn’t have a place is the strap. If you’d really yank it down as tight as you can, you can feel it pressing down the upper which does add a bit of extra lockdown but it all goes to waste when the strap loosens up. Which it does. Quickly and every time.
But take the strap out of there and you’d get the same performance you’d have with it – so not a huge deal at all. It’s just not as functional as it is advertised.
Overall – a great setup that promotes security and stability without sacrificing comfort or free movement. That’s what a versatile shoe should bring to the table.
VII. THE BUILD
What are the materials used? How well do they perform on-court? How’s the quality & reliability of the build?
The Nike KD 14 sports a multi-layered mesh build with some kind of felt coating on top. The build is definitely thin and lightweight but certain portions throughout the silhouette are reinforced with thin layers of TPU to preserve the shape and ensure longevity.
There’s really nothing special about the build if you’ve got some experience with a basketball shoe that launched in the last few years.
Synthetics are the go-to now, so if you’re expecting some raw leather, nubuck, or suede goodness – you won’t find that there.
They really didn’t lie – it barely takes any time for the shoe to start feeling optimal, even for my wide a** feet. The reinforced mesh does stretch out a tad bit but the TPU limits this threshold while maintaining a nice balance.
I never felt overly stiff in these and even though I could tell there’s a marginal weight difference between these and the 13’s – it’s all that is. Marginal. It didn’t really mean anything to me when it was game time.
Are these materials cheap for a $150 shoe? Depends on what you define as cheap. If you’re all about performance – I’m sure you’ll be more than satisfied since there’s really nothing wrong in that regard.
If you’re someone who’s all about premium material choices and buying the absolute most reliable product you can get for the money – you may or may not be disappointed. The top felt layer is definitely pretty cheap to the touch but again, it’s all there is to it.
It doesn’t affect the way you play or feel on-court, so it’s up to you to decide if you’re okay with such a build for 150 bucks.
I’m 4 months in and there aren’t any drastic signs of wear & tear yet.
The felt layer is starting to look a bit scruffy but that’s just the nature of the material. The velcro that the strap sticks to is getting weaker by the day, so good luck with the strap staying tight for more than a few minutes.
Also, the laces themselves are fine and don’t come undone (like a Dame 7 for example) but they constantly get stuck in the velcro sticker which does mess them up a bit since I have to peel them off the velcro almost every time I’m lacing or relacing the shoe.
These would be the only gripes I’ve got with the build’s reliability so far and saying these are real drawbacks would definitely be an overstatement.
You should be fine hooping in these for several seasons, just be aware of the outsoles if you’ll playing outdoors a lot. The rubber will surely burn off quicker than the build will get seriously damaged.
Rounding things up: are they versatile? Who’s best suited for it? Is it a good deal amongst the competition?
The Nike KD 14 is an absolute success. I said it. It’s a versatile shoe made for a versatile player in mind – just about any hooper will find these sufficient for what they’re trying to do on the court.
Or at least very close to every hooper.
The shoe sports a very snug fit but only the widest of footers should go up half a size in my opinion.
Foot containment has been greatly improved, traction is deadly (though not among the most durable outdoor options), the full-length Air Zoom Strobel + Cushlon setup is a thing of beauty, and despite a fairly basic upper, it delivered for me when it was time to actually play.
I’d absolutely go with the 14’s if I had to choose between the last three KD models in his main signature line.
It’s the most versatile, fun package out of the bunch and I really don’t think there are a lot of players that would find this one “incompatible” with the way they play.
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IX. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
Here are some additional options for a similar experience
If you can’t afford to lash out $150 but looking for a very similar feel & performance from a mid-tier signature model – the PG 5 is pretty close.
YOU FEELIN’ THE KD 14?
Share your thoughts!
That concludes the KD 14 review! I hope you found it informative as always! I fell in love with the shoe, not going to lie, but perhaps some of you have a different experience?
Sharing a multitude of opinions and experiences can only do good for the reader as he/she will be able to make an informed decision, so share your thoughts!
Or perhaps you’ve got a question I haven’t answered in the review or just like to chat?
Drop a comment down below!
X. KD 14 REVIEW: THE VERDICT
My final personal ratings, takeaways, and recommendations
Nike KD 14$150
Fit & Comfort8.5/10
Value for the Price8.0/10
- Expect a snug fit but only wide footers should go up 1/2 a size
- The lateral containment issues the KD 13 suffered from are now fixed
- The midfoot strap barely stays tight & isn't really functional, though doesn't negatively affect performance
- Superb all-around performance for just about any player
- Positions 1-5
- All-around players