Bang-for-your-buck deal hunters of the basketball shoe world – LISTEN UP! Kevin Durant’s budget signature line, the KD Trey 5, has been super consistent in dropping cheap but reliable basketball sneakers and it’s time to find out if the latest one’s a go in my comprehensive 4-month KD Trey 5 IX review.
After a very successful KD Trey 5 VIII that sits at just $90, I’ll break down the 9th shoe’s fit & comfort aspects, indoor & outdoor performance, versatility, build quality, value, and changes from last year’s shoe. I’ll also provide some potential alternatives.
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Spec Sheet
- 1-Min Review
- Fit & Comfort
- The Build
- Alternative Options
- Which KD Trey 5 Is Your Go-To?
- KD Trey 5 IX Review: The Verdict
I. SPEC SHEET
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BEST DEALS OF THE KD TREY 5 IX 🛒
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II. 1-MIN REVIEW 🕒
For those in a hurry: the KD Trey 5 IX brings more of the same that worked in Durant’s budget shoe line. The shoe should fit most people TTS but expect a snuuuug fit that’s also slightly long.
Traction was fine but the sheer level of bite took a hit compared to last year’s model. These aren’t the most durable outdoor shoes either but should get you through a season or two in the park.
Renew cushion returned in the same fast, responsive and low-to-the-ground fashion while still offering a tiny amount of feedback upon movements.
There’s a forefoot Zoom Air unit now – but I barely felt it.
Security was fine, not a lot of support features but those weren’t needed.
What did need some tweaking is the build’s foot containment – it’s better than last year’s but I still wouldn’t recommend these to a shifty Kyrie or a 200-pound big guy.
The mesh upper is definitely cheap and basic but broke in quickly, didn’t bring any extra issues or annoyances and played fine on-court.
> The full review is below
III. COMFORT & FIT
True to size or should you adjust? How about comfort? Additional things to know?
Fairly close to most other sneakers throughout Durant’s two signature shoe lines, the KD Trey 5 IX shouldn’t rob most hoopers of their usual size preference, albeit not necessarily guarantee it’s a perfect match.
By now, it doesn’t take a detective to figure out KD’s giant feet have a particularly long and narrow shape (whatever thoughts that might bring up to you).
And since everyone’s foot anatomy is slightly different – there’s a good chance the shoe won’t fit you exactly as you like it if you don’t somewhat share similar foot properties with @easymoneysniper himself.
Emphasis on somewhat though. I’m very wide footed myself but having experience with last year’s shoe, I still went TTS and I’m happy with the results, all things considered.
The sneaker definitely fits me super snug and slightly narrow, leaving just over an inch of space at the front. However, I’d say wide footers should have a bit of an easier time staying comfortable in a KD shoe this time.
That’s because the toebox portion felt a little roomier than last year’s KD Trey 5 VIII.
Not so much visually but setting my foot in there and moving around made me instantly realize this. This is still a relatively narrow-fitting shoe though, don’t get me wrong there.
That shoe pressed my pinkie toe pretty hard the initial week and everything felt tight before eventually, the components broke in and the fabrics stretched out ~1-2 weeks in.
The KD Trey 5 IX didn’t remind me of that pinkie business I’ve had but just was tight and a bit suffocating those first 1-1.5 weeks of play.
So, the end result’s still not perfect as I’d probably want about a half-inch of toe space taken out and the shoe to be just a little wider & taller for an optimal experience.
But that’s if we’re talking ideally, and ideally here doesn’t mean that a critical need in order for me to effectively play basketball or shoot around.
So, most wide footers should get away with their usual size for this one. If you’re someone who’s got a slightly wide foot or you think yours is more on the average/narrow side, I’d still recommend sticking true to your usual choice.
Most hoopers should expect a snug fit. Give the sneaker a run for its money and you should feel an improvement in as little as days. I definitely did.
It’s still best to try these on in-store if you’re a wide/slightly wide footer but if you can’t/won’t – TTS should be the safest option.
Not a lot going on comfort-wise with the KD Trey 5 IX – not in a bad way though. It’s comfortable enough for me to play the way I play and don’t think about the shoe.
It won’t make the most comfortable/premium feeling charts, sure, but for 90 bucks the shoe is built well and feels alright. Despite being a tad bit heavier on paper vs. last year’s model, the sneaker still felt feathery light on my feet and running, jumping around felt fast and responsive.
The tongue sits nicely along the shins and it’s padded with foam, so no digging into or cutting your skin (check out the LeBron 18 and you’ll see what I mean).
The inside of the ankle area barely has anything backing the fabric up though – no heel notches, barely any foam padding.
So no puffy goodness there but I didn’t have any heel slippage and my ankle sat nicely cradled in there, so no complaints but merely a lack of a small quality of life detail.
Overall, the experience is solid for the price and obviously reminiscent of the KD Trey 5 VIII – things feel fast, responsive, and light. Nothing crazy, nor it’ll blow you away with comfort features/amazing materials but WILL get the job done hooping.
Does it bite a multitude of surfaces & conditions consistently? What about longevity?
The traction pattern definitely took a hit from last year’s shoe – the grooves are nowhere near as tall or aggressive and while the spacing is fine, the shoe didn’t grip the floor like absolute clockwork (which is exactly how the KD Trey 5 IX did it).
Not to say the overall experience was bad – it wasn’t.
I played in the shoe on classic hardwood indoors about 2 months after I got it (the first two months were solely outside), so the rubber was already affected by the more abrasive surfaces.
I’d imagine the outsoles would’ve gripped the floor even better if I hadn’t taken them to the park first but I was still covered despite losing to last year’s counterpart in comparison.
Accelerating, hard-stopping, cutting, defending, and coming off screens felt just fine as there was enough bite not to be concerned with my movements, except a handful of moments where I stepped on a dustier spot or it was time to wipe the outsoles down due to a few slips.
Yes, the pattern definitely seems to catch more dust/debris than the previous shoe, or at least it seems like it’s more affected by it.
A quick wipe every 10-15 minutes was all I needed though, and I was hooping on a moderate-condition school gym.
It’s rather strange the designers took what clearly worked brilliantly and slapped a new pattern + rubber compound on instead. Still fine but I’d be lying if I said these bite just as deadly as the 8th shoe.
Concrete is where it all started with the KD Trey 5 IX – and while the bite wasn’t as completely deadly as last year’s sneaker, this is where I felt the responsiveness and sheer bite were the deadliest. The blacktop.
Obviously, this is the case for most athletic shoes – a more abrasive surface will ensure there’s more friction with the rubber, thus you end up getting more traction. I had no issues on concrete whatsoever.
Stepping onto a rubber surface court – same thing. All good, no major slip-outs or lack of coverage upon certain movements.
I’ve got a few dead spots on that court where portions of rubber are completely torn off – so stepping on those results in a slight loss of traction but that’s totally normal for 98% of shoes to do that.
I still wiped the outsoles off periodically, as outdoor courts (especially the rubber one I hoop on) can get messy with all the debris lying on there.
As long as you wipe your outsoles and clean them occasionally – you should be able to maintain perfectly fine traction for a while.
Durability-wise, I haven’t played in these as much as I did with last year’s KD Trey 5 VIII (I’ve hooped for over 8 months in those before releasing the review) but from the visual cues and personal experience, I can already tell the 9th shoe isn’t going to be as reliable.
The 8th model already wasn’t among top-tier contenders for long-term outdoor play, so not exactly good news.
However, you should definitely be able to take these outside occasionally or even frequently for at least a whole season.
I’m 4 months in (2 months outdoors) and the outsoles look weary on high-use areas but that’s still not affecting my traction in a meaningful way. Yet. A small tip, get the gum outsole pair if you can.
Doesn’t always prove to work but gum outsoles can last a bit longer than another coating. Can’t hurt to try.
How comfortable is the ride and how well does it return energy? How’s the impact absorption? Stability?
The dual-density Renew midsole makes a return but there’s a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot now to shake things up. Or is it? Doesn’t matter – you’ll barely feel it. It’s a small unit encaged in firmer foam, so not your unlocked stuff.
These types of setups are definitely justified for $90 and they’re not that bad all things considered, but certainly won’t blow you away when you set foot into the shoe.
Weirdly enough, the shoe’s overall ride started off stiffer than the 8th model. After the foam softened up in a few sessions, I was reminded that Renew is pretty damn good for the price.
It’s pretty much just Lunarlon but that’s the thing – Lunarlon was never a bad compound.
I felt comfy in there, step transitions are fast & smooth, and while I could only feel the response of the Zoom unit upon the hardest of jumps/plants, the overall ride wasn’t too bad.
There’s moderate impact protection for most 1’s, 2’s, 3’s or even some 4’s here – and the heavier you are, the more you’ll feel it, though the foam will bottom out quicker as well.
Yes, Lunarlon-based compounds tend to deaden rather quickly and I was left with a noticeably different experience just a month in with the KD Trey 5 VIII.
With this shoe though – it seems like they tweaked the foam around the Renew portion to be a bit firmer and better hold the core (just speculation), so three months in, I’m still feeling the same amount of sensation underfoot.
That, or just got used to it.
So, all in all – you’ll get a quick, responsive ride that’ll provide some impact protection, just a tad bit of bounce underfoot, and keep you comfortable for longer sessions. All while keeping things stable and low to the ground.
A pretty decent setup for the money. And it seems like the foam should be intact longer with these. Or I just wasn’t lucky with the quality control at Nikey last year. Who knows. It’s a reference point at least though.
How much security does it offer? What about stability and foot containment? Anything extra to know?
Once again, nothing crazy going on in terms of support features but standard to the KD Trey 5 line.
The KD Trey 5 IX sports beefy internal heel counters that extend and cup your heel, acting as sidewalls for better heel containment. The forefoot portion is fairly wide and the outsole protrudes out there just a tad bit to act as tiny outriggers for lateral coverage.
The upper also has some light structure applied to better hold the build together but there’s pretty much nothing to really contain the foot laterally at the midfoot/forefoot areas.
The exact same was for the KD Trey 5 VIII but this time, I could feel a marginal improvement in terms of foot containment.
I’d still have an occasional semi-slip-out-of-the-footbed scenario upon a more awkward lateral plant but those were fewer and farther in between when stacked against 2020’s shoe.
It’s not a feeling players need in a game but this wasn’t game over for me. Just a few hiccups that I thought about when they happened but soon forgot and kept playing.
However, give the shoe to a 200-pound rim protector and this might be a different story. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend these to the shiftiest of guards or the biggest of centers. You get the idea. Lots of aggressive lateral movements, a heavy weight that’s moving fast.
A no-no for builds like this one and while it might not just happen for you – there are safer options if you want to ensure this won’t plague you when you get the shoe.
Apart from the mediocre lateral containment that might affect certain players/playstyles – there’s nothing really wrong with these in the security department.
They play fine, there were no apparent restrictions or annoyances and you could say it’s a slight upgrade since I had the containment issue pop up more often on last year’s shoe.
VII. THE BUILD
What are the material choices and how do they perform in action? How reliable & well-made is the build?
A basic mesh/textile build is throughout most of the shoe’s upper while the back portion uses that cheap, scratchy screen mesh you usually see on budget shoes. The toecap is reinforced with Fuse, while the tongue is made from mesh and backed with foam.
The lacing system is also backed with screen mesh to make sure the eyelets stay where they are longer and lining inside the ankle area uses a cheap textile backing.
No one/half-bootie stuff here – the KD Trey 5 IX utilizes a traditional lace & tongue construction, and it’s easy to put the shoe on due to the large tongue allowing easy flexion.
We also get standard flat laces and while these are definitely not premium, I’ve seen far worse scenarios among low-budget basketball sneakers.
Are the materials cheap? Yes. Is the build quality on an elite level? Certainly not. But will you be able to play in the shoe just fine and forget about all that in a few minutes on the court? Absolutely.
The actual materials don’t matter as much as some people think when it comes to performance and the way your foot feels in the shoe. As long as it’s built well, the materials break in and move relatively well with your foot without weighing you down or restricting you – it’s a job done.
That’s exactly the case with the KD Trey 5 IX – the basic material setup won’t turn any heads but I didn’t have any issues while actually hooping.
The shoe barely needed any time for the mesh to adjust to my foot, ventilation’s decent (didn’t notice getting too hot at least), and there were no apparent annoyances/restrictions of any kind.
I do have to mention I liked last year’s upper a bit more as those featured a really nice knit for the money. For this one – you can tell it’s a cheap shoe right away. But that’s about it.
Don’t worry about it – they’ll do you just fine on-court.
The overall build quality and expected longevity of the build should be around the same level as the previous sneaker. You should definitely be able to wreck these for multiple seasons, probably even outdoors if your outsoles hold up.
4 months of action (2-3 days per week) resulted in a banged-up toe area (nothing major, just visual damage due to toe-drags, someone stepping over, etc.), the little Swoosh panels on top of the tongues are blurry now, and the internal lining around the ankle torn up in a few areas.
Nothing to write home about – just what I’d expect from a low-budget shoe. And if you play a more low-profile game than mine – chances are your pair will look even healthier a few months in.
Still though, no real performance hits so it’s a pass!
Summarizing the KD Trey 5 IX review: are they worth it? Is it a good deal for the money?
The Nike KD Trey 5 IX is another small success in Durant’s takedown signature shoe line.
I don’t usually get blown away or have a complete blast while testing these kinds of shoes honestly but in this case, I came out of the process positive and happy that there are a few cheap hoop shoes that actually do a good job catering to those who can’t afford $150+ pairs.
The shoe should fit most guys true to size but expect a tight fit with a little bit of dead space up at the front. Unless you’re KD and got a long & narrow foot shape.
Traction was fine on all surfaces I’ve played on, though the outsoles were switched up from last year’s for some reason, resulting in a slight loss of bite in comparison. Renew cushion is acceptable, though don’t expect much and that forefoot Zoom unit is just, well, there.
Security is solid without overly restricting me or forcing me to think about the moves I’ll do or how I’ll do them. The heaviest, most explosive, or shiftiest of ballers should watch out for mediocre lateral containment though.
The upper utilizes a basic mesh material backed with screen mesh & Fuse and while you can definitely tell they’re cheap – they worked just fine on-court.
A good deal under 100 dollars and most guards, shooters, wings, and probably even lighter forwards should find these acceptable in most conditions.
KD TREY 5 VIII OR IX?
Now, should you snatch these or last year’s shoe?
It depends. You won’t be losing much regardless of your choice though. The 8th model did offer deadlier traction and will probably last longer in comparison.
Although the 9th shoe felt it had a bit of a stronger upper, decreasing the chance of me experiencing that semi-slide out of the footbed upon certain lateral movements. Other than those two things – they’re almost the same shoe.
GET THE KD TREY 5 IX 🛒
IX. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
Not sold on the KD Trey 5 IX or the VIII? I’ve got some alternatives for ya
NIKE KD 14, $150
If you’re feeling fancier and can afford to spend over $100 for a shoe – the KD 14 is probably the peak of the Slim Reaper’s performance footwear. It’s the complete basketball shoe providing traction, a fantastic full-length Zoom cushion setup, excellent support, and a comfy upper.
Definitely the shoe to get right now if you’re a KD fan or aiming for that KD-feel in your sneakers.
NIKE RENEW ELEVATE, $80
If you’re looking to save even further, the Nike Renew Elevate is $10 cheaper than the KD Trey 5 IX but you could probably get it for even cheaper if you track down a sale/deal (click for my cheap shoe buying guide).
The Renew Elevate sports a near-identical midsole featuring, you guessed it, Renew foam. It’s also pretty damn well-rounded, should last a while outdoors and they’re easy to get everywhere.
X. WHICH KD TREY 5 IS YOUR GO-TO?
I appreciate you staying all the way to the end of the KD Trey 5 IX review! I hope you found it informative and helpful as always – it’s my mission to provide the most comprehensive and practical hoop shoe reviews available!
Be sure to check out some of the articles in reference to this review – those are super helpful for a beginner to learn the ropes of basketball shoes & making sure you’re not paying more than you need.
But I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts on the KD Trey 5 IX or any of the topics mentioned. Perhaps you’ve got the shoe and feel different about it? Or you’ve got a question I haven’t answered in the review?
Drop a comment down below – let’s chat!
XI. KD TREY 5 IX REVIEW: THE VERDICT
My final personal ratings, takeaways, and recommendations
Nike KD Trey 5 IX$90
Fit & Comfort8.0/10
Value for the Price8.0/10
- Fits very snug & slightly long. Most hoopers should still go true to size
- Small lateral containment upgrade over last year's shoe
- I did feel a drop in traction compared to last year's shoe
- A solid performer for most people on a budget: no major flaws
- Positions 1-3
- Lighter/smaller forwards