Kyrie’s line has never been one for drastic changes with each new model. Each one looks and feels very similar, just with a few tweaks & quality of life improvements here and there each year. Well, let’s break it all down in my detailed Kyrie 7 review from Nikey and see what they’ve got going on this time…
BEHIND THE REVIEW
I’m a 6’1 guard at 175 lbs and have an explosive, drive-first playstyle and all of the action has been outdoors, for obvious reasons. I’ll break down the shoe’s fit & comfort aspects, outdoor performance, overall build quality, and value for the price.
Is it better than the already solid Kyrie 6? Is it the same guard-orientated shoe that lacks versatility for other guys? Or perhaps things have been accounted for and we’re getting a very well-rounded sneaker this time?
Let’s find out.
Model: Nike Kyrie 7
Weight: 12.77 oz / 362 g. (size 10.5 US)
Retail Price: $130
Cushion: forefoot Air Zoom Turbo & Phylon midsole
Best Offer On: Finish Line
I. FIT & COMFORT
The overall fit and comfort are what separates the 7 from the 6 the most in my opinion. The Kyrie 7 felt more narrow right away and I’d have to say it’s not as great for wide footers as the Kyrie 6 was.
But it’s playable. I’ve gone up half a size as I’ve got very wide feet and while the experience wasn’t very pleasant the first 1-1.5 weeks, things got under control from there.
It’s still not my preferred type of feel though. They’re still a little too tight for me and some of the torsional/linear movements that cause the shoe to flex cause some discomfort. But that’s an issue we’ll touch on a bit later as it ties into other aspects of the shoe.
Also, as you can see, the forefoot lace loops go through those plastic fins, as Nikey calls them, further pulling down the forefoot area for extra lockdown.
That also wasn’t ideal at first but I’m suspecting it’s mainly due to my wider feet. The plastic ended up digging into the sides of my feet at times but that went away altogether after a few sessions.
So, regular/narrow footers will be fine with their regular size but expect a very snug, one-to-one type of fit. If you prefer a little bit of room for your feet to breathe, I’d suggest going up 1/2 a size, even for a smaller, more narrow foot.
Wide footers, our only option will be half a size up, as going a full size up would likely cause containment/support issues. Expect things to feel a little off at first but with each session, the shoe should start feeling right at home with how a classic Kyrie feels like.
As soon as I broke the shoe in and gave it some time to properly adjust to my foot shape, comfort became a thing. Like I’ve mentioned, I think it’s not an ideal choice for a wide footer as the shoe is still a little too suffocating for me.
But looking past that, the Kyrie 7 feels just like it’s described by Nikey. Fast. Very fast. It’s over a whopping 3 ounces (~85 grams) lighter than the Kyrie 6 and sure does feel like it.
The materials have been toned down to modern synthetics which shed the weight, there’s no midfoot strap anymore, no midfoot shank, and the Phylon midsole used is also a bit lighter. For better or worse, they went all-out for speed and mobility with the 7.
The ankle area is heavily padded which feels great around the ankle & achilles, the lacing system does a great job evenly distributing the lockdown and pulling down the shoe closer to your foot. The tongue is also heavily padded and feels smooth as butter, and can also be bent for easy entry.
Overall, this feels like a true fast guard’s shoe, so no surprises there. Just make sure to give these some time before evaluating if it’s right for you.
STANDARD OR EP?
Before I get into the traction, make sure you know what you’re getting with the Kyrie 7.
Like several other hoop shoes from Nike, these come in a standard version (the one I’ve got here) but there’s also an EP version. If you’re primarily playing outdoors – get the EP version at all costs if you can find it.
Those versions use XDR rubber throughout outsoles which will last longer on abrasive surfaces and usually, the platform of the shoe will be a bit wider, making it a better fit for wide footers.
The best places to find the EP version will be overseas retailers, so if you’re a non-U.S resident – you probably got the EP version. For people living in the States, the best place to grab the more durable variant will be the Nikey By You customizer, as you have the option to slap XDR rubber outsoles there.
That will bump up the price to $150 though and you do not have the option to widen the last of the build there.
Now, let’s get back to the traction itself and how it performs with the regular version. The Kyrie line has always been notorious for putting out some of the deadliest grip available. The Kyrie 5 had phenomenal traction, as well as the 6 with a tried-and-true herringbone pattern.
The Kyrie 7 uses a 360-degree, computer-generated pattern assembled by tracking Kyrie’s real movements on the court. Sounds awesome, right? And while it did perform at a solid level that’s acceptable on the court, the picture that was painted left me slightly disappointed. Or perhaps confused.
The overall bite and stopping power could fall somewhere in the middle between weak and aggressive tractions, which is not horrible, sure. I’ve always had enough coverage to feel confident with each move but slips here and there did happen more often than they did on the previous two shoes by Uncle Drew.
You could’ve just slapped herringbone and called it a day but there’s gotta be some kind of sales pitch to ramp up the hype.
I’m not hating, just saying that sometimes the best marketing is just keeping it simple and letting the product speak for itself, something that Nikey tends to overlook A LOT of the time.
No, the traction isn’t terrible, but the previous two models definitely had a stronger bite and fewer instances where I slid out due to a nastier spot on the court or dust getting into the rubber. How you feel about this traction will depend on how and where you play.
For a super shifty player like Kyrie himself, you might find it a little sloppy at times. For more traditional, linear-dominant players, these should be more than enough. I’m not considering myself mad shifty but I’m no slouch either and personally, I didn’t feel like the world was ending in these.
I can’t speak on how the XDR rubber version lasts as I don’t own that pair but I’m assuming it’s more than enough for outdoors as it’s, well, XDR rubber. But speaking on the regular version, it once again falls somewhere in the middle.
After about 3 months of outdoor play on the blacktop and a synthetic rubber court, things are still solid. There’s a lot, and I mean A LOT of visual damage to the rubber but fortunately, that’s all it is. Performance-wise, I’m not feeling a huge decrease in grip.
There might be a few more slips when the outsoles catch some dust when compared to the shoe when it was out of the box but that’s not meaningful enough to me. I’m cleaning my outsoles regularly anyways and that helps preserve healthy, debris-free traction.
And perhaps your pair might last longer than someone else’s. We’ve already seen this happen with the inconsistent production of the LeBron Witness 4 for example, and this might be the reason why we’re seeing slightly different opinions on this shoe’s traction & durability.
But I don’t see these lasting multiple seasons either, so don’t get it twisted. At this rate of the rubber fraying, it’ll eventually catch up performance-wise and it might be sooner than later. So if you’re aiming for constant outdoor play for your next pair, I’d grab an EP pair or skip these entirely if you can’t get XDR at the moment.
The same cushion setup has carried over from the 6th shoe – a hexagon Air Zoom Turbo unit in the forefoot along with a Phylon midsole. However, I could feel a minimal difference between this and the 6.
If you’re expecting a complete twist in Kyrie’s line in terms of cushion – don’t get your hopes up. This is still the same fast, ultra-responsive, low-to-the-ground type of setup that will work best for a guard who’s shifty, a spot-up shooter, or someone who’s lighter and needs to take advantage of all the speed available.
However, things started off very different compared to the 6. The Kyrie 6 felt great right away and while it wasn’t too bouncy or FUN, it was just how it was intended to feel right out of the box. The Kyrie 7’s ride felt stiff and all kinds of weird at first.
BUT, in a couple of days, the foam along with the Zoom Turbo unit softened up and that’s when stuff got wayyyy faster and just more pleasant to run around in.
If I had to compare this setup to the Kyrie 6’s implementation, I’d say the heel portion of Phylon here is a little softer and yields a tad bit more impact protection. However, the front where the unit is felt a little faster & firmer than on the Kyrie 6.
Honestly, I had a tough time picking the favorite out of the two as in reality, things are extremely similar. Heel-to-toe transitions are still smooth, I was still feeling fast and explosive, and the midsole sits about the same height.
Don’t overthink this one too much if you’re making a decision between the 6 and the 7. The overall feel is the same but if you’d like to go all-out with the details, go with the 6 if you prefer a little more balance throughout the cushion and a slightly bouncier forefoot ride.
The 7 will be the better choice if you want more impact protection but would like to keep the same fast ride. Just don’t expect you’ll be walking on clouds with either of ’em.
The Kyrie 7 packs most of your standard support features: a strong internal heel counter for ankle & heel lockdown, a heavily structured upper, a flat & wide platform externally for stability, and the forefoot plastic caging of the midsole which helps contain the Zoom Turbo unit and also acts as an outrigger for lateral protection.
Something unusual for the Kyrie line is the lack of any curvate to the tooling. The outsole is usually in a rounded shape, helping you achieve awkward angles and plants with more ease & speed. This time, the outsole is almost entirely flat, so if you’re used to Kyrie’s usual setup, this one might feel a little unnatural at first.
I’m all in for this version though – stability is key and I’d rather take that over a curved shape for a slight improvement in mobility.
The lacing system is traditional but with a twist – there are plastic pieces that go through the lace loops in the forefoot area, further pulling down the front of the shoe. So overall support & security is solid even for a bigger guy.
But things might get a little iffy for some. I’m sure you’ve seen some people/reviews completely bend the shoe in half with barely any resistance. The lack of a midfoot shank means torsional rigidity isn’t there, so this is definitely a no-go for those who have plantar fasciitis (THIS list will help you if you’re flat footer though).
But even those with healthy, condition-free feet might need some time to get used to this setup. You seem, when a shoe’s midsole is so forgiving and can bend in any direction with ease, your foot ends up doing the work in terms of torsional support, and not the shoe.
But all things have two sides of the coin – a lack of a midfoot shank doesn’t always mean the shoe is BAD for everybody. I felt fine in these, although there were a few instances where I would catch myself thinking about how my feet (especially the right one since it’s my jumping leg) felt more fatigued.
That’s where better torsional support might’ve helped. But you never know, nothing can be that precisely predicted and tailored for everyone’s build and foot shape.
So the bottom line is, don’t get these if you’re a flat footer, and be careful if you’ve got untrained weaker feet, but take that for a grain of salt. Because I’m sure there are plenty of players who feel fine playing long sessions in these.
Pro players all the way up to NBA players post-injury or casual hoopers who don’t take care of their legs & feet properly and hoop on the unforgiving blacktop. You just never know how much it matters to you until you get to play in them.
V. MATERIALS & BUILD
The upper is mostly mesh along with a few Fuse overlays in high-wear areas such as the toe. But it’s not just mesh. It’s some of the most durable, structured mesh that consists of three layers.
Fans of raw materials will be disappointed though. The Kyrie 6 featured some really nice genuine leather or nubuck at the back portion but hey, we’re in an era where it’s all about making the shoe marketable for the “new age”.
It’s all about shedding as much weight as possible, making it as comfortable as possible and just making things look more modern. But I’m not mad with the Kyrie 7’s material setup – it does just about what I want it to do for what it is.
For a three-layer mesh setup, the upper still feels really damn thin. It’s a little beefier at the back area but still feels minimal. The front is some of the thinnest looking stuff I’ve seen and it’s awesome since there’s no real performance reason to beef things up there.
This type of setup will take a bit of time to break in, but it’s far from the worst cases I’ve seen. 1+ week in and I was fully content with the fit. It might be even faster for you since I’ve got some really beefy clown-like feet at my disposal.
Ventilation doesn’t really exist with this upper but since those layers are thin, my feet never got that hot. That’s more than enough for me.
And in terms of durability – I think we got the best of both worlds here. This mesh definitely looks and feels strong but things are still comfortable & light, so here’s to our 2021 standards of modern materials!
If those standard outsoles would be as reliable as the overall build, you could absolutely put these among the best outdoor options. But we can’t get everything.
For $130, this isn’t a bad deal at all.
The Nike Kyrie 7 follows the same path the rest of the line did. Whether you dig it or not, this is a solid guard’s shoe that will handle all the angles you throw at it.
The shoe feels comfortable and provides a secure fit. Not the best option for wide footers though. Traction is decent, though the previous two models could be considered better in that category. While the standard version has acceptable durability, go for the EP option if you’re mostly playing outdoors.
Cushion is similar to the previous models – it’s fast and responsive, though you won’t be leaving your knees on the court as there’s still a base level of impact protection there. They’re supportive and unrestrictive, which is what a quick guard needs. Be aware of the lack of any torsional rigidity though – guys with flat feet won’t like these.
And the sturdy mesh build might not the best most ”premium” option, it gets the job done if we’re talking performance.
Is it better than the Kyrie 6? In some ways, yes. In others, such as torsional support, it could be considered as a step back but it’ll come down to what you prioritize.
Whichever model you go with, you’ll feel quick, precise, and explosive. That’s for sure.
Why Finish Line? Click to find out!
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!
That concludes the Kyrie 7 review! I had a ton of fun doing it! I won’t leave you hanging here though – make sure to have a peek at the Kyrie 6 review and see which one works better for your needs!
I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on it though. Do you consider this one as an improvement or a step back? Do you feel different about the shoe? Or perhaps you’ve got a question?
Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as quick as I can!
Nike Kyrie 7$130
Fit & Comfort8.5/10
Value for the Price8.0/10
- Regular/narrow footers: true to size for a snug fit & up 1/2 a size for a roomier fit
- Wide footers: 1/2 size up
- Get the EP version if you'll be playing outdoors
- A solid all-around performer & watch out for questionable torsional support
- Low-profile guards
- Spot-up shooters
- Positions 1-3