A Flashback of the Nike KD 9’s Containment and Durability Issues

A flashback of the Nike KD 9's performance and durability issues.

Kevin Durant’s ninth signature shoe with the Swoosh was nothing short of a success—releasing in several unique offerings, as well as being praised by basketball footwear fans around the globe for its premier performance on the court. However, despite the shoe’s success, it still had some very noticeable flaws, just like any other shoe has. Here we take a flashback of the Nike KD 9’s containment and durability issues.

Quite possibly the shoe’s most serious concern—the KD 9s lack of lateral stability, containment, and support. The Nike KD 9 had great cushioning with serious impact protection. Nonetheless, lateral stability and support when wearing the shoes on the court, and doing hard lateral movements, was a big issue with them. The even more ironic idea to think about is that not only did a handful of wearers experience lateral containment issues, but Durant himself experienced this in several pairs.

Shown below are in-game photos of Kevin Durant playing in his KD 9 PEs. As you can see, his feet are literally rolling out of his shoe’s footbed, and nearly busting out of the shoe. It’s quite similar to Zion Williamson ripping through his Nike PG 2.5 PE in 2019, and more recently, Wesley Matthews ripping through his Zoom Freak 1s.

For those wondering, does the KD 9 have bad containment? No, not necessarily. Kevin Durant is listed as 6’10”, 240 pounds. He has quite a large frame as well, with a wingspan of 7 foot 5 inches. The “average” consumer purchasing and wearing their shoes are obviously not going to be anywhere near that feat, and likely not experience the poor lateral containment Durant experienced in his KD 9s. However, the fact that Durant himself had poor containment in the KD 9s just goes to show that KD’s PEs (player exclusive) should have had more reinforced containment laterally.

Photo by Nike, depicting the lack of an outrigger.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images.

One of the KD 9s most noticeable flaws was its full length, articulated Zoom Air bag popping. We call this a flaw or defect, instead of an “isolated issue” among certain wearers, because the flaw indeed comes from the shoe’s design.

The flaw comes from the shoe’s design, where the tendril (the small piece of plastic connecting the forefoot bag to the rest of the Zoom Air) rips, and then in effect, the Zoom Air bag itself will pop, and deflate—resulting in lack of cushioning. This was one of the shoe’s biggest flaws as many wearers reported on social media photos of their KD 9 Zoom Air bags popping. However, if you wore the KD 9 sparingly, and did not wear them every single day (which the majority of wearers will do), it’s likely your Zoom Air bag did not pop. The flaw comes from mainly the tendril design as well as excessive use of wearing the shoe (which is expected).

Shown above is the “tendril”.
Photos by Fast Pass.

Let us know where you rank Kevin Durant’s ninth signature shoe among his entire line in the comments below. Also be sure to share with us if you’ve experienced any of the flaws, defects, or issues mentioned in this posting. Keep it locked to the site for more updates on KD’s latest footwear. Be sure to check out the best look yet at the Nike KD 13 here.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Sneaker Brief. Reporting, analyzing, and sharing my thoughts on sneakers professionally for the past two years. My favorite shoe is the ANTA GH1 and my favorite player is LeBron James.

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