First and foremost, let’s all wish Klay Thompson a speedy recovery after his serious torn achilles injury that will keep him out the entire 2020-21 NBA season, after missing all of last season as well. On a more positive note, both myself (Nick) and Alan are ready to bring you our ANTA KT6 Performance Review, Klay’s sixth signature shoe (which does NOT disappoint).
The KT6 is ANTA’s most technologically advanced, NBA-ready shoe to date. It just isn’t built for me.
Hard translucent rubber that does pick up a bit of dust. ANTA does not disappoint with traction. While not as durable as the KT5’s, the KT6 was still miles ahead in terms of durability compared to most Nike products. The traction is shaped like a loose fingerprint with oval-ish lines radiating outwards. I used these primarily outdoors, and not only did these have zero durability issues, but the traction itself was great. According to Nick, the traction works amazing indoors, too. But they do seem to attract dust because of the thinly spaced grooves and translucent rubber.
What Under Armor Charged foam was supposed to feel like. ANTA is not pulling any punches. The KT6 utilizes Anta’s two newest foam systems. The is made of an Alti Flash midsole with a Smart S.A.M. heel puck. Doing my best to translate the Chinese and from our sources at Anta, the Alti Flash foam is supposed to give you a responsive yet still impact protective ride while in movement.
The S.AM. heel puck reduces the actual force felt from landing. Don’t ask me what S.A.M. stands for I have no idea. How does it feel though? If you squish the foam in hand it definitely has more rebound than Anta’s A-Flash foam. Stepping and walking comfort are great. Before break in time, when you started sprinting, it does not feel as bouncy as you’d expect. That’s because there are two soft TPU pieces caging the foam: a large heel counter and a long piece caging the entire lateral side (think of the Jordan 18 but more flexible and less clunky). After break in though, the foam really starts to shine.
When you sprint, the foam is a responsive ride full of court feel, but for some reason my feet and lower back don’t ache. I still prefer A-Flash because I can feel the bounce right from the get-go, but this setup is pretty damn good, too. Interestingly, the KT5 had a high quality anatomically sculpted polyurethane insole. The KT6s use a less premium insole, but it’s still better than the cheap stock insoles that come in Nike’s.
Fuse, TPU, neoprene, and micro mesh. If you’re going to use synthetic material you had better use the best. The two TPU pieces I mentioned before are soft and flexible. There’s a genuine carbon fiber shank plate. A neoprene inner booty with a padded mesh tongue is surrounded by a strong supportive mesh. And then surrounding that mesh is a mixture of fuse and a more tightly woven mesh or polyester shell. Surprisingly, this was the most flexible part of the shoe.
One of the most supportive shoes I have ever tested This shoe fits true to size for normal footers. Anta uses the Nike sizing system, so I recommend measuring your foot length and then going to Nike to find your correct shoe size. However, if you have a wide foot, you may have to remove the insole for these shoes to comfortably fit you widthwise because the materials are quite snug around your forefoot. The combination of nice snug fit and materials make up the KT6’s support system, aptly named “3D Flow System”.
I kid you not, the shoe’s upper is quite flexible and lightweight. Don’t let the flexibility fool you though. The fuse, mesh, and strap (from the forefoot to the ankle) really lock you in and don’t let your foot slide off the footbed. What wasn’t flexible, however, was the premium carbon fiber shank plate. It wasn’t the actual stiffness that bothered me though, but rather, it was the distance from my foot. The closer the shank plate is to your foot arch, the less effort your arch muscles need to exert to flex the shoe. You still retain all the support and protection the shank plate offers your arch muscle. In the KT6, your arch and the shank plate are separated by about a half inch because of the midsole in between. Had the shank plate been closer to my arch, I would have had less pain in my left arch during the break in period.
In addition to the stabilizing arch plate, the TPU heel counter, sculpted Achilles pillows, and structure of the ankle upper ensure top tier ankle protection. The heel counter and the lateral long TPU piece prevent the foam from over compressing, preventing you from inverting your foot and ankle. There’s also a very prominent outrigger preventing you from rolling over. In addition to the 3D flow system, the midsole shape is very stable and fluid. The heel is rounded while the forefoot is flat. This shoe is definitely one of my favorite shoes in terms of support and containment.
Overall effect on my playstyle:
The first four days of break in was brutal. If you’re a lighter guy like me (135 pounds) and you don’t need a lot of support because you’re not big and explosive, the break in period is going to be tough. My small feet do not require the level of support the KT6 offers, so for the first few days, my left arch was killing me because that carbon fiber shank plate was still breaking in and it was tiring out my arch muscles. After several days though, the plate broke in nicely and I didn’t have anymore arch pain. Once you get used to the shank plate, you will not have to worry about any support or containment issues. After the break in period, I loved the shank plate.
In addition to the really nice foam system, the carbon fiber plate really made me feel like every step was springing me forward. At least ten people tried to Zaza me when I landed from shooting but I was fine because of how supportive and ankle-restrictive the shoe was. The materials and ankle lock down were amazing. I could chop my feet to close out on shooters, sprint full court, and stop on a dime and I knew the shoe would have my back.
With all this support though, I did not feel as quick as I do in other minimal shoes like the GH1. However, take all of this with a grain of salt because I am only 135 pounds and I do not rely on my explosiveness. If you are larger and stronger than me, like Klay Thompson, none of what I just said will be an issue. I can wholeheartedly recommend this shoe to everyone of every position. This shoe has no weaknesses, besides not being tailored for children or featherweights like me.