Isn’t the Elite series supposed to be a step up?  

When I bought the non elite KD7 last summer and tried them on, I thought to myself KD finally got a shoe that is MVP worthy. Excellent cushioning and traction with newer Nike tech like 180 Max Zoom, Flywire, and Hyperposite. But then I  played in them and my heels slipped out of them like they were Solarsoft slides. I kept wearing them, hoping the Hyperposite would mold to my heels but to no avail and with that the KD 7 went back to Nike.  Fast forward a few months and KD dumped his 7s for his 6s as well .  The main problems for me aside from the heel slip was  1) poor containment due to mesh /Flywire forefoot area and no other structure like a foot stay or a higher midsole wall 2) 360 and 180 Max Zoom is too soft and unstable in the heel area 3) bad heel slippage as mentioned above.  It is no surprise to me KD ditched his KD 6 Elites as well . They felt great underfoot but were terrible on court for me. At least I have one thing in common with him. I hoped that Nike would fix these problems with Elite and they did somewhat.

THE CHANGES 

  • Upper is entirely made of Hyperposite instead of half mesh and half Hyperposite
  • Added perforations for improved ventilation
  • Firmed up the 180 Max Zoom in the heel 
  • Dropped the midfoot strap 

Before getting into the review, let me say that a sig shoe shoild reflect a players style and personality and the regular KD7 did but the Elite version does not. Hyperposite is Lebron, LaMarcus, Boogie and not KD. When I think of KD I think of light on the feet  and graceful smooth, fluid movements that require a lightweight smooth shoe not a shoe made of Hyperposite built for bigger players.

TRACTION

Traction is exactly the same as the regular KD7 and that’s a good thing. Sticky and consistent even on dusty floors. I don’t mind the translucent rubber and haven’t had any issues with it.  

FIT

Due to the material change, the Elite KD7 fit much tighter than the original especially at the forefoot since it went from ultra flexible mesh to Hyperposite. I still went true to size with my normal 11 just like the regular KD7. My forefoot and midfoot were locked in side to side but my heel still slipped like they did in the regular KD7.  It has to be moving up and down at least a half to one centimeter, it is that bad for me.  For me, Hyperposite is problematic in the heel area because it is meant to mold around your foot and not into. That’s why it starts very tight in the forefoot and midfoot and loosens up to give a custom fit and not vice versa . If it could grow into your ankle and heel we would be dealing with a living lifeform (or lifefoam?)Hmm 

  
If Nike had contoured the inside of the ankle collar with more foam like the Kobe X or implemented a dog bone like they do with Jordan Brand then it would have been just fine. Maybe next year..

CUSHIONING

Although it isn’t in the tech specs, the heel Zoom is firmer than the regular KD7. Nike did a similar change with the Lebron X and Elite and they firmed these up about the same amount if not more. I do like this improvement  a lot because it helps improves response time and stabilize the heel area from dreaded rollovers.  These passed my heel test thanks to the increased Psi.  Forefoot Zoom feels exactly the same as the regular KD7.

  

SUPPORT AND STABILITY

I would normally say support comes from the fit but the sloppiness in the heel would mean support was almost nonexistent so support comes from the Hyperposite especially in the heel area. Even with a sloppy fit in the heel, the Hyperposite is stiff enough to at least keep your ankle from turning more than it should versus a more flexible material or soft heel counter. That being said, I try not to play in shoes wth sloppy heel fits at all since you’re basically allowing your ankle gather momentum inside your shoe to turn over. 

Thankfully, the sole is nice, flat and the  heel Zoom is firmer to keep the shoe stable overall.  

  

Same shank as the regular KD7

CONTAINMENT

Containment in the regular KD was ok but not great; it came from a slightly raised midsole sidewall, not the mesh upper or Flywire.  Since the Elite beefed up the mesh to Hyperposite, containment improved a lot.  My foot didn’t come out of the footbed at all on hard cuts 

   
The sidewalls are about 1 to 2 mm above the base of my foot. Would prefer a footstay or a higher sidewall. 

Flywire added some extra … Color  

VENTILATION

I usually don’t touch upon ventilation bc I really don’t care about it but since it is a marketing point I will. 

  Perforations are placed in the shoe all the way from the midfoot and around the heel.

  
This allows some heat to escape since Hyperposite is thick and not breathable at all. The rest of the heat goes out the perforated tongue.

  

  Most likely Nike did not put holes at the forefoot for cosmetic reasons; almost all your heat buildup is in the forefoot area on any shoe not just this one and putting holes in the front and back would have allowed air to come in like an open front window when you’re running.  That’s why the regular KD7 had decent ventilation with its mesh forefoot upper.  

CONCLUSION

I really wanted to love the KD7 and the KD7 Elite but the sloppy heel fit just ruined the shoe for me.  I really hoped that Nike would have addressed that issue with the Elite but instead they focused on materials changes and punching holes.  I like the theory of Hyperposite/foamposite but haven’t found a shoe that I have ever liked with it so covering the entire KD7 in it was not a plus in my book. It warmed and broke in a little but it just doesn’t feel natural to me.

  Does this natural ? I’m really working to flex this shoe .I think a thigh master is easier to squeeze than this.  Look how red my fingertips are. The overall stiffness of the shoe contributes to the poor heel fit. It gets better as it breaks in but still isn’t good. Imagine trying to walk with a wooden plank as a shoe; the wood won’t flex and follow your foot, same thing here.
 I really tried liking the foamposite Pro and Lebron IV back in the day but  never did so maybe that experience ruins Hyperposite for me who knows .  I prefer the regular mesh forefoot upper by far and I don’t even like mesh uppers.  I really enjoyed the firmer Zoom in the heel since it improved stability without sacrificing impact protection.  If you’re still looking to pick these up, Eastbay already lifted coupon restrictions on these so you can get these for 20% off already. I suspect they will hit the outlets for even less though. I can safely say this shoe is a downgrade overall from the regular KD7 overall despite the Elite name and $50 increase in price.
KD 7 Elite Eastbay

5 Comment on “Nike KD 7 VII KD7 Elite Performance Review and Comparison 

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