Do you ever feel like a paper bag drifting through the wind, wanting to start again 🎶…I guess KD took these words to heart 

Last year’s KD7 was so close to being a great shoe that all it really needed was a tweak to the heel for better lockdown and a slightly lower profile or more pressure, or caged unit  on the 180 Zoom and the shoe would have been golden. But instead Leo Chang and Nike decided to blow it all up and start over with new…Well everything.  
 I felt like I was wearing Air Max 95’s when I put these on . Is that a good thing ? 

Pros: traction, full length Zoom, support and stability, containment is excellent, hidden effective  protective features

Cons: sole width is disproportionately wide,Zoom feels good but expected more response, protective features took some fun away, pricey


Traction was great on the VII so I had my hopes up for the 8. Nike used little nodules to create a herringbone pattern 


I found the traction to work well overall but not as bite as hard as the top performers like the Rose 5, Clutchfit and Kobe IX. They still worked great though with no major slippage at all even in dusty floors. Very consistent across all surfaces. I thought the VII traction was better while these blew away VI traction. 


Nike replaced the forefoot Zoom and 180 heel Max Zoom with a full length articulated unit.  One of the “problems” with a normal full length unit is flexibility since your basically flexing a bag of air when you’re playing on full length Zoom. By articulating/segmenting the unit you increase flexibility 

I couldn’t really  tell it was articulated  but I could feel  the Zoom which is good enough for me. It isn’t as big of a Zoom unit as the KD 7 180 Max or Lebron X and it doesn’t feel as plush or bouncy as the full length Hyperrev 2014 but the Zoom feel is there but not in spades. If the Hyperrev feel is an ideal 10, these are an 8.5


Above: Little plastic nodules stabilize the lateral side at the forefoot. The rear is stabilized with this below. Less flexing is better for cutting and less pressure on outer foot where KD had surgery.


  I’m guessing KD likes a more stable ride so Nike  made his shoe the way he likes it.  It’s also probably why you never saw KD wear the VII or Elite VI much; The max Zoom felt great running straight but it compressed too much on cuts where you put lots of pressure on the outside of your foot and make it tough to cut quickly (one of my gripes with the Lebron X).  I’d like a little more plush feel but these are KD’s shoes not mine. Compared to the Hd15 these are like pillows.

Transition is very smooth since the cushioning is full length. One thing I wanted to note is the toe spring and the extended heel and why it’s on the KD 8

See how the toe pulls up on these ? It’s called toe spring and is very common in running shoes to help create a rocker effect to promote a heel strike which makes sense since KD is coming off surgery for his Jones fracture . Promoting a heel strike would be a great way to help alleviate  pressure on his toes.It isn’t as pronounced as a running shoe’s but more than a normal hoop shoes.

 I found the toe spring awkward at first bc of the large gap from the articulation but it felt natural after playing in them.

I also liked the extended heel because I’m a heavy heel striker and it helps me transition from heel to toe more fluidly. The only bad thing is that it gets stepped on more easily.



I bought my normal sz 11 and they ran narrow and about 1/2 size short length wise so I went up to 11.5 and the fit was much better width and perfect length wise. I have wide flat feet and I didn’t want to deal with narrow shoes. 

    The upper of the 8 is composed of Flyweave which is the same woven upper that the TW 15 used sans the waterproof lining. It’s Nike’s version of Jordan Brand’s Performance Woven upper. 


It isn’t as soft and pliable all over the shoe as the upper  on the Aj XX9 but I think that’s a good thing.  The entire toe box as well as both the medial and lateral sides are reinforced with an  extra layer of Flyweave (I think that’s what it is)

 Looking at the upper it is any part of the upper that  has the longer red line


The darker portions from the toe box to the longer red lines are all backed with an extra layer . It isn’t stiff like typical fuse so I think it just extra layers of Flightweave. It feels about 2 to 2.5x thicker than the one layered parts.

Here is an inside shot:


Regardless, the upper provides a very snug one to one fit. 

Below: nice plush tongue no lace pressure  
   Above: shot of the upper and Flywire

Below: reinforced toe box for toe draggers like me.

I felt no movement side to side and no deadspace in the toe box . I’m sure glad I went up half a size.

The great fit on the upper would be all for not if the heel didn’t lock in and I’m glad to say the 8 does indeed lock the heel into place. The Elite V, VI, and VII all had serious heel slippage for me so I’m very pleased with how the 8 locks in my heel. 

Support and Stability

A surprising strong point of then KD 8 is its support and stability. The entire sole is wide, especially at the forefoot since the Zoom bag actually extends outside of the upper. 

By making the sole wider than the upper, it really promotes stability since you can’t lean on the edges of the Zoom unit and tip off the edge of the Zoom like the KD VII and Lebron X. I felt that the sole is a little too wide in proportion to the shoe; for such a skinny, slim shoe, the sole is wider than a chunkier shoe like the Lebron Solider IX.  The wider sole helps with alleviating pressure on his repaired foot though; it gives the fifth metatarsal or pinky toe more surface area to rest on even on cuts. Just a theory of course.

It isn’t a big deal but the sole’s width doesn’t match up to the width of the upper. I understand why they made it so wide though 

The heel is wide and flat and passed my heel test with no tendency to roll over even when pushed. The heel counter is made of a foam and is “inspired” by KD’s saber tooth tattoo (come on that’s a pretty stupid thing to be inspired by and a hell of a stretch). It works well though


Another woven shoe, more weak containment?  Nope, the KD 8 gm has the best containment of any woven upper I have tried including the XX9, Crossover 2, CrazyLight Boost Primeknit. The extra layers Nike added really kept my foot in the footbed. Flywire, thanks for holding the laces in. Well done Nike !


At $180 these are more than double the cost of the KD I, II and III which is disappointing since KD wanted to make his shoes affordable. I guess Nike had to figure out a way to pay him his 300M contract and hiking up the price helps. I think by sticking his shoe release in the middle of summer Nike really hurt their chances to push and sell this shoe (plus disrespectful to the MVP).  What other sig shoe comes out during the summer aside from team shoes ? There are no games on and seeing the sig player perform in the shoe is what sells the shoe. I guess they have to somehow even out sales forecasts from quarter to quarter for Wall Street. Expect these to hit $135 or less soon. 

With the KD 8 you get full length Zoom and a Flyweave upper for a lot less than the Aj XX9. The KD 8 does everything exceptionally well and  if the Zoom felt a little more plush it would be perfect. Don’t get me wrong the full length Zoom is great but it doesn’t feel exactly as we expected. I believe cushioning is what makes a shoe fun ; you can have all the other aspects of the shoe done perfectly but if it doesn’t feel right underfoot, it can change your view of a shoe . The KD 8 might be low cut but the design seems to be cater to KD’s pinky toe needs to help him transition back to MVP form. Flyweave and a wider sole results in less  impact and pressure on his pinky toe. 

All that being said , I did not like the shoe initially but as I played in it more, I loved it. It does everything a low top should but with subtle protective features that I love and need. I always wanted to love the Zoom in the Lebron X and KD 7 but couldn’t because it was too unstable at the heel and on cuts and guess what ? Nike fixed it with those little plastic nodules. A wider than normal sole really makes it impossible to turn your ankle despite being a little clunky feeling initially. If you always wanted a  low but had the fear of turning your ankle, this is your shoe. I can’t wait for these to drop in price bc they will be slept on . Thanks for the summer release Nike.

 I am super excited to see KD return to the court in a shoe designed specially to his needs. Novel concept for a sig shoe isn’t it ? #hookemKD

65 Comment on “Nike KD 8 VIII Performance Review 

  1. Pingback: End of the Year Review and Awards |

  2. Pingback: Nike KD 8 VIII Elite Performance Review and Comparison |

  3. Pingback: Nike KD 9 IX Performance Review |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: