I was not a big fan of the Kyrie 1. Sure, it was inexpensive and looked good, but on court I felt it was lacking. So many people gave it a pass since it was Kyrie’s first sig shoe but I never understood why; it’s not like Nike didn’t have a blueprint for his likes and dislikes. Plenty of shoes with a similar price point outperformed the Kyrie 1 but hey, add a Swoosh and perceived performance increases.
I’m sure everyone has seen Nike’s marketing on the Kyrie 2 and how it is based on the “banking concept”. If you haven’t here is the link
As much as I hate the BS marketing , the shoe itself is much improved versus the Kyrie 1.
Pros: Almost everything improved vs Kyrie 1, Fit, traction, containment
Cons: forefoot cushioning is sparse, heel cushioning firm
Best for: quick guards who like firm cushioning
Sizing: true to size
Does the curved outsole concept work ?
I decided to get this out of the way since this was what interested me the most. I found that I produced more 11.6 pounds of force versus a standard outsole which allowed me to crossover .00035 seconds faster .. That’s a joke, just like Nike’s marketing campaign with these. It seems like Nike spent lots of time calculating force while throwing numbers around and reciting Newton’s laws but where are the numbers with the Kyrie 2 versus a standard outsole ? Immeasurable I presume.
The rounded geometry positioned at the medial heel and across the metatarsals heads allow Irving to redistribute his weight and cut on a dime, without slapping his foot to the court and decreasing his power output.
As we know from Newton’s third law – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction – the KYRIE 2 needs to support the tremendous amount of force Irving applies to the floor and then return it, permitting the point guard to fly off his edges with intense speed that penetrates the defense.
In case you didn’t know Force is F=mass*acceration so a bigger individual can create just as much force despite accerlerating more slowly so don’t be surprised if tubby Ray Felton has similar numbers
When I read about the curved outsole I immediately thought of my heel test and if I should even bother wearing these. However, after putting these on, my fears were put to rest as Nike put the curved in the right places.
Nike made it a little wider on the lateral side to keep from rolling over
Pardon the kiddie gate. Gotta love the holidays at the in laws . I found it took only a little bit of time to get used to it because as you step or cut with the medial side, it rolls a tiny bit more before you can push off but I really didn’t notice a difference in my speed I actual game play. When I was messing around with the shoe at home I felt like I could pivot like a ballerina but come game time, I didn’t find myself anywhere remotely close to using the design. What I did like about the curved outsole was it seemed to eliminate any fat off the outsole, allowing the shoe to feel fast and nimble. Not sure how much of that is the curved design but thats the best way to describe how it plays. Reminds me a lot of how the Rose 3 plays.
Last year’s Kyrie traction pattern looked beastly and it worked pretty well overall but it could have been better.
Nike improved the traction this year by using a softer rubber and I felt they were great on clean, lightly dusty floors and good on semi dusty and dusty floors as long as you keep wiping. I have them on par with the Clutchfit Drive traction but not quite on the level of the Curry Two, AJ XX8 or Kobe IX.
Very underwhelming just like the Kyrie 1 but in reverse. This time around Nike put the Zoom in the heel but you can barely feel it (again).
I found these cut aways of the Kyrie 2 . You can really see how much Phylon you’re getting .
The forefoot cushioning is almost non existent and feels almost as minimal as the Crazy Light Boost 2014. Almost is the the operative word, as Nike does have a tiny layer of cushioning vs none on the Crazylight Boost. I noticed that the forefoot has a different layer on the strobel board the rest of the shoe.The brown layer (poron, thanks NW) has a more rubbery feel than the rest of the shoe but it is only about 1mm thick so it doesn’t do much .
The insole is pretty damn cool looking but very thin especially for Ortholite. It is paper thin in the heel. It isn’t the typical thick spongy yellow insole either so that step in comfort isn’t there.
I wish there was more foam under the forefoot as my knees have been achy since using these and my neuroma ( irritated nerve) in my foot flared up. My neuroma is my little cushioning whisperer and tells me when there needs to be more cushioning in the forefoot and it pretty much yelled it this time. You know how I got the neuroma? Wearing shoes with inadequate forefoot cushioning.
It’s possible they couldn’t implement more cushioning or some kind of Zoom met bag because of the outsole shape but I believe it’s just Nike being sheisty. I understand Kyrie’s “need”for responsiveness but he’s going to wear down his knees faster then his .49 second jumper with this cushioning set up especially after coming off a serious knee injury. Maybe he likes it that way but he might become Uncle Drew permanently sooner rather than later.
I went true to size with my normal 11 and these didn’t give me fit issues like last year. My fat a** feet were dying at the midfoot with the Kyrie 1 but they broke in to give a nice secure fit eventually. I was not a fan of the cheap Fuse material either. I also had a bit of heel slip since the ankle collar was not contoured much.
This year’s Kyrie features a nicer Fuse upper that still isn’t premium feeling but isn’t bargain basement crispy like last year’s. It reminds me a lot of the regular Kobe X upper but more pliable .
Most of the time the straps that hold the tongue serve only that specific purpose but by extending the straps into a full sleeve, it gives the shoe a nice one to one feel while eliminating the discomfort of the stiffer Fuse upper.
In my opinion the midfoot and back is where the upper shines the most. Here is where you actually feel some comfortable padding in and around the ankle. Nike really deepened the ankle notch versus last year.
And of course we can’t forget the strap that everyone initially hated because it made the Kyrie look like the KD IV.
Support and Stability
There isn’t a ton of support other than the internal heel counter and raised midsole but the shoe itself is very stable overall. Here you can see the general outline of the heel counter and see how flexible the ankle collar is.
With the speed that Kyrie starts and stops and crosses, containment better be good on his shoe and Nike did a great job by extending the midsole above the foot similar to the Rose 5, HD 15 etc.
I like the Kyrie 2 for trying to do new things with the curved outsole. It doesn’t do anything detrimental to the stability of the shoe but it doesn’t add much either. I do like the improvements they made from the 1 to 2 though and it is a step in the right direction. Every aspect of the shoe has improved noticeably. And it is a beautiful shoe which is what most consumers will be drawn to, not the performance. We have to keep in mind that shoe nerdists are a teeny tiny percentage of a percentage of the targeted demographic
If Zoom cushioning was in place at the heel and forefoot and was made to feel like Zoom should, then this shoe would be fantastic. But with sub par cushioning, it just takes the fun out of the entire shoe. As I’ve said before, cushioning gives the shoe personality. I don’t buy the theory that Kyrie wanted more responsiveness at the forefoot. He’s used Hyperdunks with Lunarlon before and he’s coming off a serious knee injury. It’s just about saving pennies in my opinion . Don’t think I didn’t notice the Kyrie 2 ID price increase from $165 to $170 this past week Nike. It’s unfortunate that the cushioning wasn’t better because I would have ID’d a few pair because I think they look great. I also find it rather ironic that of all things to skimp out on, Nike chose cushioning, you know the thing that that propelled Nike into the stratosphere. Nike Air, look it up Swoosh.
As Kobe retires this year, I expect more marketing and resources will go towards the Kyrie line and we will see a better sig shoe with more bells and whistles along with a higher price tag of course.
If you want a shoe that plays fast with a low to the ground, minimal cushioning set up, the Kyrie 2 is fantastic . However if you’re like me, and want the entire package, look elsewhere; there are several shoes that perform just as well at a similar price point especially from the past two seasons.