Just added a KD 9 vs Crazylight Boost 2016
*This is a long review so here is an executive summary: exceptional cushioning, great fit, good traction and stability, decent containment, minimal support for a fair price of $150. However, these are not making my top 5 rotation*
Cushioning is obviously the focal point of the shoe, but how does the rest of the shoe perform?
Nike is a marketing machine and smart as hell so I think it is safe to assume that they didn’t care that the leaked images and June release date of the KD 9 came out around the same time as the KD 8 Elite releases. KD has always played second and third fiddle in Nikes hierarchy but now that Kobe has retired, Nike finally gave him the the keys to the Porsche.
Designed by Leo Chang, the low-cut shoe features a Flyknit upper engineered down to the pixel for maximum containment. Specifically, it features a pattern with a distinct honeycomb structure precisely knit for the multidimensional movement of basketball and Durant’s lateral quickness. Flyknit technology engineering locks down the forefoot while still allowing the foot to move naturally. Flyknit’s efficient material use also ensures the upper is lightweight, without compromising strength.
A visible, tapered Zoom Air unit runs from heel to toe, marking the evolved Air bag’s debut in basketball. Developed over three years of advanced wear testing, the new Zoom Air unit — filled with fibers that compress upon each step, then spring back for unmatched response — is 16 millimeters thick at the heel and progressively narrows to 10 millimeters at the forefoot. This architecture is tuned to provide maximum impact protection while amplifying the bouncy feel of the Zoom Air unit.
Here is the full press release:
One other note, I do not think the KD 9 and Lillard 2 look alike at all other than the ankle collar.
Pros: traction when clean, ADDICTIVE CUSHIONING, fit, good containment for knit upper, very, very comfortable
Cons: traction needs wiping when dusty, Zoom could use a little more lateral stability, minimal support, above average containment overall
Best for: creaky knees, any player seeking cushioning with minimal support needs
Sizing: narrow foot, go down half a size, wide foot true to size. If you like a tighter fit, you can go down half a size due to Flyknit’s flexibility and a little extra length in toe box
At 13.5 oz, the IX is once ounce heavier than the Kd8 Elite and 2 oz heavier than the KD 8
The KD 9 features a honeycomb pattern and it works great on clean floors or when wiped.
The rubber is very soft and pliable and picks up a lot of dust so you do have to wipe to keep the dirt at bay.
Couple that with the flatness of the grooves and you have to wipe frequently on dusty floors. I do not recommend these for outdoors due to the softness of the rubber as well as the Flyknit upper.
Overall I put these in the second tier of traction and not in the AJ XX8, Curry Two, Kobe IX tier. In terms of KD traction I’d rank the these behind the 7 but better than the 8 when clean. The 8 did better on dusty floors than the 9 though.
Cushioning is fantastic and is truly the highlight of the shoe from a visual and performance standpoint.
I wrote an article Where’s Zoom and I said I didn’t understand why Nike would give up such a distinct competitive advantage. Well Nike came back with that advantage with the KD 9.
One of the new parts of this set up is the geometry in the heel and the articulation in the forefoot. I griped about the instability of the Lebron X 360 Zoom and I guess I wasn’t crazy because Nike fixed it. Thanks for having my back KD #hookem
They did a decent job on the cushioning with the KD 8 but really enhanced the feel this time by:
Giving us more Zoom than the KD 8
Duh, just look at the difference in Zoom
Taking away some of the midsole so it rides lower and we get more Zoom feel
See how thin the midsole it is? That’s about how much midsole sits between the foot and Zoom. Usually it’s at least double that amount.
Fully articulating the forefoot
The articulated forefoot is a seamless transition since the forefoot bag is nice and big unlike the KD 8.
What does the Zoom feel like?
From the pictures, I thought Zoom would feel like the Lebron X but it doesn’t. It feels more like the Boost on the Ultra Boost; just a smooth lower profile ride that has the right amount of spring to it. I never complained about the flexibility of 360 Zoom or full length Zoom because frankly my my foot muscles are plenty strong to flex Zoom air but these do flex much easier.
The flexibility and softness comes from removing the “pillars” and adding more tensile fibers so it can compress and spring back more. It looks like Nike doubled or tripled the fibers.
I had a lot of friends try on the 9 and everyone fell in love with the cushioning. Can’t blame them, it feels awesome. Compared to the KD 8, based on feel alone the KD9 blows the KD8 out of the water but on cuts and quicker movements, I give the edge to the KD8 due to the plastic clips on the lateral side.
Those plastic clips take away from the feel of Zoom but functionally, they keep the Zoom from flexing so there isn’t any lag time.
Adidas made the Rose 6 more stable by adding Stable frame as well
I would have like to see a little more lateral support. Having no structure on this set up you can compress the Zoom on the lateral side. The Lebron II used full width Zoom but had it caged in Pebax for similar reasons. I feel the 8 plays “quicker” overall. Does it take away a lot of reaction time? Probably not anything measurable but the two shoes play very differently in this aspect so just want to set expectations. The general public will say “these are the most comfy shoes ever” which is true, but shoe nerds aren’t the general public and we are picky as hell when it comes to on court performance. However, I think the Zoom feels so good I’m willing to overlook this “problem”.
Well done Nike!
Hope this set up continues !
I went true to size with my normal 11 and these fit me well length wise and and perfectly width wise. The toe box is more square than the 8 so it can accommodate different foot shapes a better. They are a little longer than a true 11, maybe 1/8 to 1/4 a size but it is because there is plastic rand that sits at the toe cap. The KD line has always run narrow and I’ve had to size up a few times (namely the IV and the VIII).
Above: my 11 vs 11.5 in the KD 8
These are not nearly as narrow as previous KD’s so wide footers can rejoice. I think I could go down half a size and still be comfortable since the Flyknit has some give and extra length.
For all the mesh and woven upper craze that people have been giving shoe companies the past few years, I stated why Knits and woven uppers don’t work for me. And it looks like Nike was giving everyone a half ass effort until the KD9.
The difference between the KD 9 upper and previous wovens/knits is that the upper is constructed with a honeycomb structure . The design really reminds me of a rope net, providing real strength so it doesn’t stretch as much but also providing flexibility (we all remember how hard it was to climb these right?)
The upper really hugs the foot and gives a great one to one fit.
Above: Lace loops are sewn in
Below: nylon lining
The back of the Flyknit is lined with nylon which adds another layer of strength while being comfortable.
I think this upper feels better than previous glue backed Flyknits by a mile. No stiffness at all, just a sock like feel .. But does it contain the foot ? Read down a paragraph or two.
Regarding the heel fit, my initial wearings had just a tiny bit of heel slip so i had to wait a few games before the heel locked in. The design of the heel is very similar to the Hyperrev 2016.
Although it works fine for me, I still prefer the thicker ankle collar design of the Kobe and KD 7/8; it just forms around the Achilles better and feels more secure overall .
Support and stability
Support isn’t anything special, in fact it is a little lackluster. Fit is excellent as I stated earlier but the heel counter is pretty flimsy.
If you have the Hyperrev 16, it is similar in flex The KD 8 heel counter is much firmer and sturdier. I expect that over time the heel counter will become too flimsy as I’ve worn down several heel counters on my Kobe I’s and Soldier VI’s
As you can see from the pics below, the 9 is a touch higher than a low.
And is very similar in height to the Lillard 2 (still think they look the same ?)
A lot of the design is similar to the HR16 just implemented slightly differently and with Flyknit. One piece upper with very similar heel counter and ankle collar.
Thankfully, the KD 9 is stable underfoot due to the redesigned outsole.
It is not nearly as stable or supportive as the KD 8 but it works perfectly fine and is not tippy at all. The KD 9 is a natural, free flowing shoe but provides just enough support and stabilty.
Also worth noting is that there is not much midfoot support since the Zoom is there and the midsole is thin and flexible.
Not a big deal to me but others might want more.
I’m probably the only person that actually addresses this need and am always concerned with lateral containment with knit uppers (see JC2, JC3, M12, CLB15) .
The KD 9 insole sits about 1-2 mm below the midsole but the midsole is so soft that the containment is only from the upper. The honeycomb knit did a very good job for Flyknit, much better than previous knit uppers but not as good as the KD 8. Still much much better than the aforementioned sh*t list I had above.
As I stated in my article “why wovens don’t work” there should be a physical barrier otherwise the foot will always slide off the footbed. Most of the time it comes down to aesthetics so shoe companies make a cleaner and simpler looking shoe. Adidas appears to have gotten it right with the CLB16 though. Looks be damned, these are made to perform (see, my theory isn’t crazy) and I can’t wait to try them.
Overall, containment is above average and acceptable, especially for a knit, although I’d prefer a little more containment. I do think companies are moving in the right direction though.
The KD line started as a budget signature shoe but over the years, the price ballooned to Lebron levels. At $150, the KD 9 came down from those stupidly high levels and provides a lot of Nike’s best tech for a much lower cost than previous years. Lot of people sh*t on the KD 8 but they forget KD needed a protective shoe since he was coming off Jone’s fracture surgery. Sure it wasn’t for everybody but if you wanted a low without worrying about spraining your ankle, the KD 8 was a great option but a very need specific shoe.
The KD 9 on the other hand is a shoe everyone will enjoy, mainly because the fit, comfort and cushioning is amazing right out of the box. I’ve stated before that cushioning gives a shoe personality. It’s often the first thing people look for and say “damn that’s comfy” in the store and buy it then and there; The general public doesn’t give a damn about the little things we shoe nerds obsess over. Thankfully, Nike did a great job overall with the KD 9.
All that being said, the KD 9 will not make my top 5 but I really enjoy playing in them just because they feel so good underfoot. I would easily take these over the Kobe 8,9, and 11 (the X has more support so it would be close). On cushioning alone, I would pick the 9 but for my needs, the 8 works better (more stable and supportive) I put the 9 into play during Chinese Nationals a few weeks back so I pushed them hard as hell in several games but went back to the Curry Two. I need/want a little more support, containment and traction during tournament play but I wouldn’t hesitate playing in these during pickup because it’s a great, fun shoe that will save some me from some wear and tear.
If the kd 9 or kd x doesnt work out, what shoe would you suggest for somebody who needs to put in orthotics, wears an ankle brace, but plays quick but would like a solid cushioning setup that doesnt sacrifice too much courtfeel.
Thanks, sorry for all the questions haha
Curry 2 or Rose 5, 7, and 6 if you want more cushioning. All in my rotation (hyperdunk 2017 is a option too Review almost done)
Personally I love the fit of the KD9…they are extremely comfortable…and the cushion is like walking on trampolines…and hence the issue for me…court feel and responsiveness are significantly lost…i have no issues with containment…personally I would suggest checking out the hyperdunk 2016 or 2017…i haven’t tried the flyknit 2016’s but if they fit like the kd 9 then i bet they are awesome if the court feel and responsiveness are better they might be a bit tricky to use with ankle braces though, I’m looking to pick up a pair if i can find them for cheap…from the sounds of it the 2017 versions might be a great option although possibly a little on the firm side
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I think you might like the KD X, everybody says the cushioning is similar but much firmer and more responsive.
Def firmer but still comfy
how is the lockdown and containment compared to the 9’s?
I haven’t played enough in them with regard to containment. Lockdown is pretty good though (not sure if I answered this yet lol)
Thanks for answering my questions, how would you compare the cushioning and responsiveness for the kd 9 and the pg 1?
Cushioning is more plush /fun in Kd vs pg1. Pg 1 feels mostly like phylon but feels more responsive. I’d rather play in the pg1 even though cushioning isn’t as nice bc everything else is good
yeah I suppose I will hold off until I figure out the best option for me. As much as I want to have a super responsive shoe I think I need something with a bit of comfortable softness but not too much as those bouncy set ups just don’t feel right and slow me down too much…no brick hard foam though…I think maybe a good bounce or micro g/charged setup or possibly zoom or boost with solid grip…i want a comfortable upper…I quite like the flyweave on the Jordan xxx1 low…i just wish it was less bouncy…I really like the freedom and lightness of a low or maybe a mid if it’s super soft and flexible like the hyperrev 2016 which also really accomodates ankle braces which I am probably going to be wearing from now on…I’d be interested to hear if you have a recommendation that fits with these criteria…thanks
Dame 4 . Not super bouncy nice upper nice fit and flexible like a low. And it’s cheaper than most. Oh maybe not with a ankle brace
yeah…they sound good…but i don’t think they can fit a brace…i’m thinking about trying the soldier 9’s even though they aren’t a low or maybe the charged controller…when the dame 4’s go on sale i might pick up a pair to see if they can fit a brace
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hey, I was thinking of trying out the flyknit or regular 2016 hyperdunks…in your experience are they pretty responsive? how do they compare to the 2016 hyperrev, i really like the cushioning setup on those…if i can find a pair of rose 7 or 8 i’d like to try those…how do those compare for cushioning…ideally i’d like them in a low i think…i liked the cushioning of the rose 6 but the mesh ones were bulky and heavy feeling…i like the fit of jordan 31 low but they are just too bouncy for me…i think it’s the unlocked aspect of the zoom or maybe that it’s full length…they are better than the kd max zoom but not that much…if i can find the curry 2’s i might give them a try…if the hyperdunk react were cheaper i might pick them up…I’m looking for a good balance of response and impact protection and comfort/fit wth good traction that can ideally accomodate an ankle brace but i may not wear one because they are uncomfortable…but i’m concerned about injury prevention
Hd16 is firmer less bouncy feeling than the hr16. Rose 7 and 8 are less plush and less bouncy than the 6. Curry 2 is still one of the best and still in my top 3 .
thanks again…i have ordered the hyperdunk flyknit which are available now for major discount to try…did you find them pretty responsive and less bouncy than the AJxxx1 lows? it’s difficult to tell how a shoe will play just from trying them on…i tried the crazy explosive 17 regular not prime knit last week and the boost felt really good…if the hyperdunks are too bouncy i might grab the crazy explosive pk…what did you think of the boost in the explosives? you seem to be the only other person that experienced the bottoming out that i hated with the 2016 model…i will probably wait a while until i can get them on discount although in Canada that might be a long time…prices are so high here not like in the states will all the on-line retailers…wish i could find one that would ship free to Canada
You’ll get the same bottoming out with the 17
Hd 17 is firmer than the xxxi and crazy explosive but it’s a nice balance of responsiveness and cushioning which I enjoy a lot.
thanks…the hyperdunk flyknit’s have way too much zoom…still too bouncy…my feet actually started to hurt! too bad because that flyknit upper is pretty nice although the heal fit isn’t the best I’m going to try out the crazy explosives but I will likely look for a firmer setup…maybe the new Dames or the react hyperdunks…i think i’m done with zoom cushioning…going to try foam…wish i could get my hands on the d rose 8’s but they aren’t available in Canada…my good old hyperrevs actually cracked across the bottom of the outsole on one shoe last night! if it weren’t for that stupid strap i might even pick up another pair of those…I’m also thinking about trying the 2016 crazy lights…thnking about kobe’s except i don’t like lunarlon because it doesn’t last although i a know a guy who will sell me some 11 elites for cheap…the quest continues 🙂
Try contacting Nike they might give you a voucher for those if they cracked . Just google Nike claims .
did you play in the zoom soldier 11’s?
Just a few times. Solid shoe so far much better than the x
thanks…i picked up a pair but haven’t played in them…they are very snug and hard to get on which i don’t care for but they might play well…I just don’t want shoes that i have to struggle with to get on although if they are good in every other aspect I might overlook it…I’m thinking about picking up a pair of the rose 7’s unless the crazy explosives work for me which i should know this week…i’m a little hesitant since i found the rose 6 mesh version to be way too bulky and a bit heavy plus it was hard to get really locked in with the huge tongue…I really like boost so I might give it a try…do you think the 7’s are alot better than the 6’s as far as bulk and weight go? As an alternative I might pick up the lillard 2’s or 4’s…I tried on the 4’s and found them quite snug and maybe a bit thin in the forefoot but never tried playing in them
7’s are less bulky but similar weight. Check out my IG I cut the straps off the 6 and it made it play a lot less bulky and improved lockdown (I also added a few extra eyelets). You can test the feel by just pulling the straps out of the slits and lacing through the slits . Dame 4 ride low but I wouldn’t say the are thin I think he forefoot.
thanks…I think I will pick up the Dame 4’s or nike react hyperdunk lows, what do you think is better all round, I’m concerned that my older knees might hurt with the react cushioning…anyways, I’m going to wait till the price drops a bit here i think…i tried the crazy explosive 2017 and the cushioning is just too thin in the forefoot like you said…i don’t like to actually feel the ground…the upper was very nice though…too bad…i’ll try sending back my hyperrevs…maybe they will give me credit towards the hyperdunks if i ask…thanks for the tip…wish i could try out the rose 8’s…maybe they will come to Canada in 2018
Cushioning is softer on dame 4 by a little but traction is much better in hd 17. Nike usually
Gives a voucher for the full price of the shoe so you can use on whatever
thanks…I’ll see if i get a voucher and maybe pick up the hyperdunks…i tried on the pg1 yesterday and they felt really nice although i had to go up half a size and then they are a bit long…there is a sweet light purple colorway that just came out and i might just grab them as well as the hyperdunks
Pg1 is solid all the away around cushioning is only ok for me
thanks…I ordered the 2017 flyknit hyperdunks today…have been reading mostly good things everywhere…some saying it’s the best shoe of the year…there’s a pretty good review in Men’s Health magazine you might want to check out.. I’m tired of all these bouncy rides that are distracting and often uncomfortable and I really like a comfortable upper and these sound like they have a great fit. I came across this interesting article in men’s health about performance in basketball and in life you might find interesting https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/understanding-physical-coordination-and-accuracy
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I’ll have to read that article thanks !
I have a wide flat foot and i went true to size with my normal 9.5 in the Crazy Explosive ’16, should i go true to size in the kd 9 or go up half a size??
True to size bc the length of really long in the kd 9
have you popped your kd 9’s max zoom?? seems like everyone had that issue, any tips to prevent that??
Nope don’t play in them anymore but two of my friends who do popped theirs
Nothing you can do except buy the X lol
At least nike will give you a voucher
also, do you recommend the elite version over the regular kd 9?
I think it’s better overall for the same price . Doesn’t run isn’t nearly as long for some reason
Hi, schwollo, I finally got a pair of kd 9 elite. It feels a little snug and tight, maybe bc i’m a wide footer. Will they break-in after a few games??
Yes they will.
TL, DR: How do they fit compared to the 12s? I went true size for the 12s and works great, should I do the same?
I remember back in the days I was reading and watching your review and nightwing’s over and over again cause I was dying to have them, but was too young to be able to afford them.. Now fast forward to 2021.. I have tried the KD 12s and 13s’ Zoom, absolutely love em! especially the 12s. But still I want to try out the KD 9s’ cushion for myself. Other than zoom bag popping issues (at the bridge where the flex groove/line is, usually), the 9’s fit concerns me, it’s not like I will go ham and cheese on these every time I step on court but it would still be nice to have a decent fit with zero issues. A few people recommend me to just stick with the 12&13s and don’t bother with the 9s cause they are super narrow, but they have different feet from mine and don’t own the 12s nor 13s (?!), but I still insist on trying them lol, but can only find them thru ebay so it’s kind of a gamble.
So how do they fit compared to the 12’s fit, I assume you still have your 9s? I have wide and flat-ish feet and going true to size on the 12s works great for me (no space whatsoever, almost suffocating fit but in a good way), I also went half a size up and still works great when I want them to go easier on my foot. The lacing system on the 12s allow me to go from half size to full size up and still be able to ball in them without issues, but the 9s are/were a different story, the closest thing I have to compare to the 9s is my epic reacts, and I don’t really like the upper folds up or bunch up when you yank on them laces, and that’s what I’m trying to avoid with the 9s.
You can go true to size or half a size down with the IX. You will have more space in the toe with TTS but that’s really preference. The ix is super comfy but not the kind of shoe I like to hoop in. 12 and 13s are just right in terms of all around performance . Def don’t recommend going up in size w the IX