The 88 dolla playa just works.

I was writing down my thoughts on the PG2 and forgot I had a few pair of these in my closet. I thought it would be interesting to review these since it’s basically the same idea with the same target customer (same team as a matter of fact); budget conscious consumers looking for a signature shoe.

If you haven’t noticed, budget friendly sig shoes are all the rage. Why pay $185 for Lebrons when you can get PG2 for $110? Dame 4 for $115? Kyrie 4 for $120? If you didn’t know the basic laws of supply and demand, more people are willing to purchase a product at a lower price if they see the higher priced item as equal. That’s how you move units without giving up a premium image.


14.5 ounces which is exactly the same weight as the PG2


Just a simple herringbone pattern that works. Standard rubber with a standard pattern and it works just fine, very similar to the Clutchfit Drive traction performance. Great on clean floors, needs some wiping on dusty floors to stay tacky. Nothing spectacular, no special storytelling but still very good overall.

Has sneaker traction technology changed much in seven years? A lot of my favorite traction patterns came before 2011 so it isn’t technology related, it’s just what they happened to use this time. At least Nike kept the storytelling to a minimum.


Forefoot Zoom and Phylon midsole. Sound familiar?

These feel almost like any other Nike set up with Zoom forefoot including the PG1. (I think the PG 2 feels a little softer overall). Works just fine. I remember when they released these, Nike would say KD “plays on his toes” so that’s why it’s forefoot Zoom only. What Nike forgot to mention is that it hurts their wallet to put Zoom in the heel for $88.

This set up just works fine. Nothing spectacular as you can feel the Zoom a little in the forefoot and the heel is cored out to give some extra give.


True to size

No heel slip from the get go, no movement side to side. These sit a little higher than most lows but not my much.

No fancy lace set up although this flap of leather is supposed to help but it’s attached to directly to the medial side of the shoe so you can’t get much more lockdown with this set up. You can choose a slightly lower lace set up at least.

These even have standard white flat laces. Can’t get much more mundane than that. No burrito, no asymmetrical, no one piece bootie…standard lace set ups just work.


The majority of the shoe is leather with just a little touch of Flywire and synthetic. This particular pair has patent leather on the lateral and medial panels.

Good luck finding this much leather for $88 let alone $150. It works just as well as any of the new materials out there but due to rising costs, much cheaper knits/mesh, and the call to go greener, we won’t be seeing this much anymore. But for Mother Earth, I’m willing to go with a more sustainable material.

Support and stability

I guess this a low but it’s a higher cut low like the PG2 and Kobe ADM. Support comes from the fit and standard heel counter. There is also a basic plastic midfoot shank that works fine as well.

Stability is great thanks to a flat outsole and forefoot outrigger

Once again, nothing new, nothing mind blowing, it just works.


No issues here. A little stiffer synthetic and Flywire at the forefoot and a raised outsole just keeps everything in place. Hmmm, who would have ever thunk to do that ? Oh yea, me.


Seven years later and it’s the same story as before, no issues at all with the KD3 . $88 would cost $96 today based on inflation so you are actually paying a little more for the PG2 than the KD3 in theory. You have to remember sneaker prices went into hyper drive for a few years then settled back down the past three.

Once again, it’s a matter of budget: how many bells, whistles, and signature allure do you need to buy this shoe? A good analogy for the KD III would be a 2011 Honda Civic; it’s priced affordably for all consumers, looks pretty good and can get me from A to B without fail. Do we need 350 HP cars with German engineering or a newer model to get us home on our daily commute? Absolutely not, but do we want it? Absolutely! Can we afford it… now thats the really question.

The same goes for shoes; do we need full length Boost or Zoom? Do we need the newest model to make us play better? Absolutely not, but boy do we want it. It’s consumerism at its finest.

PG2 Update

I’ve been playing in the PG2 sparingly the week and a half as I recover from my tournament and here are some of my thoughts.


A softer rubber and thinner pattern make the traction great. I already liked the PG1 traction but these having been working slightly better with a nice bite and minimal wiping. I love to see basics done right. Give me a good traction better with a decent fit and I’m usually a happy camper.


Nike put a bigger Zoom bag in the forefoot and I could tell a slight difference. It isn’t mind blowing Zoom but the feel is a little Zoomier than the PG1 which I thought felt very muted. The overall cushioning also feels an little softer and lower which I think everyone will like. Nike really disguised that Phylon feel with an ultra thick insole like they used last year.


True to size for everyone. I thought they were snug at first but they loosened up quickly. No heel slip, no side to side movement. I really should just copy and paste my KD3 review.


Mesh with some synthetic suede panels. Budget materials but it looks nicer than most budget shoes by breaking up the monotony with the placement of different colors and textures. Aside from a name and story telling, that’s the biggest difference you get with budget signature shoes in my opinion; sexier budget materials. As I said in my Harden review, premiumizing budget materials makes us feel like we got more value or bang for the buck.

Support and Stability

No issues here. Good fit and a normal flexing heel counter plus a flat outsole and outrigger set up.


The synthetic rand around the forefoot helps with the containment. Very similar idea to the KD3 but just done externally rather than integrated. It’s probably a lot cheaper to do it this way than to fuse it’s sew two different materials together. That’s why mesh and no sew uppers are so popular and prevalent now.


This is going to be another solid shoe from PG and Nike. Nike got the sneaker world buzzing with the PlayStation PG2 and that buzz carries over to the rest of the line. Brilliant idea Nike even if it has no real merit performance wise.

I won’t have this review done for another week or two due to Spring Break with the family but I think the consensus for the PG2 is pretty much same across the board, it just works just like the KD III.

32 Comment on “The Archive: Nike KD III Performance Analysis, Review and PG2 update

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