Friday, June 15, 2018

Kevin Durant goes California Casual

The recently named 2-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant has just unveiled his next basketball signature shoe with the Swoosh: the Nike KD 11.

Based on Durant's preference for not tying his laces too tight, designer Leo Chang was faced with the challenge of what new technologies would match that particular feel that the 2x champion wanted. He knew that with KD's love for that kind of fit, he had to find the perfect balance between a sock and a lightweight runner. 
To cater to that, Nike and Leo Chang decided to make the Flyknit in the shoe's supper more plush - to provide that 'broken-in' feel and make it softer - as compared to the one used in the KD 9 and 10. Completing the shoe underneath is a rubber cupsole that houses both of Nike's signature cushioning in Nike React and Nike Zoom. The former is used as a cushion between the player and the court while the latter sits right beneath the foot for that responsive feel. Chang had to find the correct thickness of the foam and explains it as "creating a perfect balance between plush ride and bounce." 

The idea follows on Durant’s preference for comfort: He wants a broken-in feel. He has said that he doesn’t tie his laces too tight, so his coziness quotient lies somewhere between a sock and a lightweight runner. With this in mind (and specifically with the challenge of translating it through the more traditionally substantial basketball shoe), designer Leo Chang wondered what new technologies would match the feel KD was after?
A sketch by designer Leo Chang

“For the tooling, we’ve created a perfect balance of plush ride and bounce,” explains Chang. “This doesn’t always happen; it really needs two materials to make it work.”

The shoe itself has a rubber cup sole that houses the Nike React and Nike Zoom. The former cushions between court and body, while the latter sits just under the foot to provide response. A key component in the resulting system was identifying the correct thickness for the foam element, which Chang notes is taller than in typical basketball shoes.

This would satiate 20-year-old Durant’s desire to ball all day and is simultaneously now well suited to 29-year-old Durant’s current approach to playing and training.

Leo Chang says the shoe exhibits “simplicity at first glance, but when you look closer there is depth below the surface.” For example, the remnant of a Swoosh placement from a prior model appears on the medial side.

To summarize it, you can describe the KD 11 as California casual. Or just call it the perfect merger of a laid-back chill sneaker and performance basketball equipment. 

Evolution of the shoe’s Flyknit upper follows suit.

On the KD11, the third consecutive KD signature to feature Nike’s most adaptable textile technology, the Flyknit gets a little more plush, a little more “broken-in” and a thus a lot softer. “He likes the feel of the Flyknit Trainer and the Nike Epic React,” says Chang. “Last summer, he loved the Air Sock Racer — that is where the collar of the 11 came from, and all the lofting in the tongue and quarter followed.”

You could describe the KD11 as California casual. Or simply acknowledge it as the ultimate merger of laid-back chill shoe and performance basketball equipment.

Durant’s coziness quotient lies somewhere between a sock and a lightweight runner.

The KD 11 will be available for an SRP of 7,645 PHP. The Paranoid (blue) released last June 11 at Titan Fort and Meanwhile the Still KD (black/white) colorway is set to be release on July 1st, and will be available at all Titan branches, the Athlete's Foot Rockwell and Alabang Town Center, and Nike Park branches (Circuit, Fairview, UP Town Center, Festival Mall, Ayala Cebu, Robinsons Ermita, Glorietta, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma, and MOA).

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