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June 12, 2018

Kevin Durant Goes California Casual

Initiating the design of Kevin Durant’s latest signature shoe, the KD11, began with an idea and a question.

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?

“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.

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.

The KD11 will be available in June and July in the Paranoid (blue) and Still KD (black/white) colorways.