This is my review of the Nike KD 14 basketball shoe. While not the slickest or more low-profile shoe on the market, the KD 14 is a powerful sneaker that’s incredibly comfortable and responsive once you take the time to break it in.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of this shoe and whether you should buy it or not.
- Where to Buy: Amazon
- Best for: Players who put a large focus on comfort and support. Big men or guards that need a stable base.
- Pros: Extremely comfortable thanks to the targeted cushioning. Multilayer mesh upper. Breathable. Midfoot straps create solid lockdown. Good grip.
- Cons: Large fit. Bulkier design. Takes a long time to properly break in. On the expensive side.
- Alternatives: Adidas N3xt L3v3l, Lebron Soldier XIII, Embiid 1
Why Trust Me
I have worn many, many sneakers in my twenty five plus years of playing basketball. That has given me personal experience with all sorts of different basketball shoes and shoe styles, especially modern or new-age models.
It is that extensive knowledge, backed up by additional research, reviews, and firsthand accounts, that gave me the ability to provide a true analysis of the KD 14.
Detailed Review of Nike KD 14
The KD 14 is a larger, if somewhat bulky shoe, that puts a high emphasis on both comfort and lockdown. Despite the size, it’s easy to manage and keeps you secure through a series of straps. You get a lot of power from the tough design and durable construction.
The shoe won’t be for those who value more streamlined or simple shoes, but any player who wants a sturdy-but-comfortable shoe will enjoy the plethora of features packed into the sleek model.
If there’s one area the KD 14 excels in, it’s comfort. The shoe is incredibly soft and feels great on your feet. That’s mainly due to the special padding placed in key areas of the design. Not only does that better protect your foot, but it makes it so you can play for long periods of time.
Adding to that is the ventilation. The model comes with a unique multilayer mesh upper that’s both flexible and breathable. It actively wicks away moisture in order to keep your feet dry both on and off the court.
The only downside here is that the shoes take a while to break in. They are undoubtedly comfortable once they’re game-ready, but it can take a little bit to get to that point. Not the end of the world, but I would have preferred them to be better right out of the box.
As with so many modern Nike shoes, the KD 14s are incredibly responsive. That’s largely due to the combination of Zoom Strobel and cushion midsole. Both of those mix together perfectly to give you impact protection and responsiveness.
These work with you rather than against you. You’re never going to feel stuck in place, especially when you need to make a quick cut or shifty move. That’s incredibly important for wings and guards, but it’s great for big men who need to make quick spins as well.
Weight and Feel
The biggest issue with the KD 14 is that it’s a larger shoe. It’s not incredibly heavy by any means, especially when compared to pure big man models, but it still is much bulkier than other models on the market. You will definitely know these are on, which isn’t always ideal.
That being said, despite their size, the 14s do a good job at staying reasonably light. You can freely move around in them, and there’s a surprising amount of mobility built into the design. That’s something I especially appreciate for what is ultimately a more powerful model.
Sturdiness is another area where the KD 14 gets high marks. As they are larger than many similar models, they have an inherent toughness to their construction that allows them to withstand a lot of abuse. These will hold up, even when used by the most dedicated players.
Traction and Lockdown
The KD 14 also has reasonable traction. It’s a very grippy shoe that utilizes a powerful rubber outsole and tuned traction sole to provide you a strong grip on the hardwood. You might not see the same results when playing outside, but it will still be serviceable on just about any surface.
That’s then backed up with an impressive lockdown. Not only does the shoe give you a powerful fit, but the hook-and-loop strap means you won’t experience any sliding during a game. That doesn’t just cut down on ankle injuries, it also means fewer blisters in the long run.
What I Like
My favorite aspect of the KD 14 is the ventilation. Where many modern shoes constrict your feet or cause them to sweat during long games, the 14 utilizes a great mesh upper to ensure you never get too hot. Cutting down on overheating is always a plus in my book.
The comfort is fantastic as well. The shoes go out of their way to cushion your foot, and it shows in all parts of the design. I especially love the targeted padding in specific areas of the shoe to ensure you can freely move around without losing the strong lockdown or secure fit.
What I Dislike
If I have a complaint about the KD 14, it’s the general size. The shoe has a lot going for it, but it’s on the bulkier side of the spectrum. You’re definitely going to feel them when wearing them, which can be a bit of an issue if you’re someone who likes to dribble into traffic.
The break in time is also questionable. The shoes are responsive and feel great on your feet, but you’re going to have to spend quite a bit of time working with them out of the box. That’s not a huge deal, but I vastly prefer sneakers that are ready to go right after purchase.
These shoes are for those who like the KD 14’s traits but want something a bit lighter.
1. Adidas N3xt L3v3l
The Adidas N3xt L3v3l, like the KD 14, is a larger shoe with a high focus on comfort. This is one of the most well-rounded options on the market when it comes to balancing performance and feel. It has a sock-like construction and primeknit upper, but still manages to be responsive.
Another reason many players may like this shoe is that they offer a lot of agility for a bigger model. You get plenty of lockdown, but still have the flexibility you need to move around without restriction. They take some time to break in, but that effort is more than worth it.
2. Lebron Soldier XIII
If you’re someone who values the KD 14’s strength but wants a more reliable fit, check out the Lebron Soldier XIII. This high-top style shoe has a lot of ventilation through the mesh upper, and generates plenty of lockdown through the dual Velcro straps and tight fit.
The Soldier XIII also has a Zoom Air Cushion on top of a foam sole. That makes it easy to wear, and also creates a springy base for added responsiveness. Though the shoes don’t have the most accurate sizing, once you find your fit you’ll be good to go.
3. Embiid 1
While a more big men oriented basketball shoe, the Embiid 1 is similar to the KD 14 in that it provides a comfortable-but-solid base. This is another large shoe with a large focus on power and protection. The TPU wing provides midfoot lockdown and there’s plenty of ankle support as well.
Despite that, the shoe has a certain amount of lightness that you wouldn’t expect. You can freely jump or run in them without too many issues. They are a bit bulky, but those that are already used to larger models will love everything they have to offer.
How Much Do These Weigh?
The KD 14 is a heavier shoe, coming in at around 15 ounces.
Will These Overheat?
Where many shoes can be a bit stuffy, the KD 14 is a breathable shoe that comes with plenty of ventilation.
Will These Hold Up Outside?
Yes. The KD 14 is a larger shoe with a solid amount of durability. It can easily last outside of the gym.
Overall, the KD 14 is a solid, if a bit expensive, basketball sneaker. It won’t win any awards for sleekness, but that’s not a big issue for big men or guards who want a firm, stable base they can use to generate power.
The shoe has a springy sole that helps with both jumping and running, and comes with an incredible amount of comfort. The fit and size aren’t for everyone, but the support makes it perfect for players who want something that feels great to play in.