Our verdict


The first Kawhi was good and pretty much well-received, but its successor is not to be outdone. This shoe is very breathable and more pliable without putting in jeopardy the shoe's ability to provide amazing foot containment. The traction is also noteworthy as it does not falter even if there is dust on the court. Finally, the Kawhi 2 is a lot lighter than its predecessor!


  • Consistent grip
  • Excellent court feel
  • Great for quick guards
  • Outstanding support and lockdown
  • Pliable and breathable upper
  • Light
  • Great for outdoors


  • The upper needs break-in
  • So-so bounce


Who should buy the New Balance Kawhi 2

This basketball shoe from New Balance is for you if you're looking for a sneaker that fits the following descriptions:

  • has a well-balanced cushioning system and suits different playing styles
  • comfortable enough to be worn for long hours off the court
  • durable enough to be used in outdoor games

Who should NOT buy this hoop shoe from NB

While it offers impact protection, it might not be enough for bigger players who naturally need a lot of cushioning. They can stick with the original NB Kawhi or check other shoes from brands like Nike. The LeBron 19 is a good pick from there.

Energy return is another area of concern. Sure, the New Balance Kawhi 2 still provides some bounce, but it is not optimal. The cushioning system of the New Balance OMN1s is better implemented and can provide more springiness.

The Kawhi 2 bites different kinds of surfaces

The outsole of the Kawhi 2 grips both dirty and clean floors well. Because of this, experts declare that the "outsole tread is [their most] favorite part of the shoe."

Given that the outsole rubber is thick and "very durable," the grip does not falter even when used outdoors. Because of this versatility, it is safe to say that this shoe is indeed a bang for the buck.  There's just one thing to remember: the traction needs time to unleash its full potential.

Players are gonna love how balanced the cushioning system is!

Quick players like guards prefer to feel the floor so that they can execute their footwork well. Kawhi Leonard is one of those players, so it should not come as a surprise that the NB Kawhi 2 sits low to the ground and delivers a lot of court feel. 

But it does not stop there. "It still feels good and offers impact protection," says one expert, though it is not of the same level as the more cushioning-focused basketball shoes such as the Nike LeBrons.

...but there is not much bounce

While the cushioning system is already functional as it is, it still has little room for improvement. One expert says that the shoe compresses but it "isn't the best" when it comes to energy return. The cushioning system also has to be broken in.  

The NB Kawhi 2 has no problems with support and lockdown

The foot gets the support that it needs from all directions. The highly responsive base not only contributes so much to stability but also helps in keeping the foot securely in place. The upper structure is "even more elaborate" than it looks, and it works well with the lacing system to hold the foot down even during the most intense movements. One expert even shares that the Kawhi 2 has the "most supportive upper" among all its cohorts. Finally, the level of support that the collar delivers is among "the best on the market."

However, the shoe opening appears to lack a little bit of stretch. An expert notices that it is "definitely hard" to put the shoe on and take it off.

The upper materials ensure comfort

The upper of the New Balance Kawhi 2 is made of a proprietary material called the Fit Weave Lite, which is made of textile that feels "really good" according to a wearer. Particularly, this textile material is malleable enough to follow the unique contours of the foot. It is also fairly breathable, helping you avoid overheating and/or trapping extra moisture.

Wanna take the Kawhi 2 outdoors? No problem!

Almost all experts who tried playing in the New Balance Kawhi 2 agree that this shoe is a good outdoor shoe. The abrasion-resistant outsole is "actually really hard." The shoe also owes its sturdiness and outdoor worthiness to the fact that the whole shoe is well put together. High levels of care and craftsmanship were poured into this shoe.

Guess what? This shoe is so light!

The Kawhi 2 from New Balance shed off a lot of weight, bulk, and stiffness. It only weighs 326 g (11.5 oz), which is significantly lower than the average 383 g  (13.5 oz). With this, the risk of developing foot pains after wearing this shoe is greatly reduced.