Verdict from 16 experts and 100+ user reviews

9 reasons to buy

  • Almost all reviewers are satisfied at the KD 12’s on-court grip. They are claiming that the outsole bites the floor very well and provides excellent multi-directional traction.
  • Unlike Kevin Durant’s 11th signature basketball shoe, most players are commenting that the Nike KD 12 feels very supportive.
  • According to a lot of wearers, these Kevin Durant basketball shoes provide excellent lockdown and containment.
  • Nearly all reviewers are very impressed with the shoe’s full-length Zoom Air cushioning. According to them, the cushioning is super bouncy and responsive.
  • Because of the impressive cushioning, some are even saying that the Nike KD 12, just like the KD 13, is one of the most comfortable basketball shoes ever made.
  • Most reviewers are happy that these Nike basketball shoes fit true to size. They are saying that the materials hug the foot for a one-to-one fit.
  • For a mid-to-high-top basketball sneaker, most testers are claiming that the KD 12 feels light on-feet.
  • According to some, the upper provides the right blend of strength, flexibility, and breathability.
  • Like the KD 11, several wearers are happy that the KD 12 is also good to go right out of the box and does not require any break-in time.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Most testers observe that the outsole attacks quite a bit of dust. However, they note that dirt doesn’t really affect the shoe’s overall grip on the hardwood.
  • At least a couple of wearers report that the KD 12 runs a little narrow at the forefoot.
  • Design-wise, a handful of reviewers comment that the Nike KD 12 is a downgrade from the KD 11.
  • A few testers gripe that the shoe’s materials could have been better. Although, they are saying that the materials get the job done.

Bottom line

The KD 12 is one of the most comfortable and well-rounded basketball shoes Nike has created for Kevin Durant’s growing signature line. It’s innovative cushioning, materials, and support features have non-KD fans praising its on-court performance.

Speaking of performance, the Nike KD 12 outclasses its predecessor. The Swoosh has improved on what was grossly lacking from the KD 11—support, lockdown, and containment. All the updates work, resulting in one of the best performance basketball sneakers of 2019.

Tip: see the best basketball shoes.

Good to know

Kevin Durant is like an assassin on the court. He is reserved yet explosive. He is difficult to guard and nearly impossible to stop. Because of this, he needs a basketball shoe that can provide the perfect balance of comfort and responsiveness.

The KD 12 is Nike’s most advanced basketball shoe to date. It features broken-in comfort, lightweight flexibility, on-demand lockdown, and ultra-responsive cushioning.

Cushion. The highlight of the Nike 12 is its ultra-responsive cushioning. For the first time in a signature model, Nike ditched the conventional strobel board and stitched the articulated Zoom Air unit directly to the upper.

According to Nike Basketball Senior Creative Director Leo Chang, “It’s one of the unsung heroes in footwear. The strobel isn’t approached differently other than how it’s been done over the last few decades. And yet it’s literally what separates your foot from the cushioning.”

Because of this change, there is one Air Unit for every size of the KD 12. This is the most specific Air-Sole size scale The Swoosh has ever designed for a basketball sneaker. “There’s a personal fit dialed in for every size person who wears the KD12,” Chang continues.

The articulated full-length Zoom Air unit follows the shape of the foot, delivering a better heel-to-toe transition. Stacked at the heel is an additional Zoom Air unit that provides extra bounce on the court.

The full-length Zoom is encased in a perforated foam midsole for increased flexibility. The perforated midsole is also designed to reduce the shoe’s overall weight and to gain visibility of the cushioning technology that lies within.

Traction. The twelfth Nike KD features a translucent rubber outsole with a fingerprint-like traction pattern. The rubber outsole is designed to deliver increased traction on the hardwood.

Length and Width. Although a little narrow at the forefoot, most owners are happy to report that the Nike KD 12 fits true to size and are somewhat wide-feet friendly. They suggest ordering your actual size when grabbing a pair of these innovative Kevin Durant sneakers.

Lockdown. These Kevin Durant sneakers provide on-demand lockdown and multi-directional containment with its 4-way directional Flywire cables.

For targeted stability, the Quad Axial Flywire cables relax when you are resting and activate when you start crossing up defenders on the court.

The KD 12 also features a mid-to-high-top cut. According to Chang, “He loved lows but he has had problems popping out of his shoes a lot. He wants to be locked in and we wanted to make sure he stays in the shoe. The sneaker is a little bit higher than normal.”

Kevin Durant loves low-tops however he wanted to change things up with the Nike KD 12. “He is not like Kobe, who wanted to be consistent with his shoes,” Chang explains. “He wanted to push us to change and create a new aesthetic to switch it up.”

Other details include a large Swoosh on the lateral side while KD branding is found on the heel and tongue tab.

The Nike KD 12 is available in the following hues:

  • Black/White/Pure Platinum ‘The Day One’
  • Black/White-Wolf Grey ‘Black Cement’
  • Multi-Color/White ‘90s Kid’
  • Red Orbit/Blue Glaze-Orange Pulse ‘EYBL’
  • University Red/Black-White ‘University Red’
  • White/Black-Wolf Grey ‘Wolf Grey’
  • White/Game Royal-White-Amarillo ‘Warriors Home’

Nike KD 12 ‘90s Kid’

As a millennial, Kevin Durant respects and loves the ‘90s era. Dubbed the ‘90s Kid,’ the first colorway of the KD 12 is inspired by Nike’s ‘90s era which experimented with colors such as neon and volt.

“We wanted to showcase everything from that era, from basketball, shoes, and music,” Chang said. “We wanted the shoe to revolve around the principles from some of the Nike products from the '90s. We put a mix on the products and put a modern twist on it.”


How Nike KD 12 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 18% basketball shoes
All basketball shoes
Top 21% Nike basketball shoes
All Nike basketball shoes
Top 25% kevin durant basketball shoes
All kevin durant basketball shoes


The current trend of Nike KD 12.
Compare to another shoe:
Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic

Dimitrije Curcic has been playing basketball for over 22 years. Like Manu Ginobili, he’s a left-hander whose moves led him to a better career-shooting percentage than the Argentine himself. After playing professionally for 10 years, Dimitrije moved to coaching for two seasons before he became a basketball statistician for StatScore, and FanSided contributor for the San Antonio Spurs. Dimitrije loves to tell hoop stories through numbers and graphics and has been featured on Fansided, FiveThirtyEight, Eurohoops, and TalkBasket among the others.