Our verdict

Kevin Durant's shoes are always surrounded by the hypest of hypes, and we couldn't agree more! The KD 16 came to our lab with one thing in mind: make our performance and confidence on the court reach new levels thanks to its incredible lookdown and supportiveness. Its padded and comfortable interiors just made the whole experience even better, blessing us with a comfortable ride. We felt its snappy forefoot give us an extra boost of energy every time we went for aggressive moves. And its lightweight nature let us go for more advanced dribbling or footwork with ease. We loved its fashionable design so much that this hoop could easily conquer the streets. Just don't take it out in the summer, or else your feet will have the works pool party ever: sweat, sweat, and more sweat!

Pros

  • Incredibly good lockdown feel
  • Supportive and stable structure
  • Responsive and snappy forefoot
  • Very padded and comfortable
  • Lighter than average
  • Nice court feel
  • Cool reflective elements
  • Fashionable design
  • Full of details

Cons

  • Not breathable at all
  • Not for those with wide feet
  • Outsole needs to be broken in

Audience verdict

85
Good!

Who should buy

Whether you are a hardcore Slim Reaper fan or not, you should definitely check this shoe out if:

  • You're usually concerned about your feet's lockdown and you need something to feel well-supported.
  • You're a guard or a player with a quick and strong playstyle that needs something kind of light.
  • Stability in footwear is one of your priorities.
  • You're looking for a new pal to boost your confidence: style and performance-wise.
  • You need a comfortable shoe that lets you feel the court under your feet.

Nike KD 16_010

Who should not buy

Even though we fell in love with this shoe's style and we'd definitely wear it to walk around, we decided this was not such a good idea after our wear tests in the summer. These Nike's padding boosted its comfort levels, but it also made it an incredibly warm pair. If you're looking for something breathable, the Under Armour Curry 10 might be a better option. Its features are similar to the KD 16's, and it's also in the same price range!

If you want a shoe from an iconic player but you need it to be wide-feet friendly, then you should have a look at the Jordan Luka 2, which is pretty similar. If you're just looking for an all-rounder and you're not going to play outside, then the Nike LeBron 20 is our recommended option. The only thing that we need to warn you about is that it has to be broken in.

Nike KD 16_09

Breathability

You've most likely played basketball before, right? Whether it was at school, a summer evening with friends, as a kid in the park or even professionally, you'll be aware of this sport being very physically demanding. So, yeah, you end up sweating! And with sweating we mean really sweating, like... everywhere.

There are some parts of your body that will definitely sweat no matter what you do. But regarding your feet, breathable hoopers might make this experience more pleasant. That's why we grabbed the KD16 and smoked things up, check this out!

On the right, the Under Armour Curry Flow 10, which scored a 5/5 on our breathability test, is definitely a master of ventilation. On the left, this Nike... is barely a pupil in training. It didn't even let much smoke out overall, so we couldn't give it more than a sad 1/5.

Its materials might explain why, so let's dive into that.

Nike KD 16 Breathability_

We can clearly see a thick chained pattern with a black layer underneath. This structure is typically used to reinforce the shoe's durability, so hopefully it pays off on our next test!

Nike KD 16 Breathability_3

Yeah, there's no way the air could easily go through this structure. We can't actually see any ventilation wholes, as every opening of the chain is carefully covered by the black second layer.

We were a bit surprised, as this model got a lower score on breathability compared to its predecessor, the Nike KD 15 (2/5). We thought the brand might have wanted to improve, or at least keep that ventilation level. So let's find out which other changes this latest version has in store!

Test results
KD 16 1
Average 2.3
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

At 79.7 mm, our average-sized feet were happy to have some extra room.

Nike KD 16 Toebox width at the big toe_1

As the KD 16 doesn't have an extra protective layer in the toebox, it felt less restrictive on the sides compared to the previous version.

Nike KD 16_021

This is something we really appreciated during our games. Nevertheless, even though this KD is wider than the previous iteration at the ball of the foot, we still can't recommend it to wide-foot hooperhollics. It tapers quite aggressively towards the toecap, so big toes might feel cramped.

Test results
KD 16 3
Average 3.8
Compared to 38 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Jumps, cuts, sprints, backdoor cuts, dribbles, pump fakes... no matter what your best move or which position you play, you need your shoes to resist the constant running of your feet against it. That's why the heel padding durability test is so important!

Imagine buying your dream pair and then finding out its heel won't last even a couple of games... no, thank you!

Our Dremel gave us a hand (and a rolling one, indeed) and we checked this shoe's heel padding durability. We were really happy with the results, as this part proved to be pretty wear resistant earning a well-deserved 4/5!

Nike KD 16 Heel padding durability_3

Not bad at all, huh? Just showing as much resistance to any rivals as the own Kevin Durant!

Nike KD 16 Heel padding durability_2

The Under Armour Charged Assert 9 definitely wanted to run away as soon as it saw our Dremel, look at that! Not only the lining, but also the padding got completely owned (1/5 score). A 2vs1 that resulted in a strepitous win for our tool, no doubt!

Test results
KD 16 4
Average 3.6
Compared to 35 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

At 76.9 HC, our durometer is telling us this shoe's outsole is slightly less hard than average.

Nike KD 16 Outsole hardness_2

Following such result, we wouldn't recommend the use of this model to play outdoors. Yeah, it could last a couple of games, but its outsole would definitely be the one bearing the burnt.

In summary: stay inside!

Test results
KD 16 76.9 HC
Average 82.1 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
59.5 HC
Outsole hardness
91.0 HC

Outsole durability

It's true that there are many times when some conclusions lead to others. For example, if a shoe is super breathable, it usually isn't very durable. But a model swimming upstream in comparison with its pal is what makes our lab reviews magical!

As in this test we target a different material, we speed our Dremel up (10K RPM) and go for a longer attack (22 seconds long). We could clearly see that the rubber didn't really mind our tool trying to break it all down.

Nike KD 16 Outsole durability_2

Can you see the dent? On the right, next to the edge. Yeah, we know, it's harder than finding Wally! Even though the result was better than average, as the damage is only 0.7 mm deep, we still recommend you use this pair only for your indoor games.

There's still a fair amount of material until the bottom of the shoe is reached, that's true. But that's not the only thing that matters. For example, check the outsole's pattern. With so many shapes and lines, pebbles would absolutely find a comfortable new home in your shoes!

Test results
KD 16 0.7 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 26 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

At 4.6 mm, our calliper is happily telling us that this shoe's outsole is thicker than average.

Nike KD 16 Outsole thickness_1

But, you see... this shoe's outsole material is not as hard as the average for its category, yet it showed incredible durability. That's why we think the brand could have gone for a thinner outsole. Not much, maybe just a little bit more closer to the average! Still, this decision is probably the brand's response to the softer outsole. Let us break it down for you:

  1. A very hard outsole needs less material, as it's naturally more durable. This means that you get more ground feel and that the bottom of your shoe will last longer.
  2. A very soft outsole needs more material, as it should typically be less durable. This means your shoe might be heavier, but a bigger layer is needed in order to protect its integrity.

Nike KD 16_016

In this case, we got the wonderful harder than average material + thicker than average outsole combination! It's not something we see every day in our lab, we definitely loved it.

On another topic, after our wear tests, we were pretty happy with its grip (spoiler alert!) as we tried it outside and inside. Even though these pictures are from an outside court, don't worry, we tested the shoe on both surfaces. That's why we can tell you that it's better to keep it for indoor courts, but that it can last a couple of games fighting the abrasive outdoor courts too.

Test results
KD 16 4.6 mm
Average 4.0 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.9 mm

Weight

Surprisingly, the forefoot stack is slightly higher than average at 23.4 mm.

Nike KD 16 Forefoot stack_!

Honestly, we did feel this on our feet during our wear tests. We played for hours with these hoops on, and we found them really comfortable. What we liked the most about it, is that whenever we landed on our forefoot, the impact was not as harsh on our ball of the foot as it was with other models.

We'll talk about this later on, but can you see there's a different colour there in the midsole? If you look at the picture, from the bottom to the top of the sole, you can see a bright orange layer, and then some mixed foam, light grey and dark grey. Can you guess what those things are before we tell you?

Test results
KD 16 13.90 oz (394g)
Average 14.00 oz (397g)
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
11.29 oz (320g)
Weight
17.46 oz (495g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

At 27.4 mm, this shoe's heel stack is a bit lower than average.

This allowed us to be closer to the ground, which also led to more precise and controlled moves. We believe this type of heel stack favours quick players, like guards. Centres usually need shoes with a higher and cushioned sole, as they tend to be bigger and constantly jump for rebounds.

Nike KD 16 Heel stack_!

What's more, the KD 16 includes a lightweight Air Stroble at the back. This lovely extra detail improves the shoe's overall cushioning and comfort, which is always great news! Taking into account its lower-than-average weight, we really couldn't be any happier.

Test results
KD 16 27.4 mm
Average 29.4 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
23.6 mm
Heel stack
38.4 mm

Forefoot stack

Surprisingly, the forefoot stack is slightly higher than average at 23.4 mm.

Nike KD 16 Forefoot stack_!

Honestly, we did feel this on our feet during our wear tests. We played for hours with these hoops on, and we found them really comfortable. What we liked the most about it, is that whenever we landed on our forefoot, the impact was not as harsh on our ball of the foot as it was with other models.

We'll talk about this later on, but can you see there's a different colour there in the midsole? If you look at the picture, from the bottom to the top of the sole, you can see a bright orange layer, and then some mixed foam, light grey and dark grey. Can you guess what those things are before we tell you?

Test results
KD 16 23.4 mm
Average 21.7 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
18.0 mm
Forefoot stack
29.2 mm

Drop

There wasn't a big difference between the heel and the forefoot stacks, so we didn't expect a high drop; and we were totally right. At 4.0 mm, this shoe's drop is way lower than average!

You can see it in the picture: even though the middle of the sole is a bit higher, the heel and the forefoot are lower and yet pretty close in height!

Nike KD 16 Drop_1

The midsole structure is pretty clear in this picture, so we're gonna use it to explain it.

  1. There's a full-length cushlon bed, which is the darkest material.
  2. As we've mentioned before, there's also an Air Strobel in the rearfoot, focusing on comfort. This is the bubble-like piece you can see at the back.
  3. Between the full-length grey layer (insole) and the bright red layer (shank) we can see a light grey piece in the forefoot. That's our beloved Zoom Air unit, which offers some extra cushioning.
  4. The bright red piece, known as shank, goes from the midfoot up to the toes. It provides your ride with a nice snap.
Test results
KD 16 4.0 mm
Average 7.7 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
4.0 mm
Drop
14.8 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

This model is not designed specifically for centres, as KD isn't one of them!

Nike KD 16 Midsole softness_1

At 28.5 HA, our durometer told us this shoe's midsole softness is close to the average. We can't say it's super plush, as our feet and data would disagree, but it felt really comfortable.

If you're looking for a plusher model and you don't mind it being on the heavier side, have a look at the Nike LeBron 20; it's crazy popular for a reason! Centres love it, and its design is also suitable for more agile players!

Test results
KD 16 28.5 HA
Average 25.6 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
11.0 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
38.6 HA

Insole thickness

After our calliper reading we understood why this hooper pal is so comfy.

Nike KD 16 Insole thickness_1

With a measurement of 5.8 mm, its insole is definitely thicker than average. This helped levelling up the overall comfort of the shoe. And if you don't trust us, trust our feet... it was wonderful!

Test results
KD 16 5.8 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Insole thickness
8.6 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

Basketball shoes need to be stable. Just think about all the quick and deep moves your ankles go for, even when you're so into the game that you don't even notice them! We trusted in the KD 16 to keep our ankles safe and sound, and it responded accordingly!

You can see it in the video above, this model will take care of your joints in the best way it can.

But that wasn't enough for us. Yeah, its lateral stability seemed pretty good when we were standing; so... what about performing a riskier move? We're here to try every single aspect of these hoopers, so we went all in once again!

This move is called backdoor cut, and if you've read any other basketball reviews of ours, you've definitely seen us performing it (check the Adidas Dame Certified). Why? Well, because it speaks volumes regarding a shoe's stability and grip. In the KD 16 case, you can see its grip and stability are totally on point.

Torsional rigidity

Even though the upper materials of this shoe are not the most durable, they're definitely well-structured. This might sound contradictory to you, so please have a look at this video of us struggling to make this model bend:

Actually... we can't even say it did bend with our feet either! It's a very comfortable shoe, but its whole structure is ready to support your moves instead of bending along them.

Nike KD 16_014

This made us feel safe and ready to risk it all on the court. Also, when we cut the shoe in half, remember we could see some pieces in the sole? In the forefoot, that was a snappy Zoom Air Unit to keep you playing for hours on end. This also helped the cushioning level up its comfort and responsiveness, as well as our game when we decided to test our limits.

Test results
KD 16 5
Average 4.5
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

With a 4 out of 5 in our heel counter stiffness, this shoe made sure your heel didn't move an inch. Nice one, Nike!

We also fell head over heels in love with its whole aesthetic and the metallic details at the back, which create some contrast with the tiger-like red and black pattern. Gotta be fierce in the court, though!

Nike KD 16_018

Test results
KD 16 4
Average 3.6
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

There's been a big change regarding the midsole width if we compare this new iteration with the previous one. At 116.0 mm, our calliper has made it clear: the KD 16 definitely beats the 15 regarding stability!

Nike KD 16 Midsole width in the forefoot_1

Test results
KD 16 116.0 mm
Average 114.4 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
106.2 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
122.2 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The 85.9 mm our calliper showed when we measured the midsole's width in the heel felt okay in our average width feet.

Nike KD 16 Midsole width in the heel_1

Nevertheless, this narrower fit means the shoe definitely needs a bit of time to break it.

Nike KD 16_022

Test results
KD 16 85.9 mm
Average 90.4 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
82.4 mm
Midsole width in the heel
105.1 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

The whole shoe is pretty stable and supportive, and we've already mentioned it's also well-structured, right? Our gauge showing 55.3N didn't really surprise us, honestly! Our feet could tell the same story as this tool.

Consequently, our heel-to-toe transitions were not incredibly smooth. But they weren't that bad either! This was due to the stiff piece under the arch that we discovered in our lab.

Nike KD 16_011

So, anyway, this was the price to pay for our feet to always feel safe and sound, and we happily did! Our confidence boost with these Nikes skyrocketed as much as our performance with them.

Test results
KD 16 55.3N
Average 40.3N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
28.9N
Stiffness
67.2N

Grip / Traction

Alright, we're gonna go straight to the point: we LOVED this shoe's outsole!

Before anything else, just look at how aesthetically pleasing it is... it drove us crazy.

Nike KD 16 Lug depth_2

Every single engine we could see had a different and original touch, isn't that super cool? According to Nike: "The outsole resembles watch gears, which represent the inner workings of KD and the methodical nature of how he operates". OH. MY. GOSH. Outstyling any trainers much?

Now, form is a 10/10, so what about function? 

Nike KD 16 Lug depth_1

Well, pretty close we'd say! During our wear tests, this shoe decided to bite the court just like a puppy with a new toy. Its outsole performed properly even on dusty courts, which is a situation that many indoor hoopers need to face, inevitably. It did some time to be broken in, but we were satisfied with its performance regarding traction.

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

If you're a Nike fan as much as you are a basketball lover, by now you're probably familiar with the fact this brand tends to make narrow shoes. But we want facts! And our calliper is ready to spit some.

Nike KD 16 Toebox width at the widest part_1

At 105.4 mm, this model's toebox width at the widest part is wider than average, but not enough for us to categorise this shoe as wide-feet friendly. Keep reading to find out why!

Test results
KD 16 105.4 mm
Average 101.4 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
92.6 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
108.2 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

At 79.7 mm, our average-sized feet were happy to have some extra room.

Nike KD 16 Toebox width at the big toe_1

As the KD 16 doesn't have an extra protective layer in the toebox, it felt less restrictive on the sides compared to the previous version.

Nike KD 16_021

This is something we really appreciated during our games. Nevertheless, even though this KD is wider than the previous iteration at the ball of the foot, we still can't recommend it to wide-foot hooperhollics. It tapers quite aggressively towards the toecap, so big toes might feel cramped.

Test results
KD 16 79.7 mm
Average 76.6 mm
Compared to 41 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
71.2 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
85.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

This shoe's tongue is fully gusseted, and we loved it.

Nike KD 16 Tongue: gusset type_!

But just saying it's gusseted is not enough for us. We want to make sure it actually helps our feet stay in the right place. That's why it's so important to wear-test every model!

Nike KD 16_015

And that's what we do here, in RunRepeat. Because of our games with this shoe on, we can tell you that regarding lockdown feel and foot containment... IT. IS. A. BEAST.

We didn't experience any kind of heel slippage or any other weird move from our feet. It also showed wonderful stability when we went for backdoor cuts (as we previously stated) and any other in-n-out aggressive moves.

Nike KD 16_017

This feeling of safety did not only come from the gussets and the small loop in the middle of the tongue of this shoe, which kept it from dancing around, but also from its lacing system.

As you can see in the picture, the laces go through a lateral wall that made sure our midfoot was tightly embraced, hugging it as much as we needed depending on how tight we tied the shoe up. This detail made the KD 16's lockdown level up, and we couldn't be happier.

Test results
KD 16 Both sides (full)

Comfort

Tongue padding

To keep your feet not only where they should be, but also comfortable, Nike has decided to level up once again its game in this super hoopers.

Nike KD 16 Tongue padding_1

At 11.1 mm, our calliper happily told us that this shoe's tongue is more padded than average. Overall, the KD 16's fit was comfortably snug in our standard-width feet thanks to its padded interior. Look!

Even though it's not a breathable shoe (don't forget it scored a 1/5 in our breathability test), its padded interiors make sure your feet are warm, comfortable, and right where they should be.

Nike KD 16_020

No weird movements + No wobbling = No worries!

Test results
KD 16 11.1 mm
Average 9.6 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1.3 mm
Tongue padding
15.9 mm

Heel tab

The KD 15 has a big finger loop at the back, but it also has a semi-gusseted tongue! On the other hand, the KD 16 doesn't have any kind of heel tab, yet putting it on is pretty easy thanks to its non-gusseted tongue.

Nike KD 16_019

To sum up, what we mean is that we didn't really feel like something was missing, as the shoe was pretty easy to put on and off. Also, we are absolutely IN LOVE with the Slim Reaper detail at the back, right next to the metallic winged Swooshes.

Kevin Durant is cool, but his shoes might be even cooler!

Test results
KD 16 None

Removable insole

A removable insole is always a plus!

Nike KD 16 Removable insole_2

We really liked this shoe's insole... and no, it wasn't just because of the awesome Slim Reaper detail! (Even though that actually made us open our mouths in awe). But if you need to wear your own orthotics, don't worry, this model will make it easy!

Nike KD 16 Removable insole_1

Test results
KD 16 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Even though this model is not crazy expensive, it does have some expensive vibe details that made us thank Nike a thousand times. One of those are the reflective elements the brand included, check them out!

Shine as bright as the very own Slim Reaper with these!

Test results
KD 16 Yes