Nike (dang, KD has big hands.... kidding, those are toddler size... or are they?)

The Nike KD 8 deserved better. As a performance basketball shoe, it was the logical next step following the Nike KD 7; it featured a new articulated Zoom Air unit and a Flyweave upper that improved upon its predecessor in every which way. The silhouette itself was slim and sleek and did away with some of the extraneous stuff that was found on the KD 7. The results showed on the the court as Kevin Durant had a bounce back year in the KD 8 after dealing with injuries the season prior.

But then it was priced at $180 and the first colorways did not pop the sneaker community like other KD debuts such as NERF Nike Zoom KD 4 or the Seat Pleasant Nike KD 6. KD promoted the shoe heavily over the summer and rocked them in a lot of colorways on the court that we would actually be able to purchase, but for one reason or another, the KD 8 just sat on shelves. Was it the price? Was it Stephen Curry and Under Armour stealing his uh, thunder as the most fun scorer to watch in the game? Was it the colorways that felt uninspired and did not take advantage of the promise of Flyweave upper (aka the same upper found on the the Air Jordan XX9 and XXX)? KD the person did all that he could to make KD the shoe a thing, but it just wasn’t enough. When we saw the Nike KD 9 introduced way ahead of schedule and priced for $30 less than the 8, it felt like Nike course correcting and getting back to what the KDs a hit in the first place.

With the KD 9 soft launching across the country this week, we couldn’t leave KD 8 behind in Nike outlet stores just yet, as much as the community really wants to it seems. Here are our picks for the 10 Nike KD 8 Colorways That Weren’t So Bad. If that doesn’t inspire confidence that you should pick up a pair of KD 8s right now, I don’t know what will (there should be a snarky emoji in there somewhere)

10Nike KD 8 Elite Away

Nike

How to make this a fire sneaker:

  1. Buy the shoe at the Nike Outlet for less than $100
  2. Go home and grab a pair of scissors
  3. Cut the sleeve
  4. Enjoy your championship colorway

9Nike KD 8 BHM

Nike

Nike’s Black History Month collection has seen diminishing returns at least on the sales side with each passing year. While it absolutely makes sense for the brand to continue honoring African-Americans who have made great contributions to both sports and society, the sneakers themselves have not garnered the same attention as they had previously. Call it fatigue or lack of inspiring design, but when the same themed sneaker drops like clockwork every year, it creates a familiarity that softens the impact.

8Nike KD 8 EXT Floral

Nike

Did Derrick Rose holler at Nike for gimmick infringement? Between the black, red, white and floral print, it’s not hard to imagine seeing this on an adidas D Rose sneaker. We’ll let it slide because these are a cool example of what was possible for the KD 8. The shoe needed more creative prints such as these that exploited the potential of the Flyweave upper, which used a textile material.

7Nike KD 8 All-Star

Nike

After a sedated 2015 All-Star Game collection, Nike brought back the color for 2016 and the KD 8 was modeled after the international appeal of the city of Toronto and how it attracts people from all over the world. This is sociology on a sneaker and the little touches like the removable patches that highlight KD’s All-Star accomplishments only add to the beauty of the shoe.

6Nike KD 8 4th Of July

Nike

For the Nike KD 7, one of their most popular NIKEiD options was the Fireworks as it gave the shoe’s Posite heel a celebratory feel. The KD 8 went to the Fireworks Factory again with the release of the KD 8 4th Of July colorway. The pops of blue and red on the Flyweave upper was promising because at the time it seemed to hint that Nike was going to be go crazy with the graphics on the KD 8 (think the awesome Photo Reel Air Jordan XX9). It did not turn out to be case, unfortunately.

5Nike KD 8 N7

Nike

KD’s ties to the Nike’s N7 initiative has been going on for a few years now and this year’s iteration is one of the best KD N7s so far. The glow-in-the-dark outsole is complimented by a special graphic print featuring the work of Native American artist, Bunky Echo-Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. He is known for his live art installations that bring to light his influences that debunk Native American stereotypes but also respectfully honor his heritage.

4Nike KD 8 Sabertooth Tiger

Nike

One of the first things we heard about the Nike KD 8 was how it was influenced by a Sabertooth Tiger. Well, it only made sense that a Sabertooth Tiger colorway would drop, but who knew that it could double as a Sabretooth cosplay sneaker?

3Nike KD 8 Aunt Pearl

Nike

You can find the Nike KD 8 Aunt Pearl at any store for around $99. That was impossible as recently as a year ago. Despite being another great Aunt Pearl tribute colorway, it just shows you the fatigue the sneakerhead community has towards the same themed kicks every year and the apathy for the KD 8.

2Nike KD 8 Perseverance

Nike

This Asia-exclusive colorway of the Nike KD 8 Perseverance features the Chinese national flower, the Plum Blossom, on the tongue of the shoe. It’s the perfect nickname because it highlights the struggle and actual perseverance KD had in order to get back to the superstar level that we all know that was still inside of him. It’s a shame that this pair never released in the US proper because it could have been a colorway that shined a very positive light on the KD 8.

1Nike KD 8 EXT Vachetta Tan

Nike

Vachetta Tan became the new hotness in sneakers during the early part of 2016 thanks to Nike’s use of the material on the Air Jordan 1 Pinnacle and various other classic silhouettes. The KD 8 also got the nod and rather ironically, it is the best iteration of the KD 8. You might not want to rock these on the court because they are designed to be a lifestyle sneaker, but they are the eye-catcher that the shoe desperately needed but were in short supply of throughout its cycle. And no, the KD 8 What The is not what this shoe needs