In recent year’s, Nike Basketball has launched the newest Kevin Durant signature sneaker in early summer. For 2019, the latest drop will release just before the start of the playoffs.

The KD12 “The Day One” colorway will launch on the 6th of April.

Every KD shoe is a balance of comfort and responsiveness. The KD12 achieved that by questioning the norms of shoe construction and turning an often overlooked element into a critical performance driver.

That element: the strobel.

“It’s one of the unsung heroes in footwear,” says Leo Chang, Senior Creative Director for Nike Basketball 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.”

The structure and support come with limits. Because it is inert, the strobel disconnects the athlete from the shoe’s responsive cushioning. But by stitching a full-length articulated Air Zoom bag to the upper, Chang and Nike engineers made the Air unit a more dynamic element of the shoe.

Experts in manufacturing, design and testing collaborated to land on the best solution. For example, the shoe’s factory manufacturers, who typically do the strobel stitching because of the precision needed, helped to determine where the Air unit needed flexibility. Welded channels (similar to those in the KYRIE 5) were then created in the Air Zoom bag that would allow it to flex to the movement of the wearer.  

Because the strobel defines the size of a shoe, there is one Air unit for every half-size of the KD12, all the way from size 3.5 to 18 (Durant’s size). That’s the most specific Air-Sole size scale that Nike has ever undertaken. “There’s a personal fit dialed in for every size person who wears the KD12,” notes Chang.

WHAT: A thin woven textile that traditionally sits beneath the sockliner and above the midsole
WHY: It provides structure, support and shape for the upper

A hinged tongue construction gives the comfort of a bootie but makes the shoe easy to get into.

The upper’s dynamic and independent Flywire cables are engineered in four directions.

Perforations make the injected Phylon midsole more comfortable.

For the KD12, Durant wanted an aesthetic inspired by ’90s basketball shoes.

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