The Return: Introducing the KD13

It was a move he’s made a thousand times throughout his career, a crossover into a drive to the basket. Only this time, on the biggest stage, instead of getting to the rim for a layup, Kevin Durant pulled up, grabbing at the back of his leg. While Serge Ibaka raced down for a fast-break layup that sent Toronto’s fans into delirium, Durant sat silently on the sideline, feeling the back of his Achilles. There were no grimaces, no swear words, just a silent resignation and acceptance of the situation. He had just sustained one of the most devastating injuries in sports. The Finals were over for him, and next season was most likely gone, too.

Throughout the past year the basketball community has heard very little from Durant, save from the occasional video popping up on Twitter of him shooting around. He has stayed out of the public eye, grinding away on his rehab, trying to return to the peak of his powers. The time off allowed him to focus more energy on helping design the KD13.

Behind LeBron, KD is the only active player with at least 13 silhouettes in his signature line. Since the shoe debuted over a decade ago, it has steadily gotten better year after year. With Durant beginning a new chapter of his life in Brooklyn, it was the perfect opportunity to breathe new life into the line.

Last year, the KD12 made news when designers decided to stitch the Air Zoom cushioning directly into the shoe, so your foot is closer to the Air. This time, there was a need for more cushioning to help boost explosive movements. The solution was a double-stacked Zoom Air unit with the second bag placed under the forefoot. This maximizes the energy return you get when you push off the balls of your feet. The double cushioning reduces the strain on your feet, keeping you in the game longer so you can make those clutch plays down the stretch.

One of the most annoying things about a new pair of basketball shoes is the time it takes to break them in and get comfortable. To eliminate any break-in time, the KD13’s upper is made using minimal amounts of material so it’s ready to go right out of the box. Nike still emphasizes comfort by using lightweight and flexible materials to keep you quick on your feet.

The outsole is also a stark departure from the 12. The non-marking traction pattern has been replaced with a circular one similar to the PG 4. This type of pattern was first seen on the PG 3 and received plenty of praise for how well it kept its grip and how easy it was to change direction without worrying about slipping.

With all these components coming together in one shoe it’s no wonder people are excited about the April 17 release, which is approaching fast. Make sure to hop on eastbay.com that day and get your pair.

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