Sneaker News Top 30 Sneakers of 2011

December 29th, 2011 by

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They say things get better with age, so our message to Kevin Durant is: Conserve some energy, because your future is looking intensely bright. At the age of 23, when some NBA youngsters are just learning the ins-and-outs of the game and enjoying the freedom of no longer being victimized by customary rookie hazing, Kevin Durant has established himself among the league’s elite players and as one of the most marketable pro-athlete pitch-men in the business. Aside from his on-court success, 2011 has been an astounding year for Kevin Durant; after being hand-selected by Nike brass for the juicy role of Marty McFly in the historic ‘Back 4 The Future’ campaign, Durant celebrated the launch of his fourth signature shoe – the Nike Zoom KD IV. Designed yet again by one of Nike Basketball’s other rising stars, Leo Chang, the Nike Zoom KD IV brought a fresh addition to the sneaker game while providing balance to Nike Basketball’s signature models with its low price-point, distinct mid-cut design and all-new Adaptive Fit technology.

To kick off the Zoom KD IV launch and serve as the ‘coming out party’ for the shoe were the collective December releases of the ‘Nerf’ and ‘Weatherman’ colorways, both of which occupy a uniquely intimate back-story in regards to Durant’s life. The ‘Nerf’ was a whimsical representation of Durant’s youth and playful persona, as it was designed using classic Nerf toy colors and detailed with spray paint-like graphics on the midsole and strap, as well as the packaging – a special edition box that doubled as a functional mini-basketball hoop (with Nerf ball). The ‘Weatherman’ served a more personal purpose; with the NBA lockout putting a stop to the first two months of NBA action, Nike took the opportunity to explore the possibility of a different career path for Durant, revealing that he

once had a fascination with becoming a TV weatherman. A bold colorway of the KD IV was created, using weather-inspired graphics and a thermo-mapped scan of Kevin’s actual footprint on the bottom outsole. Interestingly enough, it was Kevin himself who stirred up the excitement for the ‘Weatherman’, stating that he personally favored it over the already mesmerizing Nerf colorway, and with that information coming right out of the horse’s mouth, sneakerheads were preparing themselves for something extraordinary.

While both sizzling releases made the Nike Zoom KD IV a sure-fire standout as one of the best sneakers of the year, it was undeniably the first time since Durant joined Nike in 2007 that a Nike Zoom KD sneaker made such a splash with the sneaker community. While Nike did whip up some great releases to commemorate Durant’s NBA Scoring Title awards and All-Star Game selections, the Zoom KD line was comparatively reserved, depending on simple and clean team-based colorways, while gaining notoriety for its low price-point. The Nike Zoom KD IV is currently set at $90 (the Nerf and Weatherman were slightly higher), which is unprecedented in today’s market for high-appeal performance basketball sneakers, and is significantly lower than the Nike LeBron and Kobe signature models. The affordability of the sneaker was a specification set by Kevin Durant himself, which we know directly reflects his humble personality and public relatability. Taking into consideration KD’s skyrocketing popularity both as an NBA player and an off-the-court figure, it was time for Nike to kick things up a notch and present the Nike Zoom KD line in such a way that would get the attention of the discerning sneakerhead community. Based on the striking design and the success of the first wave of releases, as we look into the future of the Nike and KD partnership, we can confidently forecast sunshine and clear skies ahead.

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