December 17, 2013 BY Sneaker News / 10
2013 was all set up to be Kevin Durant’s to take. Coming off one of the most popular Nike Basketball signatures ever in the KD IV, as well as an impressive NBA Finals appearance, Durant and his shoes had only the highest of expectations going into the next season. It kicked off in October of 2012 with the introduction of his fifth Nike shoe, which would eventually spill into the first half of this year with a series of impressive KD V releases like the “All-Star”, “N7”, and “What the KD” editions. The year also brought the first-ever KD Elite Series offering which was introduced just prior to the 2013 playoffs after being noticeably absent from the previous year’s Elite collection. But for all the noise made by the V, it was the early launch of the sixth model that helped make the Nike KD series such a consistent headline throughout the year.
Nike significantly shuffled up their signature basketball release calendar in 2013 so that each player’s shoe would get its own release season rather than all of them debuting on top of each other at the beginning of the yearly NBA season. A late-June launch event in Durant’s hometown of Seat Pleasant, MD set off a string of inspired colorways of the KD VI, which boasted a super low-cut silhouette, cutting-edge tongue construction, visible Max Air in the heel, and Flywire on the upper. Everything from Kevin’s hometown gym to his favorite childhood food was used as for colorway inspirations, while the wild NSW Lifestyle model spoke to the OKC star’s likable nature off-the-court. 2013 was indeed a storied year for the growing legend of the arrived star, so read on below for some of the brightest KD highlights of the last twelve months.
One of the most popular Nike KD V colorways in the range, the space travel-inspired 2013 All-Star colorway featured a radioactive green upper, gradient midsole, and an inner lining printed with graphics portraying the rough surface of an unexplored planet.
Kevin Durant’s name was mentioned not once, but twice in 2013’s collection of Native American-infused Nike N7 sneaker releases. The KD V and KD VI were both released this year as part of the philanthropic initiative, with proceeds going directly to the Nike N7 Fund.
After being excluded in Nike Basketball Elite’s debut year, Kevin Durant’s signature shoe was rolled out as part of the sophomore series with an introductory White/Gold colorway, as well as the “Superhero” edition and others. The KD V Elite was a drastic change from the in-season model with a much lower ankle cut, visible Flywire, and a full-length Zoom Air unit utilized to bolster the shoe’s postseason capabilities.
The vivid colors and details on this unreleased version of the KD V Elite made them a hotly coveted item, with noted NBA sneakerhead J.R. Smith even giving them a go during a regular season game. Despite never releasing to the public, as these were created exclusively for the Elite Youth Basketball League, this special edition colorway was one of the most talked about make-ups of the shortly-lived model.
After making its way onto a number of other Nike basketball models, the alluring “What The” concept finally hit the KD series, with the most memorable elements from the many different KD V colorways being combined and interspersed throughout the shoe’s haphazard design.
Nike celebrated the launch of the Kevin Durant’s sixth signature shoe, the Nike KD VI, at a media unveiling in the hoops star’s hometown of Seat Pleasant, MD. The entire event, which realigned the release schedules of Nike Basketball’s signature sneakers, would be headlined by the release of a yellow/teal “Seat Pleasant” colorway that exuded local flavor.
Joining the hometown “Seat Pleasant” colorway at the launch of the KD VI was the multi-faceted Supreme edition. Acting as the model’s “Pre-heat” launch, the KD VI Supreme boasted a map of DC as well as a hypnotic graphic on the upper to represent Durant’s hometown and the concept of time and growth – a theme that would be later revisited with successive releases and on NIKEiD.
To serve as the introductory release in China, Nike Basketball whipped up the “Bamboo” colorway, transporting the durable and vigorous reputation of the plant onto the KD VI silhouette. The initial China-only release in July, which included special-edition wooden packaging, was followed by a wider global release in September.
With Kevin Durant’s star power rising, it was time to give the guy another model to work with. The KD VI NSW Lifestyle was a fun strictly off-the-court option, with a super-high cut and double-tongue construction headlining a list of funky details never before seen on a KD sneaker.
Sending praise to his alma mater isn’t anything new, but Nike upped the ante with the KD VI “Texas”. Instead of going with the classic Longhorns color scheme, Nike opted to bring in some unique visuals like the state’s well-known big night sky and glowing stars, pairing them with the classic burnt orange for the traditional Texas effect.
Nike and KD have gone the extra mile in their storytelling efforts with each and every release of the VI. This clever version was a simple nod to one of the go-to lunchtime staples of Durant’s childhood – peanut butter and jelly, complete with a goopy dripping Swoosh.
Nike chose to give props to KD’s home state of Maryland once again with another intricately composed colorway. The Maryland Blue Crab edition of the KD VI took its look from the state’s most recognizable signature dish.
Since the debut of the model in July, every KD VI release has been backed with an interesting sub-plot, giving each release some additional depth. The Wheat/Gum edition, however, hit stores without much of a peep from Nike, but anyone who laid eyes on these knew there was plenty to make noise about.
The annual Nike Christmas motif made its way onto the KD VI, with a metallic red and minty green upper comprising the bulk of this holiday-inspired shoe. What made this one a keeper was the new gem-shaped ornament lacelock and the holiday sweater print found on the medial side.