Nike Kyrie 1 Performance Review | Duke4005

Nike Kyrie 1 - Performance Review-7 Leader of the New School Looking for new blood, Nike goes to Cleveland and gives us a shoe for one of the most dynamic young point guards in the game. Will it hold court or be exiled to the back of the closet? kyrie5 Materials – Old-school (feels funny to say) Hyperfuse. Very much like the very first Hyperfuse, so not much innovation here. Wide mesh holes backed by a smooth fabric liner which just about kills the original ventilation of Hyperfuse. It is padded and feels great next to the foot but my shoes stayed soaked for a couple hours after I was done. There are welded overlays around the toe-drag area and the lace holes to keep durability up, but overall the shoe starts out stiff and, basically, extremely uncomfortable. I’ll get into this more in the fit category, but if you judge the shoe out of the box, you are probably going to be very disappointed. There is a nice touch of synthetic leather around the top two lace holes on the inside – need more of that definitely. Let’s get to the court side of things… Nike Kyrie 1 - Performance Review-2 Fit – This is probably the most argued-about shoe I have ever seen in regards to fit. “True to size? Half up? It’s narrow and uncomfortable. It’s too long now.” Here is my take – stay true to size unless you ALWAYS go up a half size for width. The shoe breaks in and improves pretty quickly. The area of concern is the orange-red support piece under the Fuse laying over the pinky toe area. This support piece is woven tighter than the outer Fuse and gives great lateral support, but those first few games (or hours for you casual guys and gals) hurt. I wear a 10.5 in 99% of EVERY SHOE I have worn, and a 10.5 fit me fine after the first day wearing casual (for break-in before court time). The rest of the shoe is locked tight. I had worries about the size of the collar opening (Nike Zoom 95 memories) but lacing normal tightness through the top hole did the job. I have heard of heel slipping but never mine. The only complaint I had was the top collar riding into my Achilles’, like it angled in and down. Amazingly, I only had this feeling when I wore them casually – when laced tight for play I never felt this. For a simple lace hole layout, I felt as tight as a thief in church – no front to back slipping or side to side. kyrie3 Cushioning – It says Zoom is there, so I will say Zoom is there, but I haven’t felt it much yet. For the record, I got these on December 29th and have played  about 14 hours in them, plus multiple casual wears, and I am just now feeling a little bounce under my foot. Not to say cushioning is bad – it isn’t. To me the heel is just the right amount of soft and stable just using the Phylon foam, especially when it begins breaking down after about the second game. You can see the lines of compression in the pic above, showing the beginnings of breakdown. Personally, I like a firmer ride under the heel, especially when hitting jumpers (I didn’t say shooting – I said HITTING!!!) off curls – it gives a more stable platform for squaring up. If I have a Max or even some Zoom heels, I feel slower planting and rising. The forefoot, before Zoom, does give a good court feel, not great, and doesn’t really feel slow or draggy, it just doesn’t feel…special. It feels like a “shoe”, not a “SIGNATURE” statement. Nike Kyrie 1 - Performance Review-1 Traction – This shoe and outsole were built for speed, court feel, and traction. Almost. Covered the fit. Covered the court feel and cushioning. So, about that third category…it’s okay. Really. I played on four different indoor courts and the only real bite, dime-stopping, leave your man flying by traction was on the newly refinished court at 24 Hour fitness. A little dust goes a LONG way, especially with this outsole. On the old, dirty, BAD other 24 Hour court, I looked like Road Runner – feet doing circles trying to grip. Twice on one move I slipped and almost fell. In defense, the Jordan XX9 I changed into did the same thing, so it wasn’t the shoe completely, but for a shoe based on “traction everywhere”, I was a little let down. I did like the difference in pattern under the forefoot – it felt like the shoe helped into cornering. Or I could be crazy and easily influenced. Needless to say – clean court – full speed. Little dirty – bring your Sani-Wipes. One more thing – I would NOT expect this pattern to last long on rough outdoor courts. The pattern is shallow and the rubber isn’t the hardest, so wear would be quick. Nike Kyrie 1 - Performance Review-9 Support/Transition – Support in the Kyrie 1 is basically one two things – the forefoot overlay and the massive heel counter. The most eye-catching detail on this shoe has to be the heel counter and it’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle spikey shell. Good for it. Polarize the public and make them love or hate it, as long as it works, and it does. The shoe overall is stiff, but the heel needs to be and is. Luckily it rises just high enough to cover the heel and still low enough to allow some freedom in movement. The rest of the support comes from the lacing and the overlay, and if you play in the Kyrie you will feel the forefoot support piece pushing back on cuts and lateral movements. I liked it. It works. Transition, for a flat-soled shoe, was smooth, and part of this, I think, was the lack of feel from the Zoom. I am a big proponent of consistency in cushioning, and the Phylon takes over here. I know a shoe won’t make you faster, but when movements are easy I just feel faster, and this shoe made movements easy. Forward, backpedaling, cuts, defense – I felt all movements were smooth and free, ONCE BROKEN IN. You have to give this shoe time. Kyrie1 Overall – I made a statement when I first got the Kyrie 1 that this shoe feels like it will be greater than its parts, and I wasn’t wrong. Nothing really stands out on the Kyrie – traction is okay, cushioning feels average, fit is good – but I never, EVER had a bad game in them. I know shoes don’t make the player, but when they are bad they can hurt, and before the first wear I was dreading this review. The shoe just didn’t feel good on foot. But then I played the first day, and it started coming alive, and I played good. Next day, same thing – a little more alive, fit got better, cushioning felt better. After 5 game days, I had played a week and a half of nice ball, all wearing the Kyrie. Some shoes are like that – little technology, not much going for it, then BAM!!! – you have a good day in them and can’t take them off. Some high-tech, every bell and whistle feel like junk and play even worse, and those reviews hurt. I would place the Kyrie in category 1. I still feel it was a little more on the “streetwear” tip than full-on performance, but who am I to argue with the basketball gods. Break them in and wear them out.

kyrie review (720x960)




  1. I’m wide footed and thought about making an ID version. Would you recommend go half size up for wide footers or stay true to size?

        1. Nah – met coach K when I was a teen at a basketball camp and have been a die-hard since. Went to Houston and then Univ Texas – Arlington.

        1. Trust me when i say try them on first. They run too slim for my liking. I can’t mess with them.

      1. I’m kinda wide footed, but I bought the shoe anyway.
        I feel like it’s to narrow, but should I just wait and se if it gets better, or take it back?

    1. I ended up giving my pair away , they can be $110 all day , very average shoe all around and they are plenty of better options for that price . Good review though man, nice addition to the site.

        1. Yea, everyone was talking about the price point , well you can get hyperdunk 2014’s , Jordan xx8’s, Melo 10’s, Hypperevs all for 99, I just wish Nike would’ve shown harden some sig love to

          1. Uqk, absolutely man.

            I always prefer great big men over any guard when starting a team, and Anthony Davis is getting better and better. He’s a freaking beast already.

            I think he’s easily a top 5 player in the NBA right now, but since most of us are little guys, I think the shoe companies think it’s easier to market shoes for guards. I’d say that’s the main reason he doesn’t have a signature shoe. It’s probably a harder sell to market a big man shoe to the average joe who’s 6 foot or shorter.

          2. You could name a good amount of people who deserved it first, kyrie isn’t a winner he is a show that’s it.

  2. Question:
    I dont too often buy nike sneakers, but these really caught my eye. They are sold out on the nike store tho, for sure they wont restock even tho its a signature shoe??

  3. Great review, kind of what I expected, a solid shoe, with some rough edges(especially with how Nike downgraded the Run The One, from the Crusader, I have a feeling it’s intentional, which irks me, a good affordable shoe, with no rough edges, shouldn’t be something to avoid, especially not intentionally).

  4. Great review Duke, enjoying your contributions to weartesters! I’m gonna throw this question at you, probably not a question you can solidly answer. In your opinion would using NikeID and using the XDR or translucent outsole help with traction? Just a thought.

    1. not thinking translucent would help – in my expereience it picks dust up way more than regular rubber. The main problem is the gaps, or lack of, between the pattern and the pattern has flat rdiges instead of the pointed edges, like teeth.

  5. I didn’t see anything referring to these as a “guard shoe” in your review, so I paid attention. The big concern for those of us who play both in the post and on the perimeter, or where ever you are needed to play, is that you can run backward and then stop, pivot, then move laterally in a shoe, especially while on defense. While on offense, I need to feel as if I can land in traffic safely, or when I do a move like a drop step, I like to use the shoe as leverage, being able to push off, then explode into a move toward the rim, then having the confidence that the shoe will still be there when I land.

    I guess the question that I want to ask is, do these shoes feel BALANCED to you, Duke?

    1. Balanced is a good word – really what I kind of think of as transition. Most think of just running and the bridge from heel to toe. I try to think of it as “move to move” – backpedal, ooh, we got a steal, change direction, cut middle to wing, plant, reverse for a jumper. How smooth are the movements? Does the shoe feel clunky on landings or takeoff? This shoe is smooth on that front – one reason I don’t mind the Zoom not really bouncing. Also why I don’t mind the lack of Air in the heel of this or the Melo M11 or the XX9. Sometimes that Air is unstable and makes moves feel slow.

      1. You should feel safe moving in all directions, if a shoe is made properly, regardless of price point. One dimensional shoes, “guard shoes”, tend to skirt the issue of proper balance, while lowering the price point through using impractical materials, all while suggesting “performance”. Good review, but there is something that I just do not like about this shoe.

    1. WRONG it was an awesome review. I dont usually entertain trolls but Duke was spot on and we love what he brings to the table. All the Weartesters are unique and it’s great to have different points of view even when reviewing the same shoe.

      Keep it up NW and the WT crew!!

    2. Thanks for the kind words. Here is an idea – look at my past reviews and see WHO ELSE thinks like you, then try, TRY, to do one yourself. Then come ask me for help and how to fix your sorry writing, and I may, MAY help you.

    3. There is nothing wrong with constructive criticism, but you gave none of that. While I love Nightwing’s reviews, and am still looking forward to his review of the Kyrie 1, appreciate the different perspectives.
      What was wrong with this review anyways? It was thorough and descriptive.
      Ignore the haters Duke, that guy is a moron.

    1. for what?

      Seriously – that is a way overrated category. If the shoe fits good and flexes well with your foot and transitions well when playing, weight is not a factor, unless we are talking Tims. They aren’t CrazyLight, but about like the ClutchFit and XX9.

  6. Why is Nightwing not doing his own reviews and especially on this signature-mailing this one in? I could tell right away that it wasn’t his review without looking at the headline. It was actually a well written review. Clear and concise. He doesn’t have the eloquence to even write even in this simplistic manner. Lack of education. This is a good review but, as I have already written 2 weeks ago, close to verbatim my review of the shoes. I had around 20 hours on court in them. Dirty courts are a horror show for these shoes. They do break in from that stiff cracker like Fuse upper.

    1. I wouldn’t say he is “mailing it in” – the purpose is to have different styles review the shoe. Jarron may play like you, and I may not, so we review and then answer questions.

      I have been at this for just as long as NW – longer, actually – at Counterkicks. Granted, not as big, but still. I had been talking with NW “behind the scenes” for the better part of a year before jumping.

      In the end, it is what YOU get out of the review. If you don’t like it, or the site, you are welcome to disagree. Kind of funny that we had the same experience though, huh?

  7. Great review Duke. Sounds like an okay shoe overall. Definitely going to pass on these because I don’t really like the aesthetics and they don’t sound like they fit my needs in a shoe. Patiently waiting for the Curry 1…

  8. I think this review is spot on.

    I got a half size up from true to size (9.5 vice 9) based on toe box issues (for ex, I always go 9.5 in Lebrons after 9’s tore my feet up), and think the rest of the review is spot on – nothing jumps out at you, but playing in them I felt really good and just thought about ball and not how my feet felt. Lock-down is surprisingly good, no issues with foot sliding despite going up .5.

    Great review, early return from me is great shoe that I will get in several colorways to stash and ball in for the next few years.

  9. I’m really considering getting either these or the 2014 hyperrevs. How would you say the durability of the upper is? Thanks for the reviews btw. Really enjoy them.

  10. Upper on these is WAY more durable than the Rev, although my Rev’s held up nicely. The first gen Fuse on these will take a serious beating.

    1. Hmm I see. Thanks for the quick reply. I saw these at my local finish line the other day. But the deceptive reds ran out but the all star should com out soon. Those have the translucent outsoles though so it’s questionable.

  11. i just wore these to play for a solid 5 hours tonight…to be clear my pair has an XDR outsole and i played outside…this review is spot on, nothing spectacular about it, but i actually really like the phylon and the fact that the zoom isn’t obtrusive in any way, a real lace ’em up and go shoe, without any bells and whistles that you don’t need…i like them a lot, can’t wait to put them on again on sunday

  12. I’d totally disagree with the majority of this whole review. the fit is great to me, I can wear a size 8.5-9 & the 9 fits perfect. I got the all star’s on release date, started playing indoors only for about 6 months, then switched them to my outdoor shoe. the traction is great indoor & out, no problems whatsoever. the tread hasn’t even started to wear off, only very slightly around the edge of the heel. the cushioning is 10/10 for me, the heel is perfect and the zoom in the forefoot make for a perfect combo. the material seems breathable enough, the hyperfuse is finally starting to fray a little on the forefoot creases (only on one shoe so far) after LOTS of usage, indoor & out. one of the best basketball shoes I’ve yet to play in, they’ve held up great & for the retail price they went at, an absolute steal.

    1. Unfortunately, there is no Zoom Air in the forefoot. The Fuse isn’t breathable at all as its a solid sheet of TPU — plastic. However, we’re glad that you love the shoe as it seems to suit your needs of minimal cushion and exceptional traction.

      1. yes the zoom is in the forefoot

        my on-courts right now are the Kobe 11 Last Emperor & THAT is minimal cushioning, such a stupid setup imo, with the zoom in the heel and lunarlon in the forefoot. rotate between the two and you can feel it in the forefoot lol

          1. kind of thought you were, I tried em on along with the KD9’s (which blew me away) & they seemed stiff as hell initially, couldn’t say how they would be once you break em in, no zoom, no go for me.

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