Nike KD8 Elite VS Nike Lebron 13

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Nike KD8 Elite VS Nike Lebron 13

Two signature shoes by Nike’s top players face off in what should be an interesting matchup. The first contender is the Nike KD8 Elite, the reworked Elite playoff edition of Kevin Durant’s 8th signature shoe. The KD8 Elite boasts new materials and a built in compression sock to boost the performance of Durant’s shoes for the OKC Thunder’s playoff run. The second contender is the Lebron 13, the 13th Nike signature shoe for Lebron James, featuring a unique cushioning system and strong materials for Lebron’s physical style. The Sole Brothers bring you another epic installment of our VS series, so let’s get started and break down the Nike KD8 Elite VS Nike Lebron 13.

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The Lebron 13 features a multidirectional traction pattern whose performance depends on whether the traction is translucent or solid rubber. The translucent outsole attracts a lot of dust, requiring frequent wiping in order to maintain a good grip on the court. Some color ways of the Lebron 13 feature a solid rubber outsole (like the one Sammy plays in) and the traction performs better than the translucent. The solid rubber outsole does not attract much dust, so wiping is only required every 7 plays or so. The Nike KD8 Elite features a translucent outsole which performs nicely before it inevitably attracts a lot of dust. Sammy said he had to wipe every 2-3 plays while wearing the KD8 Elite, and he also slipped quite badly about 5 or 6 times. The Lebron 13 (with a solid rubber outsole) outperforms the KD8 Elite on the court, since the Lebron 13 requires minimal wiping and stops quickly.
Winner: Lebron 13


The Lebron 13 uses hexagonal Zoom units in the forefoot with a large one in the heel encased in a Phylon midsole. Sammy said he could feel the Zoom pod in the forefoot pretty well and that the cushion provides good impact protection and feels pretty bouncy. The KD8 Elite features full length Zoom that is articulated in the forefoot on the lateral side for added responsiveness. The Zoom unit is bottom loaded beneath a Phylon midsole. The KD8 Elite is bouncier and moves more fluidly than the Lebron 13. The KD8 Elite takes the win in the cushioning category, but Sammy did point out that he does like the Lebron 13’s cushion, but the full length Zoom is hard to beat.
Winner: KD8 Elite

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The KD8 Elite’s upper is constructed with a foam bootie overlaid with mesh and a hard synthetic material on the forefoot, a compression sleeve built into the ankle, and an injected heel counter that integrates with the laces. The materials feel soft and comfortable and the compression sock adds lockdown for the ankle and heel, improving greatly over the original KD8’s issue with heel slipping. The Nike Lebron 13’s upper is constructed with mesh overlaid with fuse in high stress areas and uses Hyperposite pieces for added support and strength. Sam did not like the materials in the Lebron 13, as they hurt his toes, but he did say that once the materials break in (which takes a long time) the materials feel nice. The KD8 Elite’s materials take the victory here, since they are more comfortable than the materials featured on the Lebron 13s.
Winner: KD8 Elite

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Fit, Support, and Lockdown

Fit: The Lebron 13 fits too widely, since the shoe was designed for Lebron James’s huge feet. The KD8 Elite fits similarly to the original KD8, which is to say that the Elite fits very narrowly. Sammy went down one 1/2 size and said it fit well. The KD8 Elite is a shoe that you should definitely try on before you purchase it.
Winner: KD8 Elite

Support: The KD8 Elite is not a particularly supportive shoe, since the compression sock does not support the ankle, it merely provides compression (which is still nice). Sam was unable to wear his ankle brace in the KD8 Elite, which would have worked with the shoe to provide support, but since he was unable to, it cannot be said to offer any ankle support. The Lebron 13, however, is very supportive, thanks in no small part to the stiffness of the upper.
Winner: Lebron 13

Lockdown: Sammy experienced some heel slipping in the Lebron 13, but other than that, the lockdown was good. The KD8 Elite, however, provides very good lockdown and it fixes the heel slipping issue that plagued the original KD8.
Winner: KD8 Elite

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Ventilation, Durability, Aesthetics, and Price

Ventilation: The Lebron 13 is an extremely hot shoe, in part due to the amount of fuse, Hyperposite, and the bootie construction. The KD8 Elite is a well ventilated shoe, so the it wins this category easily.
Winner: KD8 Elite

Durability: The Nike KD8 Elite has a few concerns regarding durability, namely, that the compression sock seems like it will tear quite easily, the foam and mesh upper looks like it may rip after heavy use, and the Zoom bag in the cushion has been known to pop on occasion.
Winner: Lebron 13

Aesthetics: The Lebron 13 is not a particularly appealing silhouette, but there are some color ways that look pretty cool (Sammy loves his maroon color way, I think the upcoming Command Force and the Christmas color ways are dope). The KD8 Elite is hands down a better looking silhouette than the Lebron 13, and as long as Nike doesn’t do anything bizarre with the color ways, that fact will not change.
Winner: KD8 Elite

Price: This category depends upon perspective. At full retail price, both shoes are priced at $200, but several color ways of the Lebron 13 are on sales/clearance and can be found for around $140 and up (or cheaper if you live somewhere with an outlet mall).
Winner: Tie/Lebron 13

Overall, in Sammy’s opinion at least since Don does not like the Lebron 13, these are both very good shoes. If price was not a factor, Sam would say that the contest is a tie, but if price is important, then the win goes to the Lebron 13. On paper, though, the KD8 Elite won 6/9 categories, and the Lebron 13 won 3/9. Choosing between the two comes down to preferences, subjective impressions, and fit. Either choice is a good one and you cannot go wrong with either. Let us know what you think in the comments below and watch Don and Sammy break down the matchup in their video below.

kd 8 elite v lebron 13 breakdown