The Kyrie Infinity now features the most cushion you’ll find on a Kyrie sneaker: a Zoom Air unit in the heel, a large Zoom Strobel at the forefoot, and a foam midsole (likely Phylon) to accompany the ride.
This is INSANE to see on a flagship Kyrie sneaker. The typical minimal feel is now replaced with a super bouncy forefoot and an all-around plush ride from heel to toe.
Step transitions felt smooth as butter, and even though the smaller heel Zoom unit wasn’t really doing much in terms of feedback (maybe except on harder heel strikes), the overall feel of the underfoot sensation is nothing short of awesome.
I played in the Kyrie Infinity a little less than I did in the Kyrie 7 before putting out a review, so it’s pretty tough to compare the durability between the two sneakers.
2 months in, I’m not seeing as much visual damage to the thread as I did on the Kyrie 7 three months in, so there’s that.
However, performance-wise, there isn’t a meaningful difference. Traction is still fine, consistency is still there as long as I clean my outsoles after every few sessions.
There’s quite a bit of damage on the forefoot portions and along the lateral portions of the outsole, so just as with the Kyrie 7, it’s a matter of time before that visual damage catches up to actual traction received on the court.
I would love to pick a winner in terms of durability between this year’s and last year’s model but practically speaking –
there’s really no reason to.
If you’d like to be sure that you’ll be set for potentially longer – I highly encourage you to find the
EP version of the shoe or at least put on XDR outsoles on Nike By You while customizing your pair.
The real EP release will still provide better outsoles than the option you’d get via Nike By You though. But hey, grab what you can and live with it.
And lastly, if you’re not able to grab either the EP or the Nike By You pair – going with the gum rubber outsole colorway might be the safest option for outdoors.
The evidence on this is anecdotal but based on my and other hoopers’ experience – gum rubber outsoles
can be more durable and tackier than others.
How’s the impact absorption and feedback? What about step comfort, ride height, and stability?
It’s an unusual combination but all for the better – we’ve really come far in the technology of basketball shoes. This low-profile feel combined with plush cushion first reminded me of the Nikey Cosmic Unity.
Everything felt stable, quite responsive, and well-balanced. The Zoom Turbo units the Kyrie 5–6–7 used could probably be called a bit faster-feeling but people often like to overdramatize things.
The difference in how “fast” I felt was
marginal at most. Or better way to describe it – I just hooped. Comfortable. Nothing got in my way nor did I ever think that I was lacking responsiveness.
I feel like almost every type of player would find the cushioning sufficient and enjoyable. Quick guards will appreciate the low-profile setup, while anyone who’s a bit more athletic or heavier will find more than enough impact protection here.
I think the only group of people who won’t enjoy this setup are those who strictly prefer a
minimal experience with less-to-no cushion underfoot.
If you’re ALL about speed and precision and don’t need any shock absorption to go along with it – sticking with any of the previous Kyrie models will be your best bet.
How’s the all-around security? What about foot containment? Any restrictions?
image source: nike . com
Let me list all of the biggest
negatives when it comes to the support of the Kyrie Infinity first. There – done.
On a more serious note, we’ve come to expect great security and support from every Kyrie release and the next iteration isn’t all too different.
I had no major issues.
The shoe sports beefy internal heel counters for proper heel & ankle lockdown, midfoot shank plates for additional torsional rigidity, midsole sidewalls that come up at the forefoot & heel, and a criss-cross lockdown system consisting of bands that pull your foot down and back to the heel when you tighten the laces.
The forefoot portion of the shoe is noticeably wide which promotes stability, and you could say there are small outriggers in place for further lateral coverage. Not those plastic fins though – those don’t do anything.
Everything worked properly: I was stable, not overly restricted, and never felt unconfident to pull off a certain move.
Don’t worry about the interesting-looking sculpting of the tooling either. It might look like the shoe will encourage you to roll the foot inward but that simply does not happen on the court. Merely a visual illusion.
THE TORSION DILLEMMA
One little caveat that carried over from the Kyrie 7 is the mediocre torsional rigidity. Despite a midfoot shank in place, these are still flimsier torsionally than an average hoop shoe on the market.
I barely noticed this because I was putting some hours into the Kyrie 7 before testing the new model, so chances are, my feet are now more used to working harder in order to stabilize the joints and tendons torsionally.
But if you’ve got weaker feet (perhaps you’re coming off a foot injury or maybe you haven’t hooped in a while), there’s a good chance
you’ll start feeling some fatigue faster than usual.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing since your feet will be more exposed to heavier workloads and as long as you give them enough time to recover in between sessions – you’ll end up in a better place than before.
Of course, some might value being able to play longer hours comfortably over anything else. In that case – choosing a shoe with stronger torsional coverage will be a wiser option.
VII. THE BUILD
What are the materials used? How well do they perform on-court? How’s the quality & reliability of the build?
image source: nike . com
The Nike Kyrie Infinity utilizes a structured mesh material on the front, a suede panel at the back that’s lined with genuine leather, and also synthetic leather pieces on the tongue, back, and lacing system.
There’s a little bit of everything here and I really do appreciate it.
It looks like Nike “stole” adidas’s concept of
material dependency based on the colorway. The debut colorway that I have features a suede ankle portion that’s lined with leather but other colorways seem to use a leather ankle that’s lined with synthetic leather instead.
I think both options are excellent and you really shouldn’t sweat it too much when it’s time to choose. Leather is a bit easier to clean and take care of than suede, so if that matters to you – go for any of the other colorways.
The shoe’s built on a standard lace & tongue construction, so this insanely large tongue is sewed on separately.
image source: nike . com
While Nike ditched the all-out synthetic & minimal focus of their past models and replaced it with beefier and more premium materials on the Infinity, I feel like performance didn’t suffer at all.
In fact, these awesome materials greatly contribute to how comfortable the shoes felt when the material is sitting next to my feet.
Even the plasticy-feeling mesh at the front broke in quickly and wrapped around my foot very well.
These did feel slightly tight for me at first (mainly due to my wide feet) but all of the materials throughout the build broke in to a point where I don’t feel any major pressure, pinching, suffocation, or anything nasty like that at all.
Well, there’s a little bit of pressure where the leather lining begins on the lateral side of the shoe as that’s where the widest part of my foot is.
It only happens on certain movements but as I’ve said – comfortable materials make these collisions
acceptable when they could’ve been annoying.
One thing that does suffer from the more traditional material choices is
ventilation. The Fused mesh forefoot doesn’t allow for any airflow, nor does leather, obviously.
I did feel my feet getting pretty damn hot while hooping outside in the sun, and that’s pretty unusual for me since it takes quite a bit for my feet to start sweating.
Or perhaps I should say for me to
notice that my feet are getting hot in there. Not a huge downside but something to remember for those under-the-sun sessions.
image source: nike . com
No shoe will break down on you quickly when genuine compounds like leather or suede dominate the build.
It’s normal for leather to visibly change over time and start looking banged up fairly soon but the actual health of the material will stay intact for a long time. If you take care of it that is.
A couple of months with the Kyrie Infinity resulted in the leather lining looking a little creased, the suede ankle is a bit dirty since debris can easily get stuck in it, and the rest is just small visual dents here and there.
This is definitely one of the most durable Kyrie shoes to date and I expect them to last for multiple seasons (if the outsoles could hang in there).
I’ll update you months later to see if my predictions were true. If I’ll still be hooping in the shoe of course.
Considering that we’re still paying the same $130 at retail, this is definitely a noticeable step-up in the quality of the materials, as well as the quality of their implemenation.
Wrapping up the Kyrie Infinity review: recap, recommendations, and versatility
image source: nike . com
The Nike Kyrie Infinity is a fantastic all-around basketball sneaker that finally found the courage to change things up from the usual formula. Not everyone will like that but I suspect A LOT of people will.
Remember when Kyrie Irving trashed the shoe on his Instagram and refused to wear it right before it launched to the public? I suspect the cushion was part of the problem.
The early reviews of the shoe reported on the cushion being severely unresponsive and not in line with Kyrie’s previous low-profile formula-like setups.
Honestly, I HIGHLY doubt the shoe I played in is the same version of the shoe that he wasn’t a fan of or that the reviewers tested initially.
Performance shoes often get tweaked based on the athlete’s feedback and the new improved versions hit the market later.
This is nothing new.
There are versions of certain hoop shoes that are
exclusive to their signature athletes, as the regular consumer can only get their hands on a slightly different version.
That’s why this whole Kyrie Infinity situation wasn’t a big surprise for me like it was for some people.
Kyrie later posted a message apologizing to Nikey in a way and pretty much saying all is good now. Well, they probably fixed up the areas of the sneaker he didn’t like.
It could’ve been handled better in my opinion, but all I really care about is the fact that we get to play in a great Kyrie hoop shoe now.
From guards to forwards, from aggressive slashers to all-around players: the Kyrie Infinity should get the job done. Not something I thought I’d say about a Kyrie model.