10 Things You Would Never Expect to Inspire Kevin Durant’s Sneakers

  • Nike KD IV

    Nike

    Weatherman

    Considered by many to be Kevin Durant’s best sneaker ever, the “Weatherman” colorway for the KD IV started what would become synonymous with Durant’s sneaker line. You probably know by now that KD wanted to be a weatherman or meteorologist growing up. Well, Nike took the idea and ran with it. And all of that started right here.

    The traditional green screen, storm thermo-mapping, and weather-inspired graphics are all present here in one of the most hyped sneakers of the past decade.

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  • Nike KD 4

    Nike

    Nerf

    Another of Durant’s best colorways ever is the “Nerf” edition of the KD IV, the sneaker that spawned what seemed like thousands of mimicking customs. Along with a special box and ball, the shoe played off KD’s youthful love of Nerf sports and the actual sneaker had iconic colors and graphics, and even a special KD logo to play off the Nerf vintage.

    Doesn’t it seem like the KD IV got ALL of the best colorways?

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  • Nike KD 4

    Nike

    The galaxy

    Durant has long been interested in the sky, space, nature, and everything around it. That all came to a head through Nike’s emphasis on space exploration during the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando.

    The KD IV from this collection found its color from the silver suit of a notable Oklahoma astronaut and it even includes a specific mission patch, as well as the midfoot harness that features a “Pull For Lockdown” graphic.

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  • Nike KD V Kevin Durant sneakers

    Nike

    Mumbo sauce

    The lead colorway for the KD V was deeply ingrained in the DMV culture. There were the obvious callbacks, like the five sides of the pentagon. But one detail some folks might not understand, at least if they aren’t from the region, is that the colorway was undoubtedly showing love to a favorite of the DMV: Mumbo sauce, used at Chinese takeout restaurants.

    If that wasn’t enough to make you love these sneakers, the colorway works perfectly. For some reason, I still have never seen anyone rocking this colorway on the street and have no idea why. These KILL.

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  • Nike KD V “Christmas”

    Nike

    Video games

    I think I speak for every ballplayer of this generation when I say we all grew up playing video games. But they aren’t exactly the easiest thing to incorporate into a pair of sneakers. Two completely different worlds. Yet Nike did it with the Christmas version of the KD V.

    One of Durant’s best childhood memories was getting a video game system underneath the tree, and so Nike used video game graphics as the inspiration for this shoe’s upper, sockliner graphic, and tongue tab logo. This is easily one of Durant’s most underrated sneakers ever.

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  • Nike KD 6

    Nike

    Peanut butter and jelly sandwich

    I’ve seen a few sneakers over the years that have been inspired by food. But I can’t remember the last time the classic PB&J sandwich was immortalized. Yet that’s exactly what Nike and Durant did with this particular colorway of the KD VI.

    As a kid, the women in Kevin’s life often him these sandwiches because he spent so much time at the area rec center. It became a routine for him.

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  • Nike KD 6

    Nike

    Blue crab

    I’ve lived in Maryland for seven years of my life. Trust me when I say you aren’t finding crab that tastes better…anywhere. It doesn’t matter where you go or where you live. It’s next level in the Baltimore area. So, of course, with Durant having DMV roots, you had to know this one was coming.

    There’s the KD logo mimicking a crab shell, the upper’s colors and textured effects, and exact pantone colors to match the animal’s pinchers and legs. Awesome.

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  • Nike

    Aunt Pearl's robe

    Durant’s late Aunt Pearl passed away from lung cancer in 2000 and because she played such a big part in raising young Kevin, he has continuously released pink-styled shoes to honor her impact.

    “I made a promise to myself to always honor my Aunt Pearl for the example she set, and the encouragement she gave me to follow my dreams,” Durant said during the release of the KD VI “Aunt Pearl.”

    This particular version took inspiration from a robe his aunt used to wear all of the time. The floral pattern instantly became a hit.

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  • Nike KD 6

    Nike

    Voodoo

    Last season’s All-Star Game saw all of the players paying homage to specific parts of the unique New Orleans culture. For Durant, that meant dipping into a little voodoo. Nicknamed “Illusion,” these shoes had an upper covered in hand-drawn patterns. There was also a sick glow-in-the-dark outsole. As for how it fit Durant, well, everything about his game isn’t what it seems. A 7-0 wingman who can score from anywhere and shoot from any spot on the floor? No one’s ever seen a player like him before.

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  • Nike KD7

    Nike

    Egg nog

    Because who doesn’t love egg nog? Durant apparently loves it, calling it his favorite holiday drink. This year’s holiday collection from Nike didn’t disappoint and while Kobe and LeBron dropped sneakers, this one might’ve been the highlight…considering Bryant wasn’t able to suit up in his. With integrated glossy “condensation” flecks on the red Hyperposite heel, this was a master course in how to integrate something creative without overdoing it.

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  • Nike KD IV
  • Nike KD 4 "Nerf" Kevin Durant sneakers
  • Nike KD 4 "Galaxy" Kevin Durant sneakers
  • Nike KD V Kevin Durant sneakers
  • Nike KD V “Christmas”
  • Nike KD 6 "Peanut butter and jelly" Kevin Durant sneakers
  • Nike KD 6 "Blue Crab" Kevin Durant sneakers
  • Nike KD 6 "All-Star" Kevin Durant sneakers
  • Nike KD7 "Egg Nog"

There is much to love about Kevin Durant. Healthy, he’s probably the world’s best player right now — sorry, LeBron — and he does it all in a way that you can’t hate. He is efficient. He’s unselfish. He gets along with seemingly everyone. When he does finally win awards, he calls other people the real MVP. He’s playing on a consistent contender. He never gets in trouble. And even his sneakers are dope.

But even as the kicks are going strong — and this year’s version in the KD7 from Nike is possibly his best pair yet — because of cool technological aspects and unique storylines, it’s the inspiration behind every colorway that truly sets them apart.

Every signature sneaker has themes and motifs that run throughout the line. Michael Jordan had the Jumpman and the idea of air, how he was doing things that seemed otherworldly. LeBron James has the King and lion both breathing an almost royal feel into his sneakers. Kobe Bryant has his soccer inspiration. But Kevin Durant’s line is truly unique in that he’s found motivation through a number of different things, and all of them have found their way into his sneakers over the past few years.

As we close in on yet another release of the KD7 at Champs Sports — this one for the NBA All-Star Game — which features unique gradients of greys, purples, and pinks, it’s a good time to look through designer Leo Chang/Nike’s impressive catalogue. Unique isn’t a strong enough word. Here are 10 Things You Would Never Expect to Inspire Kevin Durant’s Sneakers.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney

image via Nike