As one of Nike's main sponsored athletes, Kevin Durant has his own signature line of sneakers which he plays a role in designing. And like all athletes, Durant wants his shoes to be the most technically advanced while also looking as aesthetically pleasing and comfortable as possible to play in. It's why his latest sneakers, the KD9, have top-of-the-line Nike innovations like Flyknit.
The only problem with all of these new advances in Durant's latest sneaker is that the cost for consumers drastically increased. Durant's shoes used to retail around $85 and $88 but now they sell for $150. For Durant, the increase in price is simple, he's just not an "$88 player" anymore. He's one of the best players in the league and his shoes should match that.
From Durant's conversation with Nice Kicks' Nick DePaula:
"As humbly as I can say it, I'm not a $88 player. I'm an elite player in the league," Durant responds. "I wanted everything to be affordable, but I knew we had to sacrifice some stuff. I just wanted the fans of the brand and of the shoe to just stay patient with me. And stay patient with who I am as a player, and the level I was trying to go to."
"On these shoes, you get it all, and for a nice price," continues Durant. "You get the newest innovation, you get the newest Zoom bag, and you get my story along with it. If you're a fan of what I do in the game of basketball, this is perfect for you. As I evolved as a player, I knew that the shoes, in order for it to stay on the same course and trajectory [that I was headed], I might have to come up a bit on some of the stuff I said earlier. Hopefully people understand, and I think a lot of people have."
While it is hard for Durant to seem humble here, he has a point. Other athletes have expensive shoes and if he wants his shoes to have Flyknit and other materials that will help his performance, why shouldn't he?
And it's not like this is all on Durant. Nike plays a role in the price of their shoes and they are just responding to what the market demands.
So while it would be great if more athletes could be like Stephon Marbury and have $15 shoes, the reality is that we live in a capitalist society and consumerism drives prices. That's just the world we live in.