The Backcourt Philosopher: A Retrospective of Kyrie Irving’s Career…. As Told Through Kyrie Sneakers
With the infinite ways he can kiss it off the glass, Kyrie Irving is undeniably one of the greatest guards of this generation. Kyrie Irving Signature shoes even joined forces with Jordan at Nike – more on that in a minute. Let’s talk more about Young Kyrie for a moment. His handles are from the distant future – they’re pristine. Irving’s style of play is not just deadly effective – he’s electric.
It should come as no surprise the man has one of the most lucrative sneaker deals in the NBA right now. $11 mil annually ain’t bad, and Kyrie Irving signature shoes are perennially some of the most popular shoes. Kids aren’t able to dunk like LeBron James, but they can all practice to have handles like Kyrie. It makes him a more relatable kind of player for guards that don’t have the impressive physical gifts of a player like James or Durant. Not many people grow to be the slim reaper or the Akron Hammer!!
Check out the evolution of Kyrie Irving’s Signature shoe line below!
Kyrie 1: (Released:12.21.2014)
The first entry in the Kyrie Irving signature shoe line is special because the young guard was only the 20th Nike signature athlete ever. Of the hundreds of great basketball players in each era, that is truly an achievement to be proud of as an all-star NBA player.
The shoe has Irving’s new interlocking “KI” logo, his signature on the inside of the tongue and his number on the back of the heel. His mother’s name, Elizabeth, is etched on the sole of the shoe with her birthdate and the day she died, when Irving was 4.
“That was one of the first things I knew I wanted to put on the shoe,” Irving said. “She’s one of the reasons why I’ve come so far, why I have the drive that I do.” Underneath Irving’s logo on the shoe’s bottom are the letters “JBY,” which stands for “Just Be You”
We all know Irving’s achieved that – he is his own person, and the Kyrie Irving signature shoe line reflects that raw individuality. Onto the next iteration!
The first entry in the Kyrie Irving Signature shoe line has jagged edges around the front toe, giving the illusion of your shoes “biting” the ground each time you step. Honestly, a lot of players consider the Kyrie 1s the best-looking shoe in the entire line – even with six newer models since its release! That’s some staying power.
Kyrie 2: (Released:12.9.2015) – best shoe in the line
Ahh yes… many consider the Kyrie 2 to be the absolutely best overall shoe in the Kyrie Irving signature shoe line. The various colorways maintained the flair of the first Kyrie signature shoes, but the performance was improved all-around. Kyrie was rocking the 2s when he hit arguably the greatest shot in NBA history.
The hyperfuse construction offers the same 3-layered benefits described in the Kyrie 1: durability, breathability, and lightweight stability. However, the second iteration in the Kyrie Irving signature shoe series adds zoom air cushioning to help pad the heel (which honestly still isn’t enough), and a beautiful midfoot strap for better ankle alignment. This stability and “locked in” feeling of the Kyrie 2 is why it remains such a popular model all da sneakerheads.
Kyrie 3: (Released:12.25.2016)
Like the previous two models in the Kyrie Irving signature shoe line, the Kyrie 3s opted for zoom air midsole cushioning. Nike flywire mesh replaced the hyperfuse material pattern for the third drop in the Kyrie Irving signature shoe line. The switch helped the breathability and lockdown of the shoe while playing, so double-plus there.
Kyrie Irving is a huge Kobe Bryant fan, and he paid tribute to Kobe with a “Mamba Mentality” limited release of the 3s.
Kyrie 4: (Released:12.16.2017) – Second best shoe
Uncle Drew brought the Cavs to the Finals with LeBron again – with the power of the Kyrie 4s. The 4s make a case for the best Kyrie Irving signature shoe with its upgraded cushioning. Like Teflon, Nike’s “cushlon” is legit. No really, it’s called “cushlon. The 4s continued to shine with the “sharktooth” pattern more pronounced around the edges of the midsole and outsole. The dynamic defined much of the silhouette of the Kyrie 4, along with the suede heel panel.
Kyrie 5: (Released:11.22.2018) – Second worst shoe
Kyrie, what happened?! The Kyrie Irving signature shoe line went a little too much for “style” over substance with this one. The traction fell apart compared to previous models in the Kyrie Irving signature shoe line.
Look – there are sick colorways for each Kyrie Irving signature shoe. HOWEVER, the explosive creativity of the 4 leaves the Kyrie 5 with big shoes to fill… that pun was probably intended. Our favorite would be the Kyrie 5 “Ikhet” – the deep purple on the bottom and rich gold up top is excellent – and the red tongue really makes it comparable to any of the best colorways in the Kyrie Irving signature shoe line.
Kyrie 6: (Released:11.11.2019) – Budget winner
Ahhhh – maybe Kyrie needed a fresh start in Boston to get his traction game right. The sixth edition of the Kyrie Irving signature shoe line brought back that world-class court grip the Kyrie series became beloved for that was lost in the 5s.
The leather-mesh combination for materials is sublime, and an unexpected hit with us. It seems odd, but Kyrie really is evolving basketball and streetwear fashioning by marrying such seemingly different materials.
A major downside for this shoe was its hefty weight – over 17 ounces a shoe is bordering on obese for a guard-heavy basketball shoe and the silhouette of the 6th Kyrie Irving signature shoe was a little bulky up top.
Kyrie 7: (Released:11.11.2020)
These are the shoes Irving currently plays in. While he is a size 12, his foot build definitely conforms to a narrower, more slender guard build. This size has its biggest comparative advantage to the 6 in a single word: lightweeeeeight, baby!
The traction failed to meet up to the incredible traction in the Kyrie 6, but it maintains the overall strength of the Kyrie Irving signature shoe line when it comes to all-star traction.
The thin minimalist mesh serves the Kyrie 7 well. It helps the shoe to carry a Lightweight build and “breezy,” streamlined feel on the foot. The seven also has great angled and tongue padding give me the 7th edition of the Kyrie Irving signature shoe line is snug fit. It feels like a luxury stock with remarkable lateral containment and good foot stability. We personally prefer the silhouette of the 7th Kyrie Irving signature shoe to the 6. It has durability and flexibility in all the right places from far away, looking for comfortable and secure.
Kyrie’s signature shoe is arguably the most popular in gyms today because of their sturdy functionality and incredible colorways. Seriously, the unique colorways are one of the biggest calling cards of signature shoes, and Kyrie has some of the most singular designs in the shoe market today.
A final note – Kyrie Irving has undoubetly acted really strange at times. But let us remind you he bought the family of George Floyd a home on his own dime. With good moves like these off the court that makes his good moves on the court, it seems Irving is coming from a place of real love. So, we give him props for that – even if the flat earth and sage burning stuff almost seemed more like a WWE shoe than the NBA. We still love Kyrie for the wonderfully creative streaks and flair in the shoe colorway, design features, and silhouette as you run up and down the floor. Masterful – just like a Kyrie fingeroll.