Kevin Durant has a pair of shoes that look like crabs. You can see them here and you can see them here and you can also see them here. Links on links! Zelda! Durant famously hails from the DMV and they fancy their crab there.
“In the summer times we would have at least four or five crab feasts. In the culture from where I come from, crab is a big deal. I just wanted to bring that out within the shoe.”
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Durant has somewhat quietly created a bit of an empire. A bevy of recent thematic releases have started to set him apart in a shoe market that’s getting increasingly more crowded. Course, these custom, personal colorways are in no way unique to Durant. Others have done them before — Jordan, most famously, with his Carolina and Laney colorways. This couldn’t be a more unnecessary tangent, but if you got a chance to go to heaven today I’d bet you a lot of money that I’ll never have to pay up that every angel is wearing a pair Laney 1’s. Those things are unreal. Back to it, though.
Durant’s shoes have undergone an evolution in recent years. The KD I’s and II’s were bulky things. Big and blocky. Comfortable enough but it felt like running while wearing a brick. The KD III came and brought with it a slightly sleeker look. That’s carried over and continued in every release since then with the VI being the sleekest and, for my money, best looking of all.
The new shoe has added to what would appear to be a growing family of thematic color ways for Durant and Nike. There’s the aforementioned Maryland Blue Crab look. You’ve also got the recently announced Rugrats inspired option. Tommy Pickles, get that plastic screwdriver out of your diaper and stand up. Then, released earlier still, was the pair called Sour Patch, an homage to your favorite snack to sneak into the movies, Sour Patch Kids. The Rugrats and Sour Patch looks are currently only in Grade School sizes, which really sucks something awful, but just do right by your kids this Christmas. Grow them up and treat them well.
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Durant’s competitors in the shoe game are the usual suspects. Your television isn’t lying to you. LeBron is the Tommy Lister of that world as far as current players are concerned. Jordan is something resembling Liam Neeson in Taken. You just sort of stay out of his way unless you want to die, Jordan yanking in a total of $2 billion in the U.S. alone in 2012. Forbes most recent reports for the 2012 season, released in May of this year, had LeBron’s domestic shoe sales at a whopping $300 million. That was followed by Kobe at around $50 million, buoyed by some of the better commercials in recent memory, and Melo in the three spot at around $40 million. Durant was batting cleanup on the list, his U.S. shoe sales totaling $35 million, ahead of both Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard.
I’m not a culture critic — this isn’t Slate — and I’m not a shoe expert. I’ve got friends that can tell you release dates for whatever new retro J’s are coming out months in advance. I’m not that guy. I like shoes. I feel like I pick good looking ones to wear, but I’m not Tinker Hatfield. That said, Durant’s doing something special here. These shoes are going beyond what players will usually do with their shoe line, making them the same color as the college or high school that you went to or whatever. These themes are involved, nostalgic, and extremely detailed. The initial drops of the VI’s, the very first colorway, was a play off of the Seat Pleasant Activity Center Durant grew up going to.
And risking coming off as overly sentimental and hugely corny, therein lies the great joy in Kevin Durant. The guy remembers who he is and isn’t afraid to embrace that. Cartoon and candy and crab themed shoes are not normal. Neither is Durant. You can tell he’s involved in the creation of his shoes because the shoes keeping doing all they can to represent him. Most players are only concerned with what they’re going to be, and Durant certainly has eyes for the future. What sets him apart is he’s also concerned with what made him. He cares about where he came from.
Now comes the waiting for Bennett and Presti to approve alternate purple jersey sets for the Thunder so we can see those Rugrats get some run on the court.