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History of Kevin Durant's Aunt Pearl Nike Sneakers

Kevin Durant's Nike Aunt Pearl Sneakers
Kevin Durant's Nike Aunt Pearl Sneakers

Kevin Durant’s signature shoe line for Nike is one of the longest-running in the sport's history and will soon expand with its 16th model. Regardless of how much the KD has changed year over year, one thing can always be counted on: an annual Aunt Pearl colorway.

A pink color scheme commemorating Durant’s late aunt has been used for every one of his signature sneakers since the KD 4.

Durant’s mother worked overtime at the post office, trying her hardest to make ends meet for her family. While she was at work, Durant spent a lot of time with his grandmother and Aunt Pearl, who were there to make his favorite snacks and spend time with him after school. Durant loved sharing his basketball successes with his aunt and used her encouragement to drive him even further.

Aunt Pearl eventually attended less of his games, and when Durant was mature enough to understand, he learned that a lung cancer diagnosis made it difficult for her to travel. Still, he knew he could count on her to cheer him on from home. In 2000, when Durant was still just 12 years old, Aunt Pearl passed away. Durant then told himself that she'd continue cheering for him regardless and promised himself that he'd honor Aunt Pearl for the example she set and all the encouragement she provided.

Kevin first honored her in sneaker form in 2012, when the Nike released the KD 4 Aunt Pearl in conjunction with the Kay Yow Cancer Fund to begin an annual tradition. To this day, proceeds from the shoe still go to Kay Yow to help fund cancer research. The Aunt Pearl KDs have become some of his most covetable sneakers, garnering higher prices than the rest of his line on reselling platforms. The message can often get lost when money gets involved, so it’s critical to honor and remember the woman behind it all.

Below, we take you through each Nike KD Aunt Pearl release from the KD 3 through the KD 16.

Nike KD 3 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD Aunt Pearl (2023) | Aunt Pearl History
Nike KD Aunt Pearl Side

Durant and Nike have decided to bring the KD 3 back out for an upcoming Aunt Pearl tribute. Set to release during the holiday 2023 season, this model features a combination of rose pink tumbled leather and hot pink mesh. A white Swoosh breaks up the pink, matching the section of the midsole right under the lateral quarter. Hot Pink swaths the tongue, sock liner, laces, and Flywire. Rose pink then returns to cap off the outsole.

Nike KD 4 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD 4 Aunt Pearl Side View
Nike KD 4 Aunt Pearl Side View

The KD 4 was the first model in the Aunt Pearl series. It keeps things simple with a synthetic leather and mesh construction featuring a pearls graphic on the heel and medial quarter. Pink makes up the rest of the sneaker, with the color appearing semi-translucent for the outsole. For sneaker fans who missed out in 2012, the KD 4 Aunt Pearl is returning in 2024, just in time for the holidays!

Nike KD 5 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD 5 Aunt Pearl Side View
Nike KD 5 Aunt Pearl Side View

White stands out as the primary color for this iteration, with dark pink accenting the outsole and laces. A fractal pattern reminiscent of stained glass fills the Swoosh and covers the tongue in its entirety. The organization Durant and Nike partner with to further cancer research, The Kay Yow Fund, makes a cameo with its logo on the medial lace area.

Nike KD 6 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD 6 Aunt Pearl Side View
Nike KD 6 Aunt Pearl Side View

Floral vibes take over the KD 6 Aunt Pearl, which houses a pink flower pattern visible beneath the translucent upper. Hits of pink return on the outsole and Air bubble, with a darker shade enveloping the laces. Blue Nike and KD branding bring an element of contrast and match the tongue, which houses a raised Kay Yow Fund logo.

Nike KD 7 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD 7 Aunt Pearl Side View
Nike KD 7 Aunt Pearl Side View

White returns as the leading color on the KD 7 Aunt Pearl. White leather and mesh hug the silhouette, with the strap transforming into a white angel wing. The gold Swoosh above the toe is also done up in angel wing patterning, while Gold repeats on the medial Swoosh and "KD" tongue logo. Rounding out the shoe is a neutral grey outsole.

Nike KD 8 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD 8 Aunt Pearl Side View
Nike KD 8 Aunt Pearl Side View

A pink and purple floral graphic dominates the upper as Aunt Pearl arrives on the eighth model in the KD series. A solid pink then appears on the laces, lace loops, and sock liner. A crisp white midsole is housed underneath, while the outsole is more translucent and allows for a peek at the pink Zoom Air unit.

Nike KD 9 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD 9 Aunt Pearl Side View
Nike KD 9 Aunt Pearl Side View

Durant went a bit darker with the KD 9, which is the only sneaker in the "Aunt Pearl" series to feature a black upper. Constructed out of leather and textile, the shoe sees dark pink speckled across the vamp and reappearing on the Zoom Air unit and paisley Swoosh. This paisley flourish repeats tonally in black on the heel patch.

Nike KD 10 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD 10 Aunt Pearl Side View
Nike KD 10 Aunt Pearl Side View

Pearl Pink takes over the KD 10, bringing a much more subdued look than its predecessors. Knit textile encompasses the base of the shoe, with a leather quarter overlay providing ankle support. A see-through Air unit and grey outsole complete one of the more muted palettes in the Aunt Pearl series.

Nike KD 11 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD 11 Aunt Pearl Side View
Nike KD 11 Aunt Pearl Side View

The KD 11 reinforces Kevin’s dedication to the cancer research in much louder fashion than its predecessor. Hot pink wraps the entire silhouette, with the names of 59 cancer survivors stamped tonally on the heel. Other notable features include the small pearl detail on the ankle and tie-dye-like sole unit.

Nike KD 12 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD 12 Aunt Pearl Side View
Nike KD 12 Aunt Pearl Side View

Elements from earlier in the line returned for the KD 12, which features the angel wing midfoot strap from the KD 7 in lavender. The floral pattern from the KD 8 appears on the back heel area. Mesh covers the entire upper, incorporating light pinks and a mix of floral and bubble designs. Translucent purple envelops the midsole, while hot pink accents the outsole with a pattern similar to the shoe's immediate predecessor.

Nike KD 13 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD 13 Aunt Pearl Side View
Nike KD 13 Aunt Pearl Side View

The KD 13 Aunt Pearl deviates from the norm with blue acting as the dominant color. Pink appears faintly on the foam midsole and textile grid upper, allowing a pearlescent blue panel beneath a similarly sheened Swoosh to stand out. Arctic light pink and cool blue are then used together for the marbled outsole.

Nike KD 14 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD 14 Aunt Pearl Side View
Nike KD 14 Aunt Pearl Side View

Angel wing motifs returned on the KD 14 Aunt Pearl, with the heel draped in a pure white angel wing embossment. A wavy textile pattern is knit across the upper, taking on a magenta darker than the shades used on other models. Light pink paints the midfoot strap hosting a white Swoosh. Speckles of magenta and black pepper the two-tone midsole, while a gum outsole is an outlier of this collection. Paisley detailing also makes a comeback on the heel and tongue tag.

Nike KD 15 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD 15 Aunt Pearl Side View
Nike KD 15 Aunt Pearl Side View

As the most recent addition to the line, the Nike KD 15 Aunt Pearl saw more elements from earlier shoes return. Pink shades cover the suede and mesh upper, with an underlying pink floral stitched pattern peeking out from behind the mesh. Stained glass patterning from the KD 5 is seen again on the Swoosh, but with more pink involved this time. The hot pink Air Zoom shank and magenta pull tab on the heel present some of the few hits of contrast. A pink midsole matches the upper, and a translucent pink outsole concludes the design.

Nike KD 16 Aunt Pearl

Nike KD 16 Aunt Pearl - FN4929-600
Nike KD 16 Aunt Pearl Side View

Rose pink takes center stage on this yet-to-be-released KD 16. The upper is constructed from smooth pink suede and a mesh printed with tonal tiger stripes. Darker pink details appear through stitching around the top eyelet and Zoom Air unit jutting out from the lateral vamp. Ribbing appears on the rose pink shank right above the air unit, cutting into where the swoosh would usually go. White outlining surrounding the suede panels matches up with the small Swoosh found on the side of the heel. Underfoot, a two-layer pink midsole and outsole provide cushioning and comfort.

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Every Nike KD Aunt Pearl
Every Nike KD Aunt Pearl
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