Nike Killshot 2: Is This a Killshot Alternative?
The Nike Killshot 2 offers great styling at an incredibly reasonable price.
The Nike Killshot 2 doesn’t have great materials, and the comfort is even worse.
|Materials||Faux-Suede / Leather / Rubber|
|Weight||437 g / 15.4 oz|
|Country of Origin||Indonesia|
The Nike Killshot 2 is a shoe that almost needs no introduction. Originally introduced as a J. Crew exclusive update to the Nike Killshot 1, the Killshot 2 took the forums by storm. They were so popular that they were never on sale, if you could find them in stock at all. With so many people joining the forums and asking for a way to get a sneaker in this style, “is this a killshot alternative” took on a life of its own.
At the time, it was easy to see why. The preppy/smart casual look was at it’s peak, and Nike’s main competitor in this space (the Adidas Stan Smith) had only just come out of the vault. It was as close as you can get to a Blue Ocean market opportunity for something as saturated as sneakers.
Of course, it isn’t 2017 anymore. Today, there are countless competitors to the sneaker, including the arch nemesis Stan Smith coming back with a vengeance. They’ve also lost the sheen of exclusivity. Today, you can find them on Nike’s website any time you like.
Knowing that, should you still be considering a Nike Killshot 2 in 2022? Or should you be on the forums asking for an alternative?
The upper of the Nike Killshot 2 definitely leans into the retro vibe. Primarily made up of alternating light grey suede and white leather, when combined it gives a look of being pre-worn without being dirty. I know that a lot of fashion has changed in the last 10 years, but if wasn’t for the fact these are so well known, I think the overall style would work today. In fact, Nike only just recently re-released a very similar upper in the Daybreak.
As you move in closer you start to see more of the details. This includes some decorative stitching on the side and around the ankle, and a nylon tongue. Of course, the biggest detail of all is the large colored Nike swoosh on the side, with matching coloring on the Nike logos.
The classic color, and the only one available for most of the Killshot 2’s life, was a Navy. A couple of years ago Nike added a Green, Orange, White, and Blue option, but in the beginning of 2022 most of these options were removed from Nike’s website. If you’re looking for a pair now, it’s Navy or Green. Honestly, for most people, that isn’t a bad thing. The Navy really is the most versatile option.
Speaking of the colored hits, the Nike logo on the heel is really my only complaint when it comes to the style of this upper. The rest of the sneaker really nails looking retro and worn, without resorting to faking it. On the back, however, the Nike logo has a fake worn look. And… it doesn’t look great. I’m not against a pre-worn look on sneakers, but this just looks sloppy.
Inside, the heel is lined in mesh, and the rest is unlined.
Mid- and Outsole
Moving down to the bottom half of the Nike Killshot 2, everything you’ll find will be in gum. Personally, I’m a huge fan of gum outsoles. I find they offer contrast to a sneaker while not standing out. Kind of like wearing khaki or navy-colored chinos.
One thing you should know, while they look different in photos, the gum color is the same on all the colorways of the shoe. That being said, when Nike started selling these on their website, they lightened up the color on all of the models slightly so the old J. Crew models won’t match the ones from 2022.
Moving in, the foxing tape on these shoes have a really interesting texture. It almost resembles rain running down a window. Not sure if it’s what I would pick, but it does separate the shoe even further from something like a Nike Blazer.
Underneath the sneaker, the outsole features that classic herringbone pattern you find on pretty much every Nike and Adidas in this style. A few curved lines at the toe and heel keep the outsole from flexing too much, but there isn’t really anything else to write home about.
While some people may not like the baggage that comes with a well-known sneaker, in a vacuum, the Nike Killshot 2 is a great sneaker for someone who is looking for something that can straddle business casual and casual. It’s a sneaker you can wear when meeting a coworker for drinks or with shorts to the beach.
Memes aside, they really are a versatile option for the type of person who is looking to get maximum value out of their sneakers. The only thing to really keep in mind is that since these launched, fits have gotten looser, and new sneakers have grown chunkier to match. The slim design really lends these towards a slimmer silhouette.
Fit & Comfort
The Nike Killshot 2 fits like just about every other Nike sneaker. In other words, they fit long and narrow. While not exactly the same, they feel very similar to a Nike Blazer in sizing. If there is one saving grace, because the upper is extremely unstructured, they shoe is more forgiving to wide feet than most other Nike sneakers.
In fact, while I did end up landing on my typical Nike size of 13, I could have easily gotten away with a 12.5 for spring and summer. The only reason I kept the 13 was because it gave me the chance to wear these with some warmer winter socks.
While the fit on the Nike Killshot 2 might be forgiving, the comfort is not. These just might be the most uncomfortable sneaker designed since the 1980’s. When it comes to support, there is none. When it comes to padding, all you get is a few millimeters of foam and the rubber underfoot. Think Converse All Star.
This isn’t all bad. The lack of support and structure make these extremely light weight and flexible. If you’re the type of person who likes the feel of Vans or Chuck Taylors, these are actually slightly more comfortable than those and will likely be right up your ally.
If you’re looking to wear something for a quick trip out, these will be just fine, but I might suggest grabbing something else if you’re really planning on putting in some miles.
Materials & Construction
The materials on the Nike Killshot 2 are not great. While I think the primary white panel is real leather, it is incredibly thin and heavily coated with plastic. Every other panel – the suede-like panels, the heel tab, the swoosh – are all pretty cheap feeling plastic. I’m honestly not sure why they didn’t make all of the panels plastic so they could market the sneaker as vegan. The nylon lining and tongue also both feel pretty thin overall, and with minimal padding.
Underneath your foot, an open-celled foam insole sits on top of a rubber outsole and foxing tape. Unlike the upper, the rubber here seems like a pretty high-quality option. It is definitely on the softer side, so don’t expect a ton of durability, but this seems like a reasonable choice since much of the shoe’s shock protection comes from it.
There is one big caveat here. While we will get more into pricing later on, unlike a lot of Nike and Jordan sneakers with similar materials, these are much more reasonably priced. These feel disposable because they are priced at a level that many will view as disposable.
The Nike Killshot 2 is made with a vulcanized rubber sole and foxing tape construction. For a more in-depth article on what that means, click here. If you just want the short version, to make a shoe this way, first you take a specially made piece of hard rubber and place the upper on top. You then take another piece of rubber – known as foxing tape – and wrap the edge of the sneaker. It’s then placed in an oven and bonded together.
This style of construction is an older way to make sneakers – it was used on the first well known sneaker, the Converse All Star. The benefits are a very slim silhouette, cheap construction costs, and great road feel. In fact, many skate shoes are made this way so you can feel what’s going on under your feet. Drawbacks include a lack of durability, and difficulty adding things like arch support.
Ease of Care
With so much plastic on the upper, the Nike Killshot 2 should be a very easy sneaker to take care of. In fact, you’ll be able to clean 90% of scuffs with just water and a rag. If you get something really nasty on them, just about any sneaker cleaner will work. No need to go expensive, something like this Kiwi set will work just fine on these materials.
One thing a lot of sneakerheads don’t think of is shoe trees, but they will really help with creases. That goes double for sneakers that have a lot of plastic in their materials. Wooden ones will help keep your shoes smelling nice, but plastic ones will work just as well to keep out creases.
Pricing & Value
Recently priced at $90 MSRP, Nike just lowered the price to $70 retail. Even better, while I have not seen them ever go on sale for less than this, using cash back sites like Rakuten can often get you 10% off or more.
Recognizing that for a lot of people $70 isn’t cheap, that really isn’t all that much for a sneaker a lot of people will recognize. Other well known Nike Sneakers all come in higher. The Blazer Low, probably the closest thing in Nike’s line up, is $85. The Dunk low is $110, if you can find them at all. Even the Killshot OG, which is an older design, is $90.
Really, though, the comparison is obvious: the Adidas Stan Smith. While it’s true these are pretty easy to find on sale, you’ll need to find them on sale to compete. The retail price on the Adidas competition is now up to $95.
It’s easy to dunk on Nike sneakers based on their materials (I would know, I do it all the time). The leather is fake, the stitching isn’t straight etc. However, I think the conversation needs to change at this price point.
Sure, the vulcanized construction is cheap and the materials are pretty bad, but in a world where the price of everything is going up by 10% a year, Nike actually lowered the price of this model. In light of that, I don’t think these need to last for multiple years for you to get your money’s worth.
If you really don’t care much about the style, there are some similar looking sneakers for less from Nike’s take down line, but not by much. Even at retail, I think you’re getting a good value with the Nike Killshot 2s.
At the beginning of this review, we asked if the Killshot 2 is still worth getting in 2022. I think the answer is really that it depends, but probably yes.
Despite the cheap materials, as a product it actually offers pretty good value. It isn’t easy to find shoes for $70 that will be noticed by strangers on the street. Even better, they should last long enough that you get your money’s worth out of it. Sure, they are not comfortable, but this style of sneaker rarely is.
The only hesitation I have is that almost no product encapsulates the late 2010’s more than this pair of sneakers. Especially in the Navy colorway. That doesn’t bother me much, there is still a place for slimmer fits, but I can see why others might not like them.
If you’ve always wanted a pair of Killshot 2s, but never wanted to play the games of waiting outside J Crew on restock day, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair.