While we wait for Kobe Bryant to step onto the court to play a game (more on this later), he gave people a chance to see what he will be wearing on his feet when he finally does.
At an event in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Kobe unveiled his new signature shoe the Kobe 9 designed by Nike. From the press release:
The KOBE 9 Elite redefines the aesthetics and performance of a basketball shoe and was designed using Nike Flyknit according to Nike’s “Nature Amplified” design ethos, an approach focused on designing for the body in motion and fueled by scientific data and athlete insights.
Designed with Kobe’s tech insights and design inspirations, the KOBE 9 Elite features three key technologies: Nike Flyknit, Flywire and Lunarlon, giving the shoe superior lightweight performance. The innovative design enhances the foot’s natural movements while providing Kobe with strength, durability and speed, plus all the benefits of natural motion where he needs it most.
“I draw inspiration from where I am as a player, as a person, and where my career is at this moment. I’m trying to do something that the majority of people think is impossible to do,” Kobe reflected when asked about the inspiration for his latest shoes and about getting back into the game. ”I let my emotions out when I step on the basketball floor, it’s always been my escape, and these shoes will touch a nerve on the court in the same way I do.”
In terms of the design, these shoes definitely have a personal touch with details that draw on Kobe’s recent experiences:
Reverting back to a higher cut for the first time since his third signature shoe in 2007, Kobe’s ninth signature shoe features a knit collar for the proprioceptive feel of a low-top with the support of a mid-top. With the lead colorway dubbed ‘Masterpiece,’ the KOBE 9 Elite uses the intriguing visual patterns allowed by Nike Flyknit to create a piece of art on the upper, nine red embroidered details on the heel give a nod to Kobe’s Achilles sutures. The design on the outsole is based on the pressure mapping of Kobe’s own foot, creating a beautiful pattern while providing traction on court.
The fact that Kobe has gone back to a more traditional high-top (and its extra support) shouldn’t be a surprise with him coming off his achilles injury. That said, Kobe also gave a nod to boxer Manny Pacquiao and the shoes boxers wear for the high support design and credited the materials used (specifically flyknit) for being able to pull off this type of design in a basketball shoe. I, for one, am very much interested in seeing how these feel to play in and what type of support they provide. Based off Kobe’s previous shoes, he seems to have kept a similar aesthetic but gone for an overall design that pushes the envelope forward.
The release for the shoe for sale is February 8th, next year. Pictures are below: