The sneaker community has been abuzz today with anticipation for the Nike Kobe 9. And now that we finally know what Kobe’s latest signature sneaker will look like, it’s time to break down the technical side of the revolutionary high-top silhouette.
The most obvious change from the previous Kobe model to the latest one is the switch from a low cut to a high-top profile, which should provide the Black Mamba (as well as other ballers who chose to lace up in a pair) with much-needed ankle support without restricting movement.
Loaded with Nike’s holy trinity of basketball technology—Flyknit, Flywire and Lunarlon—the Kobe 9 is a performance-heavy shoe that blends the best in speed, durability, comfort and natural motion to help elevate your game on the hardwood. Borrowed from Nike Running shoes, Flyknit technology uses a one-piece upper made from yarn that is incredibly lightweight and surprisingly strong.
“Nike Flyknit acts as a second skin for Kobe, giving him engineered strength similar to the design of a spider web – tension and strength just where it’s needed,” said Eric Avar, Nike Creative Director and VP of Innovation, who has worked closely with Kobe on his shoe designs for a decade."
Paired with Nike Flywire, Kobe will have a shoe that offers exceptional lock-down support that is next-to-none on the basketball court.
For additional stability, the Kobe 9 features a carbon fiber heel counter that keeps the foot in place during quick cuts and sudden lateral movements—something Kobe knows a thing or two about.
When Avar set out to design the Kobe 9, the main focus for him was to remove unnecessary bulk without sacrificing performance. So he gave the shoe a Lunarlon cushioning insert that provides responsive cushioning and protects against continuous impact—all in a lightweight package. The shoe’s outsole pattern features a pressure mapping design inspired by Kobe’s actual foot shape instead of the traditional herringbone pattern that is so prevalent in modern-day basketball shoes.
The global release date for the Nike Kobe 9 Elite is scheduled for February 8, 2014, though Kobe has already been spotted in the shoes during practice as he looks to get back to game form.