Year released: 2009

The Nike Zoom Kobe 1 was hard to top. Fans of the shoe—and of Kobe Bryant in general—swore by it, not just for how it looked, but how it performed on the court. It was followed up by the Kobe II, which was a line of three sneakers that never really took off, but weren’t shunned. After that lukewarm year or so, Nike released the biggest dud in his line: The Zoom Kobe III. Kobe’s always been about putting performance first, but the III was just something that people couldn’t wear off the court. Its upper had a web-like design that ran into the midsole, making it odd looking, to say the least. And it seemed like Nike knew it, too. Not only was it hard to find someone wearing this shoe, but it was almost equally hard to find at a retailer. Thankfully, Nike took Kobe’s line in a new direction after the III, making the IV a low-top and the genesis for the sneakers he’ll always be known for. — Matt Welty