best kobe basketball shoes

Best Kobe Bryant Basketball Shoes Tested & Reviewed in 2019

Basketball star Kobe Bryant’s signature line of shoes by Nike are one of a kind for performance, fit, and style. You may not want to wear any other shoes on the court after you experience the agility and control Kobe expects for his play style. You will be able to do moves in these shoes you wouldn’t even dream of in your old sneakers. And you’ll do them in a head turning style that speaks for itself. But there are so many versions of Nike Kobe’s you might be scratching your head about where to start, the difference between models, and which one is right for you.

Whether you need them on the court or for casual wear or simply for collecting, there is something for every fan in this signature line. In this article you’ll find a buyer’s guide that breaks down the features of each shoe and what they mean as well as a full set of reviews about the ten most popular Kobe shoes in the line. We’ll talk about appearance versus performance as well as the features they got right in earlier models, but the changes that were not necessarily improvements in the later ones. There are definitely some Kobe shoes that aren’t meant to be on the court. But for the most part, if you need a shoe that moves with you on a dime and supports your landings on jumps, you will not be disappointed with Nike Kobe Basketball shoes.

Top Kobe Bryant Basketball Shoes Comparison Chart

ImageNameShoe TechnologyPriceWhere to Buy?
1. Nike Kobe IX High KRM EXT QS Basketball ShoesLunarlon Midsole$$$$Check Price on Amazon
2. Nike Kobe IX Elite Basketball ShoesFlyknit & Flywire$$$Check Price on Amazon
3. Nike Kobe X Elite Low Basketball ShoeBuilt-in Ankle Support$$$Check Price on Amazon
4. Nike Kobe X EXT Basketball ShoesLunarlon Insole$$Check Price on Amazon
5. Nike Kobe X Elite SE Basketball ShoesFlyknit Fabric$$$Check Price on Amazon
6. Nike Kobe X Low Basketball ShoesSole Cushioning$$Check Price on Amazon
7. Nike Kobe XI Elite Low Top Basketball ShoesFlyKnit & Lunarlon$$$$Check Price on Amazon
8. Nike Kobe XI Basketball ShoeLunarlon & Flywire$$Check Price on Amazon
9. Nike Kobe AD Basketball ShoesFlywire & Lunarlon$Check Price on Amazon
10. Nike Kobe AD NXT Basketball ShoesLunarlon$$$$$Check Price on Amazon

 

Kobe Bryant Basketball Shoes Buying Guide

When it comes to Kobe Bryant signature shoes by Nike, you can look forward to shoes that look just as good as they play and, in some cases, more style than performance. Whichever style you choose you’re sure to turn heads as these are very uniquely designed and come in a variety of eye-catching designs and colors, from snakeskin print to blue and gold mesh and even the famous Black Mamba “What the” mismatched color styling. These are no longer made and so they are collector’s shoes now which drives up the rarity and, therefore, the price. If you want a pair to play in you might get a second pair before they are gone for good.

The earlier Kobe’s have similar features to the latest ones but are generally less developed than the later models, so, if you’re looking for excellent basketball performance you’ll tend to find a fuller feature set with the newer versions of Kobe. All the Kobe shoes are made by Nike so they share the benefits and peculiarities of Nike shoes. For one thing, Nike is well known for making their shoes on the small and narrow side. That doesn’t exclude players with wide feet, however. You’ll find it mentioned in each review how much larger you should order to be sure of the perfect fit.

In general, for a regular sized foot, you’ll want a half size larger to compensate for the narrowness without making the shoe too loose after you break it in from use. For wide feet, one full size larger should work for you just as well. Also for wide feet, keep an eye out for the Flyknit feature which is a knitted fabric upper that stretches nicely for a comfortable, snug fit for larger shoe sizes lacking in the stiffer synthetic materials. All of the shoes are modeled on the play style of Kobe Bryant so you’ll find they favor agility even with a high top, traction on the court for ‘on a dime’ maneuverability and higher jumps, as well as cushioning for landing jumps. There are a few features to watch out for that not all of them have or that are done differently from model to model. As you read keep an eye out for the following features and the benefits they provide:

Nike Kobe Basketball Shoe Features

 

Flyknit Technology

If you have wide or larger than average feet, Flyknit is your friend. If you don’t have wide feet, you’ll have a hard time finding a better feature for sheer comfort. A Flyknit is a shoe with a fabric upper that makes it stretch to fit the top of your foot. They feel more like a sock with a bottom that gives strong, grippy traction against the floor. Because they are all fabric they are not the most durable choice but will last better on the court than an upper that is fully made of mesh, with or without Flywire reinforcement. Flyknit is also not the most supportive of your ankle. They are, however, light, agile, comfortable, with great breathability. Players with large feet that have written Nike off for their generally narrow fit can find a Flyknit that fits when nothing else does.

Flywire

Flywire is a reinforcement that locks the top of your foot down to secure your foot to the bed of the shoe. That gives you great coherence to the performance insole of the shoe which is generally Lunarlon, Zoom Air, or a combination of the two. It keeps your foot from slipping around inside the shoe and makes the shoe more responsive to your movements on the court. This is especially good for jumpers and those who favor agile maneuvers because the shoe will move with you and you won’t lose power or maneuverability in slippage. That said, Flywire won’t save the parts of your shoe that are vulnerable to damage. One of the models below is made of an entirely mesh upper that is reinforced with Flywire, which is good for locking you down to the footbed, but since the mesh can’t handle that kind of force the Flywire doesn’t help to hold the shoe together. It specifically secures your foot, not the durability or the materials of the shoe itself.

Zoom Air Insole

This is the performance insole of champions. It is popularly featured inside of Nike Air Jordans who is known for the way he navigates across the court and jumps for dunking. Zoom Air helps you glide across the court with control and gives the shoes a low to the ground, responsive feeling that help you transfer your force in the direction you want to go. You won’t find this in all the Kobe shoes, just the later ones with full performance features like the AD.

Lunarlon Insole

This insole is a cushy and responsive choice for players who need a shoe to support jumps and agile cutting. They help impart explosive force to blow ahead of your opponents. They cushion your landings for jumps and absorb the shock of recoil that would normally make you pause to recover. Flow into the next movement instead. This insole is in common among all the Kobe styles.

Grooved Forefoot

This feature lends agility by allowing natural movement of the forefoot rather than keeping you stuck inside a thick material with a stiff sole.

Rubber Insole Grips

Not all Kobe shoes feature this. Rather than just locking your foot to the footbed of the shoe it has tiny rubber inserts that grip the bottom of your foot. They are so small you won’t feel them through your socks but they are there and make a difference.

Treaded Bottom

Different versions of the Kobe shoe feature different tread patterns that change the way your shoes grip the floor of the basketball court. Some of these are more effective than others. The crowd favorite seems to be the Kobe IX with the Kobe X falling short. This affects how much you are able to move with agility, run in a burst of speed, and even the height of your jumps.

Lacing System

Most of the Kobe shoes feature laces as typical shoes do. There is one version that uses an adjustable toggle system that secures the entire top of the shoe down to the top of your foot and presses evenly into the footbed, the Kobe AD NXT. That way you don’t have laces that will come undone while you are playing. You also don’t have the difficulty of lacing high tops that fit so tightly around the ankle you have to half undo the laces just to get your foot inside.

High Top Ankle support

This is a matter of a high top versus a low top shoe. As a rule of thumb, a high top will protect your ankle but you’ll lose agility and vice versa.

This makes for a custom fit as the inner sleeve will mold to the shape of your foot.

 

Best Kobe Nike Basketball Shoe Reviews

 

Nike Kobe IX High KRM EXT QS Basketball Shoes

Nike’s Kobe IX is one of the best basketball shoes in the world and may turn out to be your new favorite. They give plenty of support for your ankle thanks to the converse style high top, they are made for agile movement, and they will improve your game. As named, this is a signature shoe designed after Kobe Bryant’s unique style of playing basketball and his favorite specifications. It really shoes in their performance playing basketball.

These shoes are made of a leather and synthetic upper for durability and comfort. They look unique in bright red with snakeskin graphics printed on the upper. It has a Lunarlon midsole that gives bouncy cushioning and control over your movements on the court. And a rubber outsole completes the construction of this shoe with durability and grip on the ground. They fit tightly and can be a little bit of a challenge to put on. These run narrow, as Nike’s are known to, but will still fit a wide foot comfortably if you order a full size larger than you usually wear. If you have regular sized feet you may get a better fit ordering just a half size larger. These shoes break in after a few uses and you’ll find them less tight after.

This is an attractive that commands attention – people will notice its distinctly unique style. You won’t generally see anyone else wearing these or similar. The leather insole is a mark of quality, however, leather does not breathe well and your feet will get hot and sweaty. The drawbacks? The material squeaks and tends to buckle or crease. Minor inconveniences. But nothing that detracts from the performance, functionality, comfort, or style of this quality signature shoe.

 

Pros

  • Improve your basketball game with shoes designed to the specifications of Kobe Bryant
  • Head-turning style in bright red with a snakeskin pattern for unique appeal
  • Comfortable fit for wide and narrow feet with agility and ankle support in one

Cons

  • Fabric tends to crease
  • May make odd squeaking sounds while you walk
  • Difficult to put on and take off with tightly laced high-top design

 

Nike Kobe IX Elite Basketball Shoes

This is another version of Nike Kobe IX’s that you may prefer if you have very wide feet. This one is made of breathable mesh on top of a high traction rubber sole. The upper is built with a flexible Flyknit fabric that is paired with Nike’s branded Flywire technology that secures your foot to the insole. Kobe IX Elite’s are light for speed and very comfortable for long games. They stretch out from breaking in within an hour or two. These high tops provide good ankle support – however, the material on the Elite is less stiff than the regular Kobe IX’s so the ankle support is less stable in favor of the fabric Flyknit that stretches for comfort and better accommodates a wider foot.

If you have very large feet and have trouble finding shoes that fit I would recommend the Elite over the normal Kobe IX. They offer good support for feet with high arches without losing flexibility in the footbed. The toe box is wide and doesn’t rub. They fit true to size but Nike narrow. If you have wide feet, order one half size larger than your normal size. On the insole, there’s a unique addition – small rubber beads and lines on the footbed. You won’t feel them through your socks but they are making a difference. They help improve the grip of your foot against the insole of the shoe to prevent you sliding around inside. This is especially helpful as the shoe loosens up from being broken in. As far as appearance, the style is a colorful graphic print on a high top design. These Flyknit Kobe IX Elite’s will turn out to be your most comfortable pair of basketball shoes.

 

Pros

  • Flyknit fabric upper stretches and conforms to the shape of very large feet comfortably
  • Great traction on the insole to grip your foot as well as the outsole to grip the court
  • Comfortably supports high arches without losing flexibility

Cons

  • Less ankle support than the regular Kobe IX style
  • Sizing runs small so with a larger foot you may need a half size larger shoe
  • Outsole coming apart is a structural weakness after constant wear for close to a year

 

Nike Kobe X Elite Low Basketball Shoe

Nike Kobe X Elite low tops are synthetic with a rubber sole. They fit true to size. They have such good grip on an indoor court that they will give you extra height on your jumps and considerably improved stability for lightning fast pivots or changes in direction. They are everything you could ask for in a basketball shoe – comfortable, durable, and stylish with a wide selection of attractive colors. You might prefer low tops if you have somewhat flat feet to avoid the pressure from a high top.

These won’t have the same ankle support but they will be better for your arch. Where the forefoot meets the toebox fits a on the snug side in the Kobe X Elite so, if you have wide feet, you may not be comfortable with this model of Kobe. Nike integrated a serrated sole that stops them from squeaking like other basketball shoes. And these provide only the best traction for cutting, stopping, and otherwise excellent agility on technical movements. The cushioning is springy and responds to your maneuvers. The shoe is quite light in weight. For sizing, they do run about half a size small for regular sized feet so order up half of one size. If you have wide feet, try one full size larger if you’re willing to take the risk with the narrow toebox.

 

Pros

  • Excellent traction on the court that improves the height of jumps and changes in direction
  • Comfortable, durable, and lightweight
  • Low cut ankle is better for flat feet

Cons

  • Low cut does not support the ankle
  • Run about a half size smaller than typical shoe sizing
  • Narrow toebox squeezes the forefoot which is not good for wide feet

 

Nike Kobe X EXT Basketball Shoes

Nike Kobe X EXT is built from leather and fabric with a rubber sole for solid traction. This is the mid-cut version of Nike Kobe X and it is designed with top-notch materials and attention to detail. They are made of full grain leather in the upper that has been stamped through with an “X” pattern. It has Kobe’s signature symbol printed in gold on its padded tongue. The bottom is a gummy rubber that sticks to the floor of the court for instant stops and crisp pivots. It comes with an inner sleeve lining built in that makes the shoe a truly custom fit just for you.

This is nothing less than a handsome basketball shoe that cleans easily to always look new. It gives better support for the ankle than the low cut version of the Kobe X without the additional pressure on the arch you might experience with a flat foot from the high top version. Much like the low cut, this is a better option for flat feet than the high top. It is just as light in weight with the same springy, responsive Lunarlon insole as the Kobe X Low Cut. But the biggest difference here is the look. It is a stunningly stylish, well-crafted shoe that looks just as good or maybe even better than it feels on the court.

 

Pros

  • Leather and fabric construction for durability and breathability
  • Premium materials and intricate detailing for a stylish, quality shoe on and off court
  • Inner sleeve lining makes for a custom fit just for the shape of your unique foot

Cons

  • Narrow in the toebox which may be uncomfortable for wide feet
  • Mid-cut top not as supportive as a high top
  • Runs about a half size smaller as regular shoe sizing

 

Nike Kobe X Elite SE Basketball Shoes

Nike Kobe X Elite SE high top basketball shoes are sure to leave a lasting good impression. They are constructed of both synthetic and fabric material. They include a woven Flyknit fabric upper with a reflective Nike Swoosh brand symbol. The left and right shoes are printed with a different, mismatched set of bright eye-catching colors. They went all out on the design, including decking out the bottom sole with many colors and going the extra mile to reinforce it for unparalleled performance.

The insole is padded for comfortable, agile freedom of movement. And, just for looks, there is a bold and colorful Kobe symbol graphic printed on the well-padded tongue. Nike’s popular “What the” concept is shown here in full with Nike Kobe X Elite SE. The bold colors are mixed on mismatched panels that refer to previous versions of the Black Mamba signature shoe. The photos can’t even begin to do these justice.

They look nothing short of fantastic. These are the kind of shoes you see someone else wearing that you instantly want for yourself. The price has gone up on them since they’ve become a collectible shoe. As for fit, they fit narrowly around the arch of your foot taking them straight out of the box. But after you break them in, they fit comfortably. If your foot is wide order you will do better ordering up one full size. After you try these, you won’t want to play basketball in another shoe. These are beautiful sneakers with a beautiful fit that are handsomely made and quite durable for heavy use on the court.

 

Pros

  • Stylish design based on 10th edition signature Black Mamba
  • Cushioned and reinforced insole for comfort and responsiveness
  • Narrow fit around the arch for stability and coherence to the insole

Cons

  • Not a good fit for wide feet because of narrow toebox
  • Collector’s shoe now that it’s been out a few years so the price is high
  • They aren’t made anymore so the style may be difficult to find

 

Nike Kobe X Low Basketball Shoes

Nike Kobe X Low cut shoes have all the same great features as the other styles of Kobe X with a stylish low cut that suits flat feet in a wide variety of attractive colors. They are synthetic decorated with printed graphics on top of a rubber sole. If you were a fan of Kobe IX you have a lot to look forward to. Nike completely revamped the tread pattern on the bottom of the rubber sole in an attempt to improve the traction and control for technical maneuvers.

The rest of the shoe feels the same to wear as the IX for the most part. The shoe runs true to size but narrow as Nike does so you may be more comfortable ordering a half size up or, if you have wide feet, one full size up to be sure of the fit. They fit quite comfortably and give excellent support so you can wear them with ease for hours of play. Nike Kobe X provides quality cushioning, stability, and traction for a good all around shoe. If you never thought you would be interested in a low top basketball shoe, these just might change your mind.

They have a tight fit around the forefoot which is good for creating stability for your foot inside the shoe but may turn out to be too much of a squeeze for wider than average feet. These are no longer in production so definitely consider getting an extra pair while they are still around. The excitement around these is no exaggeration. And the style? Well, we’ll just say you can look forward to compliments.

 

Pros

  • All the features you love about Kobe X in a low cut design
  • Incredibly comfortable fit with good arch support
  • Good all around cushioning, stability, and traction

Cons

  • Makes a popping sound due to thick, crinkly fabric
  • Low durability in the heel
  • Changes to the bottom reduced the grip since Kobe IX

 

Nike Kobe XI Elite Low Top Basketball Shoes

Nike Kobe XI Elite Low Tops are made of synthetic material and uniquely feature open mesh coated with TPU as the upper. It is breathable and durable. The Elite series features a Flyknit upper that stretches which is a better fit for wide feet and provides unparalleled comfort. The Flyknit is strengthened for even better support and durability. The midfoot webbing integrates Flywire technology to secure the foot to the insole for stability without adding heft. It has the same Lunarlon midsole as the other Kobe shoes that gives you springy and, more importantly, responsive cushioning.

The rubber midsole has an innovative traction pattern for quick acceleration and sharp navigation for technical moves. The flex grooves in the midfoot provide a natural, flexible range of motion. They fit closely so order half a size larger if you have a normal sized foot or a full size up for large feet. The quality of this sneaker speaks for itself. There is very little room in the toebox even when you get the sizing correct – players with wide feet may prefer to look elsewhere. As far as style, they look better in person if it’s even possible. If you want shoes that focus on performance these are among the best you can find. All of Kobe’s shoes are built similarly but these, being among the latest, have improvements based on user feedback as well as trial and error from the models before.

 

Pros

  • Breathable open mesh to cool your feet
  • Flywire locks the foot down to the insole for stability
  • New traction pattern for grip on the court improves on Kobe X

Cons

  • The size runs slightly small, within half a size
  • May be shipped in a generic box
  • Shipping errors from the seller

 

Nike Kobe XI Basketball Shoe

Nike Kobe XI’s improve on the models before them. These are made in synthetic material with a rubber sole. The upper is mesh webbing that integrates Nike Flywire cables for a firm yet agile grip on the midfoot that holds your foot against the insole while still providing enough flexibility for dynamic movements. The TPU coated mesh is lightweight and breathes to cool your feet during long basketball games so your feet don’t sweat so badly. It features an external heel counter that provides lateral stability which will protect your ankle from rolling and also help you stick the landing on your jumps. It comes with an embedded, internally stretching sock-like bootie that hugs your foot for a snug, customized fit.

The insole is made of Nike’s responsive Lunarlon foam with built in flex grooves for full range of motion that gives the shoe agility. It comes in two attractive color options that look like you’re about to take flight – blue and gold or red and silver. Having been made after Kobe Bryant’s Achilles Tendon injury, these shoes represent his triumphant comeback to the NBA and as such Kobe IX gives gutsy performance in an all-new low cut package. Like all Nike’s they fit on the narrow side compared to other brands of shoes.

These do stretch out nicely after breaking them in but still you might be more comfortable ordering half to a full size larger. This is a five star shoe for fit, comfort, cushion, traction, and style. The drawback to these shoes is the mesh upper – even though it is reinforced with Flywire cables, it tends to tear and split on the outside around the Nike Swoosh logo from pivoting, even if only used lightly. The grip on the soles of these shoes are not as good as the previous model, Kobe X. As a collectors shoe or purely for style these will serve you well. On the court, however, they are lacking in durability.

 

Pros

  • External heel counter for stability
  • Embedded internal stretch bootie for custom fit
  • Great shoe for fit, comfort, cushion, and style

Cons

  • The traction pattern on the outsole is worse than earlier Kobe models
  • The mesh upper rips when used for agile maneuvers in basketball
  • Low top doesn’t support the ankle like a high top does

 

Nike Kobe AD Basketball Shoes

Nike Kobe AD features top of the line cushioning that helps you navigate the court like no other shoe can. They are made of fabric with a rubber sole to grip the court. It includes a half length, mesh bootie that both provides ventilation and a custom fit for maximum comfort. Flywire cables hold the foot firmly in place inside the shoe even during the most difficult maneuvers. The low top construction doesn’t restrict movement and allows for flexible movement of the ankle.

The Lunarlon foam midsole provides soft, active cushioning and comfort for a smooth ride and comfortable landings. The Zoom Air unit in the heel responds to your force and brings out your explosive speed and power. Of all the Kobe shoes these are the most focused on athletic performance because they feature both the Zoom Air heel as well as the Lunarlon insole to give you a competitive edge by supporting your freedom to move. The legend of Kobe Bryant lives on and his continuing series of basketball shoes tells the story. Lightweight and low profile, the Kobe AD delivers speed and agility to help you burst past your competition.

Dynamic athletes like Kobe a shoe with support and flexibility to express their play style to ultimately conquer the competition. Kobe’s game was always growing with him, and Nike took the same tact when it came to the specifications of his shoes. The AD signifies fresh starts, next steps, and the power to grasp every possible advantage. The moves you can do in Kobe AD’s give you choices you never had in your old sneakers. For fit, the AD actually runs much smaller than the other Kobe’s – you may need to order up to a size and a half larger than usual.

 

Pros

  • A truly competitive shoe that features both the Lunarlon midsole and Zoom Air heel
  • You can do moves in these shoes you can’t in other shoes
  • Lightweight and low profile with great balance and support

Cons

  • Sizing is much smaller than other Kobe’s – order up to a size and a half larger
  • Don’t breathe well so you will get sweaty feet
  • The bottom sole is a weak spot for breaking

 

Nike Kobe AD NXT Basketball Shoes

Get a one-of-a-kind fit and unmatched foot support with Nike Kobe AD NXT. It is constructed of synthetic material as well as fabric which gives a combination of durability and stretch. This advanced basketball sneaker features an adjustable toggle with fabric overlay for lacing, Zoom Air technology for cushioning when landing a dunk or jump shot, heel-to-toe Lunarlon foam to carry you across the court with control, a mesh inner sleeve that molds to the shape of your foot, and a micro-tread pattern on the outsole for extra traction that stops in an instant, pivots, and heightens your jumps. You can walk casually or play your best in style and comfort with Kobe AD NXT. They are attractive shoes with an individualistic lacing system that changes the look completely compared to your typical basketball sneaker. Your laces won’t come undone because of the adjustable toggle mesh. But be warned though, they are very narrow throughout the width so order a half size to a full size larger depending on the width of your foot. Also, know that the Lunarlon lays across the entire length of the footbed which takes up a lot of space and might squeeze large feet more than is comfortable even with a larger size.

 

Pros

  • Unique lacing system covers the entire top of your foot for consistent tightness
  • Zoom Air technology from heel to toe for agile navigation and lightness
  • Mesh inner sleeve that molds to the shape of your foot for unparalleled comfort

Cons

  • Sizing runs narrow so order from a half to a full size larger for fit
  • Inner sole takes up a lot of space inside the shoe so it may squeeze larger feet too much
  • Microtread bottom for traction may not grip as well as the previous Kobe IX

 

Conclusion & Final Thoughts

Now you know how to choose a shoe that moves with you on a dime that can support your landings on jumps as well as help you navigate the court in ease and style with Nike Kobe signature line basketball shoes. As you’ve seen, some Kobe’s are better for casual wear and collecting than taking a beating on the court. You’ve also learned about how not all the changes in the later models are necessarily improvements on earlier styles of Kobe and how to weigh appearance versus performance, if at all.

The buyer’s guide walked you through the most important features and the difference they make on your game based on the top ten most popular Kobe shoes in Nike’s signature line. I think you’ll agree there’s a little something for everyone whether you’re choosing new shoes for casual wear, collecting, or improving your jump shot with Nike Kobe’s. In the beginning you had an overwhelming number of choices with no idea where to start in understanding the differences between models or how to choose one that’s the right fit for your style. Now you know you’ll get top notch performance with eye-catching style that makes a statement about who you are and how you play.

Kiss your old sneakers goodbye because these basketball shoes will take your game to the next level. Many of the reviewers of these shoes loved them so much they refuse to play basketball wearing anything else because of the improvements to their agility, control in maneuvering, and comfort wearing shoes built to Kobe Bryant’s specs. There are many signature styles to choose from but if you want excellent performance, fit, and one-of-a-kind style, pick a Nike Kobe and get back in the game.

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