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Nike Kobe 8 SYSTEM Elite Performance Review

They are slightly more durable but performance wise, they’re nearly a wash.

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Traction - The traction on the Kobe 8 SYSTEM and Kobe 8 SYSTEM Elite are exactly the same. No changes whatsoever and that isn’t a bad thing. Traction overall is great so not changing it isn’t something to complain about.

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Cushion - This is where the system part finally comes into play. We’ve had the Lunarlon and the Nike+ enabled midsoles (heel Zoom Air & Cushlon) but this is the first time that Zoom is used in both the heel and forefoot. Since its bottom loaded, you wont receive the responsiveness directly under foot that you are used to with typical Zoom placement. That does not mean that the cushion system isn’t working, it just means you cant feel it working. This setup wouldn’t be so bad if they would have still used Cushlon as they do with the Nike+ midsole option but they went with Phylon instead and that is much more firm. Comfort wise, I prefer the Lunarlon over all.

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Material - Engineered Mesh is used once again but its woven differently as a double layer instead of a single layer mesh that was used on the original. This gives it a plush feel and it’ll hold up a little better than the single layer mesh. Carbon Fiber replaces the TPU heel counter and that just gives additional durability as well. Performance wise, it all plays the same. The Flywire is nice and works but these worked well without it too.

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Fit - They fit true to size and lockdown is perfect, just as it was before. One nice touch is the padded tongue. You can really lace these up tightly if you wanted to without any pinching or pain.

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Ventilation – The overall ventilation is increased slightly but nothing too major. There is a little less TPU used under the mesh so you get a bit more air flow. Again, nothing major but something to note.

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Support - Their overall support is the same but with the heel featuring Carbon Fiber you’ve decreased your chances of the heel clip breaking – I only mention it because I’ve seen it on my friends pair. Because of this, and the fact that the Carbon Fiber is sturdier, they have increased just a tad bit.

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Overall - They still play like the Kobe 8 and if you decide to swap midsoles to a Lunarlon then you will literally have the same playing experience as you had before. Really not worth an entire $60 upgrade but if they go down in price at all then that would be a sweet deal.

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About Nightwing2303

Nightwing2303 loves kicks and performance. He is the Founder of WearTesters.com and enjoys sharing his love and passion for sneakers... one review at a time.

50 comments

  1. Great review, keep up the good work. Great point about the price. I would’ve never thought basketball shoes would be this expensive.
    Ps don’t expect the price to drop.

  2. Is the cushion is same like kobe 7 play fast? Just wonder would it be good idea if you put the play strong kobe 7 cushion?

  3. So does the shoe come with both the play strong and play fast?

  4. Wow. My parents won’t even buy me the regular versions.

  5. Im nike ID-ing my kobe 8’s right now, what outsole do you prefer for inside playing? translucent or solid

  6. I changed the insole

  7. Lance Espiritu

    Hey Nightwing! I visit your site daily and appreciate all the things that you do. May I just ask you if all these elites were nike+ enabled? Also, is micoach better than the nike+?

  8. nightwing, love the 8s and looking to add a second pair. My only complaint was with the tongue, which tends to move and shift to one side when I play. Is the tongue improvement on the elites dramatic enough to warrant the extra money, in your opinion, if that’s my one gripe keeping this from being my favorite shoe ever?

  9. Gotcha, man. Appreciate the feedback. May wait to see if these Elites follow the others into sale/clearance then. Good to know I’m not the only who notices the tongue movement when you play. It’s a relatively small point, really the only thing keeping the 8 from being perfect. Hopefully they address that in the 9s. Keep up the fabulous work.

  10. Nightwing…I just bought the Elites for indoor use and was also going to get a pair of kobe 6 to use outdoors. What do you think of the Kobe 6? And does it compare to the Kobe 8 elites? How do you think they will hold up?

  11. Do you think the 8 elites are much better than the 6s or are they comparable?

    Great site by the way!

  12. Your score on the cushion on the elite’s is lower than the cushion score on the regular 8’s, why the drop? I know they did the Zoom all around, but are the regular 8’s that are listed as #3 on your top 10 better cushion-wise?

  13. Yo,He just put the list back up. Don’t say anything about the list.

  14. Will these be the exact same as the black and gold color way that comes out next month?

    • The black/gold elite will have heel zoom and cushlon forefoot, the same as the nike+ models (allstar)

  15. Lockdown is slightly better, the midsole needs break in time for the cushioning to work better because the phylon midsole is stiff. I’ve also noticed that after extensive use on the regular kobe 8s, the toebox expands and I can’t get the same lockdown as when they were closer to new, some movement inside the shoe in all my movements now. I didn’t come across this problem so far with the elites, the flywire cables must be working to a certain extent, I don’t see why else nike would only put it near the top.

    Basically the only upgrade to me on the elites is the support and lockdown. I feel like the heel is sculpted better and hugs the heel better. Kevlar laces and flywire cable does a better job keeping the foot in place without much movement inside the shoe. That’s about it though, cushioning, the lunarlon is more comfortable but feels cheaper, where as the phylon/zoom is more stiff but feels like it should last longer

  16. Personaly, what is your favorite performance wise, andif you had to choose, whats your favorite casually. Also, thoughts on the ridiculous prices amd do you thinknthe LeBron 11 will max out over $200 (no nike plus just regular shoe)

  17. Will there be any yellowing on e soles? Thanks for the review I bought the purple gradients, just pondering whether to trade it for the elites or not, what do you think? Big fan here keep it up!

  18. Will there be yellowing on the soles in elites? I have the Purple gradients and thinking of swapping it to the elites, is it worth it? your thoughts please! thanks!

  19. Are the black and gold version any different from these and are they worth playing in.

  20. are these still ok for a 4/5 spot for basketball?? i’m looking for some new basketball shoes and i’m a 13 year old, 6.1″ center, would i still be able to wear these for games?

    thanks

  21. I am a 13 year old, 6 foot center/power forward and I’ve been looking for new basketball shoes but havn’t found any I like yet. But would these Kobe’s be good for me for basketball even though they are low-cut?

    Thanks

  22. Dear Nw, Sneakerfiend, and all the Kobe 8 Elite users,

    I got the regular 8’s (xdr) sometime back thanks to u guys, and my banged up knees hold up well because of the lunarlon. My jumpers actually improved, and i could now play longer. Postgame swelling is now non-existent, thanks also to Randy’s stretching tips.

    My question is, will the elite version, once past the midsoles’ break-in period mentioned by Sneakerfiend, provide a moderately similar experience of impact protection or are they radically different, if not opposite the lunarlon midsole performance-wise? I too experienced the forefoot portion loosening up a bit after about 20 pickup games and found myself wanting the flywire. But at $250 a pair here, i would like to make sure the midsole can help me with my knee problems like the regular ones..

    Hope to hear from anyone who’s spent some time with the ellites, thanks!

    Btw im very short 5’5″ 1-2 and i make lots of cuts and drives cuz im a big fan of Tony Parker haha

    • The protection is less than the Lunarlon but the midsole will last a bit longer due to phylon being used instead of a plush foam. I don’t know how it will affect your knees but they do get slightly better with each wear. Nothing can really replace the Lunarlon experience other than Micro G or Cushlon IMO.

      • Thanks NW! guess im better off copping a few more non-elite pairs which are now on sale. Not sure if i could find another shoe now and in the future that would perfectly suit my personal needs so i better hoard (hope that statement will convince my wife haha). I really love those flywires but i honestly can do without them; just nit picking because i want them to remain “perfect”.

        Thanks again, i really appreciate it!

  23. Nike zoom kobe 8 system elite are good shoes but the flywire ruins them the coloration is cool

  24. When these go on sale in a couple of months would you reccomend these or should I just get the regular kobe 8 now?

  25. Translucent soles bad choice?. Had them on the soldier 6 “osu”s and they were terrible on court, traction wise

  26. Kansas jaykawk bound

    Can a physical big man where these??

  27. Where do you get your shoes?

  28. Kobe 8 elite or kd 6? ????? I am playmaker and I like to play fast and quick. I would also like a shoe which would help me jump and reach high. Price doesn’t matter. Please help!

  29. Does Wearing Low-Tops Make you roll your Ankle Easily?

  30. where can I buy just the orginal kobe 8 insole?

  31. Love the elites. Im a big fan of flywire for snugness and low profile zoom air bottom loaded and have to say the elites are probably the best low cut bball shoes ive used overall. I got a wide foot so have to go up half a size and the normal kobe 8 the toe box doesnt fit as secure it was floppy/loose but the elites flywire made all the difference for me fit snug as and the tongue on elites more comfortable. Elites felt 3x more solid which they werent but it was all in the fit for me

  32. I just bought the kobe 8 elites and I know you said you could buy the lunarlon insoles at NIKEID.com but I checked and couldnt find where to purchase the insoles without actually getting a new shoe. Where should I look?

  33. Bought these on clearance at Footlocker (last pair). My 37 year old baller knees don’t like the phylon/zoom setup one bit! My ankles and knees are sore as BLANK! Sticking with my Lebron XI and just picked up a pair of XX8SE to add to my rotation.

    • I’m the same age and you might have to play more conservatively with these having the Lunarlon midsole. I’ll tell you what though, the XX8 flight plate shoes do wonders for my knees. I can fly all night in them and be good the next morning.

      I bought the XX8 shoes in this order:
      OG XX8
      Super Fly 2
      Melo 10
      XX8 SE(number one in rotation)

      • The Poison Green Elites don’t have Lunarlon. You’re feet are directly on top of pylon then Zoom. Usually you have an foam insole layer to help disburse before the pylon. My knees are fine playing in the LeBrons which do have Lunarlon/Zoom.

        But ya the XX8 is a waaaaay different feel for sure.

        • I responded to this thinking that it was the Kobe 8 system performance review(not elite), because the complete title wasn’t listed in the new comments feed.

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