Traction – Best traction on a Kobe, hands down. The rubber is soft and the pattern – herringbone – is awesome on practically any indoor court no matter the condition. If you hoop outdoors then you will want the XDR outsole option otherwise you will grind the rubber down rather quickly due to it being so soft.
Cushion – Lunarlon is amazing foam. Besides Micro G, Lunarlon would be my choice as far as foam cushions are concerned. What is so great about foam cushions – especially Lunarlon – is that it absorbs and distributes impact evenly throughout which will help your joints out in the long run. What I like best about this setup overall is that the Lunarlon is full length so you will wear it down evenly over time without losing any comfort like you would with the Hyperdunk 2012’s Lunarlon setup.
Additionally, if you play primarily indoors, all you’d need to do is buy another midsole insert via NIKEiD.com and you can have these last for quite some time.
Material – Engineered mesh sounded cool but looked scary. Luckily it isn’t scary at all and there was much more Fuse placed on the shoe than what you can actually see. Not only did this keep things light but it also added a ton of structure and support so even though you have a shoe that weighs in at a mere 9.6 Oz… you would never know it by how much support & structure is readily available.
Fit – They fit true to size. Eastbay lists them as narrow – if you have really wide feet I could see that – but they don’t feel anywhere near as snug as the Kobe 7. If I were to compare the fit with any previous Kobe model it would have to be the 6.
Lockdown isn’t just available… its freaking awesome. There are little pillows along the center of the tongue, allowing you the ability to lace up your kicks as tight as possible without cutting off circulation, and the overall containment is top notch… especially for a shoe that looks more like a runner than a traditional hoop shoe.
Also, don’t wear the Kobe Elite socks… just a warning. If you don’t know why I say this then you missed all three Performance Teasers… yes, there were three.
Ventilation – It’s not insanely well ventilated but it is the most well ventilated Kobe to date. With the fit and the appropriate sock, they feel just fine. I personally don’t require too much ventilation so long as the materials are able to retain their shape & these do that just fine.
Support – The support is mostly coming from the outstanding fit. There is a heel clip to help keep your heel in place as well as a glass based Carbon Fiber shank for torsional rigidity and support. Inside the shoe, the Lunarlon midsoles do have a molded arch in place as well. For those of you that use orthotics, you may want to consider grabbing the Zoom Air laced orthotic ready insole option – available on NIKEiD.
Overall – Traction –awesome. Cushion – amazing. Materials – innovative beyond belief. Fit – pretty much perfect. Ventilation – the best it’s ever been on a Kobe signature. Support – plenty.
What else is there to say? If you are a Guard then this is a shoe that you can – and will – appreciate. Sure, they let most of us down with the Kobe 7’s – I say most of us because there are a few who enjoyed those – but they really made up for it with the Kobe 8.
Light done right… and better than the other guys.