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5 Best Kobe Shoes 2024 and Kobe Alternatives

best kobe shoes

Kobe Bryant was an amazing basketball player. Everyone knows this, but to properly explain what makes “Kobe shoes” so special, it’s important to remember how amazing he really was.

Kobe was drafted at the age of 17 in 1997, he played in his first All-Star game in 1998 and went on to play in 18 more and win 4 All-Star Game MVPs, he was a dunk contest champ, a 2-time scoring champ, he was selected to 15 All NBA teams, and to 12 All-Defensive teams, he was the 2008 NBA MVP, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, and a 5 time NBA champion. Simply put, he was one of the best to ever do it, but on top of that, he was the Black Mamba.

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The Black Mamba was one of the coolest, smoothest, most relentless, and fierce players the NBA has ever seen. Much like MJ, Kobe had a unique and intimidating presence on the court. And it is this combination of on-court achievements and raw charisma that made Kobe a unique figure in NBA history, and his signature shoes so special to sneakerheads.

Kobe’s signature shoes both with adidas and with Nike are iconic, and, in the case of his Nike shoes, they are also some of the best performance models ever released. It is hard to choose the best-performing pair of Kobe shoes, so we decided to make a list (in no particular order) with our top picks in honor of Mamba Day and the launch of the all-new Kobe Brand. Check it out.

Last updated 03.21.2024

Best Kobe Shoes Overall

Nike Kobe 6 Protro Reverse Grinch

The original Nike Kobe 6 is one of the best performance basketball shoes ever created, and this updated protro version might just be a little bit better. Nike has brought us “protros” in the past that haven’t lived up to the term, offering little or no performance updates. Kobe, who actually coined the term, would be proud of this model as it makes an almost perfect shoe that much better.
As far as the colorway goes, it may not be as iconic as the standard Grinch colorway, but it’s still sleek and bright. Your chances of actually getting a pair are slim to none, but if you’re one of the lucky few to get a W you will be purchasing a really awesome basketball shoe. If you’re lucky enough to get them, do yourself a favor and play in them. Read the full review. Price: $190

Total Score
Buy Nike Kobe 6 Protro Reverse Grinch Buy Nike Kobe 6 Protro Reverse Grinch on Stock X

Nike Kobe 8

The Kobe 8 is one of the greatest guard shoes of all time. 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 will appreciate. If there’s anything bad to be said about the Kobe 8 it is the upper durability issues on the medial side and the tendency for the Lunarlon midsole to lose compression over time. But, the Kobe is as durable as any other textile-upper hoop shoe, and in the new versions of the shoe, we will have a React drop-in midsole instead of Lunarlon. Read the full review. Price: $180

Total Score
Buy Nike Kobe 8 Buy Nike Kobe 8 on Stock X

Nike Kobe 5

The Nike Kobe 5 is the best-fitting Kobe model ever, which is somewhat surprising since the upper is built with old-school Nike fuse. It’s a thinner version however which helps to keep the Kobe 5 lightweight and free-flowing. In terms of cushion, we have heel and forefoot Zoom Air which offer a nice mix of reactiveness and impact protection.

The shoe is also equipped with a carbon fiber shank, a wide forefoot outrigger, and aggressive traction. Simply put, this is an amazing hoop shoe and one of the best models Nike has ever produced (for Kobe or not). Read the full (protro) performance review.

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Shop Nike Kobe 5 Buy Nike Kobe 5 on Stock X

Nike Kobe 4

The Kobe 4 stands out among the Kobe signature line because of the great mix of materials which makes it one of the more durable models in the lineup.

The Kobe 4 offers excellent traction, a great low-profile cushioning setup (which should have received an upgrade when they were protro’d back in 2019), and a very well contained 1 to 1 fit. They are one of the earlier Nike Kobe models so they don’t feel as modern as other Kobe models, but they are bad boys nonetheless. Read the full (protro) review.

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Shop Nike Kobe 4 Buy Nike Kobe 4 on Stock X

Nike Kobe 6

The Nike Kobe 6 is everyone’s favorite Kobe for good reason. In terms of performance, the Kobe 6 is tied with the Kobe 1 for the title of “best on-court Kobe”. But is also a super lightweight shoe which puts it over the top for many hoopers out there.

The Kobe 6 has elite traction, amazing low-profile cushioning, a near-perfect fit, and excellent lockdown, BUT, they all need to be broken in. The Kobe 6 might feel slightly disappointing when you first use them on the court, but once they’ve had some time to mold to your foot and “warm up”, they become one of the all-time great performance basketball shoes. Read full review.

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Shop Nike Kobe 6 Buy Nike Kobe 6 on Stock X

Nike Kobe 1

The Nike Kobe 1 is one of the best basketball shoes Nike has ever produced in terms of on-court performance. Traction is elite. The Kobe 1 features a thick solid rubber outsole with a full-length herringbone traction pattern which grips the court like no one’s business, and it will actually hold up well outdoors. In terms of cushion the original Kobe 1 featured heel and forefoot Zoom units housed in a phylon midsole.

The Protro version came with a thinner Phylon midsole and a full-length Zoom Air unit, similar to the one in the Air Jordan 12. Both setups are fantastic, but the Protro version is particularly spectacular. And lastly, we have the upper which is built with old-school materials and is super durable. If you like ultra-modern hoop shoes, this will probably be a drawback, but if you like how shoes used to be, you will love these. The Kobe 1 is just one of those shoes that just gets better the more you use it. Read the full (protro) review.

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Shop Nike Kobe 1 Buy Nike Kobe 1 on Stock X

Best Kobe Alternatives

Of, so, Kobe’s signature line is very consistent and features some of the best hoop shoes ever produced: The BIG problem with Kobe shoes is that they are very hard to purchase for retail, and super expensive if you want to go the re-sale route. For this reason, sneaker brands have begun to produce top-notch performance models, clearly inspired by the looks and performance of classic Kobe models.

Well, if you were looking for a Kobe-esque hoop shoe that you can actually get your hands on, here are the best of the best:

Serious Player Only Player 1

This brand-new hoop shoe (and brand for that matter) features some of the best traction we have seen in 2023, and is the second coming of the Kobe 8. The shoe is equipped with a solid rubber outsole with full-length herringbone traction, a reactive Evanlon drop-in midsole for cushioning, and a super lightweight build. The rubber is tremendously grippy but soft. And that is the one drawback: these are exclusively an indoor shoe. But indoors this is one of the best traction setups out there. Read full review. Price: $159

Total Score
Buy Serious Player Only Player 1

Nike Sabrina 1

The Nike Sabrina 1 is a great first signature shoe for Sabrina Ionescu and is one of the best basketball shoes Nike has to offer in 2023/24. It’s a shoe that visually, and in terms of performance, could easily be a Kobe shoe, so if you’re looking for a shoe that will give you that “Kobe” feeling on court this one is a safe bet. The Sabrina 1 is a top-notch guard-style shoe that will give you great traction (indoors), a speedy and reactive cushioning setup, along with elite lockdown and support. Read the full review. Price: $120

Total Score
Buy Nike Sabrina 1

Nike LeBron 21

The Nike LeBron 21 promises is a beast on court. It can be described as a remix of the Nike LeBron 20, and that shoe was amazing. This will be one of the top models of 2023-24, one of the most versatile, and one of the most comfortable on court, as well as an attainable Kobe substitute. It is a pricy performance model but, there’s little else to complain abou. Read the full review. Price: $200

Total Score
Buy Nike LeBron 21

Puma Stewie 2

The Puma Stewie 2 is a top-notch guards shoe that boasts excellent indoor traction, a very well-balanced and bouncy cushioning system, and a very secure and natural feeling low-top build. It won’t be a great outdoor option, unfortunately, but as long as you keep them indoors, you will get a very similar on-court experience to the Puma Clyde All-Pro, which is an all-time great, and a ringer for the Kobe 9 (in terms of performance). KEEP IN MIND that in the US the Stewie 2 comes in women’s sizes, so if you want the correct men’s size you will need to go 1.5 sizes up (ie: 12M = 13.5W). Read the full review. Price: $125

Total Score
Buy Puma Stewie 2

Jordan Zion 3

Even though the Jordan Zion 3 might not feel like a Zion shoe, it might still turn out to be one of the best basketball shoes of the year. With the Zion 3 you are getting…well…a Kobe: reliable, grippy traction (which can handle moderate outdoor use), a very nice drop-in midsole cushioning system, encased in a light, sleek package all for just $140. Not a bad deal at all. Be mindful of the fit, however, the Jordan Zion 3 fits very snugly, but aside from that, this is a top-notch performance model. Read the full review. Retail price: $140

Total Score
Buy Jordan Zion 3
  1. “The Protro version came with a thinner Phylon midsole and a full-length Air unit, similar to the one in the Air Jordan 11. ”
    should be full-length zoom and AJ12 here?

  2. sad that this is weartesters now, how can you only show the ones that were protroed in a top Kobe list.

    No Kobe 9 Low/High is wild. Also the 8 is so mid.

    This is basically an advert

    1. Evan isn’t Chris. Different testers have different opinions. The site has always been that way. We don’t all agree with Chris and he doesn’t want it that way. He even says in his videos not everyone has to agree with him.

      As for the second part of your comment, all Kobes are resale right now. We rarely make affiliate commissions from resale so this is not an advertisement. Just a writer expressing his opinion and even linking to all of Chris’ original performance reviews so people can dig into whichever model they want to learn more about.

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