WearTesters is reader-supported. When you make purchases using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Why trust us?

First Impression: Nike Kobe 8 SYSTEM


I have a good feeling about these… hope I’m right…


Traction – The traction looks amazing. Herringbone is proven to work and its deep set grooves are aggressive for multiple types of courts conditions. However, I would stray away from wearing a non-XDR version outdoors due to the rubber used. Just like the KD V, the rubber is very soft and pliable… makes for one hell of an indoor traction surface but outdoors it will wear down rather quickly.


Cushion – Lunarlon… oh, how I love Lunarlon. This is a full Lunarlon midsole so you know what that means… even break down of foam and it will mold to your feet over time. This is how the Hyperdunk 2012 should have been. Right at this moment, they feel pretty dense. Once I begin to run around in them I expect the Lunarlon to break-in rather quickly and offer than bouncy responsive ride I’ve come to know and love.


I dislike that there isn’t any lining as it feels foreign underfoot.


To combat that small issue, I would strongly suggest grabbing the Kobe 8 SYSTEM Elite sock to go with the shoes. They are ribbed along the foot bed which I assume will keep your foot in place better than with a standard sock.


Material – The entire upper is Engineered Mesh but there is more Fuse used than what you see on the surface. I explain and show this a bit in the Quick Look video but basically the first layer – inside the shoe – is the supportive Fuse layer just like most Fuse models. Then the Engineered Mesh makes up the second layer and it definitely is the primary material used besides the first layer. Lastly, the third layer runs along the toe, rand & eyelets of the shoe for additional support and strength. Break-in time for the upper will be minimal to say the least and any suspicions I initially had have been put to rest after checking them out in person.


Fit – The fit true to size. They’re a bit snug but that is the way a performance shoe is supposed to fit… like a glove. Wide footers should try them on before purchasing but if you aren’t a wide footer then grab your regular size as the fit will continuously adapt to your foot shape as the Lunarlon midsole breaks down with each game.


Ventilation – Looks can be deceiving and this is one of those time where they look incredibly well ventilated but with all of the support they had to place inside the shoe in order to use the mesh really constricts their ventilation and limits it overall. This isn’t a bad thing since they are offer more air flow than your standard basketball sneaker but they aren’t built the way a runner is built despite how they look.


Support – The TPU heel clip in place to help secure the heel into the shoe while the glass based Carbon Fiber shank will take care of torsional and arch support. Other than that the rest of the support will come from the lockdown, fit and supportive underlay of materials.


I’ve been waiting for this shoe ever since the Kobe VI… the damn Kobe VII was the biggest letdown ever and it looks as if they’ve more than made up for it. If these perform well enough, the only thing I’m left with is… where will they go from here? This is pretty darn innovative if you ask me… engineered mesh and all that. I love the evolution of sneaker technology… learn from your mistakes and keep it moving… and hoopin’.


  1. Hopefully they perform well. I’ve been looking forward to these ever since the Kobe IV. Loved the VI but, I wasn’t a fan of the traction. Great, now I have to buy a Kobe sock! Looking forward to your performance review. You are the Guru. What’s your schedule I don’t know how you do it. I think you need a vacation. 🙂

  2. just got’em and its nice. aj 2012 midsoles/cushioning actually fit on these as well if you crave other cushioning system.

  3. I have the X-mas edition kobe VIII already and this feels like the Kobe IV and VI combined for my own point pf view

  4. I think this kobe will sell more than the previous one my own opinion not only by its performance but the looks for casual wear as well

  5. a lil confused on whether there is zoom in this or not. the shoe details on nike.com says there is zoom. im assuming zoom in the sole with lunarlon midsole insert?

    1. Only the Kobe 8 elite has bottom loaded zoom, targeted in the forefoot and heel. The others are just full length lunarlon.

  6. These look like my perfect shoe. Basically I always wanted something like an Adidas Samba but for basketball. Low top, low to the ground, supportive, cushioned.

  7. Hey nightwing will you do a separate review on the zoom midsole of the Kobe viii. I’d be pretty disappointed if it was just lunarlon considering the price. I don’t think they should charge $150+ for a foam cushioning setup. Hopefully this lunarlon doesn’t bottom out quickly.

  8. I hope I can customize these and remove the snake skin, I hate that. otherwise, the shoe is something that I’m looking for a low cut. although I would rarely use these for basketball.

  9. was wondering…am interested in the zoom air insole…will that be available? since it is a “system”…2 insoles are sold together with the shoe, right? or are there ones sold as a system and others sold with just lunarlon…thanks.

    1. They only come with the lunarlon insole. You can buy the orthotic-ready zoom air insole for $40, but it’s extremely thin for use with orthotics.

  10. Hey Nightwing, what are the differences between the Lunarlon cushion and the orthotics setup? Other than one being foam and the other being a Zoom setup.

  11. They look promising. It’s kind of annoying that you might need the sock with them. I know it’s part of their whole “system” thing, but I’d rather not have to buy a couple pairs and potentially have to deal with them getting sold out (probably mostly by guys who don’t even ball). Anyways, still excited to see the performance review.

  12. Can someone help me out here!
    In NIKEID the Zoom Air option says that it’s orthotic-ready but it also said it requires orthotic(not included) anyone here can explain it to me? Kinda confused!

    1. Basically, the orthotics they refer to are insoles that have been custom fitted to a person’s foot. The orthotic-ready insole for the Kobe 8 that you can buy on NikeID is extremely thin, so it’s meant to fit underneath those custom orthotics.

  13. Looking good!

    I will be waiting for your review as always. I had to say this, my Kobe VII wasn´t that bad, after taking a good breaking, they were pretty good. Only thing is a bit low is the lockdown feel, but they are not that bad. Well that´s my opinion. Keep up with the good work!

    Sorry for my bad english. Saludos from Mexico.

  14. Nightwing, I have a wide foot. Would you recommend getting a half size bigger?
    Kobe 4 and 5 size 10 fit snugly on my foot but kobe 7 was tight & uncomfortable.

  15. Nice! Looking forward to the teasers & the full review. These won’t drop here until the 26th, so I wouldn’t be able to fit them until then or when a less popular colorway drops. But I’m still excited nonetheless.

  16. Any input on the rear heel and ankle padding? Despite the 7’s issues, I really liked the cushioning around the ankle because it gave you that lock-down feel even in a low-top shoe. It looks from the screen shots that they reduced the padding back there…wonder if you still feel secure with them on.

  17. Hey nightwing, I really like your reviews and they really help me decode what shoes to get. However, I was wondering whether I should get the Kobe 8″s, the KD 5″s, or the hyperdunk 2012”s? I’m 5’8 and weigh about 130 pounds.

  18. would the nike plus kobe 8 insole work if i put them on the kobe 7s ? lol
    like would the insole fitinside the 7s??

  19. Man I was at the warrior versus laker game today and kobe was rockin his new 8s . I liked the way the shoe looked on court and kobe seemed to like them if you saw the game. He got some dunks that made him look less like 34 and more like 24

  20. I picked up the shoes and I totally agree that the insole feels a little funny. I was planning on getting the socks, but I still haven’t found them. Where did you get your socks?

  21. I just noticed… there’s no flywire on the Kobe 8. Do you like it more when shoes have flywire (such as the Kobe 7, Fly wade 2 EV)or when it’s just Fuse (Kobe 8, Fly wade 2, Zoom soldier 6)?

  22. Hey love your work.
    I was wondering how do these fit compared to the 6′ or 7’s in terms of width. The 6’s fit me perfect but the 7’s were too narrow for me to wear.

  23. If anyone has these with the orthotic ready insert, I’m curious what your thoughts are on this shoe with them.

  24. hey nightwing i just switched to a size 9 shoe but i got the kobe 8 in 9.5 because my dad says i will grow into them do you think they will work well enough? should i send them back?

Add a Comment

Related Posts