The time has finally arrived… the moment I have been waiting for since I first laid eyes on the partial Herringbone outsole… Nike’s Zoom Kobe VII is in my hands at last! As usual, I will go through my initial first impression based off of looks, feel and try-on. Once this is over with… it’ll be time to hit the court.
Hit the jump for more…
Traction – Partial Herringbone is better than nothing. I actually dont know what type of pattern the rest of the shoe features but it may work out alright. Its fairly similar to Herringbone in shape (individual lines) but I would have liked to see it come out of the outsole a bit more like the Herringbone towards the forefoot on the medial side of the shoe. It should work, maybe it wont be perfect depending on court conditions but it should work out alright.
The outsole is also stated to be comprised of XDR; this pair came from Air-Knight.com and they receive their products directly from the NikeStore in Hong Kong & China. The U.S. releases most likely wont come with the XDR tag but I doubt Nike will go through the hassle of producing pairs strictly for the U.S. Market without XDR outsoles. So while the U.S. Release doesn’t note that the outsole is comprised of XDR, that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have one. For those of you who don’t already know, XDR is a more durable rubber compound able to hold up better during outdoor playing time.
Cushion – Cushion options come in two forms with the Kobe VII just like the Jordan 2011. You have a Phylon midsole (Play Fast) along with a Cushlon midsole (Play Strong). The Cushlon midsole is very soft and almost feels mushy… not sure I like it too much but I will play in both just to see which one I prefer more than the other.
The Play Fast midsole is made up of Phylon and is noticeably more dense than the Play Strong. There is a full length Zoom Air unit in the forefoot instead of the smaller Meta Bag they had used in the Kobe V & VI.
The heel features a large volume Zoom unit which is VERY cushioned under foot. This is the first time I have seen one of these up close, last time I saw a Zoom unit this large was in the LeBron 7 Post Season and it was only partially visible in the heel through the translucent outsole.
These came with pretty thin insoles… sort of surprised but as long as they work I wont complain too much.
Material – You have another layered upper as we saw in the Kobe VI. Flywire is the base material followed by a thin layer of mesh topped off with the polyurethane shell which will help protect the materials underneath it. This is a great feature and I loved it on the ZKVI so I’m sure I will like it here as well.
The heel features a small area of leather, its decent quality but since there is so little of it used it’s not something that bothers me at all. It is basically in place in the heel for a bit of additional durability.
At the base of the heel you also have the leather which is then partially covered with the TPU heel counter. The heel counter is a bit different than the past three models we’ve seen but I think it’ll do the trick just fine.
Fit – The forefoot fits snug just like last years model. Fairly narrow but the material is flexible enough to contour around your foot if you are willing to allow for some additional break in time. Inside the collar you have a lot of padding around the heel. I thought this was one area that could have used some improvement on the ZKVI and looks as if they have fixed it. From trying them on, the heel felt snug and secure.
The two midsoles feature the compression sleeves allowing your foot to stay in place a bit better than if they were basic interchangeable midsoles seen on the Jordan 2011. While they secure the foot properly, I only wonder just how long the snug feeling will last once you start to play in them. One thing I did not like about the cushion ‘options’ is that the options are pretty limited. It would have been nice if you could remove the compression sleeve from each midsole and swap them out allowing you to choose both the midsole cushion you’d like and the compression sleeve you prefer. If I end up liking the Cushlon midsole more than the Zoom midsole… I dislike the ankle sleeve which is a bummer since its glued on.
When you try the shoe on with one midsole in each shoe, the Play Strong feels quite a bit tighter around your midfoot area. I’m not positive about this but when placed side by side, the Cushlon sits a little higher than the Play Fast which is what I think causes my feet to feel as if they getting squeezed a bit more than in the Play Fast option.
Ventilation – Honestly, ventilation took a hit in the Kobe VII. The only areas with perforations are found on the compression sleeves and that’s it. Not sure why they didn’t go through and add perforations throughout the upper as they had with the Kobe VI but that’s what we’ve been given this time around.
That pretty much takes care of my First Impression. I cant wait to play in these things!!!