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First Impression: Nike Zoom Kobe VII (7)


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!!!


  1. If you do like the Cushlon midsole better but you want the low-top sleeve you could always nikeid one for $60. I am gonna buy the “Shark” editions next month but they aren’t supremes so I am gonna do that to try out both.

    1. It felt softer upon a try on, may feel different once i play in them. I had a chance to play in the Play Fast midsole tonight so next will be the Cushlon & then i will update everyone with a performance teaser on the cushion.

  2. so the kobe 7 cheetahs will be very good for outdoor play since their made of extremely durable rubber? Does this also mean that they are more durable than the kobe vi

    1. Im not positive but i think the Kobe VII has XDR outsoles no matter the colorway. Since this pair is from Asia, where outdoor ball is popular, they have advertised the use of XDR whereas in the US they dont even bother letting us know the XDR is on there.

  3. what my concern here,are the midsoles, are they tough enough? or they are just like drose 2, that the bunjees tend to loosen up in time.

    1. The sleeves seemed to be very tight upon the first wear, after numerous wears i will find out if they hold up.

  4. Very interesting indeed! I can’t wait to see the performance review on Youtube. And as well as the KD4’s, i’m really digging these a lot. I’m waiting for the review from you before I made my purchase. Peace

      1. i bought this in asia but the i think the nikestore here gets its pairs from the US. but i compared the feel of both outsoles and they feel pretty much the same.

          1. Ahaha I will be testing them outdoors soon and let you know if they’re good. Apparently outdoor basketball is popular in Australia too.

  5. I have the Kobe VII black grey 488371 001. Do every shoes that have XDR outsole end in 002? JUst wanted to make sure that it had XDR because here in he Philippines outdoor play is popular.

    1. ahaha I have been to the philippines and have filipino descent. not just cement outdoor ball is popular but also muddy soil basketball haha.

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