Beyond what we have been told, what exactly separates the Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro from its original make-up? Well, the team at FastPass chopped up the shoe to find out.
While our WearTesters are here to give their most honest and educated opinions on performance models given the resources they have (i.e. a fully constructed pair of sneakers, and the dedication to an activity required to develop said opinions), the folks over at FastPass do a great job of confirming any suspicions reviewers and consumers have of a sneaker — positive or negative — by showing us exactly what we are buying. Today, we have a detailed look at the tech that makes the first model of Nike’s Kobe signature line a “performance retro.”
Starting off with a profile view of the Kobe 1 Protro, all seems in line with what we would expect, with the exception of one area. The half-bootie and Pro Combat compression around the rear and ankle combine to make a nicely-padded unitary construction. Poron inserts are found within the insole (at the heel and forefoot) for additional comfort and impact protection, and yes, there is a thinner layer of foam in the midsole. Of course, the reason for reduced foam was to make room for a top-loaded, full-length Zoom unit that you honestly may have missed at first glance — more on that to follow.
A cross cut and further dismantling of the Kobe 1 Protro reveals layers that include the upper’s external materials along with the forefoot encapsulation by way of the half-bootie. Other pieces include the insole, fabric layering, Zoom, a carbon fiber plate support at the arch and heel, and the outsole.
Touching back on the Zoom in the Kobe 1 Protro, we do see a full-length unit implemented this time around, making Nike’s promise of improved cushion legit when we compare it to the isolated forefoot and heel units of the original Kobe 1. While the deflation of the Kobe 1 Protro Zoom unit in the profile section does not do it justice, some may feel the Zoom unit is still thinner than expected when intact.
To put the thickness of the unit in perspective, FastPass compared this full-length Zoom unit to the Jordan Why Not Zer0.1 — a shoe that retails for $50 less than the Nike Kobe 1 Protro (and is much easier to buy). Not only does the Protro integrate a thinner unit at 6.77mm thick compared to Westbrook’s $125 signature, it also covers a slightly narrower base, which honestly isn’t too big of a deal considering the narrow cut is most noticeable around the arch of the foot where Zoom may not have as much of an effect.
While we are comparing, lets take a look at the versus everyone really came here to see: original Kobe 1 (white/grey) vs Kobe 1 Protro (black/Varsity Maize). Not much has changed with the upper as Nike wanted the retro model to be as close to the original as possible.
Getting to the base of the sneakers, the original Kobe 1 forefoot Zoom unit comes in nearly a millimeter thicker at 7.75mm while the heel unit more than doubles that of the Protro’s full-length unit, coming in at 14.36mm. The trade-off here is obviously more coverage on the Kobe 1 Protro.
Noticeable differences also include the toned-down Free foam set up in the Protro and a carbon fiber plate nearly half the size of the original. Neither is necessarily a downgrade.
Overall, the Nike Kobe 1 Protro deconstruction may bring some mixed opinions about the shoe. Some may feel that there is just not enough that has been “new and improved” to justify choosing this over more budget-friendly options while others may feel this approach Nike has taken to retro basketball sneakers is long overdue.
You can learn even more about this sneaker by checking out Duke4005’s Nike Kobe 1 Protro Performance Review — it’s an awesome read.
What are your thoughts on the Nike Kobe 1 Protro deconstructed? Could Nike have done more with this historically significant basketball sneaker or did it further refine what was already a great model? Share your thoughts down in the comments.