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Nike Kobe 9 Elite Performance Review

Nike Kobe 9 Elite

$ 300
  • Release Date: 2014

UPDATE: If you are looking for a modern performance model with similar performance, check out the Serious Player Only Player 1.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The Nike Kobe 9 Elite Performance Review:



Nike Kobe 9 Elite Performance Review 1Traction – The best traction I’ve ever had has come from two shoes… the Air Jordan XX8 and the Air Penny 5. I can now add the Kobe 9 Elite to that list. In fact, It’d be tied with the Air Jordan XX8 for that #1 spot. Yeah… its that freaking good. It must be a combination of the pattern itself and the thin rubber. You receive such a natural feeling when maneuvering that its almost as if you can feel the floor beneath your toes. Outdoor players will want to stay away from these as that thin rubber will likely wear out very quickly. How quickly? Wait here while I go grab my sneaker wear and tear calculator…

Nike Kobe 9 Elite Performance Review 2Cushion – These feature the same system as the Kobe 8. If you enjoyed the full length Lunarlon midsole then you’ll be pretty pleased here. If you bought any of the other Kobe 8 models that featured different cushion setups and foams then you can easily swap them out for a different/ custom ride. The greatest part is that you can use the LeBron 11 Lunarlon/ Zoom Air midsole in these bad boys so if low profile isn’t quite your thing then all you have to do is swap them out with the LeBron midsole and you’re good to go.

Nike Kobe 9 Elite Performance Review 3Materials – Flyknit, Fuse and some really sweet looking Carbon Fiber panels are the main materials used. Flyknit is abundant throughout and backed by a very thin TPU/ Fuse for some additional structure and support. Why would they use Flyknit if they were going to use Fuse? I don’t know… why would they use Engineered Mesh if they were just going to use Fuse? Obviously basketball and running have two different styles of movement. For added security the thin layer of Fuse was put in place to ensure the structural integrity isn’t compromised during play.

Nike Kobe 9 Elite Performance Review 4Fit – As mentioned in their First Impression, there is a bit of dead space within the toe but I still would recommend going true to size. Length wise, everything fits fine, there just seems to be a bit of extra volume in these that I personally prefer to not have. LeBron would probably love how they fit whereas I prefer the snug fit from the LeBron 11. Speaking of the LeBron 11… you can use that midsole that I went over in the cushion section to help add a slight lift within the shoe thus taking up the dead space within. Were they horribly sloppy without the LeBron midsole? Not at all, quite the opposite… I just like how it feels when the shoe is touching my foot… makes me feel more secure.

Lockdown is great throughout the shoe, especially in the heel… no, not because they are really high cut. Its because the Flyknit in that area fits like a sock so you have something that really hugs and contains without limiting any restriction. A high that plays like a low. I do feel the collar height is unnecessary as I achieve perfect lockdown from the third to last eyelet but for those that wish to enable their mental placebo… these will work well for that.

Nike Kobe 9 Elite Performance Review 5Ventilation – Definitely not their strong suit. The tongue and toebox perforations are the only true points of ventilation. Its nothing horrible but its noteworthy for those that wish to have something a little more breathable.

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Support – Yes, they are ridiculously high… no, that’s not where their support comes from. Their fit, however, keeps your foot in place along the midfoot and heel which is exactly what helps support the foot upon movements. No shifting or sliding around within the shoe at all and the Carbon Fiber heel panels help ensure that no slipping will occur upon lateral movements. You’ll be able to play the way you want to while being very well protected from a support standpoint.

What about the lack of shank plate? That was easier for me to describe visually so I go over that in the video above.

Nike Kobe 9 Elite Performance Review 7

Overall – I love playing in the Nike Kobe 9 Elite. They offer everything I personally want and need. Excellent traction, great cushion, nice materials with a supportive yet mobile fit and support for lateral movements. If you happen to want or need more cushion then that is an option, so long as you own a pair of LeBron 11’s. I would have loved to have seen these in a lower cut. A high top would have still been fine… just not this high since that’s just extra material that doesn’t need to be there. However, If you are able to get your hands on a pair then I highly recommend them. Last year the Air Jordan XX8 was my top shoe of the year ever since their February launch… history has found a way to repeat itself…

Shop Kobe at Nike.

Nike Kobe 9 Elite Performance Review 8

More Kobe Reviews

  1. Hey, NW! I was that guy (@mikes41720) on Twitter who wished you would be getting a pair of Kobe 9’s, and a day after, what do you know! Glad you also touched up on the Lebron XI insert working just fine in the Kobe 9’s. I don’t think I’ll be getting a pair anytime soon though, but it’s nice to know that we have options with cushion set-ups in different shoes. Another great performance review! Just wanted to clarify if the over-all score was really just an 8? Totaled up and divided all the 6 attributes, and it came up to 8.667? I might be wrong though.

    More power to you, Nightwing2303!

  2. Hey Nightwing great job on the reviews. Did you try to use them with high top part and the tongue bent down inward?
    Maybe you should try it if you didn’t and make a review on it.
    Another thing you forgot to mention was the breaking time on them.
    Thanks for your help on the heads up for us.

  3. Did you try or could you try the Jordan 2011 midsoles. The Quick Zoom Midsole might be a cool combo – thinking out loud here.

  4. I saw this on my cell a few minutes after you posted it and I just had this notion that it was going to drop tonight. Great job Nightwing! The scores reflect what I’ve been thinking, these are like the Kobe 8 with more a containment feel with all of the extra lightweight material. The scores are the same too, minus ventilation being higher in the Kobe 8.

    I noticed that midfoot dead space crease that you mentioned in the 2nd row of eyelets after my first session as well. It didn’t bother me either, but it is cool that you catch everything.

    Nightwing you really do understand the science of hoop kicks and break it down nicely. I am familiar with traditional shanks and noticed the carbon fiber wings on the side of these. Nike/Eric Avar is a genius in engineering these to still get the support job done with innovation. Also credit to you in that demonstration that you did in flexing the shoe showing that you’re covered either way.

    I have a request. If you consider reviewing the kobe 9 low or any other shoe with drop in lunarlon, would you show a side by side of what new lunarlon and bottomed out lunarlon looks like?

    My 2013 budget issues are likely to carry over to 2014 with reviews like this lol.

  5. NW, great review as always. I must agree, the XX8 & SE are fantastic shoes. It’s taken a year to get my hands on them but it has been worth it! The Melo M10 is up there too. The BEST Jordan’s & best sneakers I have worn.!

  6. Great review, Nightwing! I like that you are going back to the 5+minute long reviews and really going in depth on every topic. I wish that nike would start selling the midsole/insoles separate so that you could change them easier between shoes. One question, would the insoles from the air jordan 2011 fit in these?

  7. Shoe seems great but it’s a pass for me at that price I’d rather rock the xx8 se or Melos. Kd elites have me intrigued but I don’t like a full length low cut, wish he or melo would use a full length zoom with a mid top

  8. Hey Nightwing thanks for the review. These are quite heavy, was very surprised with how much they weigh. I also agree with you on the tongue height really not necessary. Quick question you think theres a way to shorten the height on the tongue? For example cutting it 2-3 inches then getting it stitched from like a taylor lol. Would love to hear you thoughts. Thanks

    1. There is some extra volume between the top of your toe and the material aka dead space. Length and width wise there is no issue but as I said in the review, I personally like the materials to touch my foot as it makes me feel more secure.

      1. can’t support a tendon… it’s like a rubber band and you can’t support those in a shoe last time I checked. Or guess really in anything… they just stretch.

  9. Awh man. Just as I was about to buy a pair of the xx28 SEs’s, you had to post this review up!

    Would you say the price is worth it? Or should I just stick with the xx28s?

    Keep up the great work brother!

  10. ok thanks for the response man. quick question I mostly play outdoors but also indoors sometime. between the Nike zoom hyperfuse 2010 or the Jordan Super Fly 2 which one you think I should invest in? The super fly is around $120 and the Hyperfuse 2010 is about $80? Thanks in advance and if you can give me some insight that would be great.

    1. Hyperfuse since they were originally made for outdoor players. Cheaper, more durable, no Unlocked Zoom that could pop.

        1. Yeah but like Jash said, they can possibly pop with the unlocked zoom. Ppl have had issues with the SE and Super Fly 2 due to the unlocked zoom bags popping considerably soon after making the purchase. You wouldn’t have to worry about that with the Hyperfuse.

  11. Would going down a half size help with the dead space at all? Even if it is a tighter fit by going down a half size, I have a feeling this material would loosen up or stretch somewhat. Thoughts?

  12. Anyway to try to make the outsole more durable? Should I try coating it with the shoe cleaner footlocker has than smells weird and dries fast? I’m a little scared that might do the opposite and ruin the soles….

  13. Great review Nightwing! But I will have to go with the Hyperdunks over these babies. I like the Kobe 8 and thought Nike would come up with a better Kobe 9. But no, maybe its personal preference. They are to effinfg high. I believe Hyperrevs are overrated too.

  14. Great design but biggest disappointment of the year for me performance wise.High top makes it very hard for toe off and flyknit doesnt hug my foot like other flyknit products.

  15. What happened to the Battier VIII review?? waiting on your knowledge before i make a purchase decision Nightwing!!

  16. Thanks for the review. Great to hear that it performed well. I was afraid that it was going to be another kobe 7, i.e., a step back.
    The carbon fiber on the side makes sense for lateral and angular (twist) stability; but does it really make up sufficient for the lack of a shank? My understanding is that it was mainly for the midfoot reinforcement (prevent foot stress), and even energy return. Does it not flex too much?

  17. @Nightwing and anyone else who may have info..is there anywhere you can buy just the lebron 11 midsole or replacement midsoles? That way when I use the lebron 11 midsole in the kobes I wouldnt be wearing down 1 midsole for two pairs of shoes twice as fast.

  18. Do you know where we can get a pair? I’m from Australia and i’ve been trying footlocker or eastbay. With no luck. I was counting down and they were gone in seconds. Why the hell would nike make buying these things so damn stressful? It’s like they dont want the people to buy them.SMH

  19. Been reading that the laces on these can rip. Any truth to that claim? How have the laces been holding up for those that have them now?

    1. The laces are cheap and yarn like. They are holding up ok after a month’s time, but I would’ve like to have had laces like on the Lebron XI for what these cost.

      1. Thanks for the info man.

        Does the 9 have the same arch support the 8 had? The KB8 midsoles molded perfectly for me with that plastic shank on the outsole, I was wondering if the 9 fit the same in that area.

          1. Thanks NW, that was my only gripe with the Lebron XI midsole. Loved the cushion, but it never molded to my damn high arches like the 8 did. Felt a huge gap between the arch area and the midsole unlike the Kobe 8 midsole.

            Man… me and my feet, I gotta get over myself, haha.

          2. sir nightwing2303 i have a kobe 9 team elite but iam affraid to use it because yove said on your videos that when i use this outdoor the out soul will burn quickly,,..if you know how much time the outsole can survie 😀 please tell me,,..im not very fluent in english im so sorry my idol nightwing your my number 1 consultant when i buy shoes i first look at your channel then if the performance review is good then i buy the shoes,,,nightwing thank you for your review at the kobe 9 elite its so true but for me the fit is 10/10,,the 1 thing i dont like is it is not xdr,…in the philippines and here in riyadh the court is always outdoor thats why im soaffraid to use my kb9 elite

  20. question about putting the lebron 11 midsole in the kobe 9’s. Wouldnt that take much of the flexibility of the shoe away..which is something you prefer or enjoy?

    1. I stated I personally preferred the Lunar midsole and it doesnt hinder flex that much. The Posite panels on the LeBron 11 were that shoes reason for lack of felx, not the midsole.

  21. I currently have the lebron 11s and love them, thinking about making the switch though as these look lighter and slimmer overall. I know they’re actually a similar weight but read other reviews saying they mold to your leg and the weight isn’t felt? What do you think I should do?

  22. Nightwing mentioned he could have possibly went down half a size…so i decide to take a risk and get the kobe 9 perspective in an 11 instead of my usual 11.5….and well it fits like a glove i tried my lebron insole in though and I preferred the kobe one anyways. The heel feels amazing likes it being tightly cupped…best lockdown i’ve experienced.

  23. Just got my Perspectives in. I wear an 11.5 in all Nikes (Kobes, Jordans, etc.), and these fit like a glove. I’m not noticing the dead space people are talking about just from trying ’em on, but my feet are semi wide. Going down half a size definitely would not have worked for me.

    From a first try, I really love the arch support and cushion. It feels slightly thicker than the 8, and the shoe itself is definitely more supportive. Can’t wait for my achilles strain to get right so I can get back on the court with these.

  24. Finally got to try these out yesterday! They are freaking awesome, thanks again for the review.

    The lunar cushioning is definitely a little bit more firm and thicker than the 8s for me (a good thing). Between the XX8 style flight plate shoes and the Kobe IX, it’s a close. Personally, I’d give the IX a slight edge due to the bad luck I’ve experienced with the durability of the zoom units in XX8 based shoes. I also like how the high fly knit collar worked as well.

    I briefly tried the Lebron 11 midsole in these, and definitely prefer the default inserts. The shell of the Kobe IX pronounces the arch of the Lebron 11 midsole a little better for me, but not as good as the default lunar midsole. Like I said in a comment before, I didn’t feel any dead space in the forefoot area even while playing. With the 11 midsole it was extra snug (fit more comfortably than the Lebron 11 after break-in), and I can see how people would enjoy that, but I prefer lower profile cushioning overall.

    The perspectives are definitely a loud color way compared to the rest in pics (aside from the showtimes), but when you have these in hand, I realized how clean and good they look. Glad I waited for these as opposed to the Inspirations. I’ll definitely use my Nike voucher to scoop up the Details this weekend for double-up action.

    One last thing of note that I thought was pretty funny. When I laced these up yesterday afternoon, all the old timers at a rec center I play at regularly noted how awesome these were saying, “They finally brought back ‘True High-tops’, about time!” & “Where do we get these?”.

  25. I don’t know about “enabling my mental placebo” but I do think the height and lacing is a little overdone. I think with both these and the LeBron 10 Elite, the three-hole setup is overkill. two lace loops on the ankle with a little more space between them would have a better feel.

    Many people were clamoring for the lows in the Kobe 9, but personally I think a mid would make an interesting shoe. Something smack in between the low and this shoe.

  26. wear and tear of the kobe 9 if used only once in the outdoor. if its ok to used once. just want to havea idea coz i would like to used it once for outdoor game. waiting for your reply

  27. Hey guys, I’m just wondering. when broken into. do you know if the shoe stretches out? I tried them out at a footlocker, with my elite socks, it fits snug as an 8.5 but with normal nike socks, i fit in a size 8 (SNUG). A buddy of mine said that they stretch out a bit so going for a tighter fit would be best since there is also some deadspace. When i went for the half size smaller i didn’t notice my toes hitting the tip of the shoe, infact they were perfect and right on. HELP please.

    1. I always buy 11.5 in Nikes and I bought two pair of Kobe 9s in 11s and I was happy I did. They fit absolutely perfect and I didnt notice any deadspace like nightwing mentioned. You might just have to un-lace the first 3 holes when you put em every time because its tough to get the foot in there with it being so high topped. Anyways, a half size is like only an 1/8 inch difference in length or something like that, so unless you have a wide foot going down .5 size shouldn’t cause you a problem.

    2. A general rule of thumb I’ve used for athletic shoes is to make sure your toes don’t touch so they don’t crash when you make hard movements and stops. Some people like an extra snug fit though, so as long as you’re comfortable overall, I’d say go with the size that works best for you. Run around the store and cut a little ’til they tell you to stop I guess to get a better idea, haha.

      I don’t know about the shoe “stretching out”, but yeah materials with any athletic shoe will stretch over time after putting in work with them. When that happens you usually just adjust the lacing to tighten the fit. I purchased my Kobe 9 Elites in my Nike TTS and they’re pretty much a perfect fit with Nike Elite socks. The EM pairs I’ve tried on in store for comparison are slightly more snug, but again pretty much a perfect fit.

      Overall, athletic podiatrists generally advise that after 60 hours of extensive/hard play, shoes should be retired and not used further due to midsole compression and stretching of the upper materials from the torque of use and moisture from sweat. But let’s be real here, most of us (that I know of at least) are just casual players, and can get a lot more mileage out of a pair of premium performance sneakers like this. This recommendation applies more to college and pro players.

  28. When ever I play in my Kobe 9’s, when i land a certain way the sideof my ankle has a pinching sharp pain. Hurts either my right or left ankles on what foot i land on. Does anyone else have this problem? the fuse cuts into my ankles

  29. Sometimes when i land, i feel ankle pain because of the shoe. a couple other players with this say the same thing, and i constantly have to pull on the shoe like socks haha. did u feel this too?

  30. I have the kobe 9 details and one thing I’ve noticed it that I get blisters on my ankle bone because of the high collar digging into my ankle when I make sharp cuts. Will the higher LeBron 11 midsole help fix that with a little bit of a higher ride?

    1. Is your traction good? Cause in all the reviews they say traction on the kobe 9’s is killer, but I’ve been having some issues. I could stick to the floor much better with the kobe 8’s. I don’t know if maybe it could be the marbled outsoles on the “detail” model alone that made the material harder or something. Or maybe it’s just me.

  31. Hey Nightwing, what should I go and purchase? The Kobe 9 Elites or UA’s Clutchfit Drive? What’s the all-around better basketball shoe?

  32. I just got the elite lows and I was just wondering how long of a break-in time you think would be necessary. Thanks sharing for the great performance review.

  33. I just got the Kobe 9 High EXT “Snakeskin”, and i wonder if i can hoop with them. Can you make a performance review for it?

    1. Hey bro I’m thinking of getting thies too I know you comment a long time a go but can you tell me if you can hoop in thies no clue

  34. Great video! I just found your website today and I have been trying to decide which shoes to get. I play alot of on and off court basketball and was wondering which would be better, the Lebron 12’s or the Kobe 9’s. Would love to hear your opinion and aldo what you recommend.

  35. Just a heads up for anyone looking for lace replacements for the KB IX Elite High. johnniethong on Ebay sells great laces, way more durable than the yarn laces that came with most of the KB IX Elite highs. The 72″ laces worked perfectly, I’m a size US 11.5 for reference. Pretty happy that new laces brought new life into my favorite performance sneakers to date.

  36. night wing what u mean when u say low profiile cushion? really i dont understand.
    the hyperfuse, hyperdunk, hypedf,hyperfranchise, superfly 2 all of them are low profile too? beacuse this the cushion i like.. what is the diffrance?

  37. Hey I’ve read a TON of your reviews and think your a reliable source and you do an amazing job. I was just wondering what you would prefer for the traction the Nike Zoom Soldier Viii or the Kobe 9

    1. Because we’re a tiny town in Arkansas with a court with about 3 inches of dust and need completely re-finished and varnishes

  38. I am playing volleyball, and i’ve tried volleyball shoes like asics and mizuno, Jordan 28 also, but these are FIRE! I’ve had a broken anjle last month, and doctor said, that I need high shoes with additional ankle support. Kobes are the best shoes i’ve ever played in! This carbon cup holds your feet better than girls keep the boys in friendzone. Also traction is really nice. But, i dont understand the idea of makung main part out of Flyknit. It isn’t as soft as free run flyknit, but anyway, one more problem is rubber insole. Feels like i’m playing in goddamn crocs sometimes. And the last is ventilation. After 2 hour of jumping and stuff, feels like there’s a grandmas winter socks on your feet.

  39. did anyone get bad blistering on inside arch of your foot when playing for a bit? Fit is perfect, just 2 spots in inside of foot? Is this a common issue or just me?

  40. Hi does anyone know if I can get new insoles for kobe 9’s. And if so were from? As after 30 odd wears it wears out. Shoes are in perfect condition I rather buy new insoles then new shoes again. Thanks

  41. how about wide feet? do they work for wide feet? i read that they have more space than they should have. if they are like the curry 2.5 then they will fit me.

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