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Nike Kobe AD NXT FastFit Performance Review

The best iteration of Nike’s laceless FastFit system is here.

Traction on the Nike Kobe AD NXT FF is aggressive in both looks and performance.

The scale pattern has proven to be fairly durable during indoor testing and has a bit to it that reminds me of the solid rubber offerings from the Nike Kobe 11 EM. Something I love is that the channels or grooved in between each row of these scales are spaced far enough apart that if dust is present on your court then it falls right through. If you happen to play on a really filthy floor like I do at my local 24 Hr Fitness, and dust starts clumping up on the outsole a quick wipe and I was good-to-go.

Outdoors, the traction does grip and grip well. However, I wouldn’t want to spend $200 on an outdoor shoe, nor would I want my outdoor shoe to have a traction pattern made of nubs. Herringbone would be my go-to as it wears a bit more evenly.

Cushion comes in the form of a drop-in midsole featuring full-length React. There is a small section of Cushlon that acts as a stability layer in the rear heel, but the majority of the midsole is React foam.

If you’ve played in the Nike Kobe AD NXT 360, which featured React and Lunarlon, this setup isn’t as plush/soft as those were. However, I found this setup to be slightly more enjoyable as I like a little firmness for stability/court feel purposes, and there was plenty of React to go around for impact protection.

Materials are interesting. It felt like I wasn’t wearing anything at all when I first put them on. Because of this I was hesitant to play at normal speed. Once my warmups were done and I began playing my first few games in them, I went from being hesitant to forgetting I was wearing anything at all.

Under the spandex-like overlay there is Nike’s QuadFit material. I believe that internal section of the shoe is what really carries the brunt of the weight and force applied when cutting and changing directions. Add to the QuadFit system the nylon “laces” loops that the FastFit system is fed through, where laces would traditionally be, and you have a fairly normal setup for a shoe.

They fit true to size, and lockdown was a pleasant surprise. As mentioned in the material section above, I was very hesitant at first, but wound up falling in love with how they felt. For some reason they just fit my foot right, something I was unable to achieve with the Air Jordan 33 until after I realized you can pull the FastFit system too tight. With this version of the system, I could only pull them to a certain point and then they just wouldn’t tighten up anymore. I’m not sure if something was tweaked with the FastFit system to ensure there could be no over-tightening, but what the reason — these felt perfect for me.

Support was another surprise, given the flimsy nature of the build. Without using the cupsole to their advantage, I don’t think this material setup would have worked as well as it had. Luckily, your foot sits within the cupsole just enough to cover you on lateral movements while the outrigger takes care of the rest. There is a small heel counter in the shoe that also worked pretty well. The overall support was very reminiscent of the Nike Kobe AD NXT 360 — everything relied heavily on the entire shoe working in tandem with one another along with the fit, support features and FastFit lacing design.

Overall, I enjoyed the Kobe AD NXT FF a lot more than I thought I would.

I had called the Nike Kobe NXT 360 a next-generation type of shoe, and the Nike Kobe line kind of outdid themselves with this one. The rounded feel of the tooling featured on the NXT 360 was removed and replaced with something a bit more traditional — very similar feel to the Kobe 11. While the traction durability issues seem to have been addressed as well.

While the Air Jordan 33‘s FastFit system left me wanting more, the only thing with this version I could complain about is the lack of zonal tightening. With the lacing system being comprised of a single pulley system I can see why targeted zonal tightening is missing. It would be awesome if it was a future feature of FastFit — but only time will tell.

If you end up grabbing a pair of the Nike Kobe AD NXT FF then I hope you enjoy the shoe as much as I did.

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