WearTesters is reader-supported. When you make purchases using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Why trust us?

Nike Kobe A.D. Performance Review

Well, these were disappointing…

Traction – Much like the Nike Kobe 11, the traction on the Nike Kobe A.D. was a hit or miss. We’ve been down this road numerous times now so we’ll just get it out of the way right now: if you end up grabbing a pair of the Kobe A.D., do yourself a favor and grab a colorway that offers you solid rubber.

I play on four different courts regularly and I had a different experience with the A.D.’s traction each time I played in them. When the traction worked, it worked really well. Those little nubs that are reminiscent of the Kobe X as they splay while in motion gripping and grabbing the court with every maneuver. You’d think that dustier settings would clog up these areas and make them slippery — which did happen sometimes — but that wasn’t always the case. Sometimes, I was glued to the floor and other times I wasn’t. When I’d stick, sometimes there was dust, and sometimes there wasn’t. Same with when I’d be slipping the entire run.

The Kobe A.D. reminded me a lot of my experiences in the Air Jordan 30, Air Jordan 31, and Nike Kobe 11 (translucent outsole version).

Again, when it was good it was awesome. When it wasn’t…well, it wasn’t. Solid rubber options seems work the best more often than the translucent rubber options (when dealing with a Nike or Jordan Brand shoe). If you want consistency within the traction then solid rubber should be a much better option.

Cushion – When I initially bought the shoe I thought we’d be getting a very similar setup to the Nike Kobe X. Not the best Kobe in terms of cushion, but they were definitely not the worst. Tech specs were stated as — and this is a direct quote:

“Down below, the Kobe A.D. is equipped with a translucent midsole sidewall, exposing a Lunarlon midsole and a Zoom Air unit in the heel for maximum responsiveness, comfort and cushioning with your every move.” – Nike

Now, if this is Lunarlon then it’s the worst Lunarlon I’ve ever worn — it feels like Phylon. Really. Dense. Phylon. Court feel is there, despite the fact that you ride a little higher than past models, but if this is where Lunarlon is headed then I’m pretty disappointed. I first tried Lunarlon while playing in the Jordan Fly Wade 2. Holy sh*t, that was an unbelievably comfortable shoe. These are a huge departure from that, and it’s very disheartening.

Moving onto the Zoom Air. This is the part when I just get a little pissed. I post updates on Instagram during my wear-testing just to give people a little taste of what I’m thinking when things are happening. When I complained about the lack of cushion the hate was real. Like, crazy real.

To discredit someone’s experience when playing in a shoe is one of the most juvenile and down right asinine things someone can do. Did we just enter the realm of a mini-rant? Sure; why not? I “keep it real” — as they say — all the time. Whether you like it or not. However, I wouldn’t cut someone down or attack their integrity — especially when we’re talking about sneakers.

Myself, along with the rest of the WearTesters staff are always unbiased, self funded (yes, we purchase the majority of shoes tested), we are not affiliated with any brand, we collect no payments from any brand, and if a product is gifted you will hear our non-biased opinions about said product. That even applies when I decide to collaborate my brand (WearTesters) with another to release a product (because I genuinely enjoy the product) — I collect no payment as it’s something I personally request. You will definitely see ads here on the site and on the YouTube end because that is the only way we’re able to fund all of this. If you ever disagree with another person then, by all means, discuss the differences that you’ve experienced. However, if you attempt to attack someone and their integrity, honesty, experience — unprovoked mind you — without facts, well then, that’s just wrong. Thinking that you’re above another person is just ridiculous. End rant.

Back to the Zoom Air. There isn’t much of it. Nike led you to believe that it used a large volume Zoom unit in the heel, much like it had done in the Kobe X. However, it’s just an engraved piece of TPU that Nike was able to replicate the look of Zoom on (it did a fantastic job). What we received instead is a regular-sized Zoom Air unit within the rock hard “Lunarlon” midsole.

The setup is very lackluster and required more break-in time than one expects to put up with nowadays. Pain at the arch of the foot, unresponsive Zoom, and Lunlarlon that has similar properties to Phylon. Not a good look.

Materials – Textile mesh is used along the upper. It’s lightweight, strong and durable. It’s also very supportive for a textile. This is a good and bad thing. It‘s great for those that require more support and want to keep things as light as possible. However, the materials also require more break-in time than one would expect today. My pair still hasn’t broken-in and I’ve been trying to get them used to my foot for about a month now. They pinch and blister the sides of my feet (both feet) when playing. To the point where it becomes unbearable to deal with.

The last time I dealt with a shoe that did this to my feet was the Nike Kobe 7. However, I was able to fix the issues that caused the blistering and chaffing within the shoe. Unfortunately, I can’t do much of anything with these to resolve what I’ve been experiencing.

I miss the plastic and glue infused Flyknit we’ve been seeing on the past few Kobe models…and I can’t believe it.

Fit – The Kobe A.D. fits true to size and this is the one aspect of the shoe that is pretty solid. Containment and support from the fit are well balanced. The heel is the best aspect since the forefoot — even though it fits and contains — caused a ton of pain due to the materials used. Wide footers might want to go up 1/2 size, but trying them on is always the best way to measure what may or may not work for you.

Support – The support features are pretty standard. Although, I don’t think there is a TPU midfoot shank — I may be wrong — as we have the TPU sidewall instead. There is a tiny outrigger in place, and it gets in the way (somehow) more often than not. It’s a strange feeling that I haven’t really experienced before, the best way I know how to describe it is that at times it felt as if it was getting sucked under my feet. Mostly when I’d quickly move laterally to avoid a defender while setting my feet for a pull-up jump shot. However, the heel containment and support is excellent. The design and sculpt of the heel is something I hope to see on future editions of the Kobe model, it‘s that good.

Overall – Utter disappointment. Was I duped? $160 spent and wasted. Those are my feelings when thinking about the Nike Kobe A.D. If you enjoy your pair then I am genuinely happy for you as that would mean you enjoy your purchase and don’t share the same sentiment that I do. Every once in a while a brand puts out a dud. This was a giant one.

  1. I know the instagram issue that u mentioned as I read through the whole comment lol. Do not get pissed off by these guys. I always will not take all these reviews as 100% correct/ legit as everyone experience is different ( I read reviews that love the AD) and everyone have the right to give PERSONAL opinion.
    I have been followed NB and Weartesters for 3 years and I can say these guys are really one of the best and sincere on what they did.
    NB, please continue to do this, u deserve what u have right now (“rich” YouTuber lol)

    1. It’s not just people on IG, but also people that do their own reviews taking shots at us as if we did something to them personally based on a performance review of a shoe. There are people out there that are just plain ass wipes. However, I appreciate you and everyone else that supports what we do.

      1. i just came by some “testers” reviewing the nike clear outs *cough sole brothers cough* they said that those featured zoom in the heel, actually the quote was “you can’t feel the zoom in the forefoot but you can definitely feel it in the heel”, and i commented that they don’t know what they were talking about and there is no heel zoom in the clear outs. they called me ignorant for doing that lol.

        i love how you guys always do your homework at weartesters. we really appreciate it.

      2. Hey, resident asshole here, and you know my take. There are some over exuberant Kobe fans that are complete idiots, then not wanting to hear the truth about the product that bears the name of their favorite player. Niketalk has a ton of those morons, and they branch out from there trying to influence the buying public, which is hilarious considering that there are nothing bunch of Pugsley Addams looking mofo’s on that site who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, pumping what are nothing but over priced replica’s of shoes that the sig bearers do not even wear, and that includes LeBron and Kyrie, with the former wearing a take down of his shoe for the last half of the season, right up until this past holiday. You do good work NIGHTWING, as I am possibly the harshest critic of Nike product there is out there, and NIKE knows it, because I know what I am talking about when it comes to their crappy shoes and disingenuous marketing tactics. Kobe’s shoes have always been complete crap, but you guys here at WEARTESTERS have tried to be fair over the years, but that is not enough for those jackasses over on NikeTalk and their accompanying sycophantic legion, those that lie right along with Nike in order to get a job with nike, like the other clown in chief who is destroying LeBron’s game, one Mr. Jason Petrie. Adidas is doing their thing as are other brands, and Nike has fallen off big time. I personally hope the descent happens very quickly, just to watch their fans run off the boat just like rats leaving a sinking ship. Kobe’s gone and good riddance for an completely overrated, egotistical, petulant burger, one who never had any cool.

    2. I’m a regular Weartesters reader since about two years ago, when I started to buy sneakers in a more frequently basis (I found you as Kicks on Court if my memory doesn’t fail) At first I didn’t know too much about all the aspects in one shoe beside what I like or not visually (I was so happy when I get the Kobe 7 til there was two months and my feet still hurt while playing in them). Reading other reviewers and WT at the same time, my experience with the shoes almost all the time was accord what I found here and still is today. Keep doing that awesome job NW, Jahron and the rest of the Staff, no matter if you don’t pose or crack fingers, you’re the best testers on the net.

  2. The dissection photos showing up are so upsetting. That’s straight up false advertisement – literally faking a performance aspect. They know it’ll draw attention, knowing it’s a lie. That’s worst than putting fake carbon fiber plates on retros. This line’s lost me. I’d be very suspicious about the quality of the Kobe retro line if they come out. Seems like they’ll try to shaft the customers on those too.
    Great work.

    1. Oh. And this is why quality and timely review sites like this are so important for consumers. – I’m sure some of the others are good too, but I rely mostly to you guys since it’s been consistently good with shoes I end up loving (i.e. Previous Kobes 🙁 ). Thanks again.

    2. Nike didn’t lie to anyone. No where in the description of the Kobe AD did it mention visible Zoom Air or Max Zoom. There’s even a deconstructed picture on Nike.com that shows the layers of the AD, and it clearly shows the Zoom Unit encased within the TPU midsole. Not defending Nike or anything, but calling them liars is a little pre-mature prior to any research being made.

        1. I too believe that the “remastered” was a pure excuse to justify the mark up in price. However we did see some well executed retros in 2016, along with some that weren’t done well. As NW said last year, “Inconsistent” is the best way to describe it. Besides the point, regarding the AD its like Obi-Wan, what Nike told us was true, “from a certain point of view.” (Shout out to Princess Leia). Description never said max zoom, or large volume zoom, or visible zoom Air. Just zoom Air in the heel. AD underwhelming? Yes. Adidas best performance sneaker of 2016? Yes.

          1. What Nike said was quoted within the review. They made it clear that the TPU showcased the tech within. Was the description written incorrectly? I’m not sure. It seems like it was. As for the breakdown, can you provide me a link? I can’t find it anywhere on Nike’s site. Thanks!

      1. NW said it is the design feature of the shoe that lie to consumers. Because at the bottom of the shoe, it shows “NIKE ZOOM” and the TPU wrap’s design seems to show there is a bottom-loaded zoom. I think what NW said is that the look of the shoe somehow tells lie to the consumers

  3. I second that. Great review on a disappointing shoe. Actually very entertaining to see so many bad review icons on this. makes me want to go to the store and try them on. Should be fun.

  4. Its pretty shitty that Nike went and lied about the Zoom Air unit and even went as far as to create the illusion that it had a large Zoom Air unit. Don’t see the need for them to do that when they are charging people $160 for this shoe.

  5. I didn’t read the posts or any of that, but what’s ironic is you got called out for saying something negative about a shoe. If people are going to question integrity and honesty and all of that, it should be when you say something good about a shoe that sucks, not saying something bad about a sig. shoe from Nike. Makes no sense.

    That said, the last Kobe I liked were the IX’s. I didn’t like the X’s (way too clunky and transition was bad) and the XI’s were too similar. The AD’s seem similar to the XI’s so I’m not interested at all.

  6. It’s very disappointing from the leader in basketball shoes to create a pair like the AD. Especially if the pair belongs to one of the most recognisable and longlife singature lines. Keep up with the good work!

  7. Props to FastPass for going in and you for helping make sure it goes unnoticed. Regardless if it was (intentional) deceit, that’s just a real s**ty step back to continue riding Kobe’s on future products. I don’t think there’s any real example of a top-loaded Zoom, period (even if full-length), that can compete with today’s standards apart from bottom-budget offerings.

    Regarding the subject of review integrity, that *one guy* had too much time on his hands. Never mind how inept he was at communicating; apparently it was a priority to get heated someone’s opinion over literal sneakers instead of take a quick shot (regardless if uncalled for) and move along. Not quantum physics, or the cure to cancer, or signs of alien life — but sneakers. I know you were just getting a point across in response, but I’d say don’t bother with that crap after 1-2 exchanges. Afterwards they’re just a lost cause.

  8. I considered getting a pair (on sales) for offcourt wearing (I really love the looks especially on the black/white ones) but you made me realise it’s not worth it. So thanks again. I follow you since “kicksoncourt” and I really appreciate your passion. I had a real benefit from following you by choosing the best shoes for me. If I ever disagreed with a review it was not because of your accuracy or beacause of your honesty but because of the fact that sometimes I value some things more and other things are less important for me as they are for you (so it is a strictly personal point of view). So, even if it hurts, cheap shots will always be taken (especially on Internet), but be assured that there we are many that really appreciate your work and benefit directly from it. Keep up the good work. Peace.

  9. You guys never wondered why the zoom would be visible on the lateral side and not on the medial side?

    I found that strange the first time official pics came out.

  10. I’m not surprised. It sucks that the shoe came out like this when the KD9 was a good shoe for those of us that could wear it due to the narrow build. The AD was probably a balance out shoe. What I mean is, Nike had to come down in price of other sigs but …Shareholders. LOL! That money has to come from somewhere so they short changed people regarding tech on this one to make it even less expensive than shoes already are to make and then charged a crazy price. I mean think about how insane it is that at retail these are more than the KD9 for what you get.

    As for the integrity stuff, every couple of months I notice someone who actively goes at NW or someone else. I didn’t catch this particular exchange but keep doing what you guys do. I’ve been a follower (daily) since I came across your vids back in the day when you didn’t even show your face. Since then, I’ve watched the channel, website, and brand grow so much that it’s genuinely commendable. Keep up the great work and just know that if no one ever tried to go at you, you’d be doing something wrong. LoL!

  11. First off to NW and the weartesters crew I appreciate what you do. People maybe lose sight that you also have a regular job and a family. An extra like this is something very few people could take on. Regarding the shoe, could I even wear it comfortably casually? I bought the ultra fly last year and couldn’t even walk in it because it hurt my foot so much.

  12. nice review as always nightwing. doesnt matter what the rest of the haters say. you’ve got one heck of a review site. hope you keep putting up honest reviews of these sneakers.

  13. Tried these on in store. I wasn’t playing in them, but just on a try on Nightwing’s points seemed valid. The upper wasn’t very comfortable, and the cushion sucked. The lesson is this: don’t listen to Kobe stans. I grew up in LA and am a Kobe fan, but the stans give us a bad name. They’re like some crazed cult.

  14. Not gonna lie I bought a pair of these and I really enjoy them. I have a decently wide foot so for the first wears I had the laces pretty loose but it’s breaking in really well. I get the frustration with the long break in time but honestly it feels more durable because of it and once its broken in it feels really good. I did get the solid rubber outsole so traction is good and consistent. Also it’s easy to wipe the dust off of this traction pattern. The black model shown in the picture above is the one I got. It was on sale for $120 at footlocker and I have to say I’m pretty glad I bought them. Thanks for the review though!

  15. I dont understand how so many NBA players are wearing these shoes. Ex. John Wall, Demar Derozan, Isaiah Thomas, Giannis Antetokounmpo

    1. I was thinking the same thing. These guys could wear anything they want, yet they wear the AD. If it is so bad, why are so many pros wearing it?

      1. You ever think that maybe they genuinely like the shoe? Traction wouldn’t be an issue with the pristine courts they play on. Cushion doesn’t ever seem to affect NBA players. They could play in boots and be happy — as long as they get that check. The issues I had with them came from the way the shoe fit along with the cushion. Nothing is simply black and white. There is no shoe made that will fit every person’s needs. There are plenty of shoes out there which means there is one that will suit your needs.

Add a Comment

Related Posts