The review you’ve all been waiting for….
Traction – This is my least favorite part of the shoe. The design pattern of the rubber is so tight that when you play on a floor that is not NBA/NCAA quality, you start picking up dust particles fairly quickly. Thus, you wipe your shoe more than you are focusing on defense and offense. Not to say the outsole rubber doesn’t work, it does, as long as you’re not playing daily at your local gym.
This shoe works well outdoors, but the rubber isn’t going to last you very long unless you NikeiD a pair utilizing the XDR traction. Even with XDR traction using indoor and/or outdoor, the general ball player will have the issue with dust picking up in between the tight-lined grid pattern of the outsole.
Cushion – Mannn…that cushion. With full-length Lunar foam and integrated heel Zoom, the midsole cushion set up is definitely adequate enough for the everyday baller, especially if you play close to the ground. Again, this is a pure midsole and if you take it out, there is nothing but the upper of Flyknit material and the rubberized outsole. (You can probably switch this midsole out with the Lebron 11’s full-length Zoom.)
The Lunar forefoot design with Free-inspired grid allows the foot to have a more natural motion in movement, while providing decent support along with the heel Zoom — for those that land heavily on their heels. I prefer either full-length Zoom or segmented forefoot and heel Zoom for cushioning, especially being the slightly stockier player that I am. Maybe in the future, Nike would be able to utilize the same design, but segment in Zoom pod grids where the Free-inspired Lunar forefoot cut is (wishful thinking, but I know that Innovation Lab is always cooking up ideas, hopefully they can utilize what is stated here). You can also NikeiD your preference of midsole with options such as cushioned Lunlarlon, precision heel Zoom (the one utilized here), or the responsive full-length Zoom (something I would prefer).
Materials – This is where the Kobe XI Elite excels. The Nike Flyknit construction that utilizes TPU yarn for lightweight durability is what makes the shoe stand out. I honestly wish they would have developed this material on the Kobe 9 Elite and Kobe 10 Elite. It’s also funny how Nightwing and I had discussed that the TPU yarn that shines underneath the Flywire is super similar to fishing wire. This, in itself, is NOT a negative; I think it’s a very bright idea with the utilization of the TPU wiring to reinforce the Flywire without losing any type of support. The overall utilization of the materials was extremely functional and stands out above everything else the shoe has to offer.
Fit – The shoe fits true to size. Length-wise, they fit perfectly fine for me. The majority of the Kobe line fits slightly narrow, but for me, I generally unlace all shoes I get and re-lace them to fit me better (some advice to you guys, I’d suggest a re-lace once you get a new shoe). The one thing that did pinch up on the side of my foot was from the laminated Nike symbol on the side of the shoe. I wish the Nike symbol was actually Flyknit designed on, which would probably look nice. Again, I did re-lace my shoe and loosened up the area which it pinched on, so afterwards it fit fine. The overall shoe achieved a very good lockdown.
Support – The support comes from the actual fit of the shoe. With the Flywire integrated as the lacing mechanism, the materials utilized give you a direct one-to-one fit. There was absolutely no shifting or sliding around in the shoe. With a properly molded heel counter and the TPU fused in with the Flyknit, the shoe kept me from worrying about anything else but playing my game. There is no shank plate applied to the midsole due to the nature of the full Lunar midsole with the Free-inspired natural flex and heel Zoom. The setup just naturally works.
Overall – I love the Nike Kobe signature series line (with exception of the 3 & 7). The Nike Kobe XI Elite offers ALMOST everything necessary that I need and want. Excellent usage of materials, good utilization of cushioning setup (and multiple options with NikeiD), and just overall setup. I just wish the traction pattern didn’t eat up dust like a vacuum cleaner. The shoe would generally work if you played daily on a pristine court, one that is washed, mopped, and waxed daily. I would recommend this shoe only if you play in those conditions or if you don’t mind playing in these outdoors, knowing that the traction would run out very quickly.
Hopefully, the Kobe line doesn’t end. I’m a big fan of the models engineered by Eric Avar and the utilization of the Innovation Kitchen. “IF” there is a next model, hopefully they’d correct the little nuance, and make the modification on the traction and suggestion of the cushion, and create the next big thing.
You can also purchase the Kobe 11 here and make sure you use 20% off code on checkout: ‘IPFL63FM’