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Nike Kobe XI Elite Performance Review | NYJumpman23

The review you’ve all been waiting for….




TractionThis 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.

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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).

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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.

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FitThe 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.

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SupportThe 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.


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OverallI 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’

Kobe Xi Elite Badge

    1. Thank you Brother. If it only had that traction and kept me from sliding, it would have scored much higher. Although the Upper was good, without consistent traction, it definitely is not desirable.

  1. I’ve been using them on decent courts, nothing special but definitely better than a 24 hour fitness, and honestly haven’t had any issue. Really conflicted whether on not to bring them back, want them for performance use and love how they look,

    1. Liam, It depends on how you play. This is my personal aspect review. I play 5 on 5 2-3 times a week 3-4 hours a day. So I’m constantly going at it. I play on a pure competitive sense and utilized in multiple facets of my game being that I play every position itself. So I’m always cutting, rebounding, cutting,and utilizing every movement necessary when I play the game and try not to think about the shoe. The only time I think about it is when something doesn’t work properly or I find little things that bother me to help me conclude to the details I have in the video and the overall aspect of the shoe listed above.

    1. Ben, That’s up to you, It purely depends on how you play and the facets of your game. It also depends on your size/weight aspect also. I can’t tell you what you can or can’t wear, but I hope the reviews will have you decide which is for the better. Again, this reviews our sole based upon my own experience. I’m 6’1 200+ lbs, playing PG-C. Inside-outside game. I run the offense, and play down the block on defense. I love Kobe shoes and Also the Lebron line, so it’s difficult for me to give you my thought only because I might play the game differently than you. At the end of the day, “YOU” have to feel comfortable with the shoe and it has to fit to your capability and usage on court.

  2. On nike I’d the 20 dollar extra full length zoom doesn’t cover the toes so don’t like rather the true full length lunar setup

    1. The Zoom is there for impact protection on the pressure points on where your foot impacts and pushes off to return proper energy. Having too much support in places that don’t matter would add unnecessary weight, and return energy bounce back which would possibly provide a negative aspect feedback and dissolve your time to react to certain movements, which would be considered wasted movement. Pure physics.

  3. Thanks for the review, Nyjumpman23,
    and on a good start for you on doing performance review vids.
    Looking forward to your Ambassador 8 review.
    Given that the Hyperrev has responsive heel/forefoot Zoom based what the Weartesters staff is saying (Hawk Flight as well), good to hear Nike is sorta going back to that responsive setup.

    Just saying this:
    if people wonder why are we ok with, or preferred reusing the sole pattern of IX for the XI or like how people wanted Kobe IV sole with the Kobe V cushion setup but not the AJ Series. My view is with Jordan Brand, we come to expect innovative stuff, revised stuff rather than reusing exactly the same design. Obviously, brands do reuse designs in hybrid models, so let’s not forget that though.

    1. Nike has been going back to basics and I love it so far. As for Ambassador/hyperrev, that’ll be in turn for another discussion .
      As for Jordan Brand, I’m not sure, there could be a possibility of original design being scrapped, but wanted to make sure they are able to
      provide ball players with an already great overall shoe but make it better. I can’t answer for them, but I expect the 31 to be over the top. Tinker, Mark Smith, and the design team are probably on the works as soon as the announcement hit. Expectations will be at an all time high. thanks for watching/reading.

  4. Enjoyed the throwbacks in the review (and the review itself). Traction does seem like the common complaint so far, and that’s a shame because that was one of the line’s typical high points.

      1. I got the BHM’s today and played in them. didn’t find an issue with the traction at all. The court I play on is fairly clean but can get dusty at times. Don’t have the achilles one to compare. But traction on the solid rubber 11’s was on point

        1. yeah i think the solid outsole would have better traction compared to the translucnet. when i tried on the tranluent outsole ones in store, they were sticking the ground whcih would picking up dust alot eaiser. the bhm’s dont have that sort of “stick” on the sole so i think they will be better

    1. Not something I can say because It varies in size, naturally size 9 median – is probably about 11.9-12.7
      But for a size 13 which I wear, it’s about 13.8-14. Anything below 14.5-15oz it’s considered really light-weight. With the shoe being low top, it’s minimum on weight. Should be close to Kobe X weight.

    2. I’ve picked up the BHM’s as wellbut have yet had a chance to play in them and watching all these reviews makes me worried the the traction sucks. How many time have you played in them and has the traction help up for you????

    1. Not necessarily, if you have access to a court that’s always clean, the shoe might be the top notch. The technological design of the overall shoe is quite unique. The quality and details to infuse the flyknit with TPU wire and encage the flywire lacing system is completely out of this world. even the utilized free-Inspirrd flex groove Lunar insole, I believe can be improved by a lot with the ideas given in the video. It’s more than just what is said, the Intricies of the shoe is what make it stand out. Never count out Nike with its design/engineer team at the Lab, because as far as I see it, the next two models I’m working on, are a complete overhaul and beastly.

      1. I’ll stick to my 2015’s revs for half the price, possible similar confort, forefoot zoom and a traction pattern that works in less then stellar courts.

    1. Again, stated in the comments above, the traction works Great, as long as you have access to a very clean/daily mopped/waxed court, which A lot of us don’t have much access too I presume. But there are always positives and negatives. Thanks for reading/watching.

  5. Very good review on the shoe. I’d probably get a pair.. I think with a colorway that would really stand out, much like the beethoven/MJ 9’s. Skipped the achilles red and BHM.. Hope they’ll release more colorways for the elite version. I skipped the X model since the design (for me) was just so-so.. Didn’t really like it, didn’t even grow on me. I just wish they’d retro the 5’s, probably with flyknit? And then with the Chaos/Joker/Christmas colorway. Also really loved the performance on those. I think that’d be an awesome 12th shoe.

  6. None of the reviewers feel like saying it but the 11s have the worst traction of any Kobe ever including every adidas shoe.

    Let that sink in for the price.
    We are talking worse than 15 years ago

  7. Great review man. I had no intention of coppin the shoe but still watched the review for the h*ll of it. Great job and very good info provided. I remember the traction on the 8 & 9 and those were really good. They wouldn’t last outdoors but they were really good at keeping you confident in changing direction or even just moving forward. I wonder why they went away from that.

    1. I can’t answer for Swoosh, but I believe the rubber utilized with the Lunar insole was to give a more natural feel on the court, just like a Nike Free Shot where it kind of molds the foot down upon impact. I see where they were going, and I think the idea is very well thought out, but the execution on the traction itself has room to improve. Thanks for the support.!

  8. I had that concern with the traction given how sticky the translucent outsold was(seems that stickier the material the more likely dust will stick to it). So I wonder if the solid outsole will be better by not being as sticky as translucent outsoles.

  9. It’s Nike like it, it is fishing line/ cat gut, whatever you choose to call it that’s what it is, don’t study Nike with their big fancy names for simple everyday stuff, they could use recycled newspapers and they’llsay heat treated, rolled,and folded, stressed, ancient papery. Next as far as cushioning the Kobe x utilized heel zoom and lunar forefoot also so you don’t have to go back that far. And in my opinion full length zoom is best, heel strike sets up forefoot protection and likewise.

    1. Ray, This is purely your opinion and I respect that. Everyone has a different way of playing aspect and type of facet to their game, and this review is purely based upon my positional play. I play multiple positions from playing on top of the key as a guard/point forward, to down low center. So I inspect every angle for me, the stockier player who plays multiple positions and wears a size 13 shoe, with decent footwork. The shoe itself could work great for other players, and might not work as well for others. So you can take the idea with a grain of salt, but not all shoes are made for everyone, and as for your comparison to Kobe X, it’s almost true, only for the fact the Kobe X utilized a more unlocked heel zoom near a 180 heel Mark, and forefoot flex is caged directly into the rubber, somewhat free motion, but not completely as the Lunar insert does on the Kobe XI.

  10. Thanks for the review, big Kobe fan but will probably wait until they go on sale. I believe this are already elite versions.

  11. I think not too many people can play on the court which is NBA/ NCAA quality.
    So that’s mean the traction of Kobe 11 is bad, right?

    1. This is purely an opinionated question, Watch the reviews and make your decision then, otherwise, if you have the shoe itself, you’d be able to devise your own opinion on which traction worked best.

  12. Random suggestion: put up a review/guide on how to buy shoes. Sticky it somewhere so people can read it. I don’t know how to tell people to think for themselves, but it can’t be worse than all the same questions over and over again.

    1. I’m personally not here to tell people to buy shoes. I’m here to give a performance review. Not offense, but it’s people’s money, I cannot tell people how to spend their money. I’m just here to provide information to the consumer/users with my honest experience and opinion on the shoe itself and how it played for me based upon the multiple positions that I play and how I play. At the end of the day, common sense isn’t all that common.If people can’t think for themselves, I don’t know what to say. That comes from home, core values.

  13. This review is spot on. Nyjumpman23 / is 1000% correct about the traction. I can confirm…. the traction on the Kobe XI is horrible, almost to the point where it feels like you are skating on ice and is a danger for a serious injury. I WOULD NOT recommend these for the weekend warrior on non clean surfaces. You can seriously hurt yourself. Look for a shoe with the herringbone tread pattern. I used my pair once, and once was enough. I’m in talks with Nike corporate for a replacement, as Foot Locker refused an exchange. Caveat Emptor!

  14. The Kobe 11 Solid sole on the bhm is really good. The translucent one does pick up dust but I’ve walked in the nastiest places with the BHM and played and it is still good.

    1. The weight varies due to the size. I don’t have a scale available but it would go up probably a few ounces pending since I wear a size 13, but check Nigthwing’s review and go thru there. The weight was never an issue with the Kobe line thats for sure.

  15. how is the support on the kobe 11? i normally wear high or mid top shoes and want to know if i can trust the kobe 11

    1. Dylan, regardless of the cut of the shoe, if you place your foot on someone’s ankle upon impact, you’re going to hurt the same way, it doesn’t matter the cut of the shoe. 90% mental, 10% physical.

  16. So another nike signature shoe without a midfoot shank. I’m still buying old pairs of nike shoes because I dont have a choice. New signature models keep coming out with no shanks and/or minimal heel clips. I have plantar fasciitis so my foot mooves around and my arch bends causing pain even using orthotics in shank less shoes. Kobe x was a dissapointment for this reason and now 11…same. Unless orthotics have a stable base to sit on they will bend, fibre ones crack. Really irritating. All i can buy is lebrons really and retros. Melos have weak heel clip and xx9 support is not geeat. Shame i really wanted kobe 11s. Guess ill have to look for a pair of kobe 8 elites

    1. Mighty – I would suggest a Podiatrist take a look into your foot and get custom ortho’s for you feet. Might be a special case. I have semi-wide and flat feet, so I’m particular with shoes. I dont have a problem with foot placement in the Kobe 11, the issue was the traction. You have many choices overall. The Melo and xx9 have been very solid as basketball shoes, so I’m not sure how your foot is specifically, but I would def. get it checked out. Good luck.

  17. Hey Great review jumpman! I got a question, I’m usually a 9.5 but i got the kobe xi in size 9 because there is too much of a gap in the toe box area. That being said, when I came home and tried on the size 9, i did feel that it was a slightly snug fit. I was wondering does this shoe expand a bit after it breaks in? I do have wide feet but the 9.5 does not have this feeling when I tried them in stores. Let me know what your thoughts, because I’m thinking of exchanging it half a size up.

  18. Traction runs perfectly fine for me being an athletic 6’1″ 165 – 170lbs
    Like you I play 1 through 5 in the same light, up and down hard hustle for 35mins a game.
    Coming from my Kobe V’s that still had good traction, these XI’s were as responsive and agile as a Formula 1. Brilliant once again.

  19. Hello,

    I know that the kobe 11 are basketball shoes, but is it good for a daily shoes, a shoe that i can wear everyday? I really like the shoe so I want to wear it during the day. So is it confortable for long period of time? thanks

  20. Uhmm do you think getting a solid rubber outsole like bhm and getting xdr using for outdoors (not always but usually for my school) would be durable. I dont mind sliding. I just want the traction to last
    Hopefully you can help cause I need answers as soon as possible

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