Hit the jump for full review…
Traction – I can’t complain about traction at all. Herringbone is dispersed throughout and was extremely efficient. While at first glance you would dismiss the triangular surface, it actually holds up very well and provides you with very good traction. You won’t get that ‘squeak’ out of it – the squeak is overrated in my opinion – but you will be able to cut, slash, pivot & stop without hesitation.
Cushion – If you are already accustomed to playing in Kobe’s recent signatures, the cushion setup will be ideal for you. With the large volume Zoom Air placed in the heel you receive perfect cushion that is lightweight and responsive. The forefoot’s Met bag – Smaller localized Zoom Air under the ball of the foot – is responsive and works in tandem with the rest of the midsole. While the midsole itself does require some break-in time, once complete you will enjoy the ride immensely… especially if you loved the Zoom Kobe line as I have. Larger players may require a bit more cushion than what is provided but overall it depends on your personal preference.
Material – The upper is comprised of leather with a synthetic top coat. Its durable enough to withstand a heavy on-court beating but it loses its shape the more you play. Again, a break-in period is needed and once complete its like playing in an older pair of kicks… those of you who have ever laced up an older pair of shoes after wearing a newer pair will know exactly what I’m talking about… it’s like being reunited with an old friend; you may have had some time apart but once you are back together it’s as if nothing has changed.
I still feel an upgrade would do wonders if Nike ever chose to incorporate newer materials to this beloved hoops classic. If a Skinwire upper was in place coupled with a silicon coat – much like the Zoom Kobe VII – the materials would be able to retain its shape and provide you with a more secure fit throughout your time playing in them. Place a leather toe rand – just as they are now – on top on the updated material and you would have some additional protection to the thinner upper. With this, not only could it potentially increase their overall performance but it would allow for color applications to be nearly limitless which would allow designers to place some really cool graphics to the shoe giving it some more pop.
Fit – As stated above, the fit starts to lose its shape overtime. The materials and ventilation are the reason this happens but it’s not a huge setback in my personal opinion… it’s hard to harshly judge a shoe that was designed 8 years ago.
The midfoot offers you the greatest amount of lockdown while the toe is a bit on the spacious side after they are broken in. These are a low top shoe with a higher cut shell so the strap works fairly well with the lacing structure as it helps keep the shoe on your foot. With the current lacing system in place, the removal of the strap would offer a loose fitting heel which wouldn’t be a good thing so it’s a necessary piece of equipment on this particular model.
Ventilation – There are perforations throughout but they don’t offer too much air flow. These were designed far before the lightweight/ heavily ventilated era so for what it’s worth; they are above average for their time. The original Huarache offered much more air flow but that was with far less material in place so it’s almost like a double edge sword… you sort of have to pick your poison in a sense.
Support – The strap, as I was explaining earlier, is a necessary addition to the silhouette. Without it the heel wouldn’t stay in place even with the heel cup due to the lacing structure. With the strap – I personally dislike straps for the most part – they offered enough support by keeping the shoe where it needed to be… on your foot. Carbon Fiber is in place along the bottom of the shoe and provides you with adequate arch support. There is as additional Carbon Fiber plate located under the forefoot, directly under the triangular traction surface and is supposed to offer you a bit more spring to your first step. I can’t say I noticed its effects, which could be a good thing, except when jumping. If I jumped directly off the ball of my foot – this is where you are supposed to launch from if you wish to achieve your maximum vertical capabilities – I was able to lift a bit higher than usual… and by a bit I mean 1”… if that… I’m white so keep that in mind… we aren’t exactly known for our hops.
Overall – While the overall scores may not reflect my personal feelings towards the shoe, I have to remain non-biased, I thought they were fantastic. I can’t honestly say these are the best Nike Basketball shoes of all time for two reasons; 1. There are so many great shoes available now with more modern tech that it’d be inaccurate for me to state something so bold & 2. Nike’s Innovation Kitchen is constantly working on the latest and greatest so even if these were ‘the greatest of all time’ it would only last for a few more weeks until their Elite series releases… yes, the Elite series is actually that good… at least the Huarache-like LeBron 9 Elite.
If you are a Guard or fast paced Forward, these would be a good choice to have on-court. Larger players may want a bit more support and cushion out of their shoes so they may need to look elsewhere.