I receive multiple questions regarding the Zoom Kobe VII Elite & whether or not I will review them on-court.
At this point in time I want to say that I will most likely not review them on-court because they share too many similarities between the previous versions. However, if you wish to read my thoughts on the two in comparison to one another feel free to hit the jump…
From a silhouette perspective, the two are strikingly similar. This is both good and bad.
The good is that they haven’t changed to overall design of the shoe too much so that probably played a factor in their retail price while the LeBron 9 Elite underwent a complete overhaul which made it an entirely different shoe.
The bad is that they haven’t changed the overall design of the shoe… if you’re thinking to yourself; the good and bad contradict each other than you would be correct but I do have a reason as to why I feel this way.
Visually, the Kobe VII is probably my favorite out of the entire Kobe line from Nike so from a casual standpoint I like them quite a bit. My issue with certain design features from a performance perspective on the other hand is where I feel they could have, or at least should have, modified a few things in order to make them play a bit more fluidly. I personally felt the midsoles were too exaggerated at the heel. It stuck out a bit too far for my liking so when I would run at a high speed from heel to toe it felt as if I was being forced to ‘brake’ with each stride. If they would have taken it in a bit more I think that would have helped out a lot but with the modularity of the internal midsoles this may have not been an option.
One change they did make to the upper is with the top layer of material protecting the thin Flywire base. A silicon shell was used on the originals while the Elite brings back the Polyurethane layer with an altered design. The two materials will protect the Flywire equally well… the only thing I see changing is the aesthetic appeal after playing in the Elite; the scales will most likely show more wear and tear than the Silicon… wear and tear on performance models doesn’t bother me at all but I know that it bothers others after seeing the comments about the Swoosh being scraped apart on the LeBron 9 Elite.
Traction is exactly the same… I have no issues with the traction itself so for me this isn’t anything to complain about. Personally, I prefer solid rubber outsoles… especially for indoor use. The Elite version uses a mixture between solid rubber and translucent rubber so there could potentially be slipping issues if playing on a dusty court, however, the overall design worked very well so it could end up performing the same.
The Carbon Fiber plate located at the arch has been changed. The original featured a glass-based plate while the Elite looks to use a full on Carbon Fiber plate. Performance wise, they should provide the same amount of support for you arch but the weight may be slightly different.
Cushion has been slightly modified. Instead of the heel and forefoot Zoom they state that Full-Length Zoom Air was used. I can’t confirm this since I don’t have a pair in hand but if that is true then they should be slightly more responsive depending on the Zoom Air’s location… i.e.: whether or not it is top or bottom loaded. The internal midsoles are still removable so some people could still run into the whole lip issue where it digs into your foot. I think that will depend on the foam used since I only had this issue with the Cushlon ‘Play Strong’ setup, however, I have been told that some people have encountered the issue while wearing the ‘Play fast’.
The TPU heel cup has been replaced with a Carbon Fiber heel cup. It’s not as bulky and should be a bit stronger so weight and strength of the material may come into play. Overall, the heel cup on both pairs should provide the same performance.
One last change is with the sleeve. Instead of the stretchy spandex type material that was in place they have opted to go with the Pro-Combat sleeve much like the LeBron 9 Elite; same thing is used in the Hyperdunk 2011 Elite as well. The Pro-Combat material is a bit stronger than the flimsy spandex-like sleeve so I think that was a good move.
With all that being said… I personally feel they will play very similar if not exactly the same. Cushion may receive a different score and the overall weight may be a bit different but other than that they are nearly identical to each other which in my mind is a bit redundant as far as a full on performance review is concerned.
As far as price is concerned… If you feel the price they are listed at is worth it to you personally then go for it. Price increases are not slowing down so it’s better to get used to the fact that we will all be paying more for sneakers no matter what their intended purpose is. On a personal level, I’d rather purchase the Supreme Zoom Kobe VII since it’ll ease my mind seeing as how they come with two midsole setups for $180… although most will prefer one setup over the other so in that sense it would offer the consumer much more bang for their buck if they were to purchase the basic Zoom Kobe VII at $140 that comes equipped with the Play Fast midsole; especially since Zoom Air is usually most people’s go-to cushion of choice over a foam based cushion like Cushlon.
Hopefully this will satisfy everyone as far as the potential differences in performance is concerned… seeing as how there isn’t a huge difference between the two.
Images Via Jimmy Jazz