Nike introduces Kobe Bryant's new signature shoe the Kobe X
According to Nike, the shoe “comes alive with hybrid cushioning, an advanced traction system and a seamless textile upper. These technical innovations, combined with an inspirational narrative based on transparency, separates the KOBE X from the competition.”
The KOBE X hybrid cushioning combines Lunarlon with Nike Free-inspired siping grooves to enhance natural movement, along with a new Zoom Air unit in the heel. This trio leads to a responsive ride that is a great combination of firm, soft and flexible.
Both the midsole and outsole are encapsulated in a translucent rubber casing to visually showcase the inner-technology. This transparent approach was also inspired by Bryant’s recent willingness to personally open up and reveal more of himself at deeper levels without reservation.
The KOBE X features what could be considered the most effective traction system in the 43-year history of Nike’s basketball shoes.
The outsole features hundreds of “nodules” that grip the court, similar to the intricacy of the treads on performance racecar tires, which grip and splay at high speeds. This new traction system works in tandem with the midsole cushioning to splay, flex and grip the court for zero distractions and maximum grip, similar to tires on a racetrack.
The outsole is finished off with a gold Roman numeral “X,” a hand-drawn design detail from Avar, embedded beneath the Zoom unit; it’s another example of the detailed design obsession brought to each Kobe shoe.
Advanced textiles offer lightweight breathability and are more durable and strong than traditional mesh. The KOBE X introduces a new open-weave textile that is inspired by the pattern and strength of sharkskin.
Inside the shoe a mesh bootie enhances ventilation and provides a comfortable, snug fit. Nubuck fabric on the shoe’s tongue features a mamba-inspired snake scale pattern, while the tongue’s underside features unique graphic prints symbolic of each colorway storyline.
The left heel in each pair features four red lines representing Bryant’s resilient return from injuring his left Achilles tendon. To repair the tendon, doctors used four feet of stitching thread in surgery. The Kobe sheath logo adorns the right heel of each shoe.
Nike says “each KOBE X colorway reveals something new about Bryant’s drive and determination. The lead colorway, 5 AM Flight, takes inspiration from Bryant’s 40-foot, early morning leap from a diving platform in August 2013 as he recovered from surgery on his Achilles. The jump is symbolic of Bryant’s perseverance to overcome the odds and face fear head-on. The shoe’s blue palette represents the pool water of Bryant’s 5 AM flight.”
If you missed Kobe’s dive, here it is…