Searching for the best Kobe shoes for basketball? Look no further! In this article, we've compiled a comprehensive list of the most iconic and game-changing Kobe Bryant footwear throughout the years. From the unforgettable Nike Kobe 1 to the revolutionary Adidas KB8 III, we'll delve into the evolution of these legendary sneakers, exploring their unique designs and performance features. Whether you're a dedicated Kobe fan or simply seeking top-tier basketball shoes, this article will captivate your interest and guide you towards the ultimate footwear for dominating the court. So, lace up your sneakers and get ready to discover the incredible world of Kobe Bryant's signature kicks.
Nike Kobe 1
After becoming a sneaker free agent, Kobe Bryant signed with Nike. He had previously worn Jordan PEs, Huaraches, and Hyperdunks, but now he had his first signature sneaker with Nike. This sneaker became an instant classic with its mid-cut and multi-material design.
adidas Kobe 2
The adidas Kobe 2 received a lot of criticism for its appearance, with some saying it looked like moon boots. However, both Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were seen wearing the colorway shown above.
Nike Kobe 3
The Nike Kobe 3 had a bold design with a net-like upper. It provided great support and had one of the best traction systems.
Nike Kobe 6
The Nike Kobe 6 had some of the best colorways of any signature sneaker. The "Grinch" colorway is considered one of the all-time best.
Nike Kobe 8
Following the VII's "System" approach, the eighth Kobe sneaker was simplified in every aspect. It featured an engineered mesh upper for flexibility and reduced weight, along with a thin one-piece tongue. While the design wasn't as groundbreaking as the Kobe 4-6, it remains a favorite among players like DeMar DeRozan who still wear it occasionally.
Nike Kobe 9
The Nike Kobe 9 took the line to new heights, both figuratively and literally. Despite its extra support, it felt lightweight and comfortable.
Nike Kobe 11
The Nike Kobe 11 featured a Flyknit upper, low-cut design, and Zoom Air technology. It was a highly popular sneaker.
Nike Kobe X (low)
With a fully clear bottom and a two-pronged support wedge, the tenth Kobe model was designed for players with an attacking mindset. While Nike released limited editions in Flyknit, the main version featured a simple and functional design. It became one of the most worn Kobe sneakers in the NBA, with stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo unable to part with them for multiple seasons.
Nike Kobe X Elite (high)
For the second consecutive season, Kobe opted for the ultra-high silhouette instead of the low-top. The Kobe X Elite featured a fully Flyknit upper for flexibility and a conforming fit. It's still worn by players today.
Nike Kobe AD
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The Nike Kobe AD, short for "Kobe After Death," was released post-retirement and maintained the principles of speed, cushioning, and lockdown. It was well-liked on the court and popular among NBA players like DeMar DeRozan and Isaiah Thomas.
Nike Kobe VII (System)
The seventh sneaker in the line introduced the "Kobe System," allowing wearers to switch between two different insoles with different tongues. While it was a more expensive shoe that didn't necessarily advance the line, it was widely acclaimed. Nike moved away from the "System" idea in the following season.
Nike Zoom Kobe II
The Kobe II was one of the best-performing sneakers in the line. It had ample cushioning with Zoom Air and firm support with a lockdown strap and plastic heel chassis. The shoe featured a laser-cut diamond pattern graphic and was dedicated to Kobe's daughter Natalia Diamante.
Nike Zoom Kobe III
The high-cut Kobe III initially received mixed reactions but grew popular as Kobe had one of his best individual seasons. It was worn in a mix of brighter and refined looks, and it coincided with his lone MVP award and return to the NBA Finals after Shaquille O'Neal's departure.
Nike Zoom Kobe IV
The Kobe IV marked a turning point in the design of his Adidas sneakers. It offered better ankle range and flexibility without sacrificing movement. It became widely worn in the NBA, influencing point guards and wings like Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom.
Nike Zoom Kobe V
Slightly modified from the successful Kobe IV, the Kobe V featured a fully synthetic "Skinwire" upper and a lower collar height. It offered functionality and weight reduction without sacrificing comfort. Kobe wore the V to win back-to-back championships and earn his fifth ring.
Nike Zoom Kobe VI
The Kobe VI embraced Kobe's "Black Mamba" persona and featured a snake-scale-inspired upper. Despite internal debates, the sneaker became popular for its Mamba motif.
Nike Zoom Huarache 2K4
The Huarache 2K4 marked Bryant's collaboration with Nike. Inspired by the sleekness and design of a great white shark, the 2K4 aimed to redefine modern design. It was worn by Bryant during his first season with Nike and notable events like the All-Star Game and NBA Finals.
Nike Zoom Huarache 2K5
Before the Zoom Kobe 1, Bryant headlined Nike's Zoom Huarache series for two seasons. Taking inspiration from the Free Running series, the Huarache 2K5 featured sculpted flex grooves and a higher protective collar. It was loved by ballers for its on-court performance.
Bryant debuted the Hyperdunk before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. It showcased Nike's Flywire and Lunar Foam technologies, making it a technologically advanced shoe. The Hyperdunk became one of Nike's most successful basketball sneakers, with Bryant's viral video of leaping over a speeding Aston Martin helping promote it.
Adidas The Kobe Two
The Kobe Two, also known as "The Toaster," is widely criticized for its clunky design and poor performance. Bryant switched out of this model during the 2002 season and eventually left Adidas.
Adidas The Kobe
The Kobe was a reimagined signature sneaker in collaboration with Audi. It featured an Audi TT-like silhouette and grill-inspired design details. The marketing campaign highlighted Bryant in monochromatic tracksuits and modern settings, and it introduced his signature logo.
Adidas KB8 III (aka EQT Responsive)
The KB8 III was the last Adidas sneaker design worn by Bryant before he shifted to a more classic Forum 2000 model. It utilized Adidas' "Feet You Wear" podular technology but was eventually discontinued due to Bryant's changing preferences.
Adidas KB8 II
The KB8 II was worn sparingly during the 1998-99 lockout season but marked a shift in the design of Bryant's Adidas sneakers. It was relaunched by Adidas but is not popular among collectors.
By his second season in the league, Bryant had his own signature shoe in the form of the KB8. It featured a bold black and white design and became one of the most sought-after basketball shoes from Adidas. Photos of Bryant wearing the KB8 against Michael Jordan and at the 1998 All-Star Game became iconic.
Adidas Top Ten 2010
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The Top Ten sneaker was originally introduced in the late 1970s to celebrate the best players of that era. In 1996, Bryant was selected as one of the top young players to wear the latest Top Ten sneaker, symbolizing the best of the next generation.
Adidas EQT Elevation
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
The Elevation sneakers were worn by Bryant during his first NBA playoffs appearance. They gained attention for his aerial assaults during the 1997 slam dunk contest, where he won the trophy. The quirky design became iconic through Bryant's performances.
In the world of basketball, having the right pair of shoes can make all the difference. From the classic Nike Kobe 1 to the innovative Adidas KB8, there is a shoe out there to suit every player's needs and style. Whether you prefer the sleek design of the Nike Kobe 11 or the high-performance features of the Adidas Kobe 2, these shoes are all built with one goal in mind - to enhance your performance on the court. So lace up, step out, and let your feet do the talking with the best Kobe shoes for basketball.