I have so many friends that love the 2k4 but zero friends that talk about the 2k5 with that same passion and I never understood why. I personally love the 2k5 so let’s compare them head to head.
First off, Nike heavily marketed the 2k4 since it was the first Huarache to come out in a long time. It touted the best of the best tech to create a monster of a shoe. I think this added to the hype and legend of the 2k4 because I don’t remember any marketing for the 2k5 or any Huarache there after. Plus the 2k4 was Kobe’s quasi sig shoe as he just signed with Nike.
The 2k4 features a 3/4 herringbone pattern paired with a diamond pattern while the 2k5 has a free inspired outsole with full herringbone.
The full herringbone pattern of the 2k5 gave me true squeak and stop traction in all directions on all surfaces while the 2k4 gave me decent traction overall. The flat spots on the lateral side really inhibited how good the traction could have been.
Both shoes have the exact same set up of targeted Zoom in the heel and forefoot but they feel totally different. The 2k4 feels muted while the 2k5 feels lively and bouncy the way we all like it to feel. An old Professor K review says it’s due to the Free inspired outsole but I think it must be due to how much foam they put around the Zoom or they used larger air bags. Regardless, the difference is noticeable.
I bought a 10.5 back then and they still fit me perfectly even though I wear an 11 in current models. Both shoes feature synthetic uppers and have the same last but the fit is lot sloppier on the 2k4. I had no problem with heel lockdown in either but on cuts I could feel my foot sliding around inside the 2k4 while the 2k5 suffered no sliding . I really love how both shoes hug the foot but the 2k5 is a closer and tighter fit.
SUPPORT AND STABILITY
Both shoes feature outriggers at the forefoot but the 2k5 features a slightly wider heel which adds to the stability without making it feel clunky.
The uppers aren’t very supportive nor are they supposed to be. The strap does help a little with support but I wouldn’t bet my ankles on it .
This is the only category I found that to be somewhat close but the 2k5 wins again.
This was a total ass kicking clean sweep by the 2k5. Nike improved everything from the 2k4 including flexibility which I didn’t even touch on. It just comes to show you how much advertising can affect how a shoe is perceived on court. I still play in my 2k5 after ten years and it held up after being used and abused. Sure it’s misshaped a little now and has some scuffs but I call those love scars after this long. Back then the 2k5 was considered lightweight at 17 oz but would be considered a clunker today. The thing is that despite the weight it doesn’t feel heavy and that’s due to the excellent fit. As the saying goes, they don’t make things like they used to.