Pretty amazing how the Kobe V made the IV look antiquated in one year. 

I loved the performance of the Kobe IV and was eagerly anticipating the V when I read that Zoom would be replacing Lunar Foam in the forefoot. I loved everything that Nike did to improve on the IV but they forgot one important aspect : Traction

Pros: fit, heel Zoom, containment, just plain sexy 

Cons: small meta Zoom in forefoot, traction, prone to ripping 

Best for: quick guards. 



Holy schnikes that’s light. These came out when everyone was trying to be the lightest shoe in the world. For reference:

Lebron XIII: 16 oz

Rose 6: 17 oz

Curry Two: 14 oz


So close yet so far. 

Heartbeat story telling pattern.
I can’t really remember a shoe that featured a story telling pattern prior to the Kobe V so I guess we can all thank the V for this stupid trend .. Ok the AJ XX3 can also take some of the blame.

It isn’t ice skate slippery by any means but it doesn’t grab the floor like we all want at all especially on dusty floors. The rubber is plenty soft but not sticky so it must be a combo of the pattern and the compound.  Even after substantial break in it just never bit the floor the way I wanted.  My other non translucent pairs that still gave me the same problems. If traction isn’t good on semi dusty floors I don’t even bother so these got sent to the closet.


A meta Zoom bag replaced Lunarfoam in the V. What’s a meta Zoom bag ? It’s a very small Zoom bag that pretty much covers half a forefoot. 

 Photo courtesy of Sole Collector 
I could feel the Zoom in the forefoot but because of the thinness and size it isn’t great. I know Kobe wanted a low to the ground feel so maybe he got exactly what he wanted. 

One thing that I noticed in the heel is how the midsole flexed especially around the heel due to this groove 

It softens up the midsole a lot which some people may like. I felt like it flexed too much and lost a split second but it does make the cushioning more comfortable.  


Simply put, the V is one of the best fitting lows I’ve ever worn. No heel slip at all thanks to a perfectly shaped heel collar. They took what worked on the IV and put it on the V. (Not sure why they changed it on the VI) 

I bought my normal size 11 and these gave me a finger width at the toe box which is my ideal amount of space. No movement side to side and no real deadspace on top of the forefoot.

The Flyskin material sits very closely to the foot which also helps create the excellent fit. It feels thinner and a lot less plasticky than the IV’s  set up. It also helped launched the crazy colors we see today. The upper isn’t the latest and greatest woven/ textile upper but it still feels good on foot even today.

I really think the Chaos V colorway is one of the most beautiful colorways of any shoe ever made. Iridescent purple and green mixed with just the right amount of purple red and white. Just perfect 

Support and stability 

Support comes from the fit and the heel counter while stability comes from the outrigger and flat outsole 


I never felt like I’d turn my ankle in these and I never have. I wish the midsole was firmer like the IV but it’s still great.

Also the Y Bar is back to help stabilize the heel on impact. I really love this feature because it is simple yet effective 

 Oh forgot the carbon fiber shank plate. If this shoe were made today, it would probably be made of plastic


Containment is very good but not great like the Rose 6 or Soldier VI. I didn’t feel my foot coming out of the shoe but I could feel the forefoot upper flex on hard cuts. As you can see below the midsole is raised a little bit above the footbed and there is an extra layer (grey) of fuse.


Nike basically set a frame of extra fuse  around the high pressure areas to keep the foot contained (grey areas) to keep the shoe lightweight but strong. Pretty awesome idea to reinforce only the necessary areas.  


Why tease us with near perfection Nike ? If the traction was even somewhat close to as good as the IV, I probably could have stopped buying shoes for a few years. I really wanted to love these back then but the traction just didn’t work on public indoor courts that get lots of foot traffic. The few games I played on pristine courts, these worked very well and were extremely fun to play in.  Since these never made it into my rotation, I never had a dreaded blow out where the upper tore from the midsole. I remember hearing a lot about that back when these released. 

Regardless of performance these are just beautiful to look at and really propelled the trend of 20 colorways per shoe. With new synthetics, Nike created colorways that were never seen before on athletic shoes. Despite not making my rotation I still love collecting these just on aesthetics alone. Nike has tried to duplicate the beauty of the Bruce Lee, Duke, and Chaos colorway in subsequent models but  you just can’t recreate art by just using the same color palette; it takes the perfect blend of a silhouette, materials, and a shoe’s place in history to truly make it meaningful. 


If you play on pristine courts, grab the Kobe V and enjoy one of the best looking, head turning lows ever made but if not I suggest looking at other models. 

26 Comment on “The Archive: Nike Zoom Kobe V Performance Review

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