The 2016 season is Kobe’s farewell tour. It’s been sad seeing Kobe only be a shell of his former self but as they say on Inside The NBA , Father Time is undefeated.
I’ve played in every Kobe from I to X and find it plays very most similarly to the IX so I will compare the two during this review.
I had to cut my time with the Kobe XI due to injury but I feel I got a good grasp of the XI regardless. Read Jake’s review at The GymRat Review as he and I have similar games and thoughts on the XI. Or read any of the hundreds of reviews on the Kobe XI.
Pros: traction on pristine courts( what doesn’t work?) fit, stability, Zoom in the heel
Cons: traction is not good on dusty floors, no midfoot support, midfoot containment,pricy
Sizing: true to size . There is a little extra length at the toe
Best for: guards
Surprisingly, the Kobe XI isn’t that lightweight. Heavier than the Curry Two and inline with most shoes out.
Excellent on clean courts, terrible with dust
The traction pattern is super tight so any dust clogs up the grooves so essentially the whole outsole turns into a dusty hover board. The flex groove in the middle stays relatively clean so it grabs on slightly but I try to stop with the outermost portion on lateral side so that flex groove doesn’t help a whole lot.
On top of that the dust just cakes up on the outer edges which just makes matters worse. Disappointed to say the least.
I am not a fan of drop in insoles as I’ve made it clear in every review. I understand the concept of why they do it but I don’t like how my foot always gets pinched between the upper and insole on cuts. I really don’t think drop ins are created for any other reason than marketing and cost cutting so feel to read my logic here:
Why are drop ins only in Bball shoes?
The higher portions of the insoles wall do a decent job but the lower portions had my fat feet dangling off the side.
Regardless, Nike moved away from the fixed insole of the X and went back to the drop in. This year, the insoles features full length Lunarlon with Zoom in the heel. Thankfully they lined the insole this time.
Nike segmented the forefoot for added flexibility and it does actually work.
The Lunarlon itself isn’t as soft as the 8 but is softer then the 9. It’s s nice medium between the two. It also play a little lower to the ground than the 9 about as low as the 8. Overall this set up felt good but not mind blowing.
I sent true to size with my normal and they are slightly longer in the toe than previous Kobes. However, it seems to be the pointiness of the toe box that gives the extra length, so I suggest staying true to size. The width of the shoe is too narrow to go down in size unless you have really narrow feet.
The story of the upper is the Flyknit infused with what looks like fishing line (TPU).
Mine even had a little extra . I actually tugged on it and it isn’t fishing line at all. It is more of a very tight rubber band similar to the clear rubber bands that hold toys in their boxes. It snaps back into place when you pull on it and can be stretched a decent amount so it definitely isn’t fishing line.
Now I know it isn’t fishing line but it got me thinking what if it were? There is actual a fishing line that is braided that would be a perfect fit for this application because it is thin, limp, and does not stretch but has a very high tensile strength. It basically feels like thread so it would be a perfect complement to Flyknit.
The purpose of interweaving TPU is to give the upper strength without making it stiffer with glue backing like the previous Elite models. And it works well although I think my braided line idea would be even better. Imagine how Nike could say it was inspired by Kobe’s love for bass fishing during the summer .. Oh wait that Paul George’s hobby.
Still not sure why they didn’t use Flyweave like they used on the KD8. That would have been a nice change to the Kobe line while providing flexibility and strength. Probably cheaper too since the KD 8s are just sitting around.
Moving on from the materials, I loved the fit of the Kobe XI especially in the heel. It just felt like it sucked in my Achilles and ankle perfectly. I had no deadspace side to side so it was a nice one to one fit.
Overall it fits a little closer to the foot than the IX.
Well done Nike!
Support and stability
Support comes from the fit and heel counter while stability comes from the forefoot outrigger and flat heel.
I really liked the Kobe IX but it failed my heel test before I played in them. Despite failing, I played in them anyways and suffered a 2nd degree sprain that kept me off the court for 4 months.
Thankfully the XI fixed that issue and is very stable at the heel as there is an outrigger at the midfoot/heel as well as the forefoot.
There is no midfoot shank and pretty much no midfoot support since the show itself is a flexible shell and the insole is just foam. The raised medial side provides a little support if you overpronate but not much.
I personally don’t have any issue with it but it can become problematic since the foot can get stretched more then normal without support. Plantar fasciitis anyone ? I don’t think it’s the best set up for an aging superstar coming off an Achilles injury either but hey, it’s not my shoe.
Overall however, I think the shoe is much more stable than the IX. I wouldn’t hesitate to play in these due to ankle sprain concerns.
Well done Nike!
This is tough to call because it is hard for me to tell how much of the insole pinching is due to the upper stretching and how much of it is due to the drop in insole.
Same video posted in traction section
If you look closely at the vid my forefoot stays in place but my midfoot slides out and that’s because there is nothing at the midfoot to hold the foot in place other than Flyknit. Not bad overall but still not the great. The TPU, due to its elastic natur, stretches too much but at least tries to snap back into place. I like my entire foot to stay put more than this. I felt the Kobe IX did a better job with containment than the XI.
Overall, I felt Nike pretty much mailed this one in from a design standpoint which is disappointing since this is the last shoe we will see him in. I personally like the X more than the 8/9 but If you loved the Kobe 8 and 9, you’ll love the XI as long as you’re on a clean floor. It plays like a lower to the ground, foot hugging 9 more than anything else. I loved the fit and how the shoe just hugged my foot but the traction is so hot or miss to be considered for us normal folk that play on dusty courts. Expect prices to fall since nobody wants to pay $200.
I’m a fan of thicker cushioning, and I think the 9’s already play too low to the ground, so these are probably a no go for me. Are the 9’s or 10’s lower though?
Low to high 11, 9, 10 .
Oh, okay thanks. Yea, I’ve got a knee injury and play for hours on a pretty stiff court, so I’m trying to stay away from minimally cushioned shoes. The D rose 6 is ideal for me, but I don’t really like high tops. Might get them anyway, just cause I’ve read that the cushion is just so good.
Yea it feels great . Heel fit is iffy that’s why I made an extra eyelet for mine.
I see. Yea, I read your review and saw you did that. I’m probably gonna go true to size on it, but get the leather colour way instead, think I might get a better fit on that. Currently wearing the KD 7 though. I read your review on the KD 7 elite and I remember you saying that you were getting bad heel slippage, but thats not a problem for me. My main problem with it is the firmness of the heel, which I think you went over too.
Firmness of the cushioning ?
Yup, firmness of the cushioning. I think its the same problem you wrote about, and its that it compresses too much and isn’t as good for cuts.
Ah yep. The KD vi elite was even worse . KD said he didn’t like it in some interview I read
what about bhm colorway ? that has different material outsole… white one. is it possible to be better traction?
I think it will help . I might check out a pair just to see bc although the grooves are super tight I think the outsole might be just too sticky . It just cakes on the dirt like crazy .
Hey Schwollo you see that Baylor guard slip and slide in his XIs on the late play against Yale?
I didn’t see it but i believe it . Loo
Major fail lol
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Oh damn. But that’s about right lol
Have you tried putting your lebron Xi midsole in the Kobe’s? One reviewer luvmykicks1 on YouTube tried it and loved it, wanted to know your opinion since I trust your thoughts greatly
It would work well and yes the cushioning feels way better. But I don’t like drop in insoles and the traction still sucks on dusty floors so still not a shoe id use
Hi, I’ll be waiting for your performance review on the KD8 Elite, thanks.
I’m waiting for them to get here lol
That’s great news! Cool!
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Hey schwollo did you ever get to trying the big or brave blues . I find the material used in the sole does make significant difference in grip. I have multiple pairs and the outsole material seems to make all the difference.
I did not. I was really thinking about it and theorized it would help but just didn’t love the love xi to buy another pair. Good info to know though ! Thanks !
Heres my experience of the Kobe XI
I think for this shoe its a lot better to get the nike ID pair if 1) you’re rich 2) you’re picky about cushioning 3) In my case, want something “exclusive”. I got a nike ID not too long ago and it came out great.
– I was able to choose my own cushioning (full length zoom)
-called my design my own
-Perfect support for me
-Terrible material, didn’t make the shoe just like the retail pair which leads to my next point
-Durability, some parts of the shoe started to separate a tiny tiny bit (I blame myself because of the way I move, I go through lots of basketball shoes).
Overall, I loved the XI. As a Nike customer, definitely would get another pair if I could. I don’t get why they downgraded on traction. 8-10 had good to perfect traction. But I’m glad they made the XI have some good support. They could have done a better job on constructing the flyknit just saying.
Yea it always sucks when the ID’s are worse than the retail pair. I hope my KD IX id comes out decently. Yep if traction was better on the Kobe it wouldn’t be too bad of a shoe.
I just wish these had better traction. Have you ever thought of this question. Why give up something that was working so well? If these had the 8 or 9 traction, these would be the best Kobe model next to the 4 or maybe better
Yep. I’ve heard the solid outsole is much better so I’m looking around for a cheap pair to test out. I believe they change stuff around to seem “innovative” or to only give consumers 4/5 of what they want. But maybe the solid outsole will be great . One of my readers Jon says they are great
Have you tried the kobe 11 EM (the engineered mesh version)? I’ve heard that this version is better for traction because of the rubber compound they use on this version
I have a pair of the Oreo with solid white just haven’t played in them yet
I’m not sure if you’ve played in the hyperdunk 2016 lows but I was debating getting a new low top between the HD 2016 low, kobe 11 EM, and the kobe A.D.’s, the main things I focus on are traction and cushioning
I played in clear soles hd fk and traction is ok but not as good as ad and probably not as good as Kobe 11 solid ( not sure though). Hd 16 cushioning should be ok though. I prefer Zoom over lunar set ups .
As an overall performer, which of the 3 would you choose for on court (HD 16, Kobe XI, Kobe AD?)
Man that’s a tough one. If the ad didn’t have the little outrigger thing I’d pick that first bc traction and cushioning are good. Kobe XI is good too if you like drop ins (can’t comment on solid outsole yet). Hd 16 solid too but traction will
Be behind the Ad for sure.
I’d pick ad even with its outrigger issues just bc I don’t like drop ins and traction is excellent (cushioning is good for me and my 180 lbs lol)
I have a lebron 11 insole that I have just sitting around, not sure how drop in insoles work on shoes that don’t usually have them but would that work in an AD? or would Kobe XI with Lebron 11 insole be better than Kobe AD?
Won’t fit in the ad since it’s a regular cushioning set up in the ad. The Lebron insole is probably too thick for the Kobe XI. My Lebron XI are in storage so can’t try swapping for you but check Niketalk
My complaint here is this: a full Zoom midsole is already and option for NikeID, why not make it THE midsole for your Elite version? I feel like it would make a world of difference to beef up that midsole with a full Zoom bag. And yes, I tried swapping in the LeBron 11 midsole and it did not fit.
I was thinking of buying the 2011 em Mambacurial Pink Flash Action Green. What do you think of the traction? I don’t think this colorway’s rubber is solid. Is it translucent outsole?
It’s translucent if it’s the pair I’m thinking of. Traction sucked in the pair I had. I got a pair of Oreos (solid outsole) but haven’t gotten around to them yet
The outsole color is a light green. I can see the Nike word through the outsole. I guess it is translucent? On nice court it performs well but on dusty ccourts it’s better to play in the solid rubber outsole model?
Yes.. unless the green trans is different from the clear pair. Solid is your safest bet though
so the kobe XI with translucent sole is the worst traction setup of all of kobe’s signature models?
Probably I can’t think of one worse. AD outsole is great, Kobe iii isn’t quite as bad as the Xi translucent but it isn’t good either
Can I go half a size down on the Kobe 11 EM? I wear Curry 2s on my 10.5 (my TTS) and the fit was perfect.
You should be ok half a size down in the Kobe 11 em. It runs a little longer than tts length wise while the curry 2 runs a little short tts.
Hey Schwollo! Sorry if i’ve been asking a lot of questions here lately.
I was wondering if you have any idea how the different the outsole of the Kobe 11 em’s is gonna be from the kobe 11 elites. Will the solid rubber last significantly longer than the translucent one? Also, how long will they both live outdoors.
I’m asking cause I love engineered mesh over flyknit by a ton; less durable, less expensive, but more breathable, more shape conforming, and more comfortable for me.
Solid is better than translucent on the Kobe xi. I have a pair of Tinkers and traction is very good esp compared to translucent. Will it last longer? Not much longer if at all since grooves are so shallow on both.