Happy Easter Everyone!
Executive Summary: The NXT looks different..very different but it flat out performs. Nike took a little of everything from the Kobe line and mashed them together into the NXT. The shroud system works and doesn’t look as odd once you play in the NXT. Players who like a more minimalist feel like the Kobe 8 or Mamba Instinct may not like these.
Who’s got NXT?
As always, when a signature athlete leaves the big stage, sales (and apparently design and inspiration) suffer. Does anyone really give a sh*t about Jordan’s post retirement 1 and 2?
Following in Jordan’s footsteps, moves and fade aways, the Kobe A.D. has had a very lukewarm reception overall. Not seeing your favorite athlete in their signature shoes just isn’t the same when you see tier two athletes in them. Aside from fans in the Six, does remember what Derozen did this season in the Kobe AD?
The NXT definitely has that whack factor that a lot of shoe companies seem to strive for nowadays; If it’s ugly, it must perform right ? It’s funny, I thought the shoe was very ugly initially but after enjoying playing in them, I find them beautiful… well almost.
Pros: traction, cushioning, fit, stability, lacing set up works, above average containment
Cons: a little pinching between upper and insole, lacing setup is odd to look at, containment could be a little better, priced too high
Sizing: true to size, wide footers will probably want to go up half a size or wear thinner socks
Best for: sturdy enough for any position
Buying Advice: ain’t nobody buying these so wait until $120 or less. $80 is around the bottom
This is really the only part of the Kobe AD that carried over from the Kobe A.D. Instead of the micro tread and Kobe VI pattern mash up, Nike elected to just use the micro tread which is great in my opinion. My previous experience with the AD was with a solid outsole but I had no issues at all with the NXT traction and barely had to wipe at all. Usually with Nike translucent outsoles, I have to wipe like crazy but the micro tread really keeps the dust at bay. The outer rim is painted white so it makes me wonder if all outsoles start as translucent and are then painted ? Anyways, the NXT traction is easily better than the traction on my Clutchfit Drives, Rare Metals, Lillard 2, Hardens, Curry 3 and close but not quite to the Curry 2, AJ XX8, Kobe IX level.
Well done Nike!
If you liked the Kobe XI set up, you’ll most likely like this set up because it feels very similar but a touch firmer yet springier. I’m usually not a fan of drop ins but they raised the entire “wall” of the insole so there isn’t as much annoying pinching between the insole and upper (still a little bit though).
I could feel the heel Zoom and Lunarlon from the get go which is always a good thing but it got a little softer the more I played in them . There isn’t any “micro tuned” talk in Nike’s NXT description but I feel like it probably is just because it feels less mushy than traditional Lunarlon which I personally like.
Well done Nike!
NXT Lacing System
The lacing system is what really caught my eye and it looks a little sloppy when it isn’t pulled tightly but I can’t knock it because it works.
Anyways, Nike basically flipped the placement of the laces and stuck them on the sides and used a shroud system to keep the foot locked in place. The idea is very reminiscent of the shroud on the AJ XVII (although the XVII used a traditional lace set up underneath it) or even the Adidas T Mac IV HUG system which was hidden inside the shoe. I don’t feel it locked my foot in a ton better than a regular set up but there is no lace pressure (except at the toggle ) since there are no laces on the top and the shroud evenly distributed the pressure over a greater surface area across your foot.
FYI You cannot just pull the toggle to get locked in because you still have to adjust the “laces” to properly pull down the shroud. Also you still have to tie the laces.
It took me a few wears to get the right amount of “shroud pressure” because I actually pulled too tightly but couldn’t feel any lace pressure. The shroud itself is Flyknit and is tightly knit so it isn’t stretchy because it needs to pull the foot down.
Overall, yes it’s very gimmicky looking and you probably won’t see this again due to dismal sales but it works very well.
I went true to size with my normal size 11 and these fit true to size length wise. Wide footers can go up half a size or stay true to size depending on personal fit preferences. As a wide footer, these fit snug for me in my true size but not uncomfortably snug. I could have gone up half a size but was fine true to size with thinner socks. I had no movement side to side and zero heel slip from the get go. I really enjoyed the one to one fit with the NXT.
Well done Nike!
A one piece mesh inner sleeve with a Flyknit shroud is what you get on the NXT. No issues here but for $200 you’d think you’d get all Flyknit. Consumers aren’t quite as dumb as they used to be so value is the operative word these days Nike (see PG1).
Support and Stability
Midfoot support isn’t the greatest ever since it’s a drop in insole set up with a thin shell but it works fine because of the thickness of the drop in.
The shell itself is pliable but the insole is much sturdier than what we saw on the Mamba Instinct and thankfully I can’t roll it into a ball. Plantar fasciitis sufferers will probably want more midfoot support but most will be okay with the NXT as is.
The only Kobe that I’ve ever had an issue with stability was the Kobe IX because of a tippy heel but the NXT’s stability is excellent because of an outrigger at the forefoot and heel.
Nike changed the outrigger issue with the Kobe A.D. and shaped it more like the Kobe IX at the forefoot. No more that annoying rolling under the forefoot on hard cuts or crossovers. I wonder if they changed it up post AD release or after complaints.
Overall, I really liked the mobility of wearing a low without any fear or turning my ankle.
Well done Nike!
Containment is good overall due to the raised midsole at the midfoot and toe box but I really wish it was raised more at the forefoot. My foot stayed in played on hard cuts for the most part but I could feel some flexing at the forefoot where the raised portion of the midsole dips. Not a deal breaker at all but it could be better if placement was different.
Don’t judge a book by its cover and don’t judge the Kobe AD NXT by its shroud as I always say. Often times, shoe companies will make shoes different looking for the sake of..well, looking different. The NXT indeed looks odd but at least the shroud works without sacrificing anything other than money out of your wallet. Sneaker companies have pretty much innovated as far as they can with the more important and popular performance aspects so now it’s on to new unique lacing systems I guess ? Don’t expect anything mind blowing, everything is incremental at this point is all I’m saying.
In terms of the Kobe low hierarchy, I put the NXT right behind my number one, the Kobe IV. It is just a well rounded performer with great traction, fun cushioning, excellent fit and stability and decent containment. More importantly for me, it doesn’t feel like a running shoe that could rip at any moment, it just feels sturdy and strong that I think many different kinds of players would like (and some will hate due to taste).
Although I’m not a new calendar year, new top ten kind of guy, these edge out the Curry 3 Low for my favorite of 2017. Better traction, more fun cushioning and slightly better fit give it the edge over the Curry 3 Low for me…don’t worry Steph you’re still my guy!
Come to think of it, outside of the Rose 7 and Curry 2.5 these are probably my second favorite shoe to come out in the past year and a half. If my rotation wasn’t so tough to crack or the Kobe IV didn’t exist I wouldn’t hesitate to put them in my rotation somewhere except for the high price. Maybe I’ll just sub the NXT in and out somewhere or make it a top 11 list instead. Ten is just an arbitrary number anyways.
Speaking of pricing, NBA season is almost over and the NXT isn’t going anywhere so just wait for prices to fall. The NXT is already coupon eligible on Eastbay so expect more price cuts in the coming weeks or months. $120 is fair while $80 is probably the near bottom. Maybe NXT season Nike will make a more aesthetically pleasing version of the NXT? In the meantime I’ll deal with this ugly duckling as long it performs on beautifully on the court.