Kobe had his jerseys retired last night so I thought oday would be a good day to post my review of the Kobe AD Mid. I remember watching him as a rookie thinking “This is one cocky mf, he better be good”. I guess he turned out okay.

I’ll admit it, Kobe has never been my favorite player but his shoes have been tops in my rotation since the 2K5 and the Kobe I, and continue to be despite being almost twelve years old. Here are links to my reviews of the 2K4 through Kobe V. I’m trying to go in order so I’ll finish the rest eventually. Same with Lebrons.

2K4 vs 2K5, Kobe I, Kobe II, Kobe III, Kobe IV, Kobe V

The Kobe ADM continues on with the Mamba lineage and does an excellent job on court despite a few minor annoyances. It also threw a wrench in my end of the year rankings and awards.

Pros: traction, cushioning, fit, stability, containment

Cons: sits higher than previous models, white upper gets dirty ultra fast, upper needs some break in and starts stiffish, no ventilation

Sizing: true to size, wide footers can try half a size up but not necessary

Best for: guards but I think bigs might like these

Buying advice: wait, these are generic looking and are just sitting. $100 is fair but I think they will go as low as $65-50

Weight

13.5 ounces which is about average for a low. Oh wait this is called a mid. If you say so Nike

Traction

I’m rarely let down by a Kobe traction set up and these are great but still not as good managing dust as the Kobe IV or IX. Per usual I put these to the test against the IV and the IV chugged along with no problems while the AD Mid needed very occasional wiping on dusty floors. I think it’s main weakness is how tightly spaced and how flat the grooves are so dust can just sit but the rubber is soft enough so the grooves brush most of the dust away.

The pattern is very tightly spaced like the Dame 2 but I give the ADM the nod because it seems to require a lot less wiping and still hold its grip for longer.

Don’t get me wrong traction is still excellent and just outside the elite group. If you don’t have the Kobe IV, the ADM will easily suffice.

Cushioning

The Lunarlon in the ADM feels great from heel toe with a nice Zoom bag in the heel. I had no issues with last year’s AD but these feel a little softer and springier when moving walking yet feel just as firm when actually playing. If you tried the NXT, you have a good idea of how these feel but just imagine a strobel muting the cushioning a little more.

Compared to the Kobe IV and most Kobes in general, these sit a little higher tby 3-5 mm and measure approximately 25 mm at the forefoot. average, most shoes play around the same range so it isn’t really noticeable unless you’re used to playing in lower to the ground shoes. This set up is a nice balance of court feel, impact protection and bounce that I think everyone will enjoy. Under Armour, are you listening?

Nice job overall Nike!

The Cut

I just had to throw this in. Check out the “Mid” compared to the Kobe IV and AJ XXXI. Are these really a mid ? I’m going to call them a high low.

The Aj XXXI low is called a low despite being a little higher than the Kobe ADM. Hey Nike, you of all companies know that lows are more popular than mids so why the misnomer? This just comes to show you that you shouldn’t pay attention to labels and marketing. I have full range of motion with the ADM so if you’re worried about the shoe restricting your movements, don’t worry because it’s just a label.

Fit

True to size simple as that. Wide footers can go up half a size but expect some extra length.

Initially, I thought I needed half a size up and I ordered an 11.5 but there was too much space in the toe box because ..well, they fit like a 11.5. Even half a size up, the fit was still good with no heel slip or movement side to side but there was just more space than I wanted. After dropping back down true to size the fit got even better.

The one issue I had with the fit was the top eyelet. Even though I was locked in, I just felt like it was a little lower and further forward than normal.

Putting the top eyelet this far forward made it slightly more difficult to get the proper lockdown. I had some heel slip until I was able to get the slight nuances correct and get locked in. I’d still like it moved back though.

Another thing I need to note is how thin the tongue is especially compared to the IV.

It doesnt have Curry 4 cut inducing lace pressure (I still have scars) but there is some pressure at the top eyelet. A thicker tongue would have made the shoe feel more comfortable, more premium and would have made the fit even better.

Overall though, I had no movement side to side and no heel slip from the get go. Some of the best fitting shoes I’ve ever worn are not one size fits one but are able accommodate different feet and sizes just like these ADM’s. I probably could have gone a full size up and been just fine. Adidas and UA, are you listening ?

Materials

If you’re into materials you’ll probably be disappointed with this part. The materials Nike chose just look and feel unfinished. Faux suede is what they are trying to achieve but it feels and looks like a white chalk board eraser died to make the upper. And boy does it pick up dirt like one too.

The materials do take a few hours of break in to warm up and soften but there aren’t hot spots that pinch or flex painfully so just play on and you’ll be fine. You do have a little dead space in the toe box when you lace them tightly but it doesn’t affect anything.

Ventilation

Good thing these are lows so at least air can escape around your ankles. Nothing beats wearing a suede jacket on a hot summer day so the same goes for my feet and the ADM. Not a big deal to me but they do get warmer than most.

Support and Stability

I need to paint the heel counter, needs more yellow for contrast

This is a low mislabeled as a mid so the support comes from the fit and the large, fairly firm heel counter.

There is also a carbon fiber shank for midfoot support.

Aside from the Kobe name, his is probably how Nike justifies the $150 retail price. If the shank were plastic the shoe would cost $125.

Stability is excellent with a flat outsole and large outrigger.

Nike moved and enlarged the forefoot outrigger back to its normal position. You can see how much wider it is than my beloved Kobe IV.

Overall support and stability are great. Fairly low ride and the appropriate amount of support without being overbearing make me happy.

Containment

Despite only using this thick rand, containment was very good on the ADM. Obviously the stiffer synthetic upper plays a large part in containing the foot as well since it doesn’t stretch like knit or woven uppers. Stretching fabric is good when you’re getting fat after eating turkey, not when you’re trying to change directions. Cheap feeling materials do serve a purpose!

Which Kobe AD is for you?

Pick an AD, any AD. Here is a summary of my experiences with the Kobe AD’s.

Kobe AD: I had no issues with the material or the cushioning but the placement of the small forefoot outrigger was a small issue. Cushioning is a little firmer than the other two but still have enough bounce and feedback to make them fun. Traction was great.

Kobe AD NXT: I liked this set up even more than the AD since the outrigger was placed correctly and it was super stable. I’m not a big fan of drop in insoles but the NXT did a good job raising the insole sidewalls so no pinching. Midfoot support was not as poor as the Mamba Instinct but I’m still not a drop in insole.

Kobe AD “Mid”:

No issues at all with the ADM. Great midfoot support, no drop in insole, and great traction. It’s just a nice, balanced lightweight shoe that does everything well. Sounds right up my alley.

Conclusion

I’ve said this time and time again:

Materials do not make the shoe.. well literally they do but performance wise it makes very little difference as to how a shoe performs on court. I’d say most people are in agreement that the Kobe IV is the GOAT low top despite crispy leather and thick first generation fuse as an upper. Given all the so called “advancements” in materials, you think something would have surpassed a shoe nearly ten years old. Nike got everything right except the Lunar Foam on the Kobe IV and even that doesn’t keep my from wearing the IV. #thingsthatmakeyougohmmm

Once Kobe retired, I expected the Kobe line to take a step back (jumper?) like the Jordan line. However, aside from its use of cheapish materials and a more generic look, the Kobe line really hasn’t fallen off. I do feel like the Kobe AD line feels cheaper in hand but still performs great on court. The ADM reminds me a lot of the Kobe IV and could almost pass for it if I closed my eyes which is very good thing.

Despite a few ticky tack issues, I think the Kobe AD Mid is an excellent all around performer on court especially now that they are getting more heavily discounted. Not surprisingly, it’s one of my top five for the year due to its great all around performance. Like the Aj XXXI Low solid outsole, the ADM is a worthy replacement for my Kobe IV when my supply runs out.

If you’re looking to get a pair of the ADM, just wait since the Kobe 360 is around the corner and the ADM is just sitting. Eastbay has already cut prices so $100 or less is fair but I expect them to bottom out around $50-65. In the meantime I have to rejigger my 2017 awards list.

55 Comment on “Nike Kobe A.D. Mid Performance Analysis and Review

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