Sorry it’s been awhile since I got around to writing one of these. Just killing some time until the Harden V2 comes out.

Anyhoo, I enjoyed playing in the Kobe V but it didn’t have the traction I needed so it never made my rotation. The VI tweaked a few things and improved overall on the V.

Pros: improved traction from the V after break in, cushioning, fit, containment

Cons: traction needs break in, slight heel slip until break in time is complete

Sizing: true to size

Best for: guards


Holy schNikes. I knew these were light but wow. For reference that’s 4.5 oz lighter than the Curry Two and 2.5 ounces lighter than the Kobe V. Damn!


Before I actually played in these I had read on various forums that traction had vastly improved from the V so I was super psyched about the VI. However, nobody seems to mention how long it would take to break them in.

I found the traction to be great on clean courts and only okay on dusty floors before break in. However, after break in, I found them to be great on clean courts and good on dusty floors although some wiping was still needed.

A lot of this break in time had to do with the thin grooves of the outsole. The more you wear them down the better a point of course. You can see how much thinner the traction pattern is toward the midfoot versus the forefoot.

These are actually a little over worn but still better than new

On a typical herringbone set up, the grooves are about 25-50 % thicker and there are more grooves so there really isn’t all that much surface area touching the ground with the VI. Once you break in the traction, the grooves get wider thus improving traction. Just my theory of course.

Overall the traction improved from the V but never got to quite to Kobe IV level but still pretty damn good.


On paper, the Zoom set up is the same as the Kobe V, but in practice, I find these slightly higher off the ground and with a little more cushioning underfoot. Nike went with its standard Kobe set up:

Met bag Zoom in the forefoot

And Heel Zoom

Look how large the heel Zoom is compared to today’s quarter sized set ups.

Cushioning overall is similar to the V but slightly firmer due to the Phylon used around the Zoom units as well as the firmer insole. It’s still an excellent cushioning set up although I’d like a full width bag in the forefoot. But Kobe gets what he wants.

Despite the smallish met bag in the forefoot, the cushioning still feels great even today in this old pair. Give us this type of Zoom today and people might just stop hating on Nike’s skimping ways.


The Kobe VI fits true to size, simple as that. The fit took some time for me with the VI but it was mainly due to the insole. A big selling point of the VI was the insole that “molds to your foot”.

I’d call BS on it but it really does mold to your foot over time and it’s definitely a different material than what’s found in the Kobe V or any insole for that matter.

The insole starts off rigid but as it heats up from playing it molds to your foot ever so slightly. I couldn’t really feel a difference but I could see the contours of my foot when I pulled the insole out. Plus the heel slip went away so it worked well enough.

No movement side to side or front to back. Just a nice low sock like fit. The formula for a good fit is so simple it’s hard to understand why others don’t get it right.


I’m too lazy to write about the materials so I’ll borrow from Jake’s Ode to the Kobe VI review at Thegymratreview

The VI continued the progression of a second-skin upper, with Flywire embedded in a Kurim-enhanced urethane upper.

This upper though, was thicker and more durable than the Skinwire on the previous version. The scale pattern not only looked sweet, but also provided some scuff and abrasion resistance. The upper still flexes naturally and it really provides a supportive shell. No containment issues to be found.

As covered before, I think the application of materials was perfect. The updated upper with embedded Flywire and a urethane shell was both supportive and naturally flexible.

If you don’t know Jake, you should check out his reviews, he was my go to reviewer until he started writing his motorcycle 24/7. If you ever need a cross reference, look on his site. Great baller and just a plain good dude.

Support and Stability 

You can see that the IV is slightly bulkier and taller than the VI.

Since this is a low, support from the great fit and heel counter. No issues here.

Stability is also very good thanks to a wide flat outsole and large forefoot outrigger.

No issues here, no weird tiny outriggers..It’s such a simple formula, thanks Nike!

Containment No issues with containment thanks to the raised midsole that runs almost the entire length of the shoe.


A lot of players have the Kobe VI as their GOAT because it’s good at everything and amazingly lightweight without compromise. I personally still prefer the IV because I like the traction and how it’s a little sturdier but I would take the VI over the V due to the traction after break in. I’d put this at number two in terms of the Kobe low top rankings. I still love the Kobe I more than the VI probably because it was built for a more jacked up Kobe.

I’ve seen more people doing retro reviews comparing it to today’s shoes and in nearly a decade it’s still better than 99.5% of what’s out there despite “advancements” in sneaker technology

  • All new high tech cushioning ? Zoom is still great and just as good as Boost when done right. Plus it can ride much lower without bottoming out.
  • All new Flyknit, Primeknit, Knitwit? Put on a new upper with the Kobe VI and you end up with a Kobe VI without faux scales. Knits are big profit makers so better to sell it as a big upgrade and charge more.
  • Traction? There have been no advancements in this area, the lone exception is the Rose 7 and that is just a damn good pattern. C
  • Lightweight? Almost no shoes come within three ounces of the VI. I think the lightest last year was the Curry 4 mid and Low at 12.5 ounces.

What other advancements am I missing ? New lacing system that look like pegboards or shrouds? Don’t make me laugh.

New shoes, New year, and marketing campaigns don’t add up to actual improvements so that’s why you shouldn’t limit yourself to looking at just the latest to find the greatest. This review really makes me wonder what I’m doing with my money…hmm maybe I’ll buy some bitcoin tomorrow since I have a better chance of making some money than finding a better performer.

50 Comment on “The Archive: Nike Zoom Kobe VI Performance Review and Analysis

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