As I’ve been twiddling my thumbs waiting for the KD 11 to come out, I decided to write this review for the Kobe 8. This is probably one of the most requested reviews I get asked to do and I just happened to dig them out for the NXT 360 review so here you go. And for comparison sake, here are reviews for the

Kobe 4

Kobe 5

Kobe 6

One day I’ll find my pair of Kobe VII’s and finish writing the Kobe IX so I’ll have literally reviewed 1-360.

Pros: traction, cushioning, fit, stability, containment, low to the ground nimble feel

Cons: low walls on insole causes some pinching between upper and insole, very squeaky insoles (not really a con just a note)

Best for: light on their feet guards

Weight:

10.5 ounces which is pretty much lighter than anything out there the past few years including the NXT 360 which weighed 12 ounces.

Traction

Fantastic traction even with this semi translucent outsole. I’ve never had a major issue with these even on dusty floors and if you’re one of those believers that the squeakier the better you’ll love these. Minimal wiping on dusty floors, great bite when clean 👍

Cushioning

The second year of the Kobe system features a full length Lunarlon drop in insole. It’s comfortable and feels very low to the ground which a lot of players will like. I like the minimal feel but it isn’t for me in the long term especially with neuromas in my feet. You can pinch through the forefoot cushioning fairly easily which shows how low to the ground the 8 plays. One of my teammate who is a marathon runner loved the 8 after I recommended it to him just because I knew it fit his game and his preferences. In his own words it felt like a running shoe.

I do not like the low walls on this drop in bc of the pinching but it isn’t something that makes or breaks the shoe for me, just an annoyance.

As with all Lunarlon set ups, the lifespan of the cushioning is short relative to Boost and Zoom but even in its deadened state, it doesn’t feel bad since it is directly underfoot but it just doesn’t spring back like it used to. No aches or pains with this old set up of course your mileage will vary depending on your fitness and flexibility level. As I said in my 360 review, I think the 360 cushioning is better, more refined and definitely much quieter. The squeakiness of the Kobe 8 is almost comical when walking around.

Fit

True to size for everyone.. isn’t that simple?

Zero heel slip out of the box no issues fit wise at all. Just a nice extension of the foot. Nike does the fit on lows better than everyone else, sorry Nike haters.

Materials

Engineered mesh. No fancy moniker aside from the word “engineered”. When Nike says FLY or ELITE anything then you know it’s their premium product. The upper works fine with no pinching or weird flexing or even any real break in time.

You can see that “engineered” means strengthened by ribs to give just enough flexibly but retain strength

What if the 8 was made of Flyknit? Really not any difference, maybe it sits a hair or two closer to your skin but it doesn’t make the shoe play any different. It might feel softer but does that equate to anything measurable ? Did your feet fatigue faster because of engineered mesh? If so, please go work out.

Support and stability

Since this is a low support comes from the fit and heel counter. No issues here at all with the firm heel counter and excellent fit.

Midfoot support is also good with a carbon fiber shank (are you listening NXT 360 or Mamba Instinct/rage)

You can see I can only bend the forefoot of the 8 thanks to the shankStability is excellent as well due to a very flat outsole and low to the ground set up plus a super tiny outrigger.

I really liked how stable and low the 8 feels and had zero fear wearing these during physical or meaningful games. Great job Nike!

Containment

No issues here aside from insole pinching since they raised the external “midsole”.

Conclusion

The Kobe 8 is an extremely fun runner like shoe that virtually every person I know enjoys. It is one of those shoes that makes you feel faster even if you really aren’t moving any quicker than normal. It is probably the closest thing to a running shoe made for hoops that you’ll ever find.

It doesn’t feature the newest cushioning set up or the latest and greatest upper material but it gets the basics right with a very low silhouette and weight which is why it plays like a true low. Full range of motion up top with a nice stable base gives us the best of both worlds.

Despite its very inconsequential flaws, I’d rank these behind the Kobe 4 and 6 but ahead of the 5 due to the traction. These are still pretty easy to find on eBay and secondary market apps like GOAT and Stock X so if you’re looking for a running hoop shoe, don’t fret, it’s still easy to obtain.

7 Comment on “The Archive: Nike Kobe 8 Performance Analysis and Review

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