*sizing update 8/22*

Got my All Star pair in a size 11 and you can see the original pairs ran larger. USA pair on left is a size 11. OG All Star pair (right frame left shoe) is a 10.5 and still larger than the Protro size 11). Width wise you can see the OG 10.5 is slightly wider than the Protro 11. My OG 10.5 has a thumbs width at the toe and the Protro has a little less than that. You can either go true to size or half a size down if you want a tighter fit. Different colorways may fit differently. **

Here is my Kobe I OG review

Some reviews are so easy especially when the “new” version is almost an exact replica of the old one. I put “new” in “quotes “ because ” new technology” means “old” but “new” because Nike “said so”. Get ready for a lot of “quotes” in this “review”. Man I miss “Chris Farley”.


Pros: everything

Cons: a few ounces heavier than average

Best for: any position

Sizing advice: true to size to half a size down. I fit half a size down as well as true to size in the OG so it comes down to preference. Do not size up

Buying advice: $150 or less for the less limited colorways. More supply equals lower prices.


Left OG, right Protro

One of the Nike’s big marketing points with the Protro was that they “shaved some weight”. “Shaved” means added weight apparently. Remember the Protro is slightly smaller too. My All Star pair weights 17.5 ounces so half an ounce could just be due to manufacturing tolerances. And if an ounce to half an ounce bothers you, put down your baby bottle and pick up a dumbbell.


You tell me which is the OG

Same as the original which is a great thing. No major motion picture story telling just nice deep multi directional herringbone.

This pair took a little bit of time to break In and get rid of some of that residue off the rubber. Traction “technology” hasn’t improved at all over the past two or three decades but marketing and design style has. Awesome job Nike? Ok awesome job Nike


This is the biggest change in the Protro from the original. The original featured a large heel Zoom and and a standard met bag in the forefoot . (I didn’t know it was a met bag and I’ve been playing in them for over a decade. Gotta love the world wide internet)

7.75 mm in the forefoot met 14.36 in the heel, photos courtesy of Fastpass.cn

The Protro uses a full length Zoom unit instead and is thinner than what you get with heel and zoom and most full length Zoom ( 8mm is typical) but still feels good.

Left, Protro, right Why Not, photo courtesy of Fastpass.cn

It is not as bouncy feeling as the Zoom BB or even AJ 12 (I really need to review all the relevant Jordans but no time) but it’s a great blend of fun, impact protection and court feel.

Cloth strobels so you’re really sitting on top on the Zoom

From the OG, not much of a difference other than the nicer feel in transition but the original is pretty damn smooth as well. The reduced amount of carbon fiber in the Protro really made no difference in transition either probably because the full length Zoom made up for the shorter carbon fiber shank.

Nike even gave us the same insoles with I believe poron inserts. Protro left, OG right

Once again, “new technology” from Nike means technology that has been around twenty years so nothing actually “new” except the shoe and marketing. Regardless, I still thoroughly enjoyed the cushioning.


Left Protro, right OG

I’m not sure if this was done on purpose but the protro runs a little shorter than the original. the good news is that the original ran a little long so maybe this was to correct it? Well I bought a 10.5 just like the original and despite the slightly shorter length they fit just fine for me and still left me with a little less than finger width at the toe. My true size is an 11 so I still feel these run a little long true to size.

If you want a little more space for your feet, go with your true size. The thing about having some padding in a shoe is that it can adapt to different feet without throwing the fit totally off. I can go up half a size and not feel like my foot is sliding everywhere even if it’s larger than my preference. FWIW, I have one pair of OGs in a size 11 and although it runs big it still fits and plays great.

I’m sure someone will poopoo about this 😆 left Protro, right OG

Anyhoo, the Kobe I uses a standard lacing system no asymmetry or anything like that. No heel slip. No movement side to side. No need to sell “lacing technological advances” because there really isn’t any.

Well done Nike!


Left Protro, right OG

A little stiffer suede and leather than the original but all in all it’s pretty accurate to the original. It does require some break in in this colorway but that’s to be expected.

Very slightly thicker suede on Protro (left)

After break in time that stiffness is just the right balance of flexibity and strength which is pretty much what shoe companies have been trying to accomplish with synthetics and knits for the past five years. If you didn’t read this before, the changes in materials aren’t “solely” about performance, it’s about profit.

We do see this as a way not only to create a higher performance, more sustainable product but one that actually will gives us significantly better margins as we scale this.”

Limited resources such as leather will always cost much much more than anything man made.

Support and stability

Left OG, right Protro

Just like the OG, it might be a mid cut but it’s very flexible around the ankle so don’t expect any stilts holding your ankles together. There is plenty of flexibility for full range of motion.

Midfoot support

Thanks again Fastpass.cn

Although Nike removed about half of the carbon fiber, using a full length zoom bag pretty much evens things out. No unnecessary flexing at the midfoot even with less carbon fiber.

Nearly as wide as the Harden V2

Stability is great just like the og. Very wide flat outsole provides a stable base with an outrigger so less than perfect landings don’t result in sprained ankles. (See NXT 360)


Nuff said

The teeth will tear as you play in these, there is no way around it so just dab some super glue when it starts to tear


Hey Nike can you talk to Jordan brand about accurately retroing? Nike did an excellent job with the protro and actually feels, looks, and plays like the original.

If you read my og review, I paid 35 bucks a piece for my Kobe I but as Kobe grabbed a few more rings, and retired nostalgia has built up, and shoe collectors got antsy, Nike knew (knows) they can charge $175 now. Nike understands limiting supply and then opening the supply gates a little more each release better than anyone so it shouldn’t be hard to find these for under retail. I actually bought my pair off Footlocker but found a pair on eBay for $155 with an EBay $25 coupon so came out to $130. Per usual, Kobe Protro prices are dying down slowly after the initial few releases.

Is $175 worth it? Sure? I can’t speak for anyone other than myself but each person’s financial situation is different. I’m not stocking up on these unless they are around $130 or less (plus I have my OG stash).

As far as performance, there is a reason I still use the OG and Nike did a great job replicating it. It does everything very well from traction to containment and has just the right amount of bounce to make the cushioning fun yet balanced without being mushy.

As I always say, newer almost never means better so it’s nice to see that the “new” Kobe I works because it’s the same as the “old” Kobe but with an “old but different” Zoom set up.

The Kobe Protro gets a first team rating although it’s weird since MJ is in the pic. Oh well.

It also gets my old SF 2 rating

57 Comment on “Nike Kobe I Protro Performance Analysis, Review, and Original Comparison

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