Yawn…anything good out there? As I finish up catching up with the entire Kobe line, I figured I might as well finally get around to these. I did not buy the Elite IX simply because I don’t like looking like I’m wearing snow boots. I’ll try to get to the VII soon which is not nearly as bad as some people make them out to be.

Pros: traction, firmer and more refined Lunarlon cushioning, fit, containment

Cons: little midfoot support , does not pass my tippiness test (3rd degree sprain back in the day with these but that’s me and my gait)

Best for: guards who value traction and a nice balanced cushioning set up

Weight

13 ounce which is about average for today’s standards.

Traction

Errr yea these are awesome 24/7

That’s all, that’s why I always use it a lot as a measuring stick for my other shoes. Soft pliable rubber than doesn’t pick up a ton of dust? Sign me up!!

Cushioning

I’m not a fan of drop ins as you well know but at least Nike has improved and removed most of the more bothersome aspects of the drop ins over the years. My main complaint has been low walls that allow my foot to pinch between the upper and insole and Nike started to raise the walls with the IX. Can it keep a caravan out ? I doubt it #politics

The IX feels slightly firmer then the Kobe VIII and don’t have that squeakiness that I always encountered in the Kobe 8. Like all Lunarlon, it doesn’t keep that springy feeling that long but since it is a drop in you don’t quite notice the drop off as much since there isn’t a strobel board between the cushioning and your foot.

Overall it is what it is which is not my favorite set up but it works fine.

Fit

Like the Harden V1 to V3 the Kobe 9 just fits a little better than the 8. Everything is slightly tighter from heel to toe and I love how the heel is ultra locked in with the 9. The Achilles and ankle collar just clamps the heel in like it’s supposed to. Simple no frills lacing just works. Simple works, it’s that easy folks.

Materials

These are engineered mesh and it works. Reinforcement on high pressure areas yet flexible where needed. Nothing fancy at all at the $140 price point. Amazing thst Nike hasn’t moved the Kobe price point even more although they have move it $20 bucks here and there. But as history shows us, no sig player on court equals slower sales. Never mind I just answered my own question.

Support and Stabilty

Support is fine since these are lows with and excellent heel fit and very firm heel counter.

Midfoot support is okay but comes solely from the insole like a lot of other drop in insoles shoes

Stabilty in the heel however killed this shoe for me and I should have never even bothered since I have a thing with tippy shoes in the heel.

The outsole isn’t that rounded but it’s rounded just enough at exactly the wrong place. I went up for a rebound got pushed in the air landed on my heel and that’s all she wrote for 6 weeks. Perfect landing don’t hurt, it’s the not so perfect ones you gotta look out for.

As I’ve said before that’s just me and my wanky ankles and gait. Plenty of people have used these with no issues but I can’t do rounded heels. At least the forefoot is nice and flat with an outrigger.

So close to being acceptable stability wise yet so far. I don’t want to ever sit again for 6-8 weeks. I almost threw up because of the pain. Thanks Lebron X and Kobe IX for teaching me a painful yet helpful lesson with my shoe selection.

Containment

Zero issues here. The entire foot sits below the grey raised midsole

Conclusion

I can see why players love the Kobe IX and I definitely would have as well if not for the outsole and the bad mojo I had with the shoe. Fantastic traction, great fit, and nice balanced cushioning are all things I love but that damn heel just kept me from wearing them.

As far as where this ranks in the Kobe line, I’d say it is a top 5 Kobe if not for my own ankle issues. Personally I’d still take the IV, VI, I and probably the NXT and AD Mid ahead of these because they all gave me excellent traction and cushioning without fear of turning my ankle. The 8 is up there and the Exodus would be there as well but it’s a little more rounded (not as bad as these) than I’d prefer. (But sleep some more on the Exodus and wake up to grab them on the cheap the next few months). Actually I can’t really say any Kobe is bad, they just have outliers that play a little stiffer than the rest of the Kobe line and get sht on for being different. Want a low top with almost zero chance of heel slip and great traction with nice court feel and cushioning without worrying about sizing?

K O B E

21 Comment on “The Archive: Nike Kobe IX 9 EM Performance Analysis and Review

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