Speed. Precision. Vision. Versatility. Each of these traits is powerful on its own. When you bring them together, they’re unstoppable.
Nike Basketball factored in every dimension of Kobe Bryant’s formidable game in creating the KOBE 8 SYSTEM, which brings together performance innovations to create Kobe’s lowest and lightest performance basketball shoe to date at 9.6 ounces in a U.S. men's size 9. The shoe’s provocative graphic snakeskin print was inspired by Kobe’s on-court alter ego the Black Mamba, with further inspiration from the Chinese Year of the Snake in 2013.
The KOBE 8 SYSTEM is the result of a close collaboration between Nike Performance Footwear Creative Director Eric Avar, his team and Kobe himself. For his latest creation, Kobe wanted a shoe that acted as an extension of his foot, mirroring his quick performance while staying lower to the ground.Below: Eric Avar on the KOBE 8 SYSTEM.
"I’m always focused on improving my game, to perform at my best. I want my shoes to mimic the speed of my game," Kobe said. "By shaving fractions off the height and weight, it allows me to play faster with more control so I can maneuver across the court – I want to feel like I’m moving at the speed of light."
In response to athlete feedback, the design team incorporated an innovative textile -- Nike Engineered Mesh -- for the first time in a basketball shoe. This created a dynamic and ultra-lightweight fit that is 90 percent mesh for 360 degrees of breathability and tightly woven for strength and flexibility to bend naturally with the foot. Additionally, the no-sew, synthetic overlays on the toe and lateral quarter panel provide support for even the toughest games.
"We’re always pushing the limits of Kobe’s shoe to be faster, more precise, and to be modern,” Avar explained. "Kobe’s big on being bold, aggressive, provocative and making an impact. Working together, we’re on a never-ending quest for the perfect shoe for him.
"Nike Engineered Mesh creates a dynamic fit that syncs around Kobe’s foot to mimic the natural biomechanics, delivering security where he needs it. As the design team began working with the mesh, it took on this scale-like snake pattern that really brought the black mamba inspiration to life in compelling way."
The shoe’s full-length Lunarlon midsole delivers lightweight, low-profile cushioning, and is low to the ground allowing for greater stability. A one-millimeter rubber outsole – combining classic herringbone with a snake scale-inspired traction pattern – uses less rubber than traditional outsoles for lightweight durability and excellent multi-surface traction. The 3-D anatomical heel counter provides a sleek, locked down fit.
Beginning December 20, 2012, the black/sulfur color of the KOBE 8 SYSTEM will be available in stores globally, on nike.com and through NIKEiD. The python-inspired color launches in Greater China on January 12, 2013, and in North America on February 2, 2013.
KOBE 8 SYSTEM on NIKEiD:
NIKEiD will offer various performance and style customization options for the KOBE 8 SYSTEM shoe, enabling consumers to create their own player edition. Consumers can choose from four midsole options: Lunarlon cushioning for a soft yet responsive ride, or an orthotic-ready Nike Zoom insert which is super-thin and sits lower to the ground than traditional midsole inserts. And for players who want to track and measure their game with Nike+ Basketball, there are two additional midsole options: the KOBE+ 8 SYSTEM SP+ (which comes bundled with the Nike+ Sport Kit) or the KOBE 8 SYSTEM EN+ midsole for players who previously purchased the Nike+ Sport Kit (sold separately).
Beginning December 4, consumers can design, save and share their KOBE 8 SYSTEM shoes at NIKEiD.com. Beginning December 20, consumers can purchase their designs at NIKEiD.com on their desktop PCs, through mobile devices, and within select Nike stores.
KOBE 8 SYSTEM Technical Details
Nike Engineered Mesh Upper
- provides a dynamic, ultra-lightweight fit that moves with the foot and offers 360 degrees of breathability
Knit-in mamba pattern
- offers a signature look and style
Full length Lunarlon midsole
- delivers lightweight, low profile cushioning, and low-to-the-ground allowing for better stability
No-sew, synthetic overlays on the toe and lateral quarter panel
- provide support
The four small icons
- represent Kobe’s mastery of his sport
Minimal, foam-backed composite tongue
- provides lightweight comfort and a close fit
Snake graphic on the shoe tongue
- indicates the graphic design inspiration
3D anatomical heel counter
- provides a sleek fit and excellent lock down
- provides lightweight comfort stability
1 mm web rubber outsole
- uses less rubber than traditional outsoles for lightweight durability and great multi-surface traction
Glass composite midfoot shank
- provides excellent torsional rigidity and midfoot support