Nike Kobe AD

Made in collaboration with Kobe Bryant, the Nike Kobe AD was designed for basketball players of all levels. Its outsole is made with a simple rubber compound and features a microblade tread pattern. This allows the shoe to be used on both indoor and outdoor courts. Its midsole unit is formed by combining full-length injected Phylon with a Zoom Air heel unit for greater responsiveness. This feature is what gives it its overall lightweight wear and enhanced performance, especially during jumps. The low-mid cut upper is made with mesh materials and synthetic overlays that pair with a hidden lacing system. When joined by a supportive fit and plenty of eye-catching color options, buyers are immediately drawn to this model.

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Where to Buy
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Pros & Cons

-Great performance on the court

-Responsive cushioning

-Very supportive wear


-Eye-catching design


-Inconsistent traction

-Uncomfortable tongue

-Lacks durability

Key Features
Nike relies on a basic rubber compound for the Kobe AD's outsole unit, which reaches half-way up the midsole for added protection against premature wear. Its tread was made using an engineered microblading technique and features the same criss-cross pattern featured on the Kobe 10 model. This particular design gives the wearer a multi-directional grip that works on both outdoor and indoor basketball courts. In addition, it was designed to be completely flat against the floor to provide the wearer with greater stability. Several reviewers have even stated that they feel perfectly fine wearing this shoe out in casual environments, although others say that its traction needs some breaking in before it actually works. These same reviewers say that this model works best on a clean court.
Not many product listings are clear about what the Kobe AD's full-length midsole unit is made of, including Nike's own website. However, a few have confirmed that this feature is built from an injection-molded Phylon technology. Trademarked by the brand itself, it already provides a much more lightweight and responsive wear on its own than standard EVA. It also moves completely along with the foot to allow for easier playing and a more comfortable casual wear. But the real standout feature is the Zoom Air unit that's placed at the heel to enhance jumps and allow for a safer and smoother landing.
Like several other basketball shoes on the market, the Kobe AD features a bootie construction that ensures a secure yet supportive and comfortable fit. Nike uses a lightweight breathable mesh as the primary material, with synthetic leather overlays wrapping around the midfoot and heel for necessary structure. Greater stability comes in the form of both an internal and external heel counter at the back. A hidden lacing system is formed using rounded laces and fabric loops, further preventing accidental removal.
It's worth noting that, compared to several other models designed by pro-athletes, the Kobe AD is actually quite lightweight. While shoes designed by LeBron James or Kevin Durant can weight as much as 15oz, this one averages at just over 11oz. Though it still seems heavy, this is actually the typical weight of a men's trail running shoe. And shoes of that nature are designed to include extra features while still being easier to wear. Though Kobe Bryant still created this model with someone of his size in mind, he still took the more casual player into account when it came to how much the shoe weighed.
Since its upper is made with mesh, it goes without saying that the Kobe AD is breathable. This quality is strongest along the forefoot area, where hotspots tend to occur most often, though there is also a lot of open mesh along the top of the midfoot region. Though most reviewers seem to be satisfied with this shoe's level of airflow, others feel that its extensive overlays cause them to feel hot and uncomfortable after some time.
Most reviewers seem to find the Kobe AD very comfortable, especially for a basketball shoe. The full-length phylon provides them with soft cushioning that easily moves along with their feet, and the Zoom Air heel unit gives added protection and responsiveness where it's needed most. This means far less pain, discomfort, and possible injuries after a long game. The upper's level of breathability also helps to make things far more comfortable. However, some do say that this shoe takes some breaking in before it finally gets accustomed to their foot shape.
Between its silhouette, various textures, and appealing color schemes, the Kobe AD proves to be incredibly stylish both on and off the courts. As always, Nike's world-famous logo features prominently on the shoe's lateral side. Its hidden lacing system and thick round laces add to the multitude of textures that are already present. And aside from the usual black and white models, buyers can also choose from all blue, black/racer blue, and black/multicolor. Fans would definitely notice that several of the colorways are based on the Lakers' team colors of purple and gold.
Despite its amazing performance, comfort level, and appealing design, several reviewers feel that the Kobe AD is lacking in durability. More specifically, they've noticed that its materials aren't as high-quality as they should be for a shoe designed by a pro athlete. Some have noticed wear marks, or even holes, in the outsole not longer after they first start wearing it. Others have noticed tears in the upper or even a decrease in the midsole's level of cushioning. Though the majority of buyers don't seem to have an issue with these, it still wouldn't be a bad idea to purchase this model from a store with a great return policy.
Though it doesn't seem to be a very protective shoe, the Kobe AD still does a fair job of safeguarding the wearer against most of the hazards that they would encounter while playing basketball. The outsole's multi-directional traction keeps the wearer moving safely across indoor and outdoor courts, while its flat design stabilizes them to prevent accidents. The combination of full-length phylon and a Zoom Air heel unit gives an immense amount of shock absorption and energy transfer to shield against injuries and forms of chronic pain. While the upper's breathability staves off odor and blisters, its bootie construction, lacing system, and two different heel counters work together to prevent accidental removal.
All great basketball shoes need high levels of responsiveness, as this is what makes them more effective on the court. Nike's trademarked phylon material comes in its injection-molded form for this shoe, offering not only a lighter wear by also a greater bounce back than that offered by compression molded materials. Adding to this is a Zoom Air unit within the heel, which relies on compressed air to better absorb each impact. It's this same unit that also provides a much stronger lift-off with each jump, making it incredibly effective while on the court.
Reviews seem to be very impressed with how supportive the Kobe AD's wear is. It all starts with the full-length injected Phylon midsole, which not only cushions the wearer but also moves along with the foot to ensure complete, long-lasting support. The addition of a Zoom Air heel unit provides additional support where it's most needed, as well as some added responsiveness for greater performance. Its upper's bootie construction comes complete with a low-mid cut that perfectly supports the wearer's ankles. But it's the shoe's synthetic leather overlays, paired with the lacing system, that really support and stead the top of the foot.
It seems that Mr. Bryant made an excellent call when deciding to create a shoe that could be used on both indoor and outdoor courts. The Kobe AD's multi-directional traction can easily carry both the casual and more serious player across clean hardwood floors and smooth paved surfaces. It also enables this model to be worn in other everyday environments. Some may even find its breathability especially helpful during a warm day outside. However, product testers have noticed that it works better indoors, as too much time outsole could cause its tread pattern to wear down. And it goes without saying that this model is not recommended for wet environments.
When compared to many other shoes designed by pro-athletes, the Kobe AD's $140 price tag is actually pretty reasonable. To give a general idea, the Nike LeBron 16 runs for $185 while shoes from the Air Jordan line can cost as much as $250. Still, it's definitely higher than the average price range for a running shoe, which is between $120 and $130. Though its comfort, responsiveness, and overall performance on the court would definitely justify its cost to some, others are put off by its inconsistent traction and occasional lack of durability. Regardless, there are still plenty of buyers who will want this shoe no matter what simply because of the name attached to it.
One of the highlights of the Kobe AD is the multi-directional traction that it offers. Its rubber outsole features an engineered microblade tread pattern in a dotted, criss-cross design. This allows for a safe run on polished hardwood courts as well as a decent grip on paved outdoor surfaces. It's this same feature that also allows the wearer to take this model out into more casual, everyday settings. However, multiple reviewers have stated that this shoe works best on clean indoor courts, as its tread pattern can either wear down too easily on roads or become clogged with dust and dirt.
All shoes designed for athletic activities have to strike a perfect balance between stability and flexibility. The Kobe AD definitely achieves this, thanks primarily to its injected Phylon midsole unit. Aside from being lightweight and responsive, this full-length feature is able to move along completely with the runner's foot for consistent cushioning and much easier movement. Though this is enhanced a bit further by the shoe's mesh upper, its synthetic leather overlays, lacing system, and two heel counters are still present to prevent the wearer's movements from becoming unstable.
Listings and reviews indicate that the Kobe AD provides an ideal amount of stability for both athletics and everyday life. Its microblade outsole provides steady traction across clean courts and outdoor paved surfaces for a steadier game. The levels of cushioning and responsiveness provided by the full-length Phylon midsole and Zoom Air heel unit keeps the wearer pain-free and allows them completely smooth and steady movements as a result. Though the mesh upper wouldn't provide a lot of stability on its own, it has synthetic overlays to maintain its structure and aid the lacing system in ensuring a lockdown fit. Internal and external heel counters work together to give even greater security and prevent the foot from wobbling. Even the shoe's low-mid cut works to lock the foot into place.
Product listings and reviews don't seem to mention the Kobe AD's heel-to-toe drop height. This feature typically measures 10mm on most athletic shoes, which gives an ideal amount of heel cushioning without disrupting the natural gait cycle too much. Product photos indicate that this particular shoe's drip height is either this exact measurement or just a couple of millimeters shorter.
Key Features
-Engineered micro-blade tread pattern
-Full-length Lunarlon midsole unit
-Zoom Air heel unit for responsiveness
-Mesh upper with synthetic overlays
-Hidden Lacing system
-Several striking colorways
Bottom Line
Overall, Nike's Kobe AD model has received generally positive feedback from both athletes and dedicated fans of Mr. Bryant. Aside from creating a stylish shoe that looks just as good on the streets as it does on the courts, it seems that he and the brand really did take all of the average player's needs into account. Its traction can work both indoors and outdoors. Its lightweight and responsive wear allows athletes to play and jump without feeling restricted. And its breathable nature keeps the wearer completely comfortable as they play. There are definitely a few areas where it could be improved, such as its break-in time and overall lack of durability. But when comparing pros to cons, this proves to be a useful piece of footwear to basketball players of all levels.
Where to Buy
By Jessica Pilla
Last updated:
Where to buy
Best offer on: Aug. 04. 2021

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