Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James are considered the top three basketball players in the NBA by many. All three players possess unique capabilities that give them advantages over most opponents. Therefore, Nike continuously has its hands full when creating high-performance signature models for these players. At the end of January, we provided you with in-depth performance reviews on the Nike Zoom KD III and the Nike LeBron 8 V2. Today, we finally display our highly anticipated Nike Zoom Kobe VI Performance Review.
Kobe Bryant’s last two signature models, the Nike Zoom Kobe IV and the Nike Zoom Kobe V, have performed very well to say the least. Although the Kobe VI is definitely more appealing in regards to style, is it a better performing shoe than its predecessors? Check out the answer of this question through our performance review below.
Also, view detailed photos and shots of players such as, Kobe Bryant, Rajon Rondo, Peja Stojakovic and Nick Young, wearing multiple colorways of this low-cut model.
?The Black Mamba to Kobe means being one of the deadliest predators on the planet…That?s his approach to every game ? he?s very calculating and he?s very quick.? – Eric Avar, the Nike Performance Footwear Creative Director and designer of the Nike Zoom Kobe VI.
Kobe Bryant’s sixth signature model, the Nike Zoom Kobe VI is the most intriguing and appealing (in terms of style) than the previous two low-top models designed for the 13-time NBA All-Star. The scaly, snakeskin-like upper is undoubtedly one of the best personal, tie-in elements we have seen on a signature shoe. At a first glance, I, and many others, felt as if the Zoom Kobe VI was just a jazzed up version of the Kobe V. Therefore, I didn’t expect much of a difference between these two signatures in regards to performance. Primarily, my expectations were exact, but, as I continued to play in this shoe, many differences became apparent (for better and worse).
One of the big, noticeable differences from the Kobe V to the Kobe VI is the custom fit. The Kobe V’s fit is not bad by any means; however, the Kobe VI undoubtedly molds closer to the shape of one’s foot. The first week of testing yielded to somewhat of an uncomfortable, unbalanced feeling, but with more wear-testing, this shoe actually took on the exact shape of my foot. The Kobe VI may not have the ready-out-of-the box feel that the Kobe V has, but, it is well worth the wait of breaking in if you want a custom-fitting, molded feel. From a technological standpoint, Nike incorporated a more sculpted, form-fitting sockliner that specifically possesses a two-foam construction. In detail, the outer layer of the foam is thicker, more compressed, more compact and provides more stability since it is closer to the ground of the two. The inner layer is definitely more softer and acts as a soft, springy surface seeing that it is closer to the footbed. My foot actually felt more stable with more wears of this shoe. I now understand how the custom fit element of the shoe helps one ‘not lose seconds’ (in Kobe Bryant’s words) when playing. The combination of a lightweight sneaker and the direct mold to your foot enabled me to move quicker off a planted stance than usual. The Kobe VI is ideal for those of you who rely on quickness and possess a quick first step to gain ground on your opponent. You can also credit the ever-evolving Flywire technology for this shoe’s custom, molded fit. The Flywire laced side panels actually feel closer to the foot and hold the foot tighter than the previous two models.
The Kobe VI also owns a high heel-to-toe stability and cushioning level. After playing in it for over month, this shoe, much like the Kobe V, is one of the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever played in. It also possesses some of the best court feel and balance. Nike incorporated a 12mm Zoom Air unit in the heel and a 6mm Zoom bag in the forefoot giving me, and whoever else plays in it, a faster reaction time in regards to cuts, sliding your feet defensively and getting good, quick lift on a jump shot. The Kobe VI is also not as elevated as the Kobe V. At times, I felt lower to the ground in the Kobe VI than in the Kobe V (if that is possible). The act of playing even lower to the ground is a plus to some, especially those that mainly play on the perimeter and use quickness and speed.
As expected, the Nike Zoom Kobe VI also ranks extremely high in response time and build considering its low-top, lightweight construction. Weighing in at 10.6 oz, it matches the Nike Zoom Kobe V’s weight and is the lightest basketball sneaker on the market. As for breathability, the Nike Zoom Kobe VI contains a higher level, however, you will read how this is a gift and a curse in the ‘weakness’ section below.
Lockdown Support (compared to the Kobe V)
Although the Nike Zoom Kobe VI is a model performing sneaker, it has a few weaknesses just like any other shoe. As stated above, the Kobe VI has a better breathability level than the Kobe V because it doesn’t the grasp the foot as tight. Therefore, it lacks in the lockdown support arena. My foot did not feel as connected to the sneaker as it did in the Kobe V. When playing in the Kobe V, my foot literally felt clamped down, so the breathability level decreased. If I had to choose, I would rather have a shoe that scores less in the breathability category and higher in regards to lockdown.
Another interesting aspect on the Kobe VI is the traction. The addition of a scaly snake-like element to the outsole may be an instance where style comes before performance. We would much rather see the traditional, full-length herringbone pattern added to this performance monster.
Lastly, the ankle support is always in question when dealing with low-cut sneakers on the hardwood. Although we haven’t heard many complaints with ankle injuries in Kobe’s low-cut sneakers, it is always something to look out for considering the more exposed ankle area.
Overview: The Nike Zoom Kobe VI is undoubtedly one of, if not the best performing sneaker on the market currently. Nike continues to evolve the low-cut basketball sneaker and tweek it in certain areas for the better. The molded fit is definitely an upgrade from the Kobe V and is ideal for being more explosive and quick on the court. The Nike Zoom Kobe VI is now available in multiple colorways at select spots for $130.
Is the Kobe VI better than the Kobe V? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.