Kobe Bryant will always be remembered as one of the best to ever play the game. Many of us watched him grow from the high school phenomenon who sought to make his mark in the league at a young age to the grizzled vet who ended his career in the same celebrated fashion with which he’d always experienced. It’s not just the 81-point game or the multiple championships that we will look back on. Kobe’s lasting legacy also includes what he wore on his feet.
When it came to kicks, Bryant always wanted to be at the forefront of technology and designs. He looked forward to working with designers to create footwear that supported his always-evolving style of play. If new tech became available, he wanted it embedded in his kicks. If it meant going against the grain and choosing substance over style, Kobe was with it, although he rarely had to sacrifice style since brands were always inclined to give him the best of everything.
When he came out of high school in 1996, the then 18-year-old Bryant signed with adidas to start his career and he remained with the German-based company until 2002. As a result, he spent the better part of his early career lacing up kicks in the Three Stripes created just for him.
Let’s look back at five of the most memorable adidas kicks created just for Kobe.
adidas KB8 (later renamed the Crazy 8)
Almost 20 years later, the KB8, now called the Crazy 8s, still stands as one of Bryant’s most widely recognized signature shoes. He started rocking them in his second season and the aggressive looking model sported adidas Feet You Wear technology which kept them sitting low to the court. This was a characteristic Kobe tended to favor in his footwear, and this version had one wild-looking sole that climbed up the side of the foot.
From 1997 to now, these have been reissued several times and came out in variety of colorways, which helped them translate to good success off the court as well. They were a sign of the times as guard play started to become a premium and smaller, quicker guys needed shoes to match instead of the high ankle models the sport had grown used to for decades.