Kobe Bryant and Nike revealed the Kobe 9 Elite at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) today in Los Angeles. With Nike’s Flyknit technology used for the first time on a basketball sneaker, Mamba is changing the performance shoe game.
Kobe is reverting back to the higher cut for the first time since his third signature shoe, and the upper combines single strands to form the first basketball iteration using Nike Flyknit technology. The Nike Flyknit engineering template has only been used on Nike Running shoes since 2012, and the single strain is incredibly lightweight while also being durable. But it’s never been used for a basketball sneaker before.
In terms of the style and design, Kobe compared the revolutionary feel of the shoes with his exceedingly difficult return from an Achilles tendon tear this season:
“I draw inspiration from where I am as a player, as a person, and where my career is at this moment. I’m trying to do something that the majority of people think is impossible to do,” Kobe reflected when asked about the inspiration for his latest shoes and about getting back into the game. “I let my emotions out when I step on the basketball floor, it’s always been my escape, and these shoes will touch a nerve on the court in the same way I do.”
A carbon fiber heel provides the backing with a single layer of Nike Flyknit on the upper that flexes with the foot like a second skin. The Nike Flyknit is also better for the environment; it reduces waste by nearly 50 percent compared to traditional high-top basketball sneakers with multiple cuts and segments needed.
The Kobe 9 Elite releases globally on Feb. 8, 2014, at Nike.com and select global retail locations. Stay tuned for more pictures and video as the release date nears.
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