Jason Klaer – Indy Writer
10.) Nike Kobe VII System “What The?”
A modest version of a “What The?”, however, the patterns, designs and colors mold together ever nicely. The inspiration of this shoe was taking all of the Kobe VII models and creating a combination of all the colorways. This was the first Kobe model to be introduced into the “What The?” line. I have personally owned a pair of these and loved them. Very comfortable but the shoes do run a bit small (buy a size up). From the laces to the Nike Swoosh, no two colors are repeated throughout the sneaker. Will not attract so much attention when on foot but I like the secretive savvy these shoes possess.
9.) Kobe 8 System Christmas
Nike Christmas releases have always been my weaknesses as I have fallen for almost every Kobe Christmas shoe to date. Fiberglass was the theme behind these kicks worn by Bryant on Christmas Day 2012. Love the bright crimson laces and Nike Swoosh as well as how the green-glow sole fits well with the stained glass look. Overall, the Kobe 8 System model is arguably the most comfortable shoe ever created by No. 24 himself. Although the tongue may irritate the front of your leg, there is nothing high socks cannot solve. A soft midsole allows for the ultimate comfort. Like all of his shoes, they are made for basketball or casual wear. Pictures do not do this shoe justice, in person looks a lot better.
8.) Nike Kobe Zoom VI All-Star “Orange County”
Initially released in February of 2010, this was a Los Angeles-area only launch. Three other designs were a part of NBA All-Star Weekend 2011. Kobe’s home arena Staples Center was the meeting place for the NBA’s most talented players. Considering Los Angeles is in Orange County, this shoe was dubbed an appropriate nickname. Others called this sneaker “Sunset” due to the changing colors across the polyurethane material. Black midsole and translucent bottoms were the only way to go for this shoe because the orange is unique. Nike did a wonderful job of not clashing any colors. Kobe VI is my favorite model and I have owned this specific shoe before. Would probably be able to catch a sweet sunset in LA similar to the design on the shoe.
7.) Nike Zoom Kobe V “Chaos”
Christmas Day 2009, Kobe and Lebron square-off in a matchup of the ages in front of sell-out crowd at the Staples Center. Although Lebron and the reigning Eastern-Conference Champions defeated the Lakers, Kobe’s shoes definitely stole the show. A metallic purple really gives this pair some life. The shoe was inspired from the popular Marvel character “The Joker”. Polka-dotted laces help tie the shoe all together, literally and figuratively. Kobe V’s have been a shoe I have owned the least pairs of (only two) but in my experience I have been satisfied. Five years ago, not only were the prices of Nike shoes affordable, they were also creative. All in all, these shoes do not just have to be worn around Christmas.
6.) Kobe 8 System “Mambacurial”
It is no secret that Kobe Bryant loves soccer, considering he spent some of his youth in Italy while his father played professional basketball. Nike decided to morph two of Bryant’s favorite sports: basketball and soccer. Mercurial has been a line of soccer sneakers for a few years now. Back in 2013, Nike released this hybrid to commemorate Bryant’s multi-sport talent. A plum-colored upper fits in well with the pink flash as electric green swoosh. The “NIKE” running along the inner of the shoe provides more hints as to the inspiration behind these kicks. Comfort is not even a question on these. As I mentioned earlier, the Kobe 8 model is the most comfortable shoe by Kobe. One thing I found weird about these was the sock liner is a leathery material, which is different from the other 8’s.
5.) Nike Zoom Kobe VII Supreme “Christmas”
Out of all the Christmas releases, I feel as if these have the least to do with the holidays. It does not matter to me though, I really like the way the purple and volt come together for this shoe. The red laces are a little bit questionable for me, a volt color would have looked much better. These are the supreme version due to the different inserts you can have. “Play Fast” and “Play Strong” are the two different styles one can wear or play with. The yellow sock looking thing will pull out and then you would be able to insert a tongue instead. Imagine the tongue on the “What the Kobe? 7”, that is how it would look. Kobe had never done anything like this. In all photos of him wearing these shoes, I had only seen him ever wear the tongued model. Cheetah print is spotted throughout while the back features a cheetah in action. A lot of Kobe shoes in this model were animal inspired.
4.) Nike Zoom Kobe VI “Chaos”
Drenched in ink, this Kobe VI colorway is an eye-catcher in person. A signature aspect of the Kobe VI is the polyurethane scales which complement the red, purple and volt colors nicely. Simply designed, this shoe has always been my favorite because I like the combo of red and purple (in this case ink). On the zoom unit there are specks of red to give the effect of blood, these were also dubbed “The Jokers”. Maybe a different lace color but other than that there is nothing I would change about this sneaker.
3.) Kobe 8 System Premium “What The?”
Craziest design I have ever seen on a shoe, and everything seems to go together. Many would ask me “Are you wearing two different pairs of shoes?” This is the most detailed Kobe to ever be released. Area 72, Mambacurial and Barcelona are just a few of the different Kobe 8 designs mashed together to create this unique piece of art. A big upgrade from the “What The?” Kobe 7, this model does a greater job of giving the shoe life. Color is present throughout and I loved these when I owned them. Such a comfortable shoe and what a great design. The past two “What The?” releases on behalf of Kobe have been mediocre at best.
2.) Nike Zoom Kobe VI All-Star “3-D”
At No. 2, this is the first shoe in which I have never owned. I have been looking for this colorway for some time but I have come up empty. Released in the same pack as the “Orange County” shoe, these also pay homage to the movie scene in Los Angeles. On the inside of the tongues, there are actually miniature glasses ironed on to represent the purpose of the shoe. On the inside, swooshes are colored blue which I think is really cool. Polyurethane scales are doctored to look three-dimensional while the gray midsole plays into the overall theme. It is not overdone with blue and red which makes it more appealing. Once again, Kobe VI prevails.
1.) Nike Zoom Kobe VI “Grinch”
One of the most coveted Kobe’s ever released to the public, the Grinch was a part of Nike’s “Stoplight Pack” released on December 26, 2010. A shiny coat is across the entire shoe which makes them standout in the sunlight. Also coming with red laces, these holiday-themed kicks were inspired from Kobe stealing the show on Christmas, similar to the Grinch. Cannot say enough good things about this colorway. All of the different shades of green play nicely with the crimson Kobe logo on the tongue. I hope Nike rereleases these shoes because I will do whatever it takes to grab another pair, literally.