Kobe Bryant… One of the greatest players in NBA history. The Black Mamba had not only the phenomenal career but also the amazing basketball shoe signature line with Nike. Now, the Nike Kobe A.D. is the first sneaker released after Kobe’s retirement. I was very excited to do the performance review on them. So don’t waste any time and let’s see if the Nike Kobe A.D. can live up to its expectations?
Welcome to my Nike Kobe A.D. Performance Review!
WEIGHT: 341.6 g / 12.05 oz
TECH: LUNARLON, ZOOM AIR, FLYKNIT
FIT: ½ SIZE UP
RETAIL PRICE: $160
BD RATING: 6.5/10
BEST PLACE TO BUY: AMAZON
The Kobe A.D. features textile Mesh upper. What can I say – It was a different experience. The mesh upper supposed to offer soft and comfy fit. Unfortunately, the Kobe A.D. upper was a completely different story. I don’t know what they had done but the upper on these was very stiff and uncomfortable. First two or three days of playing ball were disappointing for me because I was expecting very nice and lovely fit.
However, after those three disappointing days the Kobe A.D. changed my mind completely. Mesh became softer and softer with each and every day. After a week of playing, the upper finally became soft & more enjoyable. Of course, not the most comfortable shoe I’ve ever played, but not the worst by any means.
Let’s talk about pros real quick. Since textile mesh on Kobe A.D. is stiffer than normal, it offers unbeatable durability, very solid support with great lockdown. It’s worth overcoming that break-in time because after that, you’re getting pretty amazing upper – soft and at the same time quite supportive. Killer combo.
Still prefer Flyknit over this textile Mesh.
Nothing too crazy in this department. We have the Lunarlon midsole and a ZOOM AIR unit in the heel area (smaller than Nike said advertise to us). How this setup performed? I can easily describe it in one word – TRASH. The LeBron 14’s cushion setup was really firm (especially for lighter guards) but this cushion (talking about the Kobe A.D.) got me like holly sh*t! I mean, it seems like you’re playing with a pair of bricks, seriously.
The Lunarlon upper was hard as rock. Why the hell everything on the Kobe A.D. is so tough? I’m a heavy player, but still was not able to break through that rock solid midsole.
In addition, the ZOOM AIR unit is caged in the midsole and has zero room for expansion. What that means? It means that you’re not receiving any response or force from this tooling – zero responsiveness & poor impact protection.
Then maybe they offer amazing court feel? The answer is NO. For some reason Nike made the midsole high, so you are not getting great court feel. Really disappointed…
Finally, a positive note in this performance review. The outsole is very similar to Kobe 11’s traction patter. To be clear, I have a colorway which has a solid rubber outsole – if you have an opportunity, always choose a solid rubber colorway over the translucent one, to get the best possible performance.
The traction on clean courts performed great for me, no complains about that. During performance test I had no major problems with this traction – gripped the floor well, solid move coverage and great stop power (the rubber was little bit squeaky). Of course, you will need to wipe them periodically to maintain great performance. On dirty courts they still performed decent. The front part of traction has smaller nubs so dust stuck more easily than on the back side where gaps between the nubs were bigger. Although, if you keep them nice and clean you will receive a solid grip on any court.
In my opinion fit is the best aspect of this model, despite pretty long break-in time. The Kobe A.D. offers comfy and supportive one-to-one fit with great foot containment. It feels like not the average one-to-one fit that we all know – it’s like stronger, more supportive fit due to different mesh they used (hard to describe really). Also, they made a huge pull tab – I mean it’s very small detail but I really liked it. Internal side of the pull tab has a rubber grip to easily put on or off your sneaker.
I went with half a size bigger pair and they fit me perfectly. So for wide footer I recommend to go with ½ size bigger pair since the Kobe A.D. runs very narrow. Now if you’re not a wide footer, you should go true to size.
We have a huge external heel counter – a big fan of it. The heel lockdown was great due to perfect shape and molding of this heel counter. Also, the lacing setup is connected with Flywire strings which cups your foot & directs straight to that awesome heel counter. So you’re getting pretty strong support from the upper.
Now going down – we have a regular size outrigger. The outrigger just does what it supposed to do – nothing to go crazy about but it gets the job done. Regular size – regular performance. The Nike Kobe A.D. would be a solid performer for all types of players, if not the terrible cushion tooling.
Unfortunately, the Kobe A.D. disappointed me. I was expecting much more out of them, especially in cushion department since I’m a heavy player and I need as much impact protection as possible. But don’t get me wrong! They aren’t the worst hoop sneakers, not even close.
You’re still getting decent performance from them – supportive, durable & light weight materials, perfect, glove like fit and surprisingly solid support for a low top sneaker. For big guys I do not recommend these, but guards and lighter players should be pretty happy having them on feet.
To wrap things up, Nike is taking some L’s considering how adidas is changing the shoe game right now. Adidas brand is so consistent with their shoe quality and great performance – Nike should take some notes from them. C’mon Nike! Adidas is outperforming your ass.
Hope you enjoyed my Performance Review on the Nike Kobe A.D.
Share your opinion about Kobe A.D. in the comment section!