Kobe Bryant A.K.A. Black Mamba was THE guy who forever changed the on-court sneaker game by bringing out the low-cut sneaks on the NBA hardwood. So it’s fair enough to let him shock today‘s hoop culture with yet another banger, even though we will never witness Kobe‘s greatness again.
That being said, meet the new Nike Kobe AD NXT 360 – The Kobe-iest Kobe shoe yet!
WEIGHT: 11.08 oz / 314.1 g.
TECH: 360-DEGREE FLYKNIT, LUNARLON, NIKE REACT
FIT: ½ SIZE DOWN
RETAIL PRICE: $200
BD RATING: 8/10
CUTTING- EDGE TECH
So the Kobe AD NXT 360 features the new 360-degree Flyknit technology for the upper. What that basically is just a pure Flyknit upper. That‘s it. No backing materials, no caging, no overlays. NOTHING. You can actually bend the shoe like a snowball.
The upper itself is strategically broken down into 6 different panels, every of which has its own pattern & different Flyknit density. This type of construction allows Flyknit to stretch where it‘s needed and at the same time contain your foot where it should be supported. That‘s some next-level stuff.
Due to Flyknit’s natural nature (almost natural), the upper is INCREDIBLY thin so you can see through some of the panels, which I found it looking quite bizarre and at the same time scary. Why scary? Keep reading and you’ll find out.
Let’s pick up where we left off… So this 360-degree Flyknit upper does offer you that top-of-the-line breathability (best in the business right now), as well as a second-skin-like fit. That’s some “Black Mamba” skin right there. However, it still contains some of that fishing rope-like feel as past Kobe’s sneakers that offered a Flyknit upper. Yet, it’s way less noticeable or probably way better implemented and, obviously, it’s for better support & durability properties. So I can’t grumble about it.
Still love it a lot!
REACT DOING ITS JOB
With all of this hype around the new Nike Epic React sneaker with Nike’s latest & most “innovative” REACT tech (I actually own a pair of these bad boys), I need to admit, these joints 100% live up to their hype man. Performance review coming soon), I couldn’t wait anymore to finally put my hand on a first hoop sneaker that houses a REACT setup.
No, I didn’t forget about the Hyperdunk ’17. It was a toned-down version of REACT foam, which felt like a brick. That’s why I do not count them as a first hoop sneaker that houses REACT. It’s just my opinion.
Luckily, it’s a whole lot different story with the Kobe AD NXT 360. These bad boys utilize Lunarlon & REACT duo for a perfectly balanced, guard-oriented cushion setup. Listen, if you’re a true guard who loves to dribble a lot, break some ankles occasionally, cut to the basket, and spot up for a splash, this is your best bet.
That Lanarlon & REACT combo works flawlessly by providing you with a super low and responsive ride in the forefoot (the lowest setup you can get as of right now), while the heel area utilizes every bit of REACT foam for a perfect amount of impact protection.
Of course, as a bigger dude, I do prefer having way more impact protection and maybe more bounciness to deal with my weight and force I put in while working in the post. However, they weren’t made for this type of dude like me, they were made for guards or players like Kobe itself. And for what they stand for, you can’t really beat them in this department.
One more thing, if you’re a more explosive guard like Westbrook or prime Rose, you should keep looking elsewhere as well. This setup is too thin for you.
ANOTHER ICONIC PATTERN THAT WORKS
As usual with the latest Kobe’s signatures, Nike always spoils us with a unique traction pattern, and this year is no different. This time around, we do have pretty widely spaced multi-directional nubs for the traction, to cover up anything you throw at it, supposedly.
I wasn’t sure about how well it would bite the floor and how durable these nubs are, but I was pretty positive about not having problems on dusty courts due to the wide pattern. That was me before taking them for a first spin.
After spending some time with them, I can say that it obviously isn’t the best performing traction, yet it’s not the worst one either. The pattern itself did its job perfectly, with so much potential to be top-notch traction. Unfortunately, the rubber compound was the main factor that kept it from being on that list.
On a clean court, I was good to go at any given time – no issues stopping on a dime, great bite with the floor, and that rounded outsole really let you go full beast mode on your opponent. Still, to separate boys from men, you need to test them on more intense surfaces. And that’s where this “soft” rubber came short for me. Surprisingly, even though the gaps between the nubs were widely spaced to keep the bottoms from clogging up, too delicate rubber compound made these nubs act like dust magnets. So I had to wipe them every so often to maintain that decent grip. Again, this isn’t something terrible or unplayable. I just expected more out of this traction setup.
BATMAN SUIT LIKE FIT
Apart from them running long in the toe area, the fit was pretty amazing. Again, that 360-degree Flyknit is so freaking thin, that once you put them on, they immediately become like an extension of your foot. No break-in time is needed. Just pure second-skin-like comfort straight out of the box. That’s why this stuff reminds me of something that Batman would wear, I’m telling you.
So as I mentioned before, they do run a bit long in the forefoot area, that’s why wide footers should stay true to size, while regular or narrow footers should go ½ size down to eliminate that free toe space. I actually had to return my true to size pair and get a ½ size smaller one, cuz that gap was killing me.
Meanwhile, the midfoot & heel sections didn’t require any adjustments whatsoever – nicely contained on the sides and stable heel lockdown in the back.
The only real concern would be durability, which makes me a bit scared to look further in the future. As of right now, there are no signs of wear down but I’m not too sure how well it will hold up after a few months.
RESTRICTED TO GUARDS
Kobe’s signature line was never well known for its robust support & lockdown capabilities, especially the latest models. Yet, this might be the least supportive Kobe sneaker of all time. Yes, I said that.
To be able to establish such a lightweight & thin construction that offers you bottomless freedom and comfort, you need to sacrifice a lot. In my opinion, Nike gave out too much stuff this time in order to reach that perfection in the upper.
Let me put out for you the list of support features that these bad boys do own: a drop-in midsole with increased arches for lateral coverage and a few weak ass plastic parts that act as TPU shank for lateral stability, as well as an external heel counter. That’s about it. Only two pieces that are supposed to hold you up. I don’t think so.
Talking about the heel section, there I didn’t experience any issues whatsoever. The external heel counter is pretty robust giving its size, offering me enough heel support whenever I needed. However, the midfoot section only relies on those arches from the drop-in midsole to contain your foot laterally. It does its job, but if you’re a bigger, more explosive player or you just simply looking for a supportive & more sustainable sneaker, these aren’t gonna cut it for you.
Not even gonna lie, if I was a guard, I would be gassed to have them on my feet. That sleek silhouette is just pure candies for your eyes, definitely earns a spot as one of the best looking hoop sneakers in my books. The cutting-edge tech works flawlessly by making the Kobe AD NXT 360 a nearly perfectly balanced guard shoe (if you’re not Russell Westbrook style of player). BUT… To be able to bring them home, you’ll need to drop $200. It’s just too much to charge for any type of sports footwear, especially when durability is highly questionable.
How much would you pay for them? Let me know in the comment section!
Hope you enjoyed my Performance Review on the NIKE KOBE AD NXT 360. Will you be picking them up? Let me know!