Looking for the best Kobe shoes? You’ve come to the right place.
There is no doubt that Kobe Bryant was one of the more iconic players in all of basketball history. His fame transcended generations, fandoms, countries, and sports. Of course, there is no doubt that he also has one of the most popular signature shoe lines in the history of basketball and even sports.
That said, the Kobe Bryant signature line of shoes has been around for a long time and has since delivered more than a dozen shoes that each have their own unique qualities. This is why we have compiled a list of the best Kobe shoes you can get your hands on if you are a big fan of this signature shoe line.
If you want to get back to playing basketball, get our top pick for the best Kobe shoes here.
Our Favorites for the Best Kobe Shoes (the best out of the bunch)
The Nike Zoom Kobe IV is the fourth iteration of Kobe Bryant’s main signature shoe line with the global sporting apparel brand Nike. And while they say that third time is the charm, it was Kobe’s fourth signature shoe that really changed the game as it is widely considered to be the most innovative low-top shoe to have ever existed. In some circles, it is even the best Kobe shoes for basketball.
In the past, most players would try to avoid wearing low-top shoes because of how they lack the same kind of ankle support that mid and high-top shoes have even though they might be lighter. However, the Kobe IV changed all that by providing an amazing ankle support system that relies on its balance and fit. In effect, Kobe Bryant dismissed the notion that wearing low-top sneakers would make you prone to injuries as he went on to have several successful seasons wearing low-top shoes.
Another feature that we really like about the Kobe IV is that its traction is arguably the best you can ever get from a pair of Kobe shoes or even a pair of basketball sneakers, for that matter. It plants your feet firmly on the floor while making sure that you do not slip so easily when you are making sharp movements with or without the ball. The same traction is also what allows it to excel in terms of its ankle support.
Overall, what makes the Kobe IV our favorite and the favorite in many other people’s books is that it is an innovator and is what really started the low-top revolution that was soon followed by other signature sneaker lines such as Kyrie, PG, Dame, and Zoom Freak.
What makes the Nike Zoom Kobe IV unique:
- Revolutionized the low-top sneaker game.
- Its amazing balance and fit allow it to support your ankles really well.
- Innovative traction that is still the standard of many other sneakers today.
Why choose the Nike Zoom Kobe IV:
- Great for guards because of its lightweight profile.
- Comes with amazing support and traction that allows you to move sharply without risking injuries.
- Aesthetics and colorways are fantastic.
Our Runner-Ups for the Best Kobe Shoes (still good but a bit lacking)
While a lot of people regard the Kobe IV as the greatest Kobe Bryant sneakers ever, the Nike Kobe VI is not far behind as it is also just as amazing in terms of its overall performance. This was when Kobe’s Black Mamba persona was at its peak. As such, the Kobe VI comes with a snake print design that fits Bryant’s profile as a player while also standing out on its own as an aesthetically appealing sneaker. In fact, the Nike Zoom Kobe VI Grinch is still one of the most sought-after shoes in terms of aesthetic appeal.
In terms of its performance, the Kobe VI is lighter than the Kobe IV but also comes with a form-fitting sock liner that gives you a comfortable custom-fit feel that any player would really love. It has a more sculpted appearance that looks great for narrow-footed players but it actually performs well for other types of playing styles as well.
The Kobe VI Kobe VI has a thick foam to give you a comfortable cushioning that is great at absorbing impact regardless of whatever kind of playing style you prefer. But what makes this inner foam stand out is that it is quite bouncy to give you that responsiveness you would look for in a good pair of basketball sneakers. This makes it great for those who tend to attack sharply with a quick first step.
All that considered, the Kobe VI may not be the innovator that the Kobe IV is but it took the low-top revolution to the next level and is seen as one of the greatest Kobe Bryant sneakers of all time. It is light, breathable, comfortable, and extra responsive. That is why there are still some people who prefer this over the Kobe IV.
What makes the Nike Zoom Kobe VI unique:
- Features a form-fitting sock liner that gives you a customized feel in terms of how the shoe fits.
- Brought the amazing responsiveness that has made future Kobe sneakers stand out in the market.
Why choose the Nike Zoom Kobe VI:
- Its lightweight appeal makes it great for guards who want to move fast and quickly.
- The responsiveness of the inner foam gives you that extra spring in your step to give you an explosive first step.
- Breathable materials and design make it ideal for hot summer days.
The Nike Kobe 8 System is another one of Kobe Bryant’s revolutionary sneakers as this was the first pair that introduced the engineered mesh material, which became the standard of many other sneakers in the future due to how light and durable it actually is. Because of the revolutionary engineered mesh upper material, the Kobe 8 weighs at about 9.8 oz and was the lightest Kobe Bryant shoe at the time of its introduction.
A lot of people would say that the Kobe IV has the best traction on a pair of Kobe shoes but the Kobe 8 takes that to an entirely new level as its soft rubber outsole and its amazing pattern allows it to stick firmly on the ground to provide the traction and support you would need to prevent injuries and to move well on the court. Moreover, adding to its overall support, the fit is amazing as it locks your foot down so easily thanks to the thin tongue. It gives you a snug fit without cutting off your circulation.
Unlike previous iterations of Kobe shoes, the Kobe 8 does not come with a thick cushioning. Instead, its Lunarlon cushion works not by using a thick foam but by distributing impact on your foot evenly to decrease the fatigue you feel in certain parts of your foot.
Overall, the Nike Kobe 8 System improves on everything that has made the Kobe signature line of sneakers as popular and as amazing as it is. It was the lightest shoe when it was introduced and it gives you a good combination of comfort, traction, and support while also introducing an innovative material that would soon become the standard for other basketball shoes in the future. These are highly recommended Kobe shoes that you surely would love to have in your collection.
What makes the Nike Kobe 8 SYSTEM unique:
- Introduced the engineered mesh material to make it one of the lightest shoes ever.
- Lunarolon cushioning distributes impact evenly to decrease fatigue in specific areas of your foot.
Why choose the Nike Kobe 8 SYSTEM:
- It is still the lightest Kobe shoe ever designed.
- Provides the lockdown and support that guards need to move well without risking injuries.
- Nike Engineered Mesh
- Nike Flywire Technology
- Carbon Fiber Midsole
Our Value Picks for the Best Kobe Shoes (good and affordable)
Kobe shoes are never the most affordable basketball sneakers on the market. After all, the main signature shoe lines are usually expensive. But if you are looking for a Kobe shoe that actually still bears the Kobe Bryant name but comes with a price tag that is far more affordable than the main signature line.
The Kobe Mentality 2 carries the kind of traction that makes the previous iterations of Kobe shoes as popular as they are. Its outsole has an amazing pattern and has a rubber compound that is soft enough to allow the shoe to stick well on the floor regardless of whether you are playing indoors or outdoors. Meanwhile, the cushioning comes with the Lunarlon that was introduced in the Kobe 8. While not the thickest and softest, Lunarlon is great for guards because it is lighter and quite easy on your foot.
If you are looking for a pair of shoes that have great materials, the Mentality 2 has you covered as it actually uses the same materials you can find in the KD 8 but is far more affordable. It might not be the most innovative materials on the market but it actually is quite comfortable for an affordable pair of basketball sneakers. The materials complete its overall profile as a good choice for those who are not willing to break the bank for Kobe shoes for sale.
What makes the Nike Kobe Mentality 2 unique:
- Comes with the tech and materials that you could find in older main signature shoe lines.
- The traction improves on what has made the Mentality line such a good choice for guards.
Why choose the Nike Kobe Mentality 2:
- Has all of the basics that guards need to perform well.
- Perfect for practice sessions and for simple pickup games because of how affordable it is.
FAQ on the Best Kobe Shoes
What was the First Kobe Shoe Ever Released?
When Kobe Bryant was still signed with Adidas, he endorsed a few shoes but it was the Adidas KB8 that became the first signature shoe line to bear his name. It was released during the 2000 playoffs right before Kobe Bryant won the first championship of what was going to be a three-peat for him and the Los Angeles Lakers.
How Many Shoes Did Kobe Make?
Throughout Kobe Bryant’s 41 years of age right before his passing in January 2020, he released a total of 22 signature sneakers. However, he also released 20 additional shoes that also bear his name even though they do not belong to the main Kobe Bryant signature line.
What Shoe Size Did Kobe Bryant Wear?
Listed at 6’6”, Kobe Bryant is a tall man and also comes with feet that correspond to his height and frame. Throughout his career, he has worn size 14 basketball sneakers.
Are Kobe Shoes Comfortable?
Comfort was never really the selling point of Kobe Bryant’s shoes but they are actually pretty comfortable because of how they were made and designed to be light and breathable thanks to its combination of light and innovative materials, low-cut profile, and snug fit.
Do Kobe Shoes Provide More Cushion and Stability?
Made and designed for guards, earlier Kobe shoes came with a cushioning that is thick and responsive. However, as Kobe Bryant changed his game as he grew older, his shoes came with less cushioning but were designed to reduce impact and fatigue. Meanwhile, Kobe’s shoes were always designed to have the stability that guards require to perform sharp movements and quick first steps.
How to Choose the Best Kobe Shoes for You
If you are looking for a good pair of Kobe shoes, here are the factors you need to look at:
Kobe Bryant shoes have always been at the forefront of innovative materials. The Kobe 8 introduced the engineered mesh while the Kobe 9 was the first pair to use the innovative Flyknit that became the standard for many other signature shoes. That means that you should always consider the materials used for a pair of Kobe shoes because of how they make the shoes lighter and more breathable.
If you are trying to play like Kobe Bryant or even if you have a different style of play as a guard, the traction is something that you should highly consider because of how it allows you to have the stability and support you need whenever you are doing sharp cuts or moving quickly with your first step.
Kobe Bryant signature shoes have always been light, and that is why many people prefer using them. So, whenever you are looking for Kobe shoes, you need to consider the weight of the pair because of how that affects the way you play.
Since the Kobe IV, most of Bryant’s signature shoes came in low-top designs that used to be considered dangerous for your ankles. That means that there is a need for you to use Kobe shoes that actually provide the support your ankle needs without restricting your ankles or adding extra weight on your feet.
Wrapping Things Up: The Best Kobe Shoes
Putting everything together, in this guide we reviewed the following:
All that said and considered, the best Kobe Bryant shoe is still the Nike Zoom Kobe IV because of how it innovated the entire shoe line to deliver the kind of experience and overall quality that we are seeing in the newer Kobe models. It is light, stable, and comfortable as it revolutionized the low-top sneaker game to pave the way for future Kobe models and other signature shoe lines such as Kyrie, PG, and Dame to work on.
Meanwhile, if you are looking for shoes that also have innovated the game in their own unique ways, the Nike Zoom Kobe VI and the Nike Kobe 8 System are both shoes to consider. The Kobe VI combines support, fit, and responsiveness really well while the Kobe 8 is arguably the most well-rounded of the signature line even though it might be the lightest.
Nevertheless, Kobe shoes are actually quite expensive. So if you are not willing to spend a lot on a pair of Kobe sneakers, you may want to consider the Kobe Mentality 2 instead as it comes with a great combination of materials, comfort, traction, and responsiveness that make it seem like it is a lot more expensive than it actually is.
That’s all for this post on the best Kobe shoes. Have fun on the hardwoods!
Did you find this helpful? Then also check out other basketball gear reviews here.
Here are a few other basketball shoe reviews you may find interesting: