The “>Kobe 9 Elite was a shoe that intrigued me from both a potential performance standpoint and even aesthetically, which is typically not the case.
For starters, the inner of the Kobe 9 is very comfortable and built with that and performance in mind. From the moment I slipped the shoe on, my foot was completely enveloped in an inner that is 360 degrees of comfort. There is nothing,in terms of raised seems or any build issues or design flaws, there that would even bring the slightest bit of discomfort into the equation. It was designed solely to maximize comfort and to lay a solid foundation for fit and it accomplished both missions with flying colors. The only real “issue”, and I would not classify necessarily as a negative is that they aren’t the quickest shoes to get on. I had to unlace the top couple rows of eyelets every time I put them on and since there is no pull tab, I had to hold the top of the sneaker to get my foot in there with out the elastic that wraps around the upper part of the color from sinking down in the shoe with my foot.
I was initially cautious about the ability of the FlyKnit that composes the upper to provide adequate fit and support. I quickly had my concerns assuaged. The fit of the Kobe 9 Elite was on point. The FlyKnit upper fits like an extremely comfortable sock. It holds your foot totally in place in every direction. Front-to-back, side-to-side, once you slip your foot in the 9, it is not going anywhere it is not meant to. Heel fit and lockdown is also top notch, as the hard, internal heel counter holds your heel in place and is complemented by the great fit at the midfoot. The upper is actually quite supportive, which came as a surprise to me. The flywire that is integrated into the lacing system on both the medial and lateral sides of the shoe, aid to this end and at no point on my wearing was there internal foot movement on the lateral plane which means my foot stayed on place within the footbed.
The cushioning of the Kobe was provided by a full-length, removable Lunarlon midsole. It is ready to take to the court right out the box so there is no break-in time. This material has come a long way since the first Hyperdunk. The Lunarlon feels great and does a great job in providing the impact protection needed even on the hardest of landings and yet still manages to provides pleasant cushioning and court feel. I think it is safe to say at this point that we are moving away from the point where the Lunar bottoming out and giving a dead feeling under that sector of the shoe. I will say because of this, I am more than confident in saying that the Lunarlon in the Kobe 9 will get you through a season of games.
The Kobe 9 Elite sticks to the court. The traction pattern is a stylized foot shape and is composed of a soft rubber that is very flexible and allows the shoe to really grip the court well. Even when playing on a less than totally clean surface, did very little to impact the ability of the shoe to grab the court. At no point did I experience any slippage while playing in this shoe; in every instance the traction did not let me down and knowing a show will not let you down is a tremendous thing. I need to note that the rubber is rather soft, so I would not recommend these on the black top, as that surface would grind the outsole down in short order.
The Kobe 9 Elite is another shoe that Nike can classify as a performance home run. It was a shoe that I did not want to stop playing in and that is complement to how well the shoe performs. The Kobe 9 Elite has outstanding fit, that locks your foot down and keeps where is is supposed to be and does not allow it to move where it should not. Stability and support are well executed , as this shoe showed no tendency to tip overs. The cushioning is excellent, as this shows the continual improvement and refinement of the Lunarlon material. The traction grabs the floor and allows you to confidently make any move you need to make on the basketball court.
Kobe 9 Elite
Colorway Reviewed: Court Purple/White/Laser Orange
Weight: 15.2 oz (in a size 11)
Pros: Awesome Fit, Traction, Support, Cushioning and Court Feel
Cons: At times, putting the shoe on May be cumbersome; also is not substantial enough for the big fellas.