This performance review is brought to you by Ryan and Kyle, a two-man team who take a particular interest in basketball shoes, especially their performance on court. We currently play basketball at the high school and AAU level, which gives our reviews a unique perspective, since we play games almost daily and at a high pace.
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The Nike Zoom Kobe 8 features brand new technology to make it the lightest Kobe shoe ever made. A low-top model, it does a great job of supplying all the things guards look for in a basketball shoe. Read our Kobe 8 review for our impression:
The traction pattern of the Kobe 8 looks a lot like the its predecessor, with much of the forefoot covered with herringbone pattern and a snake-scale pattern on the outrigger. Like the Kobe 7, the pattern provides tremendous traction. The malleable rubber seems to grip the floor even better than a hard rubber with the same pattern.
Unlike the Kobe 7, the latest model doesn't allow for swapping multiple forms of cushioning. Fortunately, the Kobe 8's permanent full-length Lunarlon cushioning feels a lot like the Attack Strong midsole from the Kobe 7. The cushioning is among the most comfortable we've experienced. Although it's very soft, it also has a bit of firmness for stability on cuts and direction changes. If you're looking for a shoe that provides a comfortable ride, you'll have a hard time finding something that beats the Kobe 8.
The Kobe 8's breathability is a definite upgrade for the line. Along with the lightweight mesh upper, the tongue has a number of perforations for tremendous ventilation, putting the shoe's overall breathability at the top of the market.
The tongue features a ton of padding, so players can lace up the shoe tight without feeling any lace pressure. The ankle padding is a lot like the padding used in the Kobe 6—it's comfortable without an excessive amount of padding (like the Kobe 7, which featured the most padding in the Kobe line). Finally, the shoe is by far the lightest Kobe to date, making play very enjoyable.
This is a low-top, so it offers more freedom in exchange for decreased ankle support. The mid-foot is supported by Nike's Fuse engineered mesh material, and the arch gets support from a glass base carbon fiber shank. The upper isn't the most supportive material; however, it keeps the foot pretty well contained during hard cuts.
The lockdown in the heel and mid-foot are fine, but nothing special. We didn't experience slippage during play.
This shoe competes with the CP3.VI for the best guard shoe we've tested. It's by far the best Kobe sneaker in his line. This shoe doesn't have the support a big man needs, but it's a great buy for guards.
Breathability: Above Average
Support: Above Average (for a low top shoe)
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