The Adidas KB8, Kobe Bryant’s first ever signature basketball shoe. Yep, take a good look because that’s where it all started. Thinking about how much hype the Mamba’s previous two Nike sneakers have generated, it’s a pretty astonishing 14 year NBA and sneaker escapade that we’ve all been apart of, with hopefully a handful left to come.
–== Complete Line of Kobe Sneakers ==–
When it was launched in 98 as Kobe Bryant’s signature shoe, adidas needed to make a big splash with their first real investment into the basketball culture. Nike was dominating the competition with the recent releases of the Jordan XIs and XIIs, so adidas continued the use of patent leather and combined it with their feet you wear technology and marketing campaign. They did succeed in making a shoe that stood out from the crowd and I would dare say that it’s a design that has been able to stand the test of time as players like Iman Shumpert, Derrick Rose, Damian Lilliard and many others have continued wearing the shoe today.
Most people would say the shoe looks pretty clunky to be a high performance sneaker, but like the old saying goes – “don’t judge a book by it’s cover!” The cushioning is all foam and with the adidas torsion system, the shoe flexes with your feet, which really goes with the “feet you wear” technology that was originally on this shoe. With that being said, the shoe doesn’t really catch on the sides when making moves around the court, so those of you with delicate ankles need not worry. Those chunky sides actually serve a purpose as they are designed to flex with your feet as you’re moving around the court.
After wearing the shoe for a few games, there were no real aches and pains that I felt afterwards and it was pretty comfortable from heel to toe. Going from some Kobe Vs to this shoe does take some getting used to as this 90’s shoe is somewhat heavy compared to today’s feathery kicks.
Comfort & Fit
In regards to the fit and material, the Crazy 8s are pretty true to size and because they are made with full grain leather, there is going to be some break in time necessary. I would advise wearing them around the house for a few days before venturing out onto the court. Once the foam conforms to your feet, you’re going to be good to go. Also, if you’re going to play, make sure you tie the shoe up all the way past the top eyelets through the ribbons at the top of the shoe. Those ribbons wrap around the heel and once tightened, they provide very solid ankle support.
Other design elements besides the full grain leather uppers include the use of patent leather for the adidas stripes. The use of the full grain leather does have some consequences and that’s the lack of any sort of ventilation in the shoe. The biggest indicator is the steaminess that comes from the shoe right after the runs at the gym.
The overall performance of the shoe is great with the foam system conforming to my feet and the torsion system flexing with my feet, so there really aren’t any complaints about being clunky as most people would assume. The one complaint would be the traction of the shoe as I was playing in one of those gyms where dust was a problem.
While adidas does implement a herringbone system on the sole of the shoe, the 90’s technology created a flat point of contact with the floor, so think of it as sliding across an ice rink on a phone book. Today’s technology has evolved to create more space between the herringbone design and create a sharper point at the point of contact so to grip the floor better. Overall, you have to give Adidas a pass on this, since these are retro shoes.
In 2005, Adidas re-released the KB8 under its new alias, the Crazy 8. Obviously the name had to change due to the fact that Kobe has been with Nike since 2004, but it hasn’t affected the loyal following of Kobe fans who know the origins of these shoes. At $100 and even less, these are a great overall value for some fresh kicks.
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