When it comes to Kobe, progression and growth are not things that you ever feel are missing with him. Every year, he has tuned, tweaked, and added to what many would already consider one of the most complete skill sets the NBA has ever witnessed.
Imagine that for a second. How long have we all been in absolute awe of the Mamba’s sensational game? 14 years? For him to feel like he can still improve is blasphemous, comical even.
That’s precisely why he’s Kobe Bryant and we fans are, well…just fans, no offense of course. My point is that Kobe never wants to become stuck or impeded from advancing forward. He is an imaginative artist in his own right and his demand for “the lowest, lightest weight basketball shoe” ever made sparked another boom in Nike’s Innovation Kitchen.
Eric Avar and his team took Kobe’s request and did a serious Usain Bolt sprint down the basketball sneaker expressway. Employing the Hyperdunk’s Flywire technology, a sleek upper, a fortified heel base, and lunar foam technology, the Nike Zoom Kobe IV should rightfully stand out perhaps as Eric Avar’s greatest creation to date. With all things considered, the shoe broke every preconceived notion about what a high performance basketball shoe “should be”. I don’t think conformity has ever been on Kobe or Avar’s agenda.
Before we go further though, we must discuss the issue of low-top versus high-top. For the better part of…well, forever…we have all lived under the impression that playing ball in anything other than a high-top basketball shoe is taboo and frankly, kind of stupid. However, the Mamba confidently said, “If you come down on somebody’s foot, you’re going to roll your ankle and there’s not a lot you can do about it”. To the many skeptics out there, I’m sorry to say that I must concur. The shoe’s outrigger was intended to actually prevent free ankle rolls, meaning ankle sprains that occur without any outside interference such as coming down on someone’s foot.
Just speaking from a logical standpoint as well, it does make sense that if you’re ankle is going to roll for whatever reason, a higher collar is going to do very little in protecting you from injury. A low-top sneaker such as the Kobe IV has a tremendous advantage in improving lateral movement as it allows for a tighter form fit and truly acts as an extension of the wearer’s foot. This permits sharper cuts without wasted motion because the foot is much closer to the ground and the ankle itself, which Avar adamantly says is more than adequately protected by the low rise collar, is given free range of motion. That “flexibility” players have always talked about has in some sense, actually been restricted all these years by high-top collars.
With a herringbone traction pattern on the outsole as well to top things off, the Kobe IV has fast become a sneaker of choice by ballers around the globe due to its tremendous high performance and comfort on the court.
The first time I put these on and actually played in a game, I was simply blown away. The comfort, stability, flexibility, and traction were all at a level that I had never before felt. Very few material things excite me as much as a great pair of basketball sneakers and these seduced me on day 1.
And oh, the Mamba won his fourth championship while wearing his fourth signature sneakers. Coincidence? Let’s sum it up as fate.
Below is another one of Kobe’s viral videos that took YouTube by storm!
[Original Release: 2009; Weight: 11.6 oz.; Price: $120; Players: Kobe Bryant / Shannon Brown / Derek Fisher / Lamar Odom / Luke Walton / Josh Powell / Trevor Ariza / J.R. Smith / Demar Derozan / Goran Dragic / Martell Webster / Caron Butler / Mikael Pietrus]