More than two years in the making, the Nike Kobe 9 Elite embodies the brand’s singular focus on innovation that makes athletes better, as well as the brand’s passion for pushing the limits of design. Nike designer Eric Avar worked closely with Kobe Bryant on the development process of the shoe, with Avar noting that two met in person an estimated 15 times, spending countless hours obsessing over the smallest details to create The Masterpiece. Nike gives us an inside look into the birth of the Kobe 9 Elite Masterpiece, decoding the creation of the shoe by sharing nine distinct design features. Continue reading for the in-depth look.
KOBE INSIGHT #1: I WANT TO FEEL THE COURT.
Eric Avar: “We created a thin web outsole less than 3 millimeters thick, combined with a responsive Lunarlon insert.“
Performance result: This combination puts the foot in close contact with the court surface, allowing agile cuts, quick response and tremendous court feel.
KOBE INSIGHT #2: I’M LOOKING FOR A HIGH-TOP THAT FEELS LIKE A LOW-TOP.
Eric Avar: “Let’s integrate lightweight ankle support with a Flyknit collar that is barely noticeable.”
Performance result: Allows a natural range of motion, proprioception and an intuitive fit with the lightweight feel of a low-top. The collar is high, but there are zero distractions or restrictions.
KOBE INSIGHT #3: MAKE IT PERSONAL.
Eric Avar: “We’ll incorporate nine red sutures stitched up the back of the shoe.”
Performance result: Toughness. These sutures represent Bryant’s commitment to recover from a torn Achilles.
KOBE INSIGHT #4: I WANT TO MOVE WITH THE QUICKNESS OF A BOXER.
Eric Avar: “Create a design that acts as a second skin and locks in the foot.”
Performance result: A natural feel of the upper, combined with sole that “moves with you,” allows basketball movements that mimic the footwork you see in a boxing ring.
KOBE INSIGHT #5: USE THE BEST MATERIALS.
Eric Avar: “Flyknit, Flywire, Lunarlon and carbon fiber are outstanding for performance.”
Performance result: The combination of high-performance materials are lightweight, responsive, strong and durable. For a player like Bryant who runs more than four miles in the average game, shedding weight without compromising strength makes a significant impact.