Even as Kobe Bryant is out of commission at the moment with a torn rotator cuff, the show must go on, and Nike has dutifully taken the wraps off the Mamba's tenth signature shoe. The Nike Kobe X, designed by Eric Avar with the usual input from Kobe himself, features a clean, minimalist silhouette while blending three essential performance elements: hybrid cushioning, combining Lunarlon, Nike Free-inspired siping grooves and a Zoom Air unit in the heel; an advanced traction system, in which hundreds of "nodules" on the outsole grip and splay at high speeds, similar to the treads on performance racecar tires; and a seamless open-weave textile upper inspired by the pattern and strength of sharkskin.
Special design notes include a gold Roman numeral "X" adorning the outsole, four red lines on the left heel denoting Bryant's return from his Achilles tendon injury in April 2013, and Kobe's sheath logo on the right heel. The lead colorway, dubbed "5 AM Flight," takes inspiration from an August 2013 stunt, wherein Bryant took a 40-foot leap off a diving platform early in the morning during his ACL recovery. Along with an accompanying suite of apparel and accessories, the Nike Kobe X "5 AM Flight" is priced at $180 and hits stores February 7th. Additional colorways will follow in subsequent weeks.
Nike Kobe X "5AM Flight"
Color: Blue Lagoon/Black-Vapor Green
Release Date: 2/7/2015 (Saturday)