NIKE KOBE 8 EXT "YEAR OF THE SNAKE" (BLACK MAMBA)
Traction ( 8 out of 10 )
Translucent Rubber that feels a little stiffer than that from the Kobe 8 "Sulphur". The herringbone pattern at the main areas needed for grip along with the "mamba" pattern at the rest of the areas provided excellent traction similar to that of the Kobe 4 from my testing on an outdoor court. I play the 3 position and often do quick cuts to the rim and fire up shots off the pick during this performance test. I had no problems moving laterally (no slippages) and stopped comfortably without the feeling of my toes "hitting" hard at the front as I pulled up for a jumper as I slashed hard toward the basket. However, the outsole didn't react that while after a while due to the dust and I had to clean them to get it to 100% again.
Cushioning ( 8 out of 10 )
I'm a big fan of the Forefoot: Zoom Air and Heel: Double-stacked Zoom Air configuration. It is my favourite choice due to the comfort and responsiveness of the set-up. I was skeptical of how well the Kobe 8 will fair in this department as it is foam based; Lunarlon to be exact. Nike has been using this foam cushion immensely for the last 2 years and from my experience with it from my running shoes, I would say that it breaks in faster than the foams used by the other brands and is comfortable. However, just like any other foams, it does not give me that immediate response, that immediate bounce to transit to my next move like the Zoom Air does.
This is felt throughout the whole experience I had with the Kobe 8 EXT "YOS" on the court. It is the most comfortable pair even in comparison to the Kobe 4 which I still regard is the best low-cut basketball shoe of All-Time. But this comes with a slight loss in responsiveness especially for slashers like myself; it didn't have that "propelling" feel which I felt in the KD V. Nevertheless, the full length Lunarlon (removable) is definitely a notch above the rest since the Kobe 4 days. Moreover, you could use this foam in your other Kicks and create some "crazy mod" to another pair of kicks.
Material ( 9 out of 10 )
Black Leather with Laser-etched snake print design instead of the Engineered mesh. The Kobe 8 EXT "YOS" feels like good ol' leather basketball shoes from the 90's. I totally enjoyed it and after a couple of games, the leather broke in and I was able to lace my shoes even tighter giving it a real good fit and high maneuverability. My only complaint is the waxed shiny laces which couldn't hold its knot even after I double-knotted it. Would recommend changing the laces to the sport laces for that feet lockdown. I totally enjoyed playing in this Nike Sportswear not recommended for performance usage.
Fit ( 8.5 out of 10 )
The shoe fits true to size and I would not recommend buying even half size bigger unless you have wide feet. They are comfortable and feel more like a running shoe more than a basketball shoe as it doesn’t has that snug bootie feel that we have come to take from granted from Nike. That said, I would say that the fit is... "AWESOME!!" As mentioned earlier, after the break in, and lacing it up tighter, the shoe had a lockdown effect. The only downside was that the Lunarlon insole is a little slippery and on this particular test, I experience a little feeling of slippage at the start before the break in of the leather. I would recommend a pair of more "grippy" socks when you play in the Kobe 8 in general.
Ventilation ( 2 out of 10 )
Definitely not the best ventilated shoe available in the market now but nothing much to complain about since this is supposed to be a Nike Sportswear shoe. The only vents to let the heat out are from the holes on the tongue of the shoe. This is also when you appreciate the tongue not being all thick and all as it allows more breathability and the ability to "bring" the upper together as you lace it up tight.
Side note: I really do not understand why some ballers are so intent that the tongue being thick and "cushy". We are basketballers not skate-boarders. Why do you need thick cushioned tongues for the shoes?
Support [low-cut] ( 9 out of 10 )
I am giving it a 9 in terms of support based from a low-cut shoe. This does not mean that it provides better support then mid-cut or high-cut shoes. The Kobe 8 EXT "YOS" blew me away with the support it gave. It reminded me so much of the Kobe 4; Outstanding fit!!. The heel clip works once again and the glass based Carbon Fiber shank for torsional rigidity and support gave the shoe a stable ride regardless of how I pivoted and slashed. These have to be the best Kobe on court since the Kobe 4 in terms of support. It felt like I could do anything without the fear of twisting my ankle.
Conclusion ( 7.42 out of 10 )
The crazy thing about the Kobe 8 EXT "YOS" is that it is being labeled "not a performance shoe." After rocking them on the court, I totally disagree. The fit and lockdown is incredible: it feels like a just like a pair of light running shoes with full stability. The traction was great just that it needs to be wiped from time to time as I play outdoors. The leather upper not only looked so stylish and stealth but it works and is more than mere aesthetics. The Cushioning could have been slightly better in terms of responsiveness but I'm happy enough with the full-length Lunarlon. Landing from going to the rim or grabbing rebounds were all well cushioned... actually the best from the Kobe Line so far. Ventilation is the only downside but do I wouldn't really care since this is the best low-cut Kobe to date since the Kobe 4.
Finally a pair of low-cuts, a pair of Kobe's to yearn and salivate for. A must have for both on and off the court.
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Please go to Nightwing's website for a review on the Nike Kobe 8 System Performance Shoe.
I wanna say a Big THANK YOU to Nightwing for doing all the performance reviews and being an inspiration in many ways.