Nike have now unveiled the Kobe 8 System; the next shoe in Kobe's performance line, and this time, he's dedicating it to 2013: the Chinese year of the snake.
The Kobe 8 System is the product of Nike's Performance Footwear Creative Director, Eric Avar, working with Kobe to produce a shoe that was informed by the natural world, and that intertwines with Kobe's alter ego, the Black Mamba.
The result of that is Kobe's lightest performance basketball shoe to date, which weighs in at just 9.6 ounces. Nike have engineered a mesh upper that is ultra-lightweight and moves with the foot, as well as providing all round breathability. Of course it wouldn't be complete without a snake-skin pattern to make it truly signature.
New synthetic overlays have been added to the toes and lateral quarter panel to give the shoe a greater level of support, while the low profile cushioning of the midsole gives better, low-to-the-ground stability. The designers have also thrown in 4 little symbols that are meant to represent elements of Kobe's game (speed, precision, vision and versatility).
The 3D anatomical heel counter fits right to the foot, and provides an excellent column of support, while the webbed rubber outsole uses a snake scale pattern, mixed with the traditional herring bone pattern, to provide traction, while using less rubber to make the shoe as light as possible. The midfoot shank is made of a glass composite that lends a rigidity to the arch of the foot, giving great support.
In response to the new design, Kobe has said; "I’m always focused on improving my game, to perform at my best. I want my shoes to mimic the speed of my game," Kobe said. "By shaving fractions off the height and weight, it allows me to play faster with more control so I can maneuver across the court – I want to feel like I’m moving at the speed of light."
To find out more, check out this awesome video, where Eric Avar talks about the experience and inspiration in creating the Kobe 8 System.