Creating The New Kobe A.D.

  • Nike Kobe A.D.
  • Nike Kobe A.D.
  • Nike Kobe A.D.
  • Nike Kobe A.D.
  • Nike Kobe A.D.
  • Nike Kobe A.D.

Kobe Bryant has always been obsessed with perfection. He doesn’t just strive for perfection – he demands it. The famed Mamba Mentality is a combination of passion, fearlessness, optimism, and honesty, and it doesn’t come naturally. It requires work. It’s what made Kobe into one of the most intimidating and imposing players of his generation, and one of the best to ever step onto a court.

Kobe has taken that same approach with his shoes. Even in retirement, Kobe is still obsessed with perfection. He’s hyper-focused on every detail of his shoes, and how it can help make athletes perform better than ever.

“We go through every single part of the shoe with Kobe,” said Ross Klein, Senior Innovation Designer at Nike. “He puts on the shoe, describes to us what he feels, what he needs, and what he wants. Kobe is very, very involved.”

The new Kobe A.D. is designed with Kobe’s legendary game in mind, and it’s also made for a new generation of athletes. The shoe honors Kobe’s Mamba Mentality, while also encouraging players to move his legacy forward by unlocking new performance advantages.

The first thing you’ll notice about the new Kobe A.D. is the mid-cut, which hasn’t been utilized on a Kobe shoe in a long time.

We wanted to get after the balance of being very low, but also having a snug fit. Everything is hugging the spaces of the foot and supporting the voids around the foot. We wanted to make sure we’re encapsulating all of this to have complete control.
Ross Klein
Nike Senior Innovation Designer

The shoe is also outfitted with some of Nike’s top technology, from the upper to the midsole to the outsole. We asked Klein to break it all down for us:


“The upper is Flywire embroidered and embedded throughout. The position of these wires are in an array focusing toward the midfoot, which is where the most stress accrues when playing high-level basketball.

“We know that shoes need to be moved a little bit in order to get that soft, broken-in feeling, so we focused on that element as well. And then the collar and the tongue have a knit material there that’s focused on increasing breathability.”


“The midsole has a shank that’s made out of glass fiber. So what we’re doing there is increasing the midfoot strength, and also assisting in a very seamless heel-to-toe transition. We’re also reducing weight just from the material’s composition. There’s a Zoom Air unit in the heel, and that Zoom unit is bigger than we’ve done before. This is a full 14 millimeter Zoom that provides maximum impact protection on the court.”


“We oriented the traction blades in a certain way, really looking at how athletes propel forward, how they stop, how they rotate, and how they’re hitting the heel, so everything was really focused there. This gives you the most grip, and also decreases the time it takes to change directions.

“All of those elements combine to create a basketball shoe that’s purely focused on performance. It’s a shoe where every single detail has been meticulously poured over, with everything pointing toward a the ultimate lightweight, stable, cushioned experience on the court.

“The wear testing with this shoe was second-to-none,” Klein said. “We’re obsessive about the details – how people feel in the shoe, how people move in the shoe – and this was one of those shoes that we continuously put on-court in different regions of the world to get us as much feedback and information as possible to push us toward creating a great shoe.”

There are also a few design elements incorporated into the shoe as a nod toward Kobe’s career. Two snakeheads reference the famed Black Mamba nickname. There are also some more subtle features that offer a unique look and special meaning that Klein teased out.

“The media side of the collar has these dots. And these dots tell a code, which I won’t really go into, but it has a very specific meaning to Kobe. And when you look at the Swoosh, there’s a reason why these three are layered upon each other, and there’s a story behind that.”

We also asked Klein if he could give us a teaser for any colorways we might get to see after the Mamba Mentality colorways were released.

“With the A.D., we want to keep going into the future, start a new conversation, and open up a new dialogue,” Klein said. “That’s all I can give for right now. Anything further, you’ll just have to wait and see.”

The new Kobe A.D. is available now in select styles for $149.99. Stay locked to Eastbay on Twitter and Instagram for more information on upcoming Kobe A.D. releases.


1 Comment

  • Don Nixon:

    I’m not a fan of the Mamba… But Much Respect to his game as well as his accomplishments!!!!!… This shoe is TIGHT!!!!!… I usually wear Jordan’s or anything Fresh and New… But this,…… I will definitely purchase and multiple colors!!!!… Hot Shoe!!!!!! Good one Kobe…..

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