Kobe Bryant may have hung up his basketball shoes after last season, but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped obsessing about achieving greatness on the basketball court.
With his latest signature shoe, he’s rethought, redefined, and reinvented his shoe line to create an innovative new basketball sneaker that’s designed to give athletes an edge on the competition.
Bryant and the Nike design team worked tirelessly to develop a low-profile, highly responsive shoe that is unlike any other basketball shoe on the market. The Kobe A.D. NXT features an unconventional look, most notably because of its new lacing system.
The team integrated the lacing with the shoe’s upper. Pulling the laces up and out of the lace lock draws the structure together, creating a fluid system with the drop-in insole. This promotes optimal containment during the game by naturally adjusting to the athlete and providing a secure fit for each individual’s foot.
“The updates we’ve made to Kobe’s line demonstrate a new way of thinking about performance design,” said Eric Avar, a Nike footwear designer and longtime Kobe Bryant collaborator.
The Flyknit upper features a circular pattern that was inspired by a lotus flower and represents rebirth, while other design elements on the shoe feature secret Kobe codes that translate to “unhinge” and “end and begin.”
The shoe’s theme plays heavily off of Kobe’s retirement, as the previous Kobe A.D. shoes have done. The shoe’s innovative tech and creative design combine to represent a reawakening of the Kobe signature shoe line. Even in retirement, Kobe Bryant continues to grind for greatness by rethinking traditional conventions and redefining basketball innovation.
The Kobe A.D. NXT is available here.
Each week, we’ll break down the most popular upcoming shoe drops. We’ll give you the lowdown on the prices and sizes, break down the history of the shoe, and give you the scoop on the newest tech features. Check back every week for the hottest releases. If it’s hyped, it’s here. You can check out the full list of releases on Eastbay’s Release Calendar. Here’s what you have to look forward to this weekend:
JORDAN AJ 1 RARE AIR ‘MAX ORANGE’ – JANUARY 7 AT 10 AM ET
The classic AJ 1 silhouette highlights this weekend’s releases with an orange, black, and white colorway. The shoe features the Rare Air branding on the tongue, and the words ‘Air Jordan’ appear in place of the wings logo on the ankle area. Men’s $139.99, Grade School $94.99.
JORDAN AJ XXXI ‘BLACK TOE’ – JANUARY 7 AT 10 AM ET
Inspired by the iconic Air Jordan 1 ‘Black Toe,’ the AJ XXXI will also release in a ‘Black Toe’ color scheme this weekend. Its Zoom Air cushioning and FlightSpeed Technology combine with the clean look to make this shoe perfect for on-court performance or off-court style. Men’s $184.99.
NIKE KOBE A.D. – JANUARY 7 AT 10 AM ET
Kobe Bryant’s newest sneaker gets outfitted with a triple-white color scheme, chrome accents, and an icy outsole. Kobe branding on the tongue and back heel add to the super clean, minimalist look. The Black Mamba may not be on the court anymore, but his signature shoes are as strong as ever. Men’s $159.99.
NIKE KYRIE 3 – JANUARY 7 AT 10 AM ET
The second colorway of the new Kyrie 3 drops this weekend, featuring a red-and-crimson colorway. The shoe combines excellent traction, flexible support, and responsive cushioning, enabling Kyrie Irving’s razor-sharp cuts and his fast style of play. Simply put, the Kyrie 3 is a point guard’s dream. Men’s $119.99, Grade School $99.99.
NIKE METCON 3 – JANUARY 6 AT 10 AM ET
One of the most trusted shoes in fitness just got an upgrade. The Metcon 3 offers a similar look and feel as its predecessors, but offers even more flexibility with a lightweight mesh in the toebox. The shoe is made with training in mind, so the Metcon 3 has you covered for any workout, any style, and any intensity level. Men’s and women’s $129.99.
ADIDAS HARDEN VOL. 1 – JANUARY 7 AT 10 AM ET
James Harden has already made history on the court this season with the league’s first ever 50+ points, 15+ rebounds, 15+ assists triple-double. His shoe is also making waves off the court. The Harden Vol. 1’s first few colorways have been a hit, and they keep bringing the heat. How do you think this colorway stacks up? Let us know in the comments below! Men’s $139.99.
NEW BALANCE 247 – JANUARY 7 AT 10 AM ET
New Balance is stepping into 2017 with a new casual sneaker that is dressed to impress. The lightweight and breathable design delivers performance-level comfort with the cushiony REVlite midsole and a mesh upper. Take your look to the next level and experience life in the 247. Men’s $119.99.
words // Brandon Richard
Last month, I received a call from Eastbay that would allow me to present an extremely exciting opportunity to several photographers that have regularly contributed to our weekly Sole Shots feature here on the blog. While brainstorming ideas for a future cover of their catalog, Eastbay recalled the high quality photos submitted for Sole Shots and reached out to me with the idea of having one of the photographers shoot the next cover. As somebody who remembers pulling the Eastbay catalog out of his backpack in Elementary School, the chance to work on an actual cover was an instant no-brainer for me.
Not only was I excited about the growth of Sole Shots, but genuinely thrilled to give such a huge opportunity to the talented photographers from Sole Collector. I’ve spoken and worked with some of those individuals for more than a year now, and it seems as if they’re only improving their craft as time pushes forward.
Though overcome with excitement, there were a few challenges for this project that I had to work around. One, I was permitted to select a maximum of 5 photographers from a group of hundreds. Two, we were up against time. With the magazine heading to press, I had to have the 5 photographers on board, the pair of sneakers designated for shooting shipped to them and a final set of submissions back to Eastbay in less than a week. However, working with such talented photographers and a company that operates as diligently as Eastbay made the entire process a breeze.
Speaking of the shoes that were designated for shooting, I was given a handful of models to choose from, but ultimately settled on the Nike Zoom Kobe VI. My reason for choosing the shoe was that the various textures and unique silhouette would make for an interesting subject with infinite possibilities. All photographers would receive the White/Black-Del Sol-Neutral Grey “Playoff Pack” colorway (which was unreleased at the time) and were able to keep them afterward.
Eastbay requested that the shots be taken in “What Did You Wear Today?” style. If you’re unfamiliar with that terminology, it simply means taking photos of the shoes while they’re actually being worn. Of course, with the task at hand being the Eastbay cover, these photographers would add a little artistic flare.
Once all of the photographers submitted their photos, we ran into a bit of a “problem” – all of them did an exceptional job and had photos worthy of taking the cover. In fact, the photos turned out so well, that Eastbay came up with the idea of having all 5 photographers share the cover. This was an idea I embraced because they all truthfully deserved a spot and because of that, would make the cover that much better.
Now, I’d like you to meet the photographers responsible for the May 2011 cover of Eastbay. Along with a little information about each individual are some of the shots they submitted for the project. At the bottom of the page is the final Eastbay cover that will be arriving at households starting tomorrow. Congratulations to all five of you.
Butch Cordero aka airbutchie
One of the OGs in the game and a personal favorite, Butch started photography back in 1985 and laced up his first pair of Nikes (Cortez!) back in 1979. When shooting the Zoom Kobe VI, he enjoyed being able to envision, create and photograph the shoes on and off the court. He did find some difficulty with the short time frame, but only because his mind was flooded with so many ideas that he wished he could execute them all. Butch also noted that the quick turnaround also helped push him into creating great imagery in such a short time. Additionally, Butch thanked Eastbay for the opportunity and congratulated all of the other photographers that participated in the project.
Pat Lauder aka quickster
Pat is one of the moderators over at Sole Collector and has gained a reputation as being one of the best and most innovative photographers on the forum. His roots in photography date back to 2005 and his sneaker obsession started when he got the “Raptor” Air Jordan VII as a kid. He’s no fan of Kobe or the Los Angeles Lakers, so shooting the Zoom Kobe VI put him in an interesting dilemma. What he liked about shooting the shoe was the way in photographed in-stop motion and the fact that didn’t crease during the shoot. One of the challenges he faced was shooting a low-top at a low angle, but found that relatively easy to overcome.
Angel Gonzalez aka Vagrant
North Bergen, New Jersey
In a conversation I had with Angel while setting up the project, I got a real feel for where he’s coming from as a sneaker enthusiast. Though we aren’t necessarily into the same things, I really appreciate his unique approach to collecting, and it really pays off in his sneaker photography. Surprisingly, he’s only had a hand in both photography and sneaker collecting for about two years, which makes his contributions that much more impressive. He says that he enjoyed the opportunity to shoot a shoe that is typically far off his radar and he likely would have never owned otherwise. One of the challenges he faced was finding the right amount of lighting to make the scales on the shoe’s upper visible. The Eastbay cover project gave Angel the opportunity to dive into some night time photography and utilize flash for a night capture for the very first time.
Bryant Easter aka BryantDIGITAL
Bryant immediately captured my attention when I started posting Sole Shots because he does such a great job of incorporating scenery into his photos. He’s one of my favorite regular contributors and gets his photos posted often because he always has something new (and great!) to share. Bryant has been into photography as long as he can remember, but first gave it a try on a serious level back in 2006. His sneaker collecting days can be traced back to 10th Grade, where he was finally able to purchase his own after landing his first job. Shooting the Kobe VI made Bryant feel as if he were pushing his abilities and gave him new ideas for things he could shoot in the future. Knowing he was up against so many other talented photographers proved to be one of his biggest challenges, but it also motivated him to be creative. As somebody who wasn’t a big fan of the Kobe VI going into the shoot, Bryant says shooting the shoe has converted him and he’s looking into picking up other colorways and taking pictures of them as well.
David Giron aka Launchpad.
David is also part of the Sole Collector forum staff and has really become one of the best photographers we have. Starting out with basic ‘point and shoot,’ David has been honing his photography craft for three years now. He’s been into sneakers so long that he can’t pinpoint an exact moment where he became a collector, but estimates somewhere between the age of 14 and 15 when he started working. Though his initial thought was to use an actual snake in his photos, David still enjoyed shooting the Kobe VI because it allowed him to come up with a plethora of ideas. As a visionary, he found it a little challenging to work with constraints, but managed to emerge with some incredible images. David thanks both Sole Collector and Eastbay for the experience and the chance to work alongside such talented photographers.
Here’s a look at the final product, which makes use of photos from all of the photographers:
While yesterday the NBA season kicked off and LeBron unveiled the Nike Air Max LeBron VIII, it was another Nike athlete who walked away the winner on day one of the 2010-2011 season. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers received their championship rings and raised the banner to the rafters for the Lakers 17th NBA Championship and the 5th in Kobe Bryant’s career.
While last night he took to the hardwood in a colorway that celebrated the 5 Rings, soon he’ll be taking to the court in the 6th sneaker in the line of Kobe shoes. One of the early colorways to release will be the “Del Sol” colorway featuring Black, Dark Grey, with Del Sol and White accents. So now that you’ve seen both, which player has the better looking shoe this season?
Look for these to be available at Eastbay at the end of December. Click the images for full size versions.
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