Kobe wearing Air Jordan VIII / SneakerNews.com
Kobe Bryant is already considered one of the best to ever suit up in the game of basketball. After 17 years on the hardwood, he’s definitely known for having one of the flyest shoe games as well. He’s one of the few guys who can say that they suffered almost nothing after jumping ship to a new shoe home. Just like his ever-evolving game, Kobe’s sneaker game has actually gotten better with age. We decided to commemorate one of his greatest seasons on the court by paying homage to some of his greatest kicks.
Nike Zoom Kobe IV
The shoe that changed the way we think about shoes worn by Kobe Bryant actually had a lot of input from Bryant himself. When he met with designers to talk about the making of this shoe, he made an unusual request when he urged for a lower cut. The result was a lightweight shoe that became the blueprint for future low-cut technology.
Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2k4
Although it didn’t sport Kobe’s name due largely to legal issues stemming from a trip to Denver, it was definitely a Kobe Bryant shoe. While it was popular before he donned them, they took on new heights when Bryant started wearing them in games, and it was hard not to see them everywhere. The shoes are more than just stylish though as many consider them to be top-quality hoop shoes, and they can still be seen regularly on NBA courts to this day.
Kobe’s first signature shoe with adidas was an instant hit. The company gambled on the rookie and rewarded him with this shoe in his second year in the league. It proved to be a great move for them as he was voted into the starting lineup of that year’s All-Star game opposite Michael Jordan. The All-Star version of the shoes is still considered by many to be one of the greatest pairs Bryant has ever worn on the court.
Air Jordan VIII
In 2003, Kobe was a free agent in the shoe world, and he took the opportunity to wear any shoe that he pleased. He opted to try out quite a few Air Jordans, including some customized retro VIIIs. The shoe was already dope, but with that special Laker color blend, it gave them an even cooler appeal.
Kobe wearing Nike Zoom Kobe IV “Finals Edition” Away
Nike Air Zoom Kobe I
Kobe’s first signature shoe with Nike didn’t debut until 2006, but timing is everything as they say and for both parties, this turned out to be a good move. Who remembers when Bryant torched the Raptors for a career-high 81 points? Guess what shoe he was wearing. That’s right. It was the Kobe I.
Though not a signature line, they were Bryant’s first shoes in the league as a baby-faced, kid-straight-out-of-high school. Most of us remember the KB8s, but these were the predecessors that Kobe wore in route to taking home the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest (Back when it was actually good).
Nike Zoom Kobe VII
These shoes took on the qualities of their previous models and expanded them even further by incorporating a removable sock liner and an even more responsive low-cut style. It also didn’t hurt that they came in a slew of colors and had one of the most original and hilarious marketing campaigns for a sneaker in years.
Adidas The Kobe
They were released in 2000 and completely changed the way many thought a basketball sneaker could be constructed. Some didn’t like the functionality of the shoe on the court, but the sneaker that was designed after Kobe’s Audi TT Roadster proved to be a popular style nonetheless.
Michael Mahon attended Clark Atlanta University, where he majored in journalism. He is a regular contributor to SoJones.com and has written for several other online and print publications, including Ballerstatus.com, Allhiphop.com, Creative Loafing Atlanta, and INsite Atlanta. Aside from writing, he is also a huge sports fan and film buff.