How do you get fresh new kicks that are redesigned to offer support for your recently injured Achilles tendon? Well first, you have to be Kobe Bryant...come to think of it, that's probably all you need.
Per CBS Sports in Los Angeles, on Dec. 4, the newest version of Bryant's Nike shoes will be revealed. This will make the ninth year of designs for Kobe with Nike, thus the newest shoes are aptly titled The Ninth. Nike's advertising claims the shoe is "where design meets art."
Based on the reconstruction of the sneaker and the less-than conventional print along the sides, I'd say that's an appropriate description.
Take a look at this image that was leaked by Sneaker News.
The print may not be for more conventional sneaker heads, but you can bet there will be more tame color schemes available. Sign me up for any of the single- or dual-colored versions.
The more colorful examples of the Kobe IX are likely good matches for outfits with multiple colors (pardon me, I'm still into matching). The image displayed above has a taste of African culture, which is appropriate considering the Black Mamba is an African snake.
With the right shirt, hat and swag, these can be pulled off. On the court, as long as they feel good they are a go. It appears Bryant is opting for a high-top sneaker this year, which is a departure from the more recent designs of his shoes. Like Kobe, I have long been a fan of the low-top sneaker, but all it takes is one lower-leg injury to make you start shopping for sneakers with more ankle or Achilles support.
While everyone's foot is different, it is hard to imagine a 35-year-old Bryant would sign off on a shoe that wasn't comfortable.
We'll know more about the technical design after it is officially revealed, but there is some buzz on a potential innovative feature.
Per Sneaker News, there are rumors the shoe could incorporate Flyknit. The technology is a light, skin-tight fabric designed to enhance performance. Up to now it has been used only in running shoes.
If the Kobe IX does indeed have Flyknit, it would be a groundbreaking basketball sneaker.
Overall, the shoe should be a commercial success simply because it is affiliated with Bryant. As long as Kobe stays healthy, the shoe will be viewed even more positively as it's grouped into what would be a successful comeback story from a major injury.
Wow Factor: 8 out of 10
Design Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Swag Rating: 7.5 out of 10