Ever since the low-top Kobe 8's—a shoe many regarded as the best in the series—dropped a year ago, there has been steadily growing anticipation for the next edition of Mamba footwear coming out of Nike.
Well, the wait is over. On Wednesday, Nike unveiled the new high-top Kobe 9 Elite, which Bleacher Report's Lance Fresh gives us a look at from every angle:
For those ready to purchase the unique sneakers after one glance, ESPN's Darren Rovell provides the details about when they can be snatched up:
Nike unveils the Kobe 9 Elite, available for $225 on 2/8 pic.twitter.com/g5I7zKGK27— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) December 4, 2013
Ugh. More waiting and a steep price tag. That leaves just one question: For a two-month wait and over $200, are the new Kobe 9's worth it?
We'll start with what, in my opinion, is the worst part about the shoe: the color scheme.
I'm not going to jump to any major conclusions because pictures—and even videos—can be misleading, but, color me unimpressed. Judging by Rovell's picture, the shoe is simply too orange and black for my taste.
Beyond that, the overall scheme just doesn't blend well together.
That being said, this is a problem that is easily fixable, as several different colorways will undoubtedly break in the weeks and months following the release in February.
This shoe isn't going to be for everyone. The fact that it's a high-top shoe means it's less likely to be used as a casual shoe, but that's the reason I absolutely love it.
Basketball shoes are meant to be used on the court, not at Olive Garden.
According to Nike's press release, via solecollector.com, the Kobe 9 combines three technologies that will make for a better performance on the court: Nike Flyknit, Flywire and Lunarlon. The former, Flyknit technology, comes to basketball kicks for the first time ever:
Nike Flyknit – which was first used in Nike Running shoes in 2012 – defies conventional shoe manufacturing processes by creating a one-piece engineered upper made from single strands of yarns. Lightweight yet incredibly strong, it has redefined sports shoe technology and comes to basketball for the first time in the KOBE 9 Elite.
So not only do you have a really unique design with the high-top, but you have a reason for such a design—and one that is sure to make for an absolutely amazing performance on the court.
Finally, Rovell gives us this little tidbit about the back of the shoe:
Back of Kobe 9 Elite has sutures that match his Achilles surgery pic.twitter.com/iNotPy3NJW— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) December 4, 2013
The nod to Kobe Bryant's rehab from Achilles surgery, which is currently nearing completion, is just a brilliant touch to finish off an unprecedented, winning design.
How would you grade the Kobe 9 Elite overall?
Again, the color takes the grade down slightly for me, but in the overall scheme of things, that's hardly a deal breaker when everything else about the kicks is top notch.
When it comes down to it, this is a basketball shoe built perfectly for the basketball court, and that makes it an unequivocal winner in my book.