Summary

We spent 7.6 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what basketball players think:

4 reasons to buy

  • Like LeBron’s sixteenth basketball shoe, almost all expert reviewers are pretty much impressed by how well the traction of the Kobe 1 Protro performs.
  • There seems to be an agreement among the reviewers that the full-length Zoom works great; it excellently delivers both responsiveness and impact protection.
  • The support capacity of these basketball shoes from Nike is certainly one of their strengths, a lot of reviewers share.
  • The Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro was released in some of the original’s familiar colorways, and it elicited a good feeling of nostalgia in some.

2 reasons not to buy

  • The shoe has to be broken in so that wearers can fully enjoy the goodness that it brings.
  • While it’s not necessarily a bad thing, some wearers warn that the materials used in these Kobe basketball shoes might cause initial discomfort.

Bottom line

The Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro is a shoe that delivers and justifies the hype that surrounds it. It provides great support, cushioning, and traction–pretty much the important stuff for players. Similar to the Air Jordan 33, patience and a bit of endurance are required, though, because these Nike basketball shoes need a little time to break in. But once broken in, the goodness that it delivers pushes some to declare it as the best performance shoe of 2018.

Facts

Rankings

A top 6% best basketball shoe
It has never been more popular than this May

Expert Reviews

91 / 100 based on 11 expert reviews

  • 100 / 100 | WearTesters | | Level 5 expert

    I just think that this is a fantastic shoe!

  • 95 / 100 | MARKCHES | | Level 5 expert

    Do I recommend this shoe? So those who have a nostalgic feel on the Kobes, like I grew up watching kobe develop to a superstar. So if you are like me, go grab a pair. Especially those who like leather materials on their basketball shoes, go grab one. But if you're not, there are a log of good performance basketball sneakers right now that has good tech and are cheaper than the Protros. Because I think the Protros are $180.

  • 100 / 100 | WearTesters | | Level 5 expert

    It may be an opinion clouded in sentiment, as the Kobe I is my second favorite Kobe shoe ever (behind the VI), but there is no denying it: the Protro is a great, great, great performer.

  • 100 / 100 | WearTesters | | Level 5 expert

    I love the Kobe 1 Protro, and there’s really no other way to put it.

  • 90 / 100 | RicheeKim | | Level 5 expert

    For $175, there are cheaper shoes out there that perform just as good if not better than these. So take that as you will. They are super nice to play in. They are just very expensive. But if money isn't an issue, I'd say go ahead and pick these up and you won't regret it.

  • 86 / 100 | Schwollo | Level 5 expert

    As far as performance, there is a reason I still use the OG and Nike did a great job replicating it. It does everything very well from traction to containment and has just the right amount of bounce to make the cushioning fun yet balanced without being mushy. As I always say, newer almost never means better so it’s nice to see that the “new” Kobe I works because it’s the same as the “old” Kobe but with an “old but different” Zoom set up.

Become an expert

Even after retirement, Kobe Bryant still exerts his influence on the balling court. This 2018, instead of just awakening a sleeping legend through a retro release, he opts for an evolutionary iteration that makes his first signature shoe responsive to the unique needs of today. Dubbed the Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro (“performance” plus “retro”), his new post-retirement release sports the Kobe 1 aesthetics. However, it bears significant technological modifications that make it an up-to-date performer on the hardwood.

Cushion. The most updated feature of the shoe, the cushioning system of the Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro now features full-length Zoom. This pressurized air unit is thin, giving the wearer that low-to-the-ground feel. In it are tightly stretched fibers that quickly bounce back to its original column-like shape after impact, giving high energy returns like no other.  

Traction. The first Kobe Protro takes after the traction pattern and outsole material of the original Nike Zoom Kobe 1 that was released in 2005. The Protro’s outsole is still made of a soft rubber compound. The pattern is still a mixture of herringbone and diamond patterns, which have grooves that are widely spaced to prevent dust buildup.

Length and Width. The Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro is described by many as true to size. Therefore, new buyers assume very minimal risk when they go for their usual sizes, even when they order a pair of these Nike basketball shoes online.  

Lockdown. These Kobe Bryant basketball shoes provide improved support. Its leather upper is slimmed down for a better fit. The mesh in its collar is replaced with a softer textile that hugs the ankle better. A carbon fiber overlay wraps the midfoot and the heel, giving the foot some cradling especially during motion. Of course, should there be a need for further adjustments, the shoe has the traditional laces.

Stability is ensured by a carbon fiber midfoot shank.

The original Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro has full-grain leather in its upper. It has suede overlays and a sturdy outrigger. The ankle collar is made of a softer textile for a better fit.

There’s no mistaking it. The Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro really looks a lot like the the original Kobe 1 that was released in 2005. It still has that prominent Swoosh on both the medial and lateral sides. It also retains the iconic Sheath logo on the tongue. It totally gives that nostalgic retro feel. With its updated specs, it also responds to the unique and much more aggressive athletic needs of today

Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro 81 Points

On January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant scored a magical 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. Thirteen years later, Nike celebrates that moment by releasing the 81 Points colorway. The white leather upper is complemented by a black Swoosh and outsole. For contrast, the ankle collar and the lateral side accent are purple.

Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro All-Star

Inspired by the first All-Star colorway released in 2006, the Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro All-Star comes with a white upper, black outsole, and black Swoosh. The red ankle collar and lateral side cage give contrast to the black-and-white combo. The colorway was released on August 17, 2018.

Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro Del Sol

Released in mid Feb 2018, the Del Sol colorways sports a predominantly black upper. It has Varsity Maize accents in the collar and outrigger.

Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro Final Seconds

The Final Seconds colorway is almost identical to the 81 Points colorway except for the Swoosh, which comes in golden yellow. The purple number 8 on the lateral side is bordered with golden yellow. Resembling the white home jersey, the shoe celebrates Kobe Bryant’s victorious buzzer beater against the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 Western Conference Playoffs.

Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro MPLS

Dressed in gray suede, the MPLS colorway is dedicated to the Minneapolis Lakers. The outsole and ankle collar is soft blue, while the Nike logo and toe box is white. The underside of the tongue and the lace lock come with the “MPLS” callout. The insole has the retired jersey numbers of the team in white bordered with gold.

Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro USA

The Nike Kobe 1 Protro USA is inspired by the colorway used by Kobe Bryant during the 2006 World Games. The midnight navy suede upper is accented with white, red, and silver.

Undefeated x Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Camo

Retailer Undefeated teamed up with Nike to produce two versions of the Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro. One of these is the Camo version that features the classic camouflage print that has been in Undefeated designs for quite some time. These Kobe shoes also feature the retailer’s logo on the rear lateral side.

Aside from color, this version of the Protro also differs from the mainstream version in terms of the materials used on it. The upper is made of ballistic mesh instead of the usual leather and suede. The textile collar is replaced with a neoprene one. Even with these material changes, Undefeated’s Protro Camo is still going to be a beast on court.

As a testament to that, Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns emerged triumphant when he debuted a player-exclusive orange Protro Camo during the All-Star Weekend’s three-point contest. All-Star player and budding Nike athlete Giannis Antetokounmpo is also seen casually rocking these Nike basketball shoes, this time dressed in his player-exclusive green camouflage pattern, during the All-Star Weekend.

The Undefeated x Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Camo is released on February 16, 2018.

Undefeated x Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Gum

Nike’s partnership with Undefeated also produced a largely tonal iteration of the Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro. This version is predominantly white; the only deviations are the black Swoosh and neoprene collar and the gum outsole. The Undefeated x Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Gum is released on February 15, 2018.

Author
Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic

Dimitrije Curcic has been playing basketball for over 22 years. Like Manu Ginobili, he’s a left-hander whose moves led him to a better career-shooting percentage than the Argentine himself. After playing professionally for 10 years, Dimitrije moved to coaching for two seasons before he became a basketball statistician for StatScore, and FanSided contributor for the San Antonio Spurs. Dimitrije loves to tell hoop stories through numbers and graphics and has been featured on Fansided, FiveThirtyEight, Eurohoops, and TalkBasket among the others.

dimitrije@runrepeat.com