Summary

We spent 7.5 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what basketball players think:

7 reasons to buy

  • According to most testers, the Nike Zoom Kobe 4 Protro has an aggressive traction pattern that grips the floor well.
  • A good number of reviewers note that the Protro’s midsole is softer than the OG’s. They claim that the cushioning feels really comfortable.
  • Despite the lack of full-length Zoom, nearly all testers are satisfied with the Kobe 4 Protro’s cushioning setup. They claim that the heel area offers a lot of impact protection while the forefoot feels very stable and responsive.
  • Although not premium, a few players comment that the materials work and are quite durable.
  • Nearly all wearers love how the Zoom Kobe 4 Protro fits. They suggest going with your actual size when getting these signature Kobe Bryant basketball shoes.
  • According to almost all testers, the Kobe 4 Protro is very supportive for a low-top. They are saying that all the support features (outrigger, midfoot shank, and heel counter) work very well.
  • The Kobe 4 Protro feels super light on feet, several reviewers comment.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Almost all commenters are angry at the fact that Nike falsely advertised the Zoom Kobe 4 Protro. The Swoosh said that the Kobe 4 Protro is equipped with full-length Zoom; however, they discovered these low-top basketball shoes only feature a heel Zoom Air unit.
  • Several testers observe that the synthetic materials start stiff and require a few runs to break in thoroughly.
  • Many are quick to comment that these Nike basketball shoes are quite expensive.

Bottom line

The Nike Kobe 4 Protro stays true to the original. Everything works as expected unless of course, you were expecting more.

The main issue with this Protro model is the cushioning. Before its release, Nike advertised that the Kobe 4 Protro comes with full-length Zoom Air. However, it was discovered that only a heel Zoom Air unit is present.

Overall, the Kobe 4 Protro plays as well as the original. The absence of performance updates make this more of a retro rather than a protro.

Facts

Expert Reviews

87 / 100 based on 8 expert reviews

  • 91 / 100 | MARKCHES | | Level 5 expert

    Overall, I really love the shoe, especially the cushioning. On a clean court—the traction. The support is awesome in these, especially for a low-cut ball shoes, the support is awesome, and it's light. So you're very quick. you feel really bouncy and impact protection is nice. Court feel and responsiveness in this shoe is really awesome.

  • 88 / 100 | WearTesters | | Level 5 expert

    I love the shoe, but I won’t let that blind me from the truth. This is not a Protro. It’s a Retro. Just like other all-time great performers, they still perform as great as the day they originally released. Just don’t play us for fools. Be honest from the jump and people will decide for themselves whether or not the $175 is worth a purchase. And please, Nike, notify your retail partners of the typo. They’re still selling these things with the description “Full-length Zoom Air unit means long-lasting responsiveness.” Mamba Face.

  • 94 / 100 | Schwollo | Level 5 expert

    Against a typical $130-140 shoes ($140 is what the Kobe IV would cost in today’s dollars) it is still just as good or maybe even better depending on what you’re looking for despite the fact that it doesn’t have the latest and greatest forefoot cushioning. I think these feel way better than HOVR Havoc and even the full length set up of the Curry 6 which has the “latest and greatest”. Plus they don’t peel off (that’s the real shame in my opinion). Don’t forget UA put full length EVA in the Curry 4 and 5 and called it proprietary (all sneaker companies are

  • 88 / 100 | WearTesters | | Level 5 expert

    I love the shoe, but I won’t let that blind me from the truth. This is not a Protro. It’s a Retro. Just like other all-time great performers, they still perform as great as the day they originally released. Just don’t play us for fools. Be honest from the jump and people will decide for themselves whether or not the $175 is worth a purchase. And please, Nike, notify your retail partners of the typo. They’re still selling these things with the description “Full-length Zoom Air unit means long-lasting responsiveness.” Mamba Face.

  • 87 / 100 | The Sole Brothers | | Level 5 expert

    It's nice. It's a banger. Especiallyonce you break it in. Definitley a Kobe, feels like a Kobe, plays like a Kobe. Uh, will it be in my rotation? I don't know, you know. Yeah, it will be in my rotation—loosely you know. I definitely recommend these. They're a little expensive, you know. It's kind of crazy. There's probably a few other shoes you can get that maybe be better than this that are cheaper. But, if you're really in love with the IV or this, you know, just the aesthetics of this shoe, you know, it performs really well.

  • 80 / 100 | Hoop And Life | | Level 5 expert

    The traction is solid. The materials is good but could be better you know, could have softer, nicer leather from the Protro. Cushioning—good but could be better. Full-length Zoom Air?! You know. Support and lockdown—solid. Very nimble shoe.

Become an expert

In 2009, Nike launched the Kobe 4 that kicked-off the low-top movement in basketball. Ten years later, these well-loved Kobe basketball shoes return with updated performance features to meet the game’s changing demands.

The Nike Zoom Kobe 4 Protro features the original Flywire construction and heel Zoom Air unit for maximum support and comfort. Performance updates include a wider outsole traction, a sleeker heel, and an adjusted vamp shape.

Cushion. In a statement, Nike confirmed that the Kobe 4 Protro features a full-length Phylon midsole with a Zoom Air unit at the heel.

The Phylon midsole offers a cushioned, comfortable, and flexible ride while the heel Zoom Air bag protects against hard landings.

Traction. The Zoom Kobe 4 Protro is equipped with a solid rubber outsole for increased durability. The outsole features a herringbone pattern for enhanced traction on the court.

Length and Width. According to most wearers, these Kobe Bryant basketball shoes provide an excellent overall fit. They recommend staying true to size when grabbing a pair of these low-top sneakers.

Lockdown. These low-top Nike basketball shoes have a lace up closure for a comfortable fit. The shoe’s upper also boasts a Flywire construction that keeps the foot locked-in and contained.

These performance retros feature a leather upper for increased support and long-lasting durability. A padded ankle collar offers added comfort.

According to Nike.com, “When Kobe Bryant thought about the design of his fourth Nike signature shoe, he raised an important question: Why did the world’s top soccer strikers wear low-cut shoes while basketball players—participating in an equally dynamic sport—still believed that high-tops were best?”

The Nike Kobe 4 features a light, low-top profile that manages to provide maximum support to shifty guards, rangy forwards, and powerful bigs.

Dubbed “Draft Day,” the Zoom Kobe 4 Protro arrives in White/Varsity Purple/Orion Blue. This colorway pays homage to the Charlotte Hornets—the original team that drafted Kobe Bryant in 1996.

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