Profile of the Nike Zoom Kobe 5

The Kobe 5 is considered to be one of the pinnacles of Kobe Bryant’s signature line. Released in 2010 and created by footwear designers Eric Avar and Matthew Nurse, the shoe gathers inspiration from low-top soccer cleats–further cementing the use of low-profile sneakers for basketball. The shoe features Skinwire for the upper, the Nike Torch Technology for the tongue, and a combination of Zoom Air and Phylon foam in the midsole.


Cushion. Two Zoom Air units encased in a soft Phylon midsole make up the shoe’s cushioning system. A small unit is located at the ball of the foot, while a bigger unit is under the heel. The Phylon foam at the back of the heel is split and splays when landing, providing a soft bounce. However, the cushioning is also firm enough to let you feel the ground.

Traction. The Nike Kobe 5 is one of the first few basketball sneakers to implement a storytelling outsole. A heartbeat traction pattern is used on the shoe. Also called “flatline,” the tread pattern uses less rubber compared to the previous Kobe 4. Since the grooves are not very thick, the outsole will last longer indoors. Optimal performance will be achieved when used on clean courts.


Length and Width. The shoe runs true to size. It is recommended to go with your standard Nike basketball shoe size when purchasing the shoe.  

Lockdown. The Kobe 5’s secure lockdown is attributed to the shoe’s conforming and second- skin upper. Sitting very closely to the foot, the Skinwire molds to its shape regardless of it being narrow or wide. Support is reinforced via an external heel counter.


An upgrade to the Kobe IV, the upper integrates Flywire into its synthetic material through a heat-bonding process, creating a lighter and more flexible yet very supportive upper called “Skinwire”. The heel counter of the upper uses ballistic mesh, while an extra layer of fuse is added to support the high-wear areas of the shoe. The upper provides a sock-like fit that makes the wearer feel like the shoe is specifically made for them.

The Nike Torch technology makes up the tongue, upping the shoe’s breathability and comfort. Perforations can also be found in the toe box and the sides.

A carbon fiber shank plate is placed in the midfoot, providing a stable base to stand on. Two Zoom Air units are housed within the Phylon cushioning and a huge TPU heel cup is built into the shoe to ensure zero slips.


The Kobe 5’s Skinwire upper mimics the look of synthetic tendons underneath a skin of muscle thereby magnifying the beauty of subtle strength. Modern touches are added to the shoe through the use of brightly colored fuse and mesh. The Nike swoosh is printed on both sides of the shoe while a Kobe logo is embossed on the tongue.

Special Colorways of the Nike Zoom Kobe 5

The Kobe V debuted in more than fourteen colorways.  After almost a decade, the shoe continues to be released year after year in different colorways. The shoe is known to have started the trend of having more than ten colorways per shoe. Out of the many colorways, three stand out.

Nike Zoom Kobe 5 Chaos

Debuting on December 26, 2009, the Nike Zoom Kobe 5’s Chaos colorway was the opening act that brought the basketball sneaker into the limelight. Eric Avar’s take on the Joker from Batman features lime green outsole and Nike Swoosh logos, white and purple upper with black detailing, and red speckles on the midsole.

Nike Zoom Kobe 5 Dark Knight

Also inspired by the comic book Batman, the Kobe V Dark Knight comes in a black and blue upper with a metallic finish. The material on the heel features a snake-like textured material that adds personality to the stealthy and serious-looking upper.

Nike Zoom Kobe 5 Bruce Lee

Inspired by Kobe Bryant’s love for Kung Fu, a Kobe V colorway was released in 2010 in honor of Kung Fu master Bruce Lee. The shoe comes in a yellow and black upper that references the jumpsuit that Bruce Lee wore in the movie “The Game of Death.” Red detailing can be found on the lateral side of the forefoot; it alludes to the wounds that Bruce Lee sustained in “Enter the Dragon.”


How Nike Zoom Kobe 5 ranks compared to all other shoes
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Top 20% Nike basketball shoes
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The current trend of Nike Zoom Kobe 5.
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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.