5 Best Kobe Shoes in 2022

Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic on
5 Best Kobe Shoes in 2022

If you are Kobe Bryant, not even retirement or death can stop your shoes from saturating the market. Up to this day, the best Kobe shoes are still being sold like pancakes by both online and offline retailers.

Although Kobe shoes are so hard to get these days, we were able to review some of the most popular models to help you find the best.

How we test basketball shoes

The best Kobe basketball shoes from Nike are assessed using online inputs from experts, basketball enthusiasts, and ordinary buyers. We then come up with each shoe’s CoreScore, and then rank them accordingly.

Best Kobe shoes overall

Nike Kobe 6 Protro
Nike Kobe 6 Protro
Top pick

Corescore

84
Great!
4.4 / 5 from 10 users
93 / 100 from 6 experts

Pros

  • Amazing traction
  • Bounce and responsiveness
  • Noticeable impact protection
  • Reliable support and lockdown 
  • Flexible upper materials
  • Comfortable tongue
  • True to size
  • Stylish

Cons

  • Break-in needed
  • Dust pickup
  • Not for outdoor use

Verdict

It’s not uncommon for brands to bring back past models as retro releases. Nike surely did not make a mistake in taking the sixth Kobe out of the shelves again. The Nike Kobe 6 Protro had fans YEARNING; and it did NOT disappoint! 

Kobe’s shoes have always been regarded to have great traction; the late Kobe Bryant, after all, was known for his rather sticky foot work. We had high expectations for this bad boy, and we’re happy to share that it has not let us down. Sudden turns with awkward angles? Quick stops? None of these were difficult to execute.

Moving on to the cushion; the Kobe 6 Protro is really expanding its reach. Kobe was a guard, but this doesn’t seem like just a guard shoe for us. With the amount of impact protection that it delivers ALONGSIDE court feel and bounce, even bigger and heavier men could get to enjoy this. Even the great LeBrons don’t have this type of versatility! 

As far as support goes, we have one word for this one: amazing! We didn’t experience any issue whatsoever. Like a criminal, the foot felt like it was (comfortably) cuffed to the footbed. It sure ain’t goin’ nowhere, baby! 

Still, you might see some people complaining that this shoe isn’t really for outdoor use. We agree. But seriously? This is a Kobe for heaven’s sake! Kobes don’t deserve hard labor. It’s kinda (coughs!) pricey, so it’s best to be played indoors, and only flaunted outdoors!

See our full review and facts

Kobe shoes with best grip

Nike Kobe AD NXT FastFit
Nike Kobe AD NXT FastFit
Top pick

Corescore

80
Good!
4.3 / 5 from 17 users
84 / 100 from 7 experts

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Durable traction
  • Light and minimal
  • Reliable outsole grip
  • Well-cushioned midsole
  • Great support and lockdown
  • Comfortable footbed

Cons

  • Not for the outdoors
  • Traction attracts dust
  • Expensive

Verdict

If you judge it by its name, you’d think that the Nike Kobe AD NXT Fastfit is (1) a speed shoe with (2) a really nice fit. Well, you are not wrong. Indeed, this basketball shoe feels really light and minimal. It also has a really explosive midsole that really helps propel us to the basket. 

Aside from that, support and lockdown are to die for. We’ve never felt so confident to move around before this. There is no wobbliness in the forefoot. There is also no heel slippage. We even dare say that the FastFit technology that’s used in the upper is better implemented here than in any other shoe. 

Yet, the shoe is not yet done surprising us. Hear this: the traction is INSANE. It’s squeakiness gives away the fact that it bites the floor so well; quick stops and swift changes in direction are so easily executed.

While energy return is indeed great with this one, it’s not the only function that its midsole tooling is made for. The hardworking minds at Nike have found a way to incorporate really noticeable impact protection in this guard shoe.

It’s true that the price can drive players (hopefully not you) away from this shoe. But for us, this shoe is dope! So, take our money anytime, Nike!

See our full review and facts

Kobe shoes with best cushioning

Nike Kobe AD Mid
Nike Kobe AD Mid
Top pick

Corescore

89
Great!
4.6 / 5 from 1,655 users
84 / 100 from 19 experts

Pros

  • Beastly traction
  • Lightweight and responsive
  • Great impact protection
  • Solid support and stability
  • Satisfactory lockdown
  • Durable materials
  • Rich colorway options

Cons

  • Not for outdoor play
  • Lacks ventilation
  • Foot moisture buildup
  • Needs frequent wiping

Verdict

Kobe’s post-retirement sneakers are true bad boys on the court. The Kobe AD Mid offers a noteworthy cushioning system. We just loved how comfortable it felt underneath our feet; it was as if we stepped on cotton! 

Do not get us wrong, though! Just because we said it’s cushy doesn’t really mean that court feel has already been thrown out of the window. We don’t know how Nike did it, but there was just a perfect blend of the two.

Another thing that we truly love about this shoe is the fact that the AD Mid was super supportive even if it only has basic support features. This proves that a shoe doesn’t really have to have flashy techs to be effective on the court.

Aside from that, the AD Mid is also a complete beast when it comes to traction. We can’t tell you enough how sticky the outsole is, especially on fairly clean courts. This shoe is very close to the AD NXT Fastfit, our number 1 for traction.

Because this shoe is also light, really comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing, its usage has gone beyond the court. We didn’t mind wearing this for our gigs after our games. Yep, if you get this one, you get not only a “reliable playmate” but also a “fun friend.”

See our full review and facts

Best Kobe shoes for outdoor

Nike Kobe 5 Protro
Nike Kobe 5 Protro
£184
Top pick

Corescore

84
Great!
4.6 / 5 from 20 users
88 / 100 from 7 experts

Pros

  • Traction: A noticeable improvement from the OG Kobe 5, the current traction has "more points of contact" and will "stop on a dime."
  • Plush heel: Hoopers enjoy the plushness and sponginess of the Cushlon-equipped heel.
  • Springy forefoot: The Zoom Turbo in the forefoot provides a "nice bounce, responsiveness, and court feel."
  • Support: Players have no complaints here. The lateral outrigger, sturdy heel counter, tight lacing system, and other support features keep the foot securely locked in. 
  • Comfort: The upper material is "thin enough to flex" and "strong enough to keep you contained."
  • Light: At only 10.7 oz (303 g), the Kobe 5 Protro shoes are "ultra lightweight...nothing is even close to these."

Cons

  • Dust-prone outsole: The outsole attracts too much dust, compromising traction. There is a need to "wipe pretty frequently" on dusty courts.
  • Narrow: The Kobe 5 Protro is definitely NOT for widefooters, being described as "super narrow." Those who like a snug fit will love it just fine.
  • Break-in: The traction pattern, cushion setup, and upper materials all need time to work as expected.  
  • Pricey: The Kobe 5 Protro might be too expensive; expert reviewers say that "(the debut price of) $180 is a little steep for the tech you get."

Verdict

Building a protro is not easy, especially if the OG was a sneaker well-loved by many because of both its on-court performance and cultural significance. Yet, The Swoosh hit it right with  the Nike Kobe 5 Protro. We dare say it’s a well developed protro: it adapts to modern demands without losing sight of its backstory.

Now, what’s so good about this unshelved Kobe? First and foremost, it is compatible with the blacktop. Given the pandemic, many of us don’t have any other choice but  to play outdoors. And we’re telling you: this bad boy right here is a beast even on those rough courts! 

Support is also out of this world. The lateral outrigger effectively prevented side rolls. The heel counter successfully prevented slippages. The lacing system kept the whole shoe in its place.  There really is absolutely nothing to worry about.

Now that we’ve mentioned a lot of features, you’re probably thinking “Damn! That shoe must be heavy!” But boy, you are so wrong. This is actually the lightest basketball shoe we’ve ever played in. No other sneaker comes close to this when it comes to lightness.

The only thing that will probably stop you from getting this is its price. We get that; but hey, because this shoe looks really fire, you don’t have to spend more dollars for another sneaker. This is two-in-one, my bro! Now, isn’t that a good deal?

See our full review and facts

Are Kobe shoes right for you?

Nike Kobe shoes are designed to suit the needs of, well, Kobe Bryant. They can be good for those who weigh, stand, and play like him.

Player profile

Tall and relatively slim, Bryant is easily among the league’s most standout players:

Height

6’6”

Weight

205 lbs

Position Played

Shooting Guard

Playing style

Kobe Bryant himself described his playing style this way: “Just mean. Mean. Just very aggressive and very combative and confrontational and cutthroat. And I took a lot of pride in competing that way.” 

Anyone can be as mean and confrontational as Bryant if they have his admirable footwork. Kobe shoes are built for this, that’s why they are characterized by the following:

  • above average traction
  • really pronounced court feel
  • considerably lighter

The different Nike Kobe collections

Bryant has at least four Nike signature shoe series available in the United States.

Collection Description
Nike Kobe Kobe Bryant’s main line of Nike signatures. 
Nike Kobe AD Basically a continuation of the Nike Kobe line; launched after Bryant retired in 2016.
Nike Kobe Protro Another of Bryant’s post-retirement lines; they are basically Nike Kobe retros that are retooled with more recent technologies.
Nike Kobe Venomenon Bryant’s line of outdoor- and blacktop-ready basketball shoes.
Nike Kobe Mamba Bryant’s line of more affordable shoes; usually equipped with proven and tested technologies.

Aside from the ones listed above, Kobe Bryant also has short-lived lines of signature shoes. A good example is the Nike Kobe Mentality line, which stopped on its second release.

Bryant’s main Nike signatures are often as expensive as the Nike LeBrons and Air Jordan sneakers. While the techs used on them are not exclusive to the line, these techs are more effectively implemented. Because of this, many reviewers use Kobe shoes as their benchmarks.

The aesthetics of the best Kobe shoes

Kobe Bryant signature shoes are as pretty as they are beastly on the court. You can actually use them to look fashionable every day.

Low, mid, or high? Pick what you want.

Bryant was widely credited as the one who popularized low-tops in basketball. In fact, star players like Kyrie Irving and James Harden also produce and wear signature low-tops because they have been inspired by him.

Science says that the height of the collar has very little effect, if at all, on performance.  Hence, Kobe shoes are also made available as high- or mid-tops for a wider aesthetic appeal.

Know your color

Given their immense popularity, Nike Kobe shoes are available in hundreds if not thousands of colorways. A few colors stand out, either because they appear regularly, or they were what Bryant was wearing when he made NBA history.

Black Mamba. Kobe Bryant is also referred to as the Black Mamba. Hence, many of his shoes are released in colorways that draw inspiration from the deadly reptile.

Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant had been with the Los Angeles Lakers for the entirety of his career. Unsurprisingly, his shoes almost always appear in Lakers-inspired yellow and purple. 

Grinch. The bright green “Grinch” version of the original Kobe 6 gained wide recognition because it was what Bryant wore in a highly popular Yuletide game against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat in 2010. This colorway reappeared in 2020 on the Protro version of the Kobe 6.

The future of the best Kobe shoes

Immediately after Kobe Bryant’s death in January 2020, his shoes and other merchandise became extra hot items. Barely three months later, Nike silently dropped the fairly affordable Nike Mamba Fury.

In April 2021, news broke out that Vanessa Bryant and the rest of Bryant’s estate have decided to part ways with Nike. Like Stephen Curry, they intend to start their new brand of Kobe sneakers. This reportedly was what Kobe himself intended to do before his death. 

Fans, however, can still expect to get two more Nike signatures before the deal is off.

What are the cheapest Kobe shoes in 2022?

  1. Nike Kobe AD Mid - from £180
  2. Nike Kobe 10 - from £197
  3. Nike Kobe AD 2018 - from £197
  4. Nike Kobe AD NXT FastFit - from £253
  5. Nike Kobe 6 Protro - from £261
  6. Nike Kobe 11 Low - from £317
  7. Nike Kobe A.D. NXT - from £319
  8. Nike Kobe 11 Elite Low - from £426

See all Kobe shoes sorted by lowest price

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.