Verdict from 13 experts and 100+ user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • Users who play in the Kobe A.D. with the solid rubber outsole feel that the shoe has a good grip on both clean and dusty surfaces.
  • Majority of the reviewers love that these basketball shoes from Nike come in vibrant colors and that it has a very clean look; saying that it is visually appealing and can be worn on and off the court.
  • Due to the stiff materials used, many users agree that the shoe’s upper is very durable.
  • Because the upper does not stretch, most of the testers commend its ability to lock the foot down; saying that the materials wrap around one’s foot very well and the Nike Flywire is just a “security blanket.”
  • The heel area is contoured well that despite the shoe being a low-top, many users comment that the shoe surprisingly has good ankle support and great heel containment. One tester even said that it was something he hoped to see on future editions of the Kobe model.
  • Many of the reviewers deem the midfoot to heel area of the Nike Kobe AD to be very comfortable due to the heavy padding in the heel.
  • Many reviewers appreciate the pull tab on the heel collar, commenting that it makes putting the shoe on easier especially that it has an added rubber grip.
  • One tester mentions that he is not worried about turning his ankles while using the shoe because of its stability.

6 reasons not to buy

  • The majority of reviewers say that the traction on the transparent outsole is inconsistent. They advise buyers to purchase the model with the solid rubber outsole instead.
  • A lot of the players comment that the shoe’s upper is too stiff. During and even after breaking in, some users experience discomfort, pain, and stabbing in the forefoot area.
  • When compared to Paul George’s third sneaker, the majority of testers agree that the materials on the Kobe A.D. have a longer-than-usual break-in time.
  • Many users state that the shoe runs narrow and will fit tightly on the forefoot, especially if you are a wide-footer.
  • Some say that they can’t feel the Zoom unit on the heel. One user explains that Zoom and Lunarlon are caged in the midsole and has zero room for expansion, resulting in a less responsive and very firm cushion.
  • Like the 2018 version of the Kobe AD, a few testers mention that the “breathable” mesh that was used for the shoe’s upper is not as well-ventilated as advertised.

Bottom line

The Kobe shoe line produces some of the top performing basketball shoes in the industry, and Kobe Bryant himself is known for his high demands for excellence. However, many reviewers don’t think that the Nike Kobe AD deserves to be associated with Kobe, nor do they feel that it warrants a $160 price tag. But aesthetics-wise, everyone agrees that the shoes look really great for casual wear.

Tip: see the best basketball shoes.

Good to know

The Nike Kobe A.D. represents Kobe Bryant’s living out of the Mamba Mentality after NBA. Bryant describes this as a way of life where he continually tries to better himself. Similarly, the Kobe AD’s silhouette is very similar to some of Kobe’s previous models; however, incremental improvements are added to make the shoe stand out.

Cushion. The shoe uses a full-length Lunarlon cushion. Lunarlon involves caging a Lunar Foam in a Phylon case. The Lunarlon cushion helps distribute the pressure during impact and decreases the joint pains experienced by players after gameplay. The Kobe A.D. also has a Zoom Air unit on the heel for added responsiveness. Lastly, the midsole also features flex grooves that are similar to the Nike Free. They add flexibility to the forefoot.

Traction. The Nike Kobe A.D. uses micro-tread traction on the forefoot, and it splays and grips the court when the foot is flexed. The forefoot pattern is reminiscent of the traction pattern on the Kobe X while the heel features a snake scale-like pattern that is similar to the Kobe VI.

Length and Width. The Kobe AD runs narrow. If you have wide feet, it is recommended to go half a size bigger. But if you have an average foot, you may follow your standard Nike basketball shoe sizing.

Lockdown. Proper lockdown for the Nike Kobe AD is ensured by the upper material's strength and density, as it doesn’t stretch too much on hard cuts. Because of its tight fit, it ensures that the foot does not slip within the shoe. Although the shoe has a low-top cut, it does not compromise on stability and support since the shoe also has stability-boosting features like Nike’s Dynamic Flywire technology and contoured heel-counter.

From forefoot to midfoot, Nike Kobe A.D.’s upper uses a stiff and breathable textile mesh. A suede overlay is used on the heel, is heavily padded with foam. The heel counter is made of a reflective TPU.

For the midsole, a full-length Lunarlon cushion is used, while the heel features an encased regular-sized Zoom Air unit. Depending on the colorway, the shoe may have an outsole that is made of solid or transparent rubber.

Although the shoe comes in vibrant colorways, the general look of the Kobe AD is very clean and minimalist. Sharp lines are stitched on the forefoot upper, while a suede material is used on the heel to make the shoe just as suitable for off-the-court use. To contrast with the shoe’s clean colors, a holographic TPU cup is installed on the heel. The shoe’s low-top cut allows for a wider range of motion for the player.

The shoe features a unique pull tab on the heel. The interior is embossed with a snake-shaped rubber grip that helps the wearer put on the shoe easily. A DNA strand is stitched on the left shoe’s exterior pull tab. Kobe Bryant’s signature is stitched on the right.

The Nike Swoosh can be found on both sides of the shoe and the Kobe Bryant logo can also be seen on the tongue, forefoot, insole, and outsole of the shoe.

The shoe is technically the 12th shoe in Kobe Bryant’s signature line with Nike. However, Bryant explained that the name Kobe A.D. signified his retirement from basketball and his quest to start anew. For him, it didn’t seem logical to continue with the Kobe basketball shoe line when he is not anymore playing in the NBA.

Although secondary to how the shoe performed, Bryant expressed that the shoe’s physical look was also important to him. In an interview, he mentioned that the aesthetics of the shoe should measure up to the technology within it. He said that the sharp lines on the shoe mimic the movement of a sports car. Ultimately, he just wanted the Nike Kobe AD to look clean and embody the efficiency of its technological makeup.

Kobe Bryant’s 12th signature shoe with Nike comes in the following colorways:

  • Black/Black-Gum Light Brown ‘Black Mamba’
  • Black/White
  • Cool Grey/White ‘Ruthless Precision’
  • Igloo/Black
  • Light Bone White/Pale Grey-Gum ‘Summer Pack’
  • Midnight Navy/Pure Platinum ‘Midnight Navy’
  • Purple Stardust/Black
  • University Red/Total Crimson-White ‘University Red’
  • White/White-Black ‘Chrome’

Nike Kobe A.D. ‘BHM’

Nike celebrates Black History Month and the 2017 All-Star festivities with the release of the Kobe A.D. ‘BHM.’ The ‘BHM’ colorway is covered in a combination a white, black, and gold. A distinct graphic pattern completes the silhouette.

Nike Kobe A.D. ‘Big Stage’

This colorway takes after the Nike Kobe 5 ‘Big Stage’ that Bryant debuted in a game against the Boston Celtics during the 2010 NBA Finals. The Nike Kobe A.D. ‘Big Stage’ features a white-based upper with metallic gold accents.

Nike Kobe A.D. ‘DeRozan PE’ a.k.a. ‘City of Compton’

This PE colorway of the Nike Kobe A.D. is inspired by DeMar DeRozan’s memory of watching Bryant’s infamous “airball game” against the Utah Jazz in the 1997 Playoffs. This career-defining game taught Bryant how to overcome adversity, and that resilience was the key to become successful on the hardwood.

The Nike Kobe A.D. ‘City of Compton’ features the date May 12, 1997 on the lace tips as a nod to the “airball game.” A special “City of Compton” graphic is found on the insoles to honor DeRozan’s roots in Compton, California.

Nike Kobe A.D. ‘Flip the Switch’

The postseason is the time players “flip the switch” to unleash the energy they need for their playoff runs. The ‘Flip the Switch’ colorway of the Nike Kobe A.D. is dressed in a black-based upper with university red and hyper violet accents. The shoe’s notable feature is the cracked side Swoosh and gradient-like heel counter.

Nike Kobe A.D. ‘Oregon Ducks’

These Kobe Bryant basketball shoes take inspiration from Phil Knight, Tinker Hatfield, and several other Nike employee's Alma Mater. The ‘Oregon Ducks’ colorway features a black-based upper with yellow accents. Other Oregon Ducks-inspired details include the “O” logo on the heel and a duck wing graphic that wraps the entire midsole.

Nike Kobe A.D. ‘Time to Shine’

Nike basketball provided all the remaining Nike-sponsored schools in the 2017 NCAA Tournament with a special Time to Shine collection for their upcoming matches.

Like the other models included in the collection, the Nike Kobe A.D. ‘Time to Shine’ features a distinct iridescent Swoosh and gum outsole.


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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.