In 2015, Nike decided to start the chain of the Mamba line—a parallel series dedicated to Kobe alongside the A.D. line that emerged after his retirement. The line is a lighter, cheaper alternative to the main Kobe line, with the first release of the KB Mentality, starting off as a sturdy light performer.
Since then, there have been a few more iterations with some modifications here and there. The Mamba Rage is the 4th model in the release and makes for a fun ride in some casual weekend afternoon pickup basketball.
I found the traction on these to be fairly inconsistent. I used these on a few different gyms across my college campus for a few months. Sometimes, it grips well, and on other occasions, it feels like it's sliding without consistent wiping.
Dust accumulated in these rather easily, so be prepared to wipe frequently on anything short on a soundly clean court. I also want to note that the traction pattern is mostly hard rubber with patches of soft rubber. However, the grooves are quite shallow, so I would not expect these to last long playing outdoors.
The cushioning on these is minimal; just a thin, full Lunarlon sole. It's plush with a low-to-the-ground ride.
I do think this is a bit too minimal for 2+ hours pickup sessions or long games. However, if I wanted to get a short individual shootaround or workout in, these would fit the occasion nicely.
I would recommend this for quick guards/wings who need a really intimate close to the ground feel. Players with more physical-bruising games should consider shoes with more cushioning.
I also want to comment that when trying these out in-store, the cushion felt very ideal for casual wearing and lifting too, so I am strongly considering adapting this to my go-to workout shoe.
I chose true-to-size as a wide footer and it was a good decision. While the material in the toe area is not very elastic and a bit stiff, it still did a good job providing good lockdown and containment.
During the first few pickup sessions of using these, I felt some pinching near my pinky toes. I attribute this to the material, more so the fit.
The support for me was solid; the shoe had a great fit for my foot. I did not have any unexpected sliding around and moved laterally without any ankle exposure.
The upper material of the shoe is called Flyweave. It is light and strong, but not really breathable or flexible.
The front toe part of the shoe is made of a mesh-plastic-like material, providing some small pinching before breaking the shoe in. I typically prefer this area to be much more elastic. For any hooper, there is a preferred balance between rigid containment and flexibility, and these scored too high on rigidity.
To be fair, one shouldn’t really be expecting premium materials in a takedown model. Breathability was not an issue for me—the mesh-like material did a satisfactory job and I found any noticeable moisture in my many seshes of using these.
Overall, these were a solid, fun option for a day on the court, although not near the ranks of my top performers. I would be happy to grab them for a solid afternoon of pickup runs.
The biggest improvements I would suggest are harder and more consistent traction, plus more support to cater to a wider range of players. I think the materials could also use an upgrade in the aspect of elasticity.
One thing I think this shoe is great for is lifestyle and workouts. The aesthetic has been praised by many strangers at the gym, and it provides a nice ride to walk around for every day.
Good to know
The Nike Mamba is one of the many signature lines of Kobe Bryant with the Swoosh. The Mamba Rage boasts a comfortable Lunarlon that can absorb impact well. The Flyweave upper gives the shoe durability. Nike designer Leo Chang added Flyweave in the upper to provide support where it is needed. It also offers flexibility and breathability. The traction provides amazing court grip, and it is supportive of any multidirectional movement.
There are some who doubt the capability of the Mamba Rage to last a season of games. Also, price is an important factor in purchasing new hoop shoes. At almost the same price, Nike has the third Paul George signature shoe to top off these Mamba shoes. If that does not satisfy, Puma Hoops also has the Clyde Court Disrupt to compete.
Cushion. The performance of the Nike Mamba Rage largely comes from the full-length Lunarlon in its midsole. It is a supportive and soft cushion that is 30% lighter than Phylon.
Traction. Depending on the colorway, the outsole of the Nike Mamba rage can either be made of gum or solid rubber. The multidirectional traction pattern has soft grooves fit for indoor courts. The traction pattern and outrigger have good stopping power that supports the wearer’s lateral and linear footwork.
Length and Width. Shoes are usually designed to have the average length and width, and most are true to size. As for the Nike Mamba Rage, a good number of reviewers mention that it runs a little narrow with a small dead space in the toe area. Therefore, new buyers are advised to fit the shoe before buying a new pair. They may also go half a size up.
Lockdown. To keep the foot in place, the Nike Mamba Rage uses the standard lace-up system. The Flyweave upper provides the foot a one-to-one fit and overall support. The fit of the ankle provides good containment, preventing extra side-to-side movements.
The upper of the Nike Mamba Rage is made of Flyweave and fuse overlays. The Flyweave technology involves a traditional weaving method using warp and weft threads to create an engineered upper that provides a durable, supportive, comfortable, and personalized fit to the foot. The fuse overlays are located on the toe cap and eyelets to ensure longevity in these areas. The inner of the shoe has thick foam, giving the ankle a good wrap for support.
The Nike Mamba Rage is a low-top shoe with a half-bootie construction. The prestigious Swoosh logos are nicely printed on both sides of the shoe. To mark the shoe as part of Kobe’s take-down line, his Mamba logos are found on the tongue, insole, and outsole of the shoe.
The Nike Mamba Rage is released in the following colors:
- Black/Court Purple/Tour Yellow
During summer 2018, the Nike Mamba Rage is released in a bright colorway. Specifically, these Nike low-top basketball shoes are dressed in a festive mix of White, Green Glow, Bright Mango, and Hyper Grape. The multicolored upper sits on a white solid rubber outsole.
The shoe model also has other colorways that draw inspiration from other animal skins.
Nike Mamba Rage “Komodo”
To imitate the skin of the Komodo dragon, the upper is a blend of black, grey, and sequoia. The heel counter has a komodo dragon logo. The outsole of the Nike Mamba Rage Komodo is made of gum rubber.
Nike Mamba Rage “Scorpion”
To imitate the look of a scorpion, the shoe combines aqua blue and black in the upper. Its solid rubber outsole is bathed in aqua blue. The heel counter of the Nike Mamba Rage Scorpion has a scorpion logo.