Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 at 4:52 pm  |  47 responses

Mamba Ready To Strike

The Zoom Kobe VI is Kobe’s most personal shoe yet.

by Chris O’Leary / @olearychris

If you’ve got your copy of SLAM 144 (on sale now, people!) you might have noticed that we jumped the gun a little bit in our Kicks section. We went ahead and showed you a unique colorway of the Zoom Kobe VI a little bit earlier than we should have. Our bad, your gain, right? Right.

Nike dropped the official info today on the VI, which is easily the most Mamba-like out of any of the shoes the Swoosh has done for Kobe. I’ve pasted the release in its entirety below, but I wanted to talk about a few standout points.

The Eric Avar designed sneak is all about Kobe’s Black Mamba persona. While the shape of the shoe stays true to the ZK IV and V, this one is more reptilian, I guess, in its makeup. Nike calls the scaly look to the shoe “islands” that are designed to protect against abrasion and to provide durability.

More tech stuff: Dual-layer memory foam sockliner for a custom fit; a phylon injected midsole for cushioning and Zoom Air units in the heel and forefoot for additional comfort.

Nike used Flywire technology again in the shoe, but this time put a three-layer construction together, with a layer of mesh inside the shoe to line the foot, a layer of Flywire in the middle that’s sandwiched underneath the breathable mesh that has the polyurethane islands that was mentioned earlier. Nike says it makes the shoe lighter, more breathable and more conformable to the foot than the the Kobe IV or V.

The shoe launches on Dec. 26 in stores and on nikestore.com. NIKEiD will tease fans with customizable options on the shoe through their Facebook page on Dec. 10 and customized versions of the ZKVI will go on sale on Dec. 24 at NIKEiD.com

The release follows after the pics.
Zoom Kobe VI closeupZoom Kobe VI 2Zoom Kobe VI 3

BEAVERTON, Ore. (December 7, 2010) – Nike (NYSE: NKE) and Kobe Bryant today announced the debut of the Nike Zoom Kobe VI, a performance basketball shoe inspired by Bryant’s on-court alter ego, the Black Mamba. The design draws cues from the fearsome snake and incorporates key performance elements in a low-profile shoe that weighs just 10.6 ounces in a men’s US size 9.

“The Kobe VI is a very character driven shoe with the alter ego of the Black Mamba prominently featured,” said Bryant. “We continue to evolve the technology to make it a performance based shoe, but aesthetically you haven’t seen a shoe pop like this before. It brings to life what drives me.”
Nike Performance Footwear Creative Director Eric Avar led a team of creatives who worked with Bryant to bring the Black Mamba to life in the Nike Zoom Kobe VI. The shoe’s upper features unique polyurethane “islands” that emulate a snake’s skin and increase or decrease in size throughout the shoe to protect against abrasion and increase durability exactly where needed. To add a lighthearted spin and play off the reptile’s deadly venom, “Venomenon” is inscribed on the front outsole.

“The Black Mamba to Kobe means being one of the deadliest predators on the planet,” Avar said. “That’s his approach to every game – he’s very calculating and he’s very quick.”

A customized fit
Bryant challenged designers to build a shoe with amazing fit. Nike responded with an innovative dual-layer memory foam sockliner that conforms to the foot for a one-of-a-kind custom fit. A Phylon injected midsole adds cushioning for a more anatomically correct fit, and Nike Zoom units in the heel and forefoot provide additional comfort on court.

To emphasize Bryant’s lethal on-court play, Nike’s team of designers built off the success of the Nike Zoom Kobe V shoe’s lightweight, low-cut profile. This year’s shoe features reduced midsole thickness to keep the foot closer to the ground for improved stability and better court feel. The shoe fulfills Bryant’s desire for a true low-top, similar to that of a running shoe or soccer boot, with a low collar design.

The basketball shoe also employs Nike’s innovative Flywire technology in a new, three-layer construction. Inside the shoe a layer of mesh lines the foot, followed by a layer of Flywire and topped off by another layer of breathable mesh with polyurethane islands for abrasion resistance. This unique construction is lighter, more breathable and more conformable to the foot than previous Flywire designs in the Kobe series.

To ensure excellent traction, the Nike Zoom Kobe VI has a solid rubber outsole with a Black Mamba inspired modified herringbone pattern. Certain China editions of the shoe include XDR, or Extra Durable Rubber, for sustained durability against the rough surfaces of outdoor basketball courts.

Blending science and art
The Nike Zoom Kobe VI emerged directly from conversations between Nike’s team and Bryant to ensure the shoe best suited his singular style of play.

“I always talk about good design being a balance between science and art, and one of the great things about working with Kobe is he always grounds every conversation in that concept, starting with the science,” said Avar.

The Nike Zoom Kobe VI launches in retail stores and online at nikestore.com on December 26, 2010. NIKEiD will launch an exclusive sneak preview of the Nike Zoom Kobe VI iD available to Facebook Fans on December 10 at facebook.com/nikeid. Customized versions will be available for sale on December 24 at NIKEiD.com.

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  • reald1

    FRESH;there cannot be hate

  • Marvin

    I’m salivating right now. I haven’t bought a new bball shoe in years. Looks like that’s about to change.

  • bails1

    The kobe V is the best basketball shoe I have had. I have gone through countless pairs of basketball shoes and look forward to checking these out. They look fresh

  • http://google c_cantrell

    i actually kinda like these kicks

  • Mvp23100

    These things are horrible

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    They’re really just the IV.3 but can’t hate on freshness.

  • reflex

    My Kobe Vs go hard! best BBall shoes I’ve ever worn. Still undecided on these though, not sure if I love/hate the snake scale effect. Would have to see them first hand I guess.

  • Benjamin Stone

    Interesting look. I’m still terrified to ball in a low top. Also some of the materials used have me concerned about durability. We don’t get a new pair every night like Kobe. That’s what worried me about the V…looked “plasticy.”

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    The best player in basketball keeps producing the best shoes.

  • http://slamonline.com COLLOSUS

    Not really a fan of Kobe’s, but these are hands-down the ugliest!

  • PlanetAsia14

    Love it.

  • JTaylor21

    Uhm I think I just threw up in my mouth.

  • http://slamonline.com Kieran


  • ai come back

    i really want these in high tops

  • Michael

    wow who could of guessed, Jtaylor doesnt like em, you such a hater.

  • http://dsajfklf.com Jukai

    I think they look really cool, dunno how they’ll play though

  • hendry

    i dont think they get a new pair every night, brand new shoes are the worst to ball in.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darkrsaber

    hendry: not quite. If you have customised insoles, won’t matter if they are brand new or broken in. (personal experience)

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    hendry: not quite. If you have customised insoles, won’t matter if they are brand new or broken in. (in my personal experience)

  • stokesey

    love the look, but im more pumped for the tech side of the shoe. I found the V alot harder on the foot compared to the IV, especially in the forefoot (zoom being closer to the ground than the lunar foam that was in the IV) Im excited to see how having both full length zoom and a memory foam sockliner will feel!

  • hoodsnake

    I will never see these in real life(sad) but I’m still not sold on low tops

  • Chazz Michael Michaels


  • mister8

    I like the shoes…they look good I think. Only the lowtop thing is not for me….also, the whole Black mamba thing is funny…since he gave the nickname to himself hahaha.

  • WhiteTrashBallin


  • WhiteTrashBallin

    These would be cool without the “scaly” look

  • marc

    These look cool, but I’m scared to ball in low tops. I broke my ankle before. smh

  • Lo’Trell

    Nice Kicks But I hope I don’t get snin splints again put some weight on it

  • MooButter

    Awesome. Well played Kobe/Nike. Way to push the envelope. Could be over the top in some colorways, but in the black the textured look is dope.

  • Pingback: Nike Kobe Zoom VI | XXL

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    I don’t like the snake skin. But the overall design looks good.

  • T-Money

    they look good but i just can’t bring myself to ball on low cuts. what i really want to know is when exactly kobe decided that he was going to be the black mamba. was there a news release? press conference? did he just call beavertown and tell them to get busy on a new line? we need to know these things.

  • Alex

    these shoes are butt ugly no lie they look terrible but they r made for kobe so… those stupid lil kids are gonna go out and get mommy and daddy to go and buy them the newest sneak and they are gonna b representing one of the most selfish players in the league

  • http://yahoo.com Eboy

    I got to admit these shoes are pretty sick.

  • S-Mills

    Does it bother anyone else the v’s looked exactly like the iv’s and now the vi’s look exactly like them both? I also gotta hate onthe low cut. I’ve seen too many kids roll their ankles in kobes. The tech stuff sounds impressive though. And let Kobe continue to milk the “mamba” thing for as long as he can. Can’t hate, it’s working for him.

  • Anton

    people think these look good? no wonder they will sell. How about designers make a good shoe that functions instead of sh*tty gimmicks.

  • rashado

    i was super skeptical of both the low cuts and the flywire in terms of them not providing enough support/cushioning..but i just got a pair of kobe V’s and i must say they are the best bball shoes i’ve ever had (only for indoor though).

    i wish they had used mesh/memory foam to keep the shoe from deteriorating so fast and it seems that’s exactly what they did on these new ones…so yeah for all the skeptics out there i would give them a try if you can! peace


    im not gna lie i wanted a pair of these the first day they dropped cuz kobe is my ni#ga but these are pretty nasty i rather ball in a pair of jordans…

  • Blackphantom

    I really like how the shoe ties into his nickname with the snake-skin texture. All I’d need is a all-white or all-black version of these, then I’d be able to coordinate with more than only three things since I only have A Laker Jersey(Kobe), and two Laker shirts(A Pau Gasol Shirt, and a regular LAL shirt with a black background)

  • Blackphantom

    and btw, The Laker Jersey is an Alt. White one, not the regular home jersey

  • unrel

    i’ve hooped in low tops for the past 11 or so years.. never had an ankle problem.. it’s about ankle braces, tape, or whatever is comfortable for each individual.. the full mobility of my ankle is important.. just look at soccer players.. they practically play in house slippers..

  • tony knorr

    meh, Kinda unique looking but not exactly stylish and the day I wear a pair of low tops to ball in is the day…. well actually that will never happen. way too many ankle injuries for that crap. kinda interested to try out those new kicks being endorsed by john starks, the ones designed by the surgeons yall posted last week.

  • http://nbaforum.net/superdroid.nettodownloadthisapp Holy Karron

    i think i will cop em to hoop in

  • lazaruz

    does reducing the midsole thickness take away from cushioning?

  • CRUS-T jalepino included

    Why would you want to ball in deez if your’e not a rapist ? Are the blood & cum-stains included ?

  • CRUS-T jalepino included

    I ball in AND 1s . Phuc dat weak just coz theyre Kobes bull-ish. Theyr’e uglier than Ur MAMbA !!!

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    snap – moderating anyone?

  • http://hibachisabas.blogspot.com/ Toni Kukoc

    ^funny guy