Nike and Kobe are hoping to change the game by introducing a low-cut basketball shoe: the Nike Zoom Kobe IV. The shoe was unveiled on December 11th at Westchester High School in L.A., California with tons of media and the schools boy’s and girl’s basketball teams. So far, the new Zoom is Nike’s lightest basketball shoe ever, with a new low cut design weighing in at a mere 11.6 ounces (even lighter than the revolutionary Nike Hyperdunk).
“When I first asked for the lightest basketball shoe Nike has ever created, particularly a low top, you could have heard a pin drop in the room,” said Bryant. “The shoe the Nike design team delivered raises the basketball footwear bar to the next level.”
Nike Performance Footwear Creative Director Eric Avar accepted the unconventional challenge to create a low cut performance basketball shoe for one of the most dynamic players in the world.
Inspiration for the low-cut design came from Kobe’s enjoyment of soccer, when he noticed that players put as much stress on their ankles as basketball players, but had shoes lower than the new Zooms.
In order to create an extremely light shoe that allows Kobe to make cuts on a dime while providing stability and comfort, Avar built on the design innovation of the Nike Hyperdunk, using Flywire, a performance architecture that uses thin and very strong nylon fibers to support the foot, in the upper. He added LunarLite foam in the forefoot, the most innovative cushioning system since Nike Air, which returns energy upon every step rather than absorbing energy. He also added a Nike Zoom unit in the heel, and a full-length Phylon midsole.
Kobe says that his low-cut basketball show will make players faster jump higher csince it is so light. Having worn high-top basketball shoes for practically all his life, Kobe admitted to often hurting his ankle in the shoes, something the high-cut versions were supposed to prevent. With his lower-cut shoe, Kobe wanted the foot to move in its natural state. “A shoe and the foot should be as one,” he said. “It will feel like you’re running on pillowcases.”
Kobe also admitted that the future of his Zooms will probably also feature the new low-cut design since he always strives to look for new ways to improve.
Kobe will be wearing the shoe in the December 19th game against the Miami Heat and wear a special colorway of the Zoom Kobe IV on Christmas Day against the Celtics.
The special “Carpe Diem” version comes in a purple and yellow colorway scheme. The bull logo on the tongue represents the Year of the Ox in the Chinese Lunar New Year calendar and is also a reference for is love of Lambos.
The Nike Zoom Kobe IV will be available at retail in China beginning January 1, 2009, and throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe beginning early February 2009.
Photos: Nike/Arturo Everitt