// : Andy’s Desk : // Nike Zoom Kobe 10 Elite Low iD

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For this edition of Andy’s desk, I will be showcasing the Nike Zoom Kobe 10 Elite Low, which I customized on Nike iD. Much like the Kobe 9 Elite Low that debuted last year, the Kobe 10 Elite Low first followed the release of the Elite High, then releasing the low this past summer in four general release colors with each having inspirations around Kobe somehow. I wasn’t really a fan of any of the colorways that Nike put out unfortunately, so I went the Nike iD route and created something on my own with colors that I wanted. Of the four colorways that Nike put out this year for the Elite Low, each featured very bright colors and were more complex colors. I wanted to create something more simple and clean with my design and ended up going with an all grey upper, white swoosh, black inner-liner, grey bottom and white laces, all very similar to the Kobe 9 Elite Low ‘Beethoven’ colorway that released in August of 2014.

Kobe 9 Elite Low Beethoven

Kobe 9 Elite Low ‘Beethoven’

 

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This years Kobe 10 Elite Low shares some similarities to last years Kobe 9 Elite Low, but there are still some big differences between the two. Much like last year, Nike carried over the very popular Flyknit upper from the 9 to the 10, making the Flyknit on the 10 a bit more flexible, lighter weight, and with less layers compared to the 9 Flyknit upper. The Kobe 9 Flyknit upper was more stiff in areas because it was backed by a thin layer of Hyperfuse under the the Flyknit, leaving some people in disappointment because the feel wasn’t similar to a ‘true’ Flyknit feel. However, the Kobe 10 Flyknit upper the years feels really good on foot – the fit is pretty snug in the toe box and it definitely needs 3 to 4 wears to fully break in. IMG_4272

The Flyknit found around the swoosh of each shoe and Flywire cables, the lateral and medial sides of the shoes is where you’ll find that ‘true’ Flyknit feel, as it’s a thinner, more flexible, and more breathable. As you move more towards the toe box, the Knit is more confined and definitely stronger in this area to keep the foot contained. This part of the shoe is a bit snug and I would say requires the most break in time. However, once broken in, the Knit conforms to your foot and feels really nice.

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Stronger Flyknit threads found in the toe box of the Kobe 10 Elite Low.

Stronger Flyknit threads found in the toe box of the Kobe 10 Elite Low.

The shoe offers great lockdown for being a true low top and when fully laced tightly, the foot feels very secure and locked in. Around the heel of the shoe is an internal Heel Counter that keeps the foot on the footbed on the shoe and to help prevent from any slippage inside the shoe. The top part of the tongue on the shoe also helps out with the lockdown and all around fit of the shoe because it is so padded and thick. The bottom half of the tongue is a mesh material that forms to the foot and the upper is a  suede padded tongue featuring the Kobe logo. Most tongues found on Kobe’s in the past have been thin or ones that just lay over top of the foot, but the tongue on the 10 Elite is super thick to keep the top of your foot locked down when laced tightly.

Internal Heel Counter found in the heel of the Kobe 10 Elite Low.

Internal Heel Counter found in the heel of the Kobe 10 Elite Low.

One technology that you’re guaranteed to find in Kobe’s product is some form of a Carbon Fiber plate or shank. In the past (Kobe’s 1-8) Nike featured a Carbon Fiber mid-foot shank, which basically offers premium support for the foot when the shoe is flexed. For the Kobe 10, the Nike designer Eric Avar switched it up and put a small carbon fiber plate near the forefoot outrigger to keep the foot stable when making hard cuts and planting from side to side. In some of the general release colorways that have a translucent outsole, you can see the plate on the outsole, but since my outsole is grey, it’s hard to actually see it. Pictured below is a picture of my pair showing the plate on the forefoot outrigger and below that is another picture showing the plate on the outsole of a translucent outsole color way.

The small black piece shown above is the Carbon Fiber shank that is on the side of the shoe and goes below the outsole as well.

The small black piece shown above is the Carbon Fiber shank that is on the side of the shoe and goes below the outsole as well.

Carbon Fiber plate goes from the outrigger of the shoe to below the forefoot for extra support when cutting or jabbing side to side.

Carbon Fiber plate goes from the outrigger of the shoe to below the forefoot for extra support when cutting or jabbing side to side.

As for cushioning in the Kobe 10 Elite Low, everything stayed the same across the board from the original mesh releases of the Kobe 10 and the Kobe 10 Elite versions. Encapsulated all in a clear TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) cage, you’re getting a large volume Zoom Air unit in the heel for ultra responsiveness and a full length layer of Lunarlon with Nike Free sipings in it for flexibility which starts at the midfoot of the shoe. Kobe’s three favorite Nike technologies that he wanted from Nike in this shoe were: Zoom Air, Lunarlon, and Nike Free. All prominent technologies that have been used in Kobe’s signature line in some form or way over the years.

Clear TPU casing with houses the Zoom Air and Lunarlon in the forefoot.

Clear TPU casing with houses the Zoom Air and Lunarlon in the forefoot.

Clear TPU casing with houses the Zoom Air and Lunarlon in the forefoot.

Clear TPU casing with houses the Zoom Air and Lunarlon in the forefoot.

The heel Zoom Air isn’t as soft as I thought it was going to be, but it gets the job done. It isn’t there to be super responsive under foot like Zoom Air was in the Zoom Kobe 4-7, but more so to serve for impact protection. Nothing about the cushioning screams that is ‘super’ comfortable, it’s kind f just there and gets the job done. The Lunarlon in the forefoot is only a thin layer with Nike Free sipings in it, which is the only part of the shoe that worries me. In the past when Nike has incorporated Lunarlon in the forefoot of shoes such as the OG Hyperdunk or Zoom Kobe 4, the material is very nice and soft at first, but with time it becomes less responsive and beings to break down. As you can see from the picture below, someone decided to dissect their Kobe 10 to see what was inside, and it is here that you can really see how thin the Lunarlon foam actually is.

Kobe 10 'Vino' colorway dissected, showing the upper, TPU cage midsole incasing the Zoom Air in the heel and the Lunarlon foam in the forefoot with the Carbon Fiber plate.

Kobe 10 ‘Vino’ colorway dissected, showing the upper, TPU cage midsole incasing the Zoom Air in the heel and the Lunarlon foam in the forefoot with the Carbon Fiber plate.

The traction on this years Kobe 10 has been something that seems to have been loved and hated by many. I personally have heard people praise the traction, but have also heard some people say that it wears down too quickly. The shoe features a pattern of little ‘stubs’ across the outsole of the shoe which are very small, but they are a very soft rubber so their playable to clean courts and grip the court really well. I haven’t had any issues with traction whatsoever from playing in my Elite Low’s.

Kobe 10 traction pattern.

Kobe 10 traction pattern.

Kobe 10 traction pattern.

Kobe 10 forefoot traction pattern, also showcasing the forefoot outrigger.

Kobe 10 traction pattern.

Kobe 10 traction pattern.

The Kobe 10 Elite Low is a great shoe and definitely lives up to the hype. Is it a true Flyknit for basketball yet? Not quite, but Nike is making strides. The shoe feels nice on foot and definitely requires some break in time. I would highly recommend trying there on as well if you are thinking of piking up a pair. Had Nike released some better colorways of the Elite Low, I feel like more people would be chattering about them. But since they didn’t and went the story telling route, a lot of pairs are still sitting on shelves. With the year almost being over, the Kobe 11 should be releasing come February, so be on the lookout of for those!

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// : Nike’s Next New Footwear Technology : // Nike Flyweave

By now, anyone that is remotely into sneakers has heard the term Nike Flyknit or knows about the footwear technology. Since debuting on the feet of athletes at the 2012 London Olympic Games, the knitted footwear technology has made its way from originating in running, to going to baseball, basketball, soccer, and training. It is truly one of Nike’s best innovations in years. The technology is made up of yarns that are knitted together to form the upper of a shoe to form to your foot. Flyknit has come a long way since 2012 and has been proven to be a great advancement for footwear, but Nike may have come up with something that could top Flyknit or even be a great substitute for it across a more broad spectrum of categories.

Nike Flyweave, pictured on a sample round of the Nike KD8

Nike Flyweave, pictured on a sample round of the Nike KD8

First debuted on the Jordan XX9 in 2014, Nike Flyweave is a technology that is an upper material of a shoe that is engineered to provide targeted support in areas that need it for specific movements. Depending on your sport, there are different types of Flyweave sneakers that can serve the athlete in different ways that Flyknit may not be able to. Flywave is comprised of an intricate weave of warp and weft threads that can come together as one to make a textile that is extremely durable and flexible, yet still very supportive. The technology was designed by Nike designer Thomas Bell, who was worked on textiles for Nike in the innovation kitchen for over a decade. Four years ago, Bell was inspired by long-lasting textiles used in the aerospace industry which gave him the idea for Flyweave. Pictured below is how Flyweave is created.

Flyweave

Flyweave

“Flyweave is one of the most exciting innovations I’ve seen at Nike – inspired from traditional weaving methods, but with the strength and reliability of aerospace materials,” said Bell. The limitations for Flyweave are endless, especially with the uppers and different colors/designs that the designers can come up with to incorporate into the shoes.

Flyweave, featured on the Jordan XX9

Flyweave, featured on the Jordan XX9

Fellow Nike footwear designer and Nike Basketball design director Leo Chang is also very excited about the future for Flyweave. “Flyweave offers us an amazing technical advantage in basketball to create incredible strength with a precise, comfortable fit. We have some exciting news on the way and the response from athletes has even exceeded our expectations,” Chang said. Chang, who was brought on by Nike in the mid-to-late 2000’s, has been the designer for all of Kevin Durant’s shoes so far all the way up to the KD8, which recently just released. Chang incorporated the use of Flyweave for Durant’s latest shoe, a first for the Nike Basketball category following the incorporation of Nike Flyknit in basketball in 2013.

Flyweave upper featured on the Nike KD8

Flyweave upper featured on the Nike KD8

Flyleaf featured on the Nike Tiger Woods '15

Flyleaf featured on the Nike Tiger Woods ’15

Flyweave featured on the Nike Calvin Johnson Elite and Calvin Johnson Trainer 3

Flyweave featured on the Nike Calvin Johnson Elite and Calvin Johnson Trainer 3

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Nike Calvin Johnson 3 Flyweave trainer

So far, Flyweave has been featured on four Nike shoes over the past year: the Air Jordan XX9 (basketball), Nike KD8 (basketball), Nike Tiger Woods ’15 (golf), Nike CJ Elite TD Cleat (football) and Nike CJ3 Flyweave Trainer (training) all pictured above. Flyweave truly is a incredible footwear innovation from Nike. It offers the ultimate fit, support, and durability for any shoe across the board. Nike can really utilize this technology to their advantage. Since Calvin Johnson is a big guy and plays a high impact sport such as football, Nike designers were able to develop an upper weave that took two years to develop that’s durable enough for his needs on the field for his game cleat and in the gym for his training shoe. The design team can make the weave stronger in certain areas where he may need it and making it a unique fit to his foot. The same is to say about the KD8, made for Kevin Durant. The Flyweave on the upper of the KD8 is the tightest Flyweave to date, all while featuring Dynamic Flawier cables integrated into the weave. The KD8 upper really hugs your foot well, yet offers you the support and flexibility you wouldn’t expect. There is no break in period and the shoe feels great right out of the box. The Flyweave really moves with your foot and feels like an extension of your foot. I honestly couldn’t believe the feeling of the Flyweave on the KD8’s when I tried them on. I believe Flyweave will be better for the sport of basketball rather than Nike Flyknit. From what we’ve seen from Flyknit on basketball, it can be tough to break in and not as uniquely fitting as to the Flyknit used on Nike running shoes. On the Kobe 9 Elite which featured Flyknit, there was a layer of fuse right below the top layer of Flyknit, creating a double layered material that some people didn’t like. with Flyweave, the upper of the shoe moves with you foot so freely, it almost makes more sense to feature it rather than Flyknit. When the KD8 is fully laced, you can actually also feel the extension of the Dynamic Flywire cables as well. Nike has had some issues with the over use of Dyamic Flywire in the past, using the cables on certain shoes that don’t necessarily need it. Hear me out, I do believe that Dynamic Flywire does work on certain shoes and definitely serves a purpose, but sometimes it is layered on top of a mesh on the upper of a shoe can kind of dangles, or on the internal side of the upper  of the shoe and isn’t fully activated. Not the case in the KD8 or even the Calvin Johnson Trainer 3. The fit is so unique that you can actually feel the Flawier cables serving a purpose.

Flyweave featured on the Nike KD8

Flyweave featured on the Nike KD8

With the introduction of Nike Flyweave a litter over a year old and starting to hit retail across different categories from Nike, expect to see the (new)er technology used on Nike footwear from here on out. The 2016 Summer Olympics are just one year away, so you know that Nike has some tricks up their sleeves and have been working on some technologies to debut at the Nike product that features Nike Flyweave, such as the products I mentioned in this post. The most accessible footwear to feature the technology will probably be the KD8, which will be at select retailers across the country now. Try the product on, see how it feels and maybe give it a try. Flyweave is here to stay and will most likely continued to be rolled out on more products from Nike.

Nike KD8

Nike KD8