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Exclusive: Nike Kobe VIII, First Look Anywhere

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There’s no clear images or info out on the hotly anticipated Nike Kobe VIII. Until now.

Background: I’ve personally world premiered Kobe Bryant’s signature shoe line in the past, so this is familiar territory. It started with breaking the inaugural look at Zoom Kobe IV — the beginning of the “modern” era of KB’s lightweight performance line, if you will — on NikeTalk a few years ago. And last year CounterKicks brought you the very first wave of photos and detailed reporting on the Nike Kobe VII. So it’s no surprise we unveil everything now about the brand new, yet-to-be released Nike Kobe VIII. Before you see it on Kobe. Before you see it anywhere else.

To illustrate the story, we’ll start here, with an early sample version of Kobe Bryant’s eighth signature shoe.

Kobe VIII continues an evolutionary design trend which started from the foundation of Kobe IV.

The major technical narrative here is Nike’s introduction of a new Engineered Mesh (EM) footwear construction. Kobe VIII employs this new mesh technique with performance maneuvered manufacturing for a lighter weight body, maximum ventilation in function, and a sport specific upper tuned to contain the play of Kobe Bryant at the highest stage, not to mention your modest feet at the local hoop courts and gyms.

Engineered Mesh fabrication is already being used across Nike Sportswear lines on retro/heritage product like the Air Max 1, Air Max 90, Air Max 95, and Air Max 97 rolling out to retail early next year. So look for Engineered Mesh to be a buzzy fashion-sport foot covering trend for Nike in 2013.

Next up. No Nike Flywire technology on the initial Kobe VIII models I previewed.

The carryover that does count is the counter. Kobe VIII proceeds with the signature line’s molded external heel counter as a prominent aesthetic centerpiece while adding structure where it really matters.

Kobe’s eighth Nike shoe is also a “system.” The Kobe VIII System, to be exact. You’ll notice an ankle sock structure here, similar to the framework the Kobe VII initiated for the line, that’s removable and replaceable for a customized fit. Modularity returns.

Here’s the biggest visual kicker from sample stage to the production model you’ll see at retail. Our initial set of images we’re revealing first here show off a prototype version of the Kobe VIII with a giant Swoosh logo aligned toward the toe, giving it a very fast (also very Hyperdunk 2012-ish) distance read. This has been changed.

The final version of the Kobe VIII pushes the Swoosh branding back to its well acquainted with place for Kobe and his signature line. You’ll see the Nike stripe again centered at the midfoot, on the quarter panel, just like the past four generations of Kobe models since the Zoom Kobe IV. While it may have remixed the basic Kobe paint-by-numbers format the shoe has developed into since the ZKIV, perhaps it distances itself from the big toebox Swooshes of the Hyperdunk 2012 and upcoming medial forefoot’s of the Nike LeBron X and Nike KD V.

In all, from the early looks I’ve viewed and secured, the Nike Kobe VIII is shaping up to be one of Kobe’s best signature shoes yet. It’s another lightweight rendition of the line, with a speedy sidewall and profile view this year to boot. More to come. This is just your first look…

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Comments (18)

This site is absolutely incredible. Exactly why I come here over other blogs. New Kobe looks amazing! Performance beast, sticky traction and it’s a wrap!! It’s Chinese year of the SNAKE too!

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These look like a soccer boot

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Well, Kobe does love soccer. Original Kobe IV took it there. Kobe VIII won’t look as Mercurial-like when you see the final version and the Swoosh gets moved back off the toe to the quarter, but that’s a good first impression read.

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How much?

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Truly breaking footwear info as usual, John Brilliant. Interested to see how this “engineered mesh” is adapted from casual to performance. Too early for me to judge anything else about the design.

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Looks just like all of the others……
All hype and no substance

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Pleased that the focus shifts back to lightweight performance. Sleek, fast aesthetic that looks like it’ll fit snug. I’m sure there was specific attention paid to the issues with fitment. In my opinion, a chunky high top looks good on a guy like lebron, but it’s a bit much on most guys. The Kobe will probably be one of the only low sigs released this year (pending under armours new offering for jennings).

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Agreed, its pretty difficult to get a sense of the shoe w/ all the panels the same color. I’ve gotta say though, Im a little tired of the ” Kobe Mamba” design language. I’d like to see something new!

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I ask again, how much?

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Oh PLEASE tell me the soles will be removable on these, unlike the last ones!!!

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This is a diss to peter u are a hypebeast your knoledge of shoes suprises me because anyone who knows shoes kno that deez are ugly as shi t you need to sell all your kicks and stick to chucks only

P.S Boi Boi I do it

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can someone translate that for me?? english will do..

in any case, what did a tongue do to avar that made him hate it so much that he completely leaves it out in his designs?

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Guys dont wana be a hater, just wana ask for all your opinion, do u really think the kobe line are cool? I hated it when kobe went low.i love the kobe the look like a net, huaraches ,2k 4 and the adidas kobe. And why dont nike give him an airsole bag for cool points? Have u seen the new penny5’s??! Now if that was kobe’s signaturee line i will buy it! I just dont like the design of the low tops. Comments please.

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the base was nice but keeping the design anklesocks is not great like kobe 7… nike kobe shoes enthusiast prefer more like Kobe 5 and 6 engineered design and no more like kobe 7 removable anklesupport or tongue.
Also its more good if the nike swoosh designer keep the sidebyside swoosh not in front it may crumple the swoosh and no more removable anklesupport and tongue its better like kobe 5 and 6 design best ever

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NIKE BASKETBALL!!! Please realease the nike zoom kobe 8 without removable anklesupport or tongue, stick on the Nike zoom kobe 5 and 6 engineered design WE nike zoom kobe shoes enthusiast prefered that. Like normal lowcut basketball shoes…

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Also no more holes at the back of the midsole we can’t wear shoes like kobe 7 in rainy season…

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And do not add to the design for nike zoom kobe 8 the lunar string like nike hyperdunk 2012 and lebron 10… Stick on the Nike zoom kobe 5 and 6 structure for more buyer blast…

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would definitely cop these with the swoosh at the toebox. probably wont if they move it back

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