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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