I have been on the high-top bandwagon since early Nike Flights and Patrick Ewing shoes. The association between high-top sneakers and basketball just seems logical, but for me it has to do with spraining my ankle pretty badly in high school, I had concluded that high-tops were better for protection and support.
My paradigm-shift and the reason for experimenting with low-tops for basketball came from a conversation with my buddy Mark who I play ball with (who has Kobes). We both play a similar style of ball, the speed game mixed with trying to wear out your defender by running constantly. He remarked at how light they were and how much easier it was for him to cut. I asked about ankle support and he deemed it a non-issue, they were just as supportive as any high-top.
In researching the shoe after this conversation, I had discovered that Kobe Bryant got the inspiration for this design of shoe from watching soccer. He had observed that these athletes could make very sharp cuts because of the low cut on soccer cleats.
Both Kobe and Mark were absolutely right, so far. I’ve only tested the shoe with about 10 hours of basketball but its like a blind man who can all of a sudden see. I literally feel like I can jump higher and run faster. I feel like I can change directions quickly and I’m still comfortable landing from jumps. Seriously contemplating getting a 2nd pair. Or maybe I’ll try out Steve Nash’s (my favorite player) shoe which is also low-cut and has the added benefit of being constructed out of recycled post-consumer product waste (also Mark’s suggestion).
From the pictures you may notice that the padding in the Achilles area is pretty thick, this helps hold the heel firmly into the shoe. The construction of the rest of the shoe is using Nike’s flywire technology which helps the shoe feel snug around your whole foot. I don’t know if it’s my wide foot but there must still be some space near my pinky toe, it gets a little raw.
Even good technology in the tread of the shoe, they grip the floor pretty well. And check out the carbon fiber styling. You may also see a small chunk of rubber missing on the sole. A durability issue perhaps?
Kobe requested that Nike make the shoe even lighter than earlier versions. At 10 oz. they are lighter than my running shoes and almost as light as my trainers (7 oz.). My philosophy is why work out and lift weights when you can just own light things. Just kidding, maybe.
This version of the shoe called out to me. The colour styling is that of the late NBA Seattle Supersonics (who moved to Oklahoma City) and I was in Seattle when I bought them. Also how could I not get the “Rice” edition being that I’m Filipino. (Though this shoe was made for Rice High School, a Nike sponsored school in Harlem, New York City).
There was a brief period in my life when the Seattle Supersonics were my home team (a time when Kevin Garnett still played on Minnesota, damn I’m old). RIP Sonics.