Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant built one of the most decorated careers in NBA history, and he did it all with signature sneakers on his feet. Given the most recent news of the icon’s estate and Nike cutting ties, though, this specific post is about Kobe Bryant signature sneakers.
Bryant entered the NBA in 1996 and signed with Adidas as the brand wanted to build up their basketball line. This pairing did not last, with Bryant ending his contract in the summer of 2002 by paying $8 million. He did not wear a signature shoe during the 2002-2003 season. In 2003, he signed with Nike and the rest is history.
Michael Jordan was the first shoe king in the NBA. When Bryant came along, he continued to revolutionize the shoe game. He adapted a style of low-cut footwear that was against the trend of high-top sneakers designed to protect players’ ankles.
From Adidas to Nike, Kobe Bryant helped design some of the best signature sneakers of all time, though they were not all slam dunks.
Kobe Bryant signature sneakers
24. Adidas The Kobe 2
This shoe lands at the bottom for many reasons. It was extremely clunky and uncomfortable. Even Kobe Bryant himself could not last a full season in these, switched to the previous year’s model at the end of the 2002 season. This shoe is known as the one that made Bryant leave Adidas all together. The only positive that came out of The Kobe 2 was their humorous and accurate nickname, “The Toaster.”
23. Adidas KB8 III
The KB8 IIIs were the final model of Adidas’ “Feet You Wear” podular technology. The physical look of this shoe seemed past its time. It could have been either the style or the comfort that forced the Lakers legend to stray away from these during the 2000 playoffs.
22. Adidas KB8 II
The Adidas KB8 II is known as the lockout sneaker. Kobe Bryant sported the dull footwear during the shortened 1998-99 season. The shoe was only released in black, white, and purple.
21. Nike Zoom Kobe III
In 2007-2008, the Nike Zoom Kobe IIIs were released, and the look of the shoe made some scratch their heads. The waffle-like design on the side turned some customers away, but those who bought them were treated to a comfortable fit. Not to mention, Kobe Bryant won his lone MVP award while sporting this signature sneaker. The look of the shoe has it lower on the list. Some avid wearers could rank it higher if they feel the need.
20. Nike Kobe VII System
Kobe Bryant’s seventh shoe gave owners the option of switching insoles within the shoe. One option was a low-top and the other was a Velcro sleeve. All this did was drive the price of the shoe up while providing no advancement. This line was not continued with future models.
19. Nike Kobe AD
The AD model continued a line of low-top sneakers within this line. This was a simple shoe with utility-style lacing and a Composite Fiber 2.5x band running across the midfoot. Despite the plain nature of the shoe, it was extremely popular on the court and was even custom made for many NBA stars.
18. Nike Zoom Huarache 2K5
Prior to the Zoom Kobe I, Kobe Bryant was the biggest name of Nike’s Zoom Huarache series. This lasted for two years. The 2K5 model featured sculpted flex grooves and a high strap protected collar. This was not a shoe that could be worn off the court for leisure, but players who used it for basketball thought highly of it.
17. Adidas EQT Elevation
The Elevation model can be seen worn by Kobe Bryant during his first trip to the playoffs and during the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest. Outside of fond memories of Bryant in his younger days dunking all over the league, the shoe left much to be desired.
16. Nike Zoom Kobe II
The Kobe II process is the first one Kobe Bryant was involved with heavily. Bryant wanted the shoe to be designed the way he wanted, which is exactly what happened. This model had plenty of cushion and great support thanks to a plastic heel chassis and a lockdown strap.
15. Nike Zoom Kobe I
The Kobe Is will go down in history as the shoe Kobe Bryant was wearing when he scored 81 points. This shoe was not the lightest considering they sacrificed some weight for extra cushion and support. This did not stop Bryant from averaging 35.4 points per game while wearing them in 2005-2006.
14. Adidas EQT Top Ten 2010
Kobe Bryant sported the Top Ten 2010s during his rookie season. The original Top Ten model was released in the 1970s and worn by players like Rick Barry and Bob Lanier. Adidas decided to relaunch the model to highlight some of the best from the next generation, and that began with Bryant.
13. Nike Kobe 9
The Kobe 9 is the low-cut model that was not seen much on the court because of injury. Kobe Bryant did sport this sneaker when he passed Jordan as the third-leading scorer in NBA history. This model was featured with a Flyknit material and sharply sculpted carbon fiber on the side. This shoe was widely popular from its release.
12. Adidas The Kobe
Adidas debuted The Kobe model after partnering with Audi. The shoe was modeled with an Audi TT-like silhouette and grill-cued front. It had pseudo brake lights and a spoiler on the heel. This shoe debuted Kobe Bryant’s logo at the time. What does this mean? It was a pretty cool sneaker.
11. Nike Zoom Huarache 2K4
This was Kobe Bryant’s first of two Huarache sneakers. In 2004, Nike began trying to become more modern and viewed the Huarache as a way to do this. Bryant was the perfect spokesman for the shoe. He sported the Huarache 2k4 during the 2004 All-Star Game and 2004 NBA Finals.
10. Nike Kobe X Elite
This was Kobe Bryant’s second Elite model designed with an ultra high-top look. This shoe was extremely flexible and comfortable despite the alarming similarity to shoes worn by boxers in the ring.
9. Nike Kobe 11
The Kobe 11s were the final shoes Kobe Bryant played in. He had them on his feet during a 60-point outing in Los Angeles in the final game of his career. This model would be higher on the list if it was not just like many other released before.
8. Nike Kobe 8
The Nike Kobe line always believed in advancing and revolutionizing, just like the Lakers legend did on the floor. The Kobe 8s featured an engineered mesh upper for better flexibility. This shoe was also considerably lighter than models before it.
7. Nike Hyperdunk
Kobe Bryant was a fan of technology when it came to his footwear, and the Hyperdunks epitomized that. This was a shoe with a linear look that launched Flywire and Lunar Foam. Bryant debuted the Hyperdunks before the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
6. Nike Kobe X
This model continued the trend of low-top footwear that focused on being as light as possible. This model followed Flyknit models but went a different way so that the shoe was more durable on the court.
5. Nike Kobe 9 Elite
Kobe Bryant prepared to launch this signature sneaker after suffering a torn Achilles in 2013. Nike had released many low-top sneakers on Bryant’s line, but this took it to the other extreme. The 9 Elites were extremely high for support. Nine stitched lines along the heel of the shoe were meant to be a subliminal message representing Bryant’s stitches following his Achilles surgery.
4. Nike Zoom Kobe VI
The Black Mamba nickname and Zoom Kobe VIs will be linked forever. The shoe had a snake-scale design at the top and is one of the most famous shoes by Nike. This shoe was not the first to be low-cut, but it is one of the most remembered.
3. Adidas KB8
Kobe Bryant’s shoe game is mostly tied to Nike, but no one can take back the KB8s by Adidas. This was the first signature shoe to feature Bryant’s name and the top shoe from Adidas’ “Feet You Wear” era. Simply, the name is Bryant’s initials and jersey number during his second year in the NBA. This continues to be one of the most rereleased sneakers for Adidas.
2. Nike Zoom Kobe V
Kobe Bryant had one of the best two-year stretches in signature sneaker history. The second model was the Kobe Vs. It was not incredibly different from the previous model, but in typical Kobe fashion, he was always trying to improve. This shoe featured a lower collar height and fully synthetic Skinware upper.
1. Nike Zoom Kobe IV
The theory around basketball was that wearing low-top sneakers on the court would lead to injury. That is why when Kobe Bryant and Nike decided to go low-top in 2008, it was a huge deal. It was also a huge success. The Kobe IVs changed the shoe game forever. It was wildly popular right away and many NBA players were seen wearing the style. This also led to players sporting low-top styles for their own signature shoes.