After spending 8 or so hours on-court with the Zoom Kobe VII, its time for a performance teaser. There are a few things I’d like to divulge upon with Kobe’s 7th signature Nike sneaker yet I will refrain from giving out too much info and just go over the ‘System’.
Whether you Play Fast or Play Strong, there is an option within the box just for you… or is there…
The Play Fast is full length Phylon, fairly dense to increase reaction time on the floor while cushioned where you need it most. Featuring a midfoot sleeve, keeping the midsole attached to your foot is perfectly fine, zero complaints with this setup so far.
Forefoot cushion comes in the form of a full length Zoom Air unit. Again, this is something that works and feels great. Responsive lightweight cushion right where you need it. Being top loaded is a plus as it sits directly under foot providing you with adequate cushion with each step.
The heel is where I started to have a problem throughout my time spent on-court. A bottom loaded Zoom Air unit is in place, something that has been done before yet not quite in this fashion.
The Zoom unit is a large volume bag with lots of cushion, this part is great. While cushion is nice at first, the longer you play the more it begins to take a tole on your heels. Typically the Zoom units are place within the midsole as flush as possible with the rest of the footbed. Unfortunately this is not the case with this setup.
The bag is recessed into the Phylon, not by much but enough to create an issue. Towards the last hour on-court my heels started to feel pain… almost like they were being bruised. With such a large chunk of Phylon missing in the heel and only partially being filled up with a Zoom unit, there is a little more compression that is in effect with each heel strike. Your heel ends up sinking a bit further than the rest of your foot causing some strain in the area. Short term, this shouldn’t be an issue… long term, you can feel the pain it begins to cause and its not exactly something I expected.
The Play Strong midsole features Cushlon, which is very soft and a bit mushy upon first try on. A larger compression sleeve is attached to this midsole and is a higher cut than before.
Honestly, the height of the compression sleeve provided absolutely no additional ‘support’ in the ankle area. What it did provide was a more secure fit to the midsole itself due to its extra height and heel area which is missing on the later version. It was a bit of a pain to get the shoe on the first few times but afterward you get used to it and it become pretty easy going.
I really liked the Cushlon at first… a lot actually. However, the longer you play the more your foot perspires, ventilation is an issue in the Kobe VII, which ends up softening the midsole material quite a bit. The softer the midsole got, the more it began to warp in shape inside of the sleeve and the ‘lip’ or rim of the midsole began pressing into my foot right in the arch of my foot where it begins after the ball of your foot.
This is what ended up happening… it was painful while playing in them at the point in which they began to ‘break down’ and I kept trying to adjust the lacing setup, assuming the lacing was causing the issue I was having. Turned out not the be the lacing at all and it was whats inside the shoe that caused the problem.
I’m a little disappointed with the Kobe System right now. I know that Nike has people wear test their products and provide feedback… why the heck wasn’t this issue brought up?!? I’d find it very hard to believe that I’m the only one experiencing this issue with the setup. It’s not as if I haven’t used an interchangeable system before… I had no such issue with the Jordan 2011.
At this point, this is an inexcusable issue to have on a shoe that retails at $180 and made for the best player in the game at the moment. Bottom line… the Kobe System is nowhere near perfect at this point in time… I don’t feel this should have been the finished product as it is now.
This is the first time I have had a real issue with the Kobe line… very disappointed so far.