Performance Teaser: Nike Zoom Kobe VII (7)


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.


  1. Kevin says

    Same comments, issues, and concerns with my pair of kobe’s as well. The heel when playing with the Zoom Air setup can become painful after an hour or two of playing. With the Play Strong, after more than a few hours, I get the exact same blister as you.
    I can’t say the shoe isn’t good, because it is, but reiterating on what you said, for $180, a basketball shoe for arguably the best player in the game, for a line that’s constantly impressed me, this shoe was disappointing.
    I don’t know how I feel about this shoe when comparing it to the 6s, as those are still my favorite pair of basketball shoes.
    Hopefully you can shed some light on the traction in upcoming teasers.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Nightwing2303 says

      Glad im not the only one, in a way at least. The shoe hasnt been bad per say but the issues we have experienced arent the greatest things to deal with in a performance shoe. At the very least they should be comfortable and wearable which they are if youre walking around but when you start playing and they hurt your feet in this way… Thats not what i have come to expect from Nike.

      I favor the kobe 6 at this point. There are quite a few things i enjoy with the 7 but overall right now i cant get passed the pain they bring to my feet, hoping things change the more i use them.

    • Adrian7kp7 says

      Same for me too, the heel when playing with the midsole become painful after some hours of playing
      But, instead of the system, the shoes is still quite cool I think
      I still prefer my 5s, but it’s too old and I need a new shoes
      I hope things change the more i use the 7s

      • Nightwing2303 says

        The pain does go away after you continue to wear them… I guess your feet have to get used to it.

        Looks wise, these are prob the best Kobes yet but performance wise… Not so much.

    • Ptar says

      I have the same insole issue; im bout to go try and buy some store bought gel insoles; also try and take out the insole and trim the inner part where it cuts; i did that with a knife and dulled it a lil bit; it seemed to help; but ima try the store insoles to maybe rise my foot so it isnt resting on the bad part; Kobe 6 were way better in comfort though; if this doesnt get better im prolly gonna used them for reg shoes and buy the 6s again;

      • Nightwing2303 says

        Unless you bought a 1/2 up you wont be left with very much room after placing an additional insole inside the footbed. Ive already worked on a possible solution and will post an update on how it worked tomorrow night.

  2. porkchopbun says

    “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”

    I wonder…if he uses a different pair versus the retail one…there is no way he can’t be experiencing this.

    Thanks for the teaser…i’ll have my ball mates check out this article. Bunch of Kobe nutt yourself (j.k.)

    • Nightwing2303 says

      He may not experience this issue since he has trainers taping his ankles/foot. The regular versions have the play fast setup which is removable but it doesnt come with anything else so it may still be a problem for some. Ive heard there are new midsole systems that may release separate for even more options.

  3. dre23 says

    That’s not the 1st time I read it, that’s why I’m waiting for the regular version of the KBVII, Im sure they will be an upgrade to the KBVI. Nightwing, how was the traction, compared to the IV/V/VI?

      • Nightwing2303 says

        The regular versions havent hit retail yet but will soon. They only come with the play fast midsole and youd have to buy additional midsoles separate.

        • dre23 says

          Oh, really?! Damn, now my hope is almost dead, sure will wait for you final perf. review, but it seems I will go for another KBVI or even search for a KBIV.

    • Nightwing2303 says

      Regular VIIs have removable midsoles too, they only provide the play fast though.

      Traction has been above average on any court Condition.

  4. Bogda says

    Looking forward to the full review.
    On the side note, any news about the Nike Zoom Hyperenforcer? They’re available here at Europe, are they in USA? Will you try to get them?

  5. Drew Whitcomb says

    My heel hurts right now from wearing the Play Fast insole to play last night. It definitely takes a toll on your achilles to wear it. Anyone with achilles issues will want to note this before purchasing.

    Both insoles are rubbing quite a bit on the inside arch area but haven’t yet caused a blister.

    I’m also having problems with the sock liners. They aren’t secured with much glue and easily detach from the insole and bunch during play. To use these shoes long term I would need an aftermarket insole.

    Your performance teaser is spot on. Keep up the good work.

  6. MrOs3000 says

    hey nightwing i found some 2010 hyperfuse low’s for 60 dollars. do you think its worth it to pay 35 more and get the kd4? no matter how good the kobe 7 is, four of my friends already bought it and i wanted to be the different one. thanks in advance.

  7. Lance says

    This were the only forum that ive visited that had cited these problems.the others have’nt, lie the niketlk,nike store forum and etc. but i prefer this one over the others. Based on what i have read,i think i’ll go with the jordan fly wade 2,or i’ll have to wait for the d’rose dominate,because my drose 2.0 sucked in terms of durability,like the bunjees and the splatter traction,kinda wered off after a month of playing.
    Thanx for the info nightwing2303.keep it up!

    • Nightwing2303 says

      Thanks bro, appreciate it!

      Rose dominates will be awesome, at least i hope so haha. Wade 2s are still my fav pick right now.

      • Lance says

        Lance on January 5, 2012
        Here in asia,the Play fast midsoles were included in the package.

        I have to quote on what i had said earlier.its play strong,and we have a concord colorway here now,and it has a very high demand on ever store here.

  8. eric says

    my kobe 7 for me. my feet hurts when i play with my 2010 hyperdunks.what more on bottom loaded zoom in kobe 7?i’ve heard the lunarlon setup on fly wade 2’s is having a durability issues.what do you think bro?

    • Nightwing2303 says

      My feet actually didnt hurt with the HD, the kobes though were another story.

      I havent had any issues with the Wade 2s cushion at all, i will say that i was one of the few who loved the lunar in the kobe 4s and didnt feel as if it bottomed out… Thought it felt more like molding to your foot shape. So i may not be the best judge on the foam department since i like it lol.

      • eric says

        sorry, i meant my feet hurt a little after i balled on my HD because i twisted my ankles many times now and i have a chronic pain on my right foot.right now im leaning towards the foams.

  9. ABC says

    Hey man I was wondering if you knew when the D Rose dominate will be released?

    Also, would you recommend these shoes? I have the Fly Wade 2s and they are excellent, but I just wanted to know.

    Thanks, and keep up the great work!

    • Nightwing2303 says

      I think they release for the 2nd half of the season.

      I cant say that do or dont recommend the kobes right now, need to play in them a bit more still.

  10. LCH says

    the kove 7 seems like a great performance shoes with great style,is it that bad?if it does,what else low top shoes do you recommend?
    how about cpV? will u test it?
    as for adidas,rose 2 seems dont wear long,for the bunjee and traction.intially,i intend to buy but after your review,i change my mind.and i go for another shoes, the adizero shadow,similar structure with rose 2,only rose 2 looks better.will u recommend it ?it’s really cheap!

    • Nightwing2303 says

      I will be testing the cp3 for sure. The kobes still need more playing time before i can say whether or not theyre worth it.

      As for the adidas, if theyre that cheap its worth a shot to at least try them out… Could end up being one of your best purchases if they are good performers.

  11. mastergrim8 says

    I did not like the system at all. I never liked the idea of midsoles being interchangable. I would have expected something more innovative.
    Breathability and comfort has never been a problem with the Kobe line and now that it is, I don’t know If I willing to drop money on a regular pair.

    Also note there is an Elite Version coming out around the playoffs for $200.
    I sincerely hope the Elites can save a mishap, ever since the 4/5, performance has been lacking.

  12. lance says

    i’ve visited the nike store earlier and its too tempting to buy this. they have concord colorway, i asked the personnel and the said its just the colorway that were different from the xmas edition and they were’nt gonna have any regular versions.

  13. lance says

    Bogda on January 5, 2012
    Looking forward to the full review.
    On the side note, any news about the Nike Zoom Hyperenforcer? They’re available here at Europe, are they in USA? Will you try to get them?

    I’ve seen them, and they were kinda heavier than the hyperfuses.. they were hyperfuse with flywire, i forgot to ask what kind of cushion they have…

    • Nightwing2303 says

      The lows should fit better than the high but i still think the midsole is too thick on hyperdunks… You lose court feel being up that high and can roll your ankle.

  14. Jim Kao says

    man!!!!! i got kobe VII from Taiwan,,
    and i thought i was the only one with the issue..
    same spot where you got those little pops on your right foot ..

  15. 123` says

    yo bro when we getting the tee shirts? oh btw thanks for the teaser 2nd thinking buying these sneakers but i will still wait for yr final perf review. whyd you change site?

    • Nightwing2303 says

      I sent out the shirts a while ago… Site merged and is going strong, nothings changed other than the look. Thanks!

  16. J says

    Ironically, The Vii’s works very well for me since I play like Durant (on the balls of my feet) so the Fast insoles don’t affect my heel, and I double sock which helps with not getting the blisters on the arches on my feet. The lipping doesn’t occur prominently if you double sock. My 2 cent.

    So far, for me who has no painful issues with the 7’s, these System are quite the beasts. O yea, it is very biased too since I don’t seat much in my feet. Lucky I guess.

    • Nightwing2303 says

      I typically sprint on the forefoot but my stride does run from heel to toe. Not sure at what point the midsole started to cut into my foot though… I def change directions a lot and at a high speed so it could have been from that. The sweat is def a factor in my feet lol, so that could also have been part of the problem.

      Once my foot heals up ill be taking these back on court for more wears just to see if this was a fluke or an actual issue, ive heard other complain about it as well so id like to try and pinpoint where the issue begins if at all possible.

      • J says

        BTW, I also “bury” the first lace strand underneath the little polyurethane cover instead of what the factory standards came with (over the swoosh sleeve). I thought by doing so, alongside double or triple socking it, can provide better security of my foot with any of the inner booties. My 2 cent.

  17. Lance says

    I have a question. Now this kobe vii is out for those who have an ankle problem because of these bad cushion system. What can you suggest for a 1 or a 2 guard that have an ankle problem and plays like a spot up shooter like ray allen, who does’nt really like going to the paint, and play strong inside.Thank you for the advice in advance.

    • Nightwing2303 says

      Cushion systems arent bad, they just arent perfect.

      You need to figure out what you need in a shoe then make a decision based on a shoes attributes. Example: traction & ventilation are high priorities in a shoe… You then base your choice off of shoes that suit those needs.

  18. lance says

    the rose dominate will be out here by the mid of feb. if your gonna choose dominates or kobe VII. what would you pick?

  19. kobeguest says

    did you find the sizing was different with these? like that these run larger than the k6’s? I wore size 11 in K6 and that seemed fine, but tried 10.5’s and 11’s in k7. 10.5’s scrunched my pinkie toe from the side and gave me a blister right where you got yours and didnt give my foot enough room to roll through. 11’s give my foot way too much room to move around if i use attack fast…unless i tie them tight…at which point my foot starts to hurt in all sorts of places. My theory is they had to make them a little bigger than k6 to fit the attack strong insole and sleeve so if you wear attack fast there’s too much space. might have to stock up on k6’s if this is where line is going…

    • Nightwing2303 says

      I havent really. Kobes are one shoe that actually fit my feet perfectly. The VIs may be a tiny bit shorter length wise but not by much.

  20. blank says

    I wonder would it be possible to trim the lip along the edge of each midsole setup? I feel like they don’t really serve any function on either Play Fast or Play Strong, and if it’s the warping of the lip that is causing the irritation, then removing it would hopefully stop that from happening.

    Not that most people want to be cutting up their $180 shoes, but just an idea.

    • Nightwing2303 says

      Youre the second person to mention it to me and i think its a great idea so long as it doesnt affect the fitting of the midsole inside the shoe. But i agree, def not something you want to do in a $180 shoe.

  21. paul casey says

    Iv been doing a fair bit of research on the “system” before I decide wether to play in mine or return them, and its actually surprisingly hard to dig up info on them. What I have discovered from Nike sources doing demos on the shoe is that no one seems to be aware of the lip problem, as it seems most of the people buying these and providing feedback in one way or another are not using the shoe for its intended function.

    I also discovered that the ankle brace, or sensory cuff as its officially named by Nike is not actually there to provide physical support for your ankle. Instead it is intended to wrap your ankle so that you feel something around it and the support is provided mentally. Your ankle is supported by the rest if the shie, heel clip, low profile of shoe, outrigger etc but the sensory cuff provides extra psychological support when going down low or making strong movements as your brain feels something around your ankle and subconsciously tells your body you are supported physically. Bit crazy eh. Cure on you tube, Nike execs demoing the shoe to ballers, dont want to postal link without wings ok.
    Hope this helps give insight into why the cuff isn’t supporting the way you may expect.

    I’m still trying to figure a way around these blisters before I decide wether to give up on the shoe though, those cushlon insole will do my knees a world of good, however sore feet I find less appealing, any way to circumvent ther blisters that I come up with (other than cutting out the lip ;) ) seem to be detrimental to the other benefits if the shoe. I’m either adding additional layers inside the shoe making it heavier and more bulky or doing something that may damage the shoe stitching the lip to the sleeve? (however if the foam becomes pliable with heat this may rip altogether.
    The lip cutting and stitching methods will mean should any damage to the shoe or injury occur, I will not be able to send the shoes back to Nike. If I add additional layers around my foot or inside the shoe , I compromise the main performance advantages of the shoe. Alternatively I return them and go with sore knees. I picked up a half price pair of 8.0s and had a few runs in a pair of 2011 a flights but let’s face it, after almost a year in jobs 6s you really miss that lightweight, freedom Of movement you get from a kobe shoe. Only thing is zoom air hurts my knees.
    Iv never had so many factors to consider before taking a shoe on court. Damn you kobe vii with your multiple options, performance issues potential benefits and high price point!!! Haha!

  22. paul casey says

    Forgot to add anyone noticed sole separation on the I dunno? Teeth? That come up from The insole on the lateral side (raised up hit just before the toe kinda like the jxiv?) It’ll be a concord panel on the concords and del sol on the blacks and think its green on the Christmas joints. (am I the only guy with concords? No one else seems to have em.)

    • Nightwing2303 says

      I think itll be fine here, most of the area cages the midsole with just the peak coming up to support the forefoot.

    • Nightwing2303 says

      Im not counting out the kobes just yet, still need more playing time. CP3.V are the ones that have my attention right now though.

  23. Malil9210 says

    this has nothin 2 do with b-ball but how do u feel about the gravity defyer shoe i keep seein this shoe and it got to me i juss want yo option i kno kinda a stupid question

  24. Gil says

    I don’t know what to do now, my birthday is next week and my wife was going to get these for me. I was finally willing to give Kobes a chance (always hesitant about low cuts) and all these negative reviews

    • Nightwing2303 says

      I cant say i recommend them at this point but i also havent had enough playing time in them to make an appropriate decision.

  25. Matt says

    I just purcashed a pair of Kobe viis but haven’t played ball in them yet . I’ve heard alot about the blistering that seems to be occuring. I was seriously about 1 min away from cutting the “lip” off the insert when I suddenly remembered a product I used when I was in the marines. Its called Dr scholls Moleskin. The stuff worked miracles for me. You just cut it and stick it on the area of skin experiencing high friction. Its cheap and light. Maybe not a solution but couldn’t hurt to try during the break in period.

    • Nightwing2303 says

      My wife told me the same thing lol. I will try whatever it takes to stop the rubbing. Was told it goes away after a while so thats a good sign.

  26. Gil says

    So I caved in and bought a pair before the performance review went up but now I have a problem. One of the play fast midsoles the front zoom air bag looks like it popped, there is a noticeable bump that moves around like jelly. Does anyone know a fix for this or am I better off getting a different pair?

  27. Alex Tang says

    Surprisingly, I’ve been fortunate enough to where I don’t get any of those blisters a lot of people get due to the lip of the insole. I do double sock though, so I don’t know if that helps. Strangely though, it’s really hard for me to get a really nice lockdown with these shoes, and the traction is pretty disappointing as of right now. Maybe they just need to be broken in a little more. But if any of you are looking for a great shoe for a guard, I recommend the Fly Wade 2. Bought it because of Nightwing’s review, and man am I glad I did. The traction is INCREDIBLE, I get squeaks every step on a VERY dirty gym floor, so I can’t even imagine what it would be like if the floor was clean. The shoe is just so well fitting and overall great that there is no shoe better than it out at the moment.

    • Gil says

      I tried them today again with the elite socks and I rubbed on the previously irritated area with some anti-chafing body glide and after about three hours of basketball I have no complains.

      • Nightwing2303 says

        Good to know. I will play in them as they are a few more time to see if maybe they just need more breaking in.

    • Nightwing2303 says

      Once im complete with the jordan 2012s these will be getting back on court so just be patient. There are plenty of colorways releasing so there will be plenty to choose from.

  28. WantIt says

    I can’t wait to see this performance review up on youtube…

    Quick question: I have a weird shaped foot kinda wide, to where wearing a lot of shoes feels uncomfortable around the arch portion…. Do you think that this would be a problem with the Kobe 7’s… I was going to get the fly wades but I saw that you said they are geared towards narrow feet/ May a half size up work or is that not ok to play in…

    Im getting shoes to play but mostly train to get back in shape… (not getting trainers bc I am hoping to start hooping again after my knees pick up)

    • Nightwing2303 says

      It might be an issue. The kobe 7s have the peak sidewalls on the exterior shell midsole which i can feel, not horrible, and i dont have wide feet or low arches. You would def need to try them on before buying IMO.

    • Nightwing2303 says

      Ive already begun working on a potential solution. I will play in them again tomorrow and post another teaser.

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