Kobe Bryant has unveiled the final signature sneaker of his playing career. The Kobe 11 remains low and lightweight and carries on the history of being the first Nike basketball shoe to introduce Flyknit by offering a new Flyknit upper with a thermoplastic polyurethane yarn for added strength.
“Throughout my time with Nike, I’ve obsessed the details of my shoes,” Bryant said in a release. “For the Kobe 11, we worked to perfect Flyknit for basketball.”
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The remainder of the silhouette stays familiar to those acquainted with the Kobe 10. Along with the new yarn fibers in the upper, expect full-length Lunarlon foam combined with a Zoom Air unit on the heel, a translucent outsole and mesh tongue for breathability.
Designed by Eric Avar, who has worked with Kobe throughout the history of the Kobe line, the first Kobe 11, dubbed "Achilles Heel," is expected to launch Jan. 9. The deep red and black shoe contains nods to the Greek god Achilles, along with Bryant’s own career path.
Specifically on the Achilles Heel colorway, you’ll find a graphic representation of the hero on the right heel with the left heel holding four stitch marks to signify the four feet of thread used in Bryant’s 2013 Achilles surgery.
“The Kobe 11 design represents the whole being greater than the sum of the parts,” Avar says about the mindset behind the design.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, sneakers and technology for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.