Nike Zoom Kobe VII Supreme System - Christmas (Cheetah)

The Nike Zoom Kobe VII Supreme System - Christmas (Cheetah)


The gem in the Nike Basketball catalog each year lies with one of the greatest basketball players in this era – Kobe Bryant.  Once the face of Adidas Basketball, Bryant has solidified himself as one of the main stars for Nike, alongside Lebron James, with a new version of the Kobe line taking the spotlight each year during the Christmas Day game.  For the 2011-2012 season, the designers of the next Zoom Kobe have gone to great lengths in evolving the line, bringing an interchangeable midsole “system” to the table.  Attacking the New Year Strong and Fast is the much hyped Nike Zoom Kobe VII Supreme System – the subject of our initial First Look of 2012.

The most anticipated signature shoe in the Nike Basketball catalog each year, the 7th version of the Zoom Kobe series introduces the Supreme System.  The features include the following:

  • Light weight synthetic upper, with Flywire technology, plastic strands covering, and leather accents
  • Two interchangeable midsoles: “Play Strong” featuring full length Cushlon cushioning and ankle support via integrated velcro strap enclosure , and “Play Fast” featuring Zoom cushioning units in the forefoot and heel with stretch material for a tighter fit
  • Stiff heel cage and molded midfoot shank plate
  • Rubber outsole with herringbone pattern and forefoot outrigger
  • Limited “Predator” Pack part of the initial releases

Aesthetics and Styling

Since the introduction of the Zoom Kobe IV, the series has risen in popularity partly due to increased marketing, as well as the switch to a low cut design, making the shoe more casual friendly.  In terms of performance and technology, Kobe himself and the Nike design team have made an effort to ensure the highest possible standards, while also attempting to maintain a stylish look.  Continuing this set precedent, the VII once again features a low cut, with a Flywire based upper, and Nike Zoom as the primary cushioning set up.  However, the big change comes with the “System,” taking a page from the Air Jordan 2011 where the midsoles are interchangeable.  The standard “Play Fast” midsole features the Zoom unit set up, with an integrated tongue/sleeve, while the “Play Strong” option comes complete with a Cushlon foam base and a large velcro sleeve which serves as a light ankle brace.  And as seen with the Kobe VI, style comes through on the upper, where themes and stories are told through vibrant colors as well as printed graphics.  Debuted on the court Christmas Day, the limited and coveted purple and green Cheetah inspired version finds a spot in the Predator Pack.

Nike Zoom Kobe VII Supreme System - Christmas (Cheetah)

A spot print represents a Cheetah and is part of the Predator Theme Pack for the Zoom Kobe VII

Depending on which midsole is inserted, the Zoom Kobe VII has the standard look we have seen from the previous two Kobe models with the “Play Fast” sole inserted, while the the ankle support rises high for the “Play Strong” insert.  The lines of the shoe have a simple flow for this low cut performer, with the outside midsole cut with sharp geometric shapes and the plastic casing on the upper covering a Cheetah spot pattern (for this special release).  Our First look starts with a relatively flat outsole.  At the toe and forefoot area, three fine, diagonal flex grooves run horizontally, while a single diagonal vertical groove separates the traction pattern.  On the medial side, the sharp teeth like herringbone pattern dominates the area, up to the toe.  Outlined by a fine diamond/snake skin like pattern, the outside of the oustole runs along the medial forefoot and forms a toe cap with a small Nike swoosh logo and “KB24” logo embedded into the rubber.  The lateral forefoot is cut with a triangular shard traction pattern, with the same diamond/snake skin underneath and around the area.  A sharp lateral outrigger flares out, with a dot graphic pattern observed on the side.  Moving down to the midfoot, a square opening in the rubber exposes the stiff plate, which is sculpted on the medial side.  Below the plate is a large red Kobe logo, while another dot graphic is found, following the curvature of the outsole.  Finishing off the outsole is the heel area, where a Y-shaped flex groove pattern separates it from the midfoot area, with traction coming in the form of the triangular shard pattern.  Complimenting the outsole, sharp geometric shapes make up the midsole.  Broken into two pieces, the sharp and smooth pieces of the misole protrude on the lateral side and heel, with style added by a speckle design.  Finally, the textured portion of the midsole simply runs around the shoe and on the back heel area, two triangular sections are cut into the foam.

Made for light weight performance, the upper of the VII is simplistic, with style coming from a Cheetah spot pattern.  The thin nylon and Flywire construction, with the strands running from the eyelets down, is overlaid with a plastic supportive casing.  Streaming down the shoe, the casing is made of fine straight vertical segments placed close together, with the base of the upper (running above the midsole) forming a more solid reinforcement (without any space between the lines).  Two large plastic Nike swoosh logos complete the upper, pasted on top of the plastic casing.

An arching cage forms the foundation of support at the heel.  Made of clear plastic, the cage is designed with the lime green speckle pattern with a Kobe signature graphic in the center.  Underneath the cage is a leather base, running throughout the heel and around the collar, with a Cheetah insignia placed on the bottom of the heel.  Around the collar, a smooth textured synthetic lines the top, while on the inside, a silky like synthetic is used.  Padding is thick and solid around the collar, to help lock the ankles in place.

Nike Zoom Kobe VII Supreme System - Christmas (Cheetah)

The "Play Strong" midsole adds support with a light weight ankle brace

Bright red thin and premium flat laces stand out through the purple base of the shoe.  Six eyelets, with one on the collar, run straight up, with a small segment cut between the 4th and 5th.  At the throat line, a strip of the stretch synthetic material is placed below the laces to provide covering when the midsoles are switched out.  To round out the Kobe VII is the most interesting aspect of the shoe.  First, the Zoom loaded “Play Fast” midsole is colored in the bright green.  Flipped over, the Zoom unit in the heel is visible, while the forefoot simple has the “NIKE ZOOM” logo branding.  The stretch material runs around the midfoot, connecting to the bottom and stitched to the sides.  A simi-tongue is formed with a leather patch on top, featuring the Kobe logo.  Similarly, the “Play Strong” midsole is made with a Cushlon base and the stretch material connected through the midfoot and heel.  This midsole forms a flexible ankle support with the high rising velcro enclosure having the final Kobe logo in the center.

A First Look

Like the Air Jordan 2011, the designers of the Kobe line have taken a bold step with the use of interchangeable midsoles.  The biggest performance disadvantage for the past couple of years has been the lack of ankle support and protection, which has limited the overall versatility of the shoe.  So far this year, the Adidas adiZero™ Rose 2 and Under Armour Micro G® Juke have successfully integrated alternative ankle support systems in a low cut context, with great results.  For the Kobe VII, the ankle support and protection looks to be addressed, but will the interchangeable midsoles offer any performance advantage?  Later this month, we will take Nike Zoom Kobe VII Supreme to the court for our full Performance Review to see if it can be placed among the top performers of the season.

Nike Zoom Kobe VII Supreme System - Christmas (Cheetah)