A little over a year ago at my regular hoop session, I did a number on my right ankle. As I was coming down from a rare offensive rebound, my foot landed awkwardly on top of an opposing player’s foot, causing a severe ankle sprain.
Needless to say, it didn’t end well for me. I knew immediately something was wrong.
It felt like the equivalent of getting ankle submitted by the entire Gracie family five times in a row.
I couldn’t bear weight on my foot for several weeks, wore a Reebok Pump sandle-esque air cast, and seriously considered not playing basketball ever again.
With the guidance of an excellent Sports Physician, regular physiotherapy, and lots of resistance stretching, I painstakingly rehabbed my ankle to its current condition, roughly 80% of its OG strength.
At 80% of my original strength, I have had to modify the way that I hoop; including my choice of footwear.
In conjunction with my ankle rehabilitation gains and with the aid of an EVO ankle stabilizer, I am now able to spark joy Marie Kondo style shooting hoops again.
The support and hence bulkiness of the EVO ankle stabilizer means that most high top hoop shoes will no longer work for me. It is also a common misconception that a high cut basketball shoe provides better ankle support than a comparable low cut basketball shoe.
Anyways, like Slim Shady, it is time to get back to the lab again yo with this Kobe 11 Flyknit Review.
The following review is based on the Solefullylaced Sneaks On My Feet 25 criteria.
Hoop shoes are a fickle and subjective object to evaluate. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
The OG days of having one pair of hoop shoes that stunt double as a daily sneaker are far and few between.
The Kobe 11 Flyknit is subjectively pretty to me. Casual enough to wear off court, but more in its element on the hardwood court.
A pair of broken-in Kobe 11s fit my feet perfectly. As a low cut pair of hoop kicks, the Kobe 11s do an amazing job locking down the heel. The heavily reinforced Flyknit does a good job containing the foot. True to size is recommended for medium width bipeds.
Wow Factor- 4
These days, unless you have a cell phone powered app that self lace your sneakers, you are probably not going to wow any hoopers. The Kobe 11s secure fit, containment, and lock down make self-lacing sneakers still relevant.
The combination of a drop in Zoom midsole, Flyknit construction, amazing heel lockdown, and large lateral outrigger make the Kobe 11 a real deal hoop shoe. It rides low to the ground, has great court feel, and is stable enough for those who require an ankle brace in order to play. The Kobe signature line is very well represented at the court that I frequent.
My only gripe is that on dusty, non-NBA level wooden courts, the translucent outsole can pick up dust. Nothing that a quick wipe can’t alleviate, but something I suspect could be remedied with the use of a gum sole type of traction compound.
Value At Retail -3
At a retail price of $265 Canadian dollars, the Kobe 11 Flyknit is not a cheap sneaker. In fact, it is expensive. However, given that sneakerheads have little issue regularly forking over $215 for a pair of Air Jordan 1s at the retail level, the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” seems to ring true.
The good news is that the Kobe 11 Flyknit can sometimes be found at Nike outlets, with non-Flyknit iterations retailing for significantly less money.
Final Thoughts- 21/25
With a final score of 21/25, the Kobe Flyknit 11 has carved a specific niche market for itself. It is a high performance sneaker that demands a high performance Jessie J. like Price Tag.
What you get with such a high price tag is a secure lock down, excellent drop in Zoom midsole cushioning, stable outrigger, and great court feel.
Is it worth it?
Let me search it (my wallet).Sneaker Missy Elliot