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Following up on their Zoom Kobe 1, Nike set out to once again provide Kobe Bryant, perhaps the most dominating player in professional Basketball, with the ultimate pieces of footwear. A product of an 18 month design process, from brief, to conception, to reworking, to production, Nike Product Line Manager Charles Williams and Nike designer Ken Link, and their respective teams, came together to create Kobe Bryant’s “Weapons of War”; the Zoom Kobe Sheath, Strength, and Lite.
Nike invited KATC to be part of history this past weekend as the brand officially unveiled the Zoom Kobe II line at the Nike Zoom Kobe Media Summit in Los Angeles. Click Continue reading for Part III of our coverage.

Kobe Bryant demands the most of himself both on and off the court, constantly trying to elevate his game by studying everything from animal behavior, to his opposing two guard. Coming into this, his tenth, season in the NBA, Kobe knew that he would approach the year with different mindset. Instead of looking to dominate the court on his own, Kobe sought to create, distribute, and attack his opponent alongside his young team. With this is mind, Kobe worked hand and hand with the design team at Nike to ensure that his Zoom Kobe II would provide his game with the necessary technical and aesthetic attributes to complement this new mindset. Kobe wanted his new signature to embody speed, strength, and creativity, while simultaneously providing him with increased flexibility, traction, and support. Kobe wanted the “Weapons of War”.
The Sole
The ZKII sole was designed to meet Kobe’s tactile demands by providing a lightweight solution with better cushioning, increased flexibility, improved traction, and ultimately the ability to feel every groove in the hardwood beneath him.
Taking a cue from their Running Department, Nike’s designer created the first ever Basketball sole to feature Nike’s extremely flexible Free technology. The Free technology simulates playing barefoot as the sole twists, contorts, and conforms to the players movement. By incorporating the Free technology, Nike met Kobe’s demand of increased flexibility. To provide extra rigidity for the Kobe’s quick cuts and stops, Nike included a Carbon Fiber plate in the midfoot of the sole to complement the flexible Free Technology.
For better cushioning, Nike utilized a highly compressed Air unit in the heel, along with full length Zoom Air. Nike’s designers compressed the Air Unit in order to meet Kobe’s weight demands. Coupled with the low density foam utilized to construct the sole, the ZKII sole is almost featherweight.
To provide Kobe with increased court tactility, the ZKII sole is a very low profile unit, measuring 18mm at the heel and 8mm at the toe.
The Upper
Nike designed the ZKKII’s upper to embody creativity while providing Kobe with a lightweight, one piece alternative to last year’s bulkier ZKI. The ZKII features a breathable environment friendly [Nike Considered] upper that also features several personal design characteristics including a Snake toe and strap, (taken from the Black Mamba, Kobe’s nickname and the deadliest snake in the world), Kobe’s Signature, Sheath, and 24 logo, as well as, inspirational phrases on the inside of the strap. Because Kobe insisted that Nike’s designers have fun with the ZKII this year, the ZKIIs was designed in several on the court and lifestyle colorways. Unfortunately, some of the colorways will not be available to the public.
The Zoom Kobe II Trio
Kobe Bryant’s game is very complex and multi-faceted, and in an unprecedented design move, so is the ZKII. The ZKII is not one, but three sneakers; the Zoom Kobe II Sheath, Strength, and Lite. The Zoom Kobe Sheath, set to release 4/1, is the everyday/all around ZKII model that Kobe has begun to wear on the court. The Strength model, set to release 5/1, provides greater “lockdown” and support via the dual strap system. The, yet to be fully produced, Zoom Kobe II Lite provides a greater weight advantage over the the previously mentioned models with a target weight of 13oz.
The Zoom Kobe II was designed to meet the demands of one of the most mentally and physically demanding players in professional sports. With its intricate, technical, and unprecedented three sneaker design, the ZKII is an integral piece in the progression of Kobe Bryant’s career and a Basketball sneaker that deserves its own chapter in the annals of sneaker/Basketball culture.


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