A sleeker albeit cheaper variant of Kobe Bryant’s latest signature sneakers will hit the market next weekend. The upcoming Kobe 11 will feature an engineered mesh upper instead of Nike’s patented Flyknit material.
The Kobe 11 EM “White Black” has a clean white façade with black Nike swooshes on the sides and a black Kobe logo on the tongue. The Flywire lace loops are in cool grey while the outsole is made from blue translucent rubber.
The left shoe has four stitches on the heel. It represents Kobe’s actual surgery scars. Meanwhile, the right shoe has the Black Mamba’s signature embossed on the same spot.
The Kobe 11 EM is lighter and more flexible than the Kobe 11 Elite. That is due to the latter’s full-length engineered mesh setup, which has fuse overlays in high-wear areas for added structure and support.
“There is no disconnect between you, the materials and your foot,” said sneaker reviewer Nightwing2303. “All-around, this was a better setup. Flyknit is very popular, but for whatever reason, they [Nike] have engineered mesh down pat. Flyknit in basketball is still a work in progress, even after three years [of development].”
In the cushioning department, the Kobe 11 EM sports a full-length drop-in Lunarlon midsole. unlike the Kobe 11 Elite, the engineered mesh version does not have a Zoom Air unit in the heel. What it does have is a dual-density foam which extends from the heel to the midfoot area.
The drop-in Lunarlon midsole of the Kobe 11 EM does not feature the protruding hexagonal flex grooves of the Kobe 11 Elite. As such, hoopers will feel lower to the ground. Nevertheless, there is still substantial impact protection in the forefoot due to the beefier Lunarlon foam.
The Kobe 11 EM “White Black” will retail $60 less than the regular Kobe 11 Elite. Kobe fans can start purchasing the fresh kicks on September 24 via Nike.com. Men’s sizes cost $160 a pair.