Even as a teenager, it was clear that Kobe Bryant was special. Although injuries and age finally took their toll, he put forth elite play in multiple decades and remains one of the biggest figures in modern basketball. The Kobe Bryant signature sneaker line is a force to be reckoned with, as well.
High School Phenom Snags a Shoe Deal
The key difference between the shoe lines for Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant is that Kobe was not always a member of team Nike. Only 17 at the time and fresh out of high school, Kobe Bryant signed an endorsement deal with Adidas. The six-year deal was reportedly for $48 million. This might explain why he did not sign with Nike to start his career as Adidas made a huge offer to Bryant even before he was drafted. A month later, Bryant was taken 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets and then immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Adidas Kobe Sneakers
After a low-key rookie season coming off the bench, Kobe Bryant would take his game to the next level and become one of the best players in the NBA by the 2000-01 season. His Adidas shoes were along for the ride and, other than their association with Bryant, are most memorable for their crazy designs. This might have ultimately been the undoing of the Adidas endorsement deal with Kobe Bryant.
Reportedly unhappy with the KOBE TWO, Bryant officially made the switch to Nike in 2003 following the end of his contract with Adidas during the summer of 2002. This did not prevent work on his next Adidas shoe, and images have surfaced for what would have been the follow-up to the KOBE TWO, although no official name was provided. This was not the only time that Kobe Bryant switched to a competitor in the collecting world. Many will remember that before he was the face of Panini Basketball, Kobe Bryant was part of the Upper Deck trading card family.
Nike Kobe Sneakers
The Nike era of Kobe Bryant shoes began slowly as they collaborated on the inaugural signature design. In the meantime, Kobe took the court mostly wearing Nike Air Huarache sneakers for the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons. Finally, the Nike Zoom Kobe I made its debut and Bryant's line has been one of the most popular signature shoe offerings since then.
Kobe Bryant's shoes have gone through a considerable transformation while with Nike. The first edition was more of a standard basketball sneaker and subsequent editions transitioned to a low-top look, following a soccer-shoe design.
In addition to the many Kobe Bryant shoes in his base signature offerings, multiple variations, including Elite and Prelude, add to the totals, as well as retro Protro editions. The Nike Venomenon was previously not available in the US, but sneakerheads stateside can now find the lower-priced Kobe Bryant shoes. Also, the original Nike HyperDunk (2008), is commonly associated with Kobe Bryant.
The Nike Kobe A.D. (a.k.a. Nike Kobe 12) was the first release for the line following Bryant's retirement. The name appears to end the shoe numbering system, as least for now, but many will still likely refer to it as the Kobe 12.
It's not immediately clear if it is counted among Bryant's signature line, but the Nike Kobe Mamba Fury debuted in 2020 as a lower-cost sneaker model.
Nike Black Mamba Pack
There is also a limited Black Mamba Pack that revisits all 13 Nike pairs worn during his career up until his final NBA season. The series was released over several weeks in the order he wore them, leading up to the day of his final NBA game on April 13, 2016.
Other Kobe Bryant Collectible Guides
Kobe has some sweet shoes but his basketball cards are also quite impressive. Take a look at the key choices using the articles below.
The following guide includes a chronological listing of all the main Kobe Bryant shoes. Each shoe is listed by name and the main season it was featured.
Kobe Bryant Shoes Visual History Guide and Sneaker Gallery
*Shoes synonymous with Kobe Bryant, but not officially among his signature shoes.*
Nike Kobe Bryant Shoes Gallery Timeline
*Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K4: 2003-04
*Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K5: 2004-05
Nike Zoom Kobe I: 2005-06
Nike Zoom Kobe II: 2006-07
Nike Zoom Kobe III: 2007-08
Nike Zoom Kobe IV: 2008-09
Nike Zoom Kobe V: 2009-10
Nike Zoom Kobe VI: 2010-11
Nike Zoom Kobe VII: 2011-12
Nike Zoom Kobe VIII: 2012-13
Nike Kobe IX: 2013-14
Nike Kobe X: 2014-15
Nike Kobe 11: 2015-16
Nike Kobe A.D. / 12: 2016-17
Nike Kobe A.D. NXT: 2017
Nike Kobe A.D. NXT 360: 2018
Nike Kobe A.D. NXT FastFit FF: 2019
Nike Kobe Mamba Fury: 2020
Adidas Kobe Bryant Shoes Gallery Timeline
*Adidas EQT Elevation: 1996-97
Adidas KB8: 1997-98
Adidas KB8 II: 1998-99
Adidas KB8 III: 1999-00
Adidas THE KOBE: 2000-01
Adidas KOBE TWO: 2001-02