Nike Kobe AD Review

This is my review of the Nike Kobe AD basketball shoe. In my opinion, Kobe AD is a well-made and reliable shoe for performance-focused players who don’t mind a little bit of extra break-in time with their footwear. Keep reading to learn more about its pros and cons.

Quick Summary

  • Where to Buy: Amazon, Nike
  • Best for: Quick players and guards who value lightweight shoes. Players who don’t mind trading cushion for enhanced court feel.
  • Pros: Great rubber outsole. Excellent court feel. Strong lockdown and snug fit. Comfortable. Easy to put on. Casual look.
  • Cons: Traction inconsistent at times. Stiff upper. Long break in period. Can be narrow for those with big feet.
  • Alternatives: Puma Clyde Hardwood, Kyrie Flytrap IV, Peak Streetball Master

Why Trust Me

I have spent almost all of my thirty years of life playing basketball. That time and personal experience caused me to wear just about every shoe style from just about every single brand on the market.

I took that expertise and combined it with additional research as well as other firsthand accounts. That triple threat allowed me to take a deep dive into the Kobe AD and figure out both its pros and its cons.

Detailed Review of Nike Kobe AD

If you’re a Kobe fan or someone who just wants a reliable, well-rounded sneaker, the AD has a lot to offer. It’s not only striking in appearance, making it a solid walk-around option for more casual wear, but it has a good outsole, comfortable interior, and an extremely secure fit.

Despite the many traits put into the design, the shoe manages to stay lightweight. It will be a bit narrow for some, and the break-in period is very unpleasant, but the durable materials create what is a performance-focused and long-lasting shoe.


The AD is an interesting shoe from a comfort standpoint. On one hand, it provides you with a great court feel and ample cushion. On the other, you’re going to spend some serious time before you get to that point. As such, this shoe gets pretty mixed results in this category.

From a pure comfort perspective, the AD does a nice job out on the court. There’s a decent amount of spring in the heel and the heel area does a good job of cupping your foot. In addition, there’s a good amount of ventilation to keep you dry and blister-free.

The issue here comes from the break-in time. The shoes have a stiff material with very little flex. As such, breaking them in is a pain. Literally. You’re going to experience a lot of discomfort when you first put them on. If you can push through, however, they do eventually come around.


As with other Kobe shoes, the AD has a hyper focus on performance. Guards and wings will especially love what it has to offer, as you get a lot of mobility and spring while you run. They also aid your moves rather than work against them, which is important when dribbling.

Though the cushion could definitely be better in the midfoot area, losing that extra material does create a lighter shoe. If agility is a big part of your game, or if you’re a player who doesn’t like noticing their gear as they play, the shoes will more than meet your needs.


The AD’s stiff material is definitely a drawback when it comes to initial comfort. However, there are a few upsides to it as well. The biggest is durability. The shoes are extremely sturdy. The premium materials used in them, mixed with the extra rigidity, goes a long, long way.

Where some shoes can only hold up in sunny weather or inside clean gyms, the AD has a lot of versatility. You can use it on just about any surface during any part of the year. Such toughness is hard to find, making it a great option for driveway and park players.


The tough shoe also comes with a solid amount of lockdown. The extra heel cup works perfectly with the tighter midfoot fit to ensure your foot doesn’t go anywhere. That’s not only comfortable, but it cuts down on blisters and prevents any uncomfortable rubbing in longer games.

They aren’t perfect here, however. While the general fit does a good job at keeping your foot snug, players with wider feet might find them to be a bit tight. If that applies to you, don’t be afraid to get a half-size up to make up for the restricted interior.

Protection and Support

Protection is one area where the AD truly goes above and beyond. The shoe has a higher top, which helps keep your ankle in place, as well as a comfortable heel cup that creates a lot of extra stability. That reliability is a big plus, especially for those with an injury history.

There’s a lot of containment built throughout the entire design, and it shows. This is yet another reason guards or quick-moving players will enjoy the different traits packed in the AD.

What I Like

My favorite part of the AD is its durability and inherent toughness. Shoes are expensive, and if you’re shelling out for a big brand you want to ensure you’ll be able to use it for years to come. All parts of the AD live up to a high standard, providing you with a lot of unmatched longevity.

The lockdown and protection are also quite nice. I have had quite a few injuries over the years, so I know the importance of staying safe while you play. The AD lowers risk through the extra material up around the ankle, as well as the added heel support and strong lockdown.

What I Dislike

My biggest issue with the AD is undoubtedly the break-in period. While many shoes aren’t game-ready right out of the box, this model takes that to the extreme. They are uncomfortable at best and painful at worst. They do give eventually, but I wish it wasn’t such a battle to get there.

The other gripe I have with the shoe is the general stiffness. This won’t be an issue for everyone, but I personally prefer footwear that has a bit of give. There are definitely pros to the rigid design, as covered above, but I’d prefer some extra wiggle room.

The Alternatives

If you enjoy some of the AD’s features, but are in the market for something slightly different, the following shoes are worth a long look. You may also check out our detailed basketball shoes review to find more options.

1. Puma Clyde Hardwood

If you enjoy the AD’s responsiveness and are looking for something with a different look, the Clyde Hardwood fits the bill. The shoe comes with a comfortable knitted upper as well as reliable forefoot webbing to create a soft feel and springy feedback.

There’s a lot of energy return with this model. You won’t lose your balance, even if you need to dribble through traffic or play defense on a fast break, thanks to the premium stabilization. The look might not be for everyone, but the shoe is a great throwback style option.

2. Kyrie Flytrap IV

If you’re in the market for a guard shoe similar to the AD, the Flytrap (review) might be for you. Outfitted with a special interior band and tight-fitting laces, it offers excellent lateral mobility and agility while still boasting some of the best lockdown on the market.

You get a ton of protection with these shoes, but the light weight and Zoom Air cushion make them perfect for guards and wings. They might not have the power big men want, but their design makes them a great model for shooters or quick cutters.

3. Peak Streetball Master

As you might imagine, the Streetball Master from Peak is a solid outdoor option for people who like the AD but want more power. The shoe not only looks great, it’s durable as well. The outsole is strong and the honeycomb traction sticks to just about any surface with ease.

The shoes are a bit rigid throughout the midsole, and the shock absorption could definitely be better. Even so, few outdoor shoes are as agile as the Master.


What Do the Kobe ADs weigh?

The Kobe AD is a relatively light shoe, weighing just 11.1 ounces.

Are These Shoes Usable Outdoors?

Yes. The pair comes with an extremely tough construction that enables them to be used on all outdoor surfaces without wearing down.

What Color is the AD?

As with so many Nike shoes, the sneaker comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. Simply get the one that matches your style.

Final Verdict

The AD may not be the shoe for everyone, but players who care about performance and quickness will greatly enjoy what it has to offer. That’s because the lightweight, mobile design manages to enhance on-court performance without losing any stability or support.

On top of that, the shoe has a lot of durability and is a solid investment no matter where or how you like to play. It looks great, making a good choice for casual wear, and has the necessary traits to stand the test of time.

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