Nike Zoom Kobe IX “Elite”

Posted by on Feb 4, 2013 in Portfolio | 6 Comments

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The Zoom Kobe IX Elite takes what was already a light performance shoe in the Kobe IX and puts it on a diet.

The Zoom Kobe IX Elite uses Forged Composite, a blend of carbon fiber and resin; to increase the structural integrity of the Active Control Heel Counter, thus giving it the lightest stability ever in a basketball shoe. The upper is completely reconstructed and loses its all synthetic upper and is replaced by an engineered mesh. By creating a pattern that features areas of open mesh to allow for air flow and to improve fit the mesh becomes tighter in specific areas to bring the upper closer to the foot. The upper is also aided by a Dynamic Flywire set up that locks the foot in place.

The Zoom Kobe IX Elite brings a shot of adrenaline to Kobe during has second season, the NBA Playoffs.


  1. Yurri Mial
    May 10, 2013

    Brett, your passion for design is inspiring. I always leave this site thinking ,”How does he have time to do all this?” I imagine the GM gig alone is enough to run down a designers creative gas to E, so I can appreciate the effort/time put into the site,podcast,and your other online publications. Kudos!

    After looking through your “Elite” series I really took notice on how realistic and complex your material renderings are. Especially in this project, looking at the 3/4 heel view and seeing how the engineered mesh lines so accurately follows the contours of the shoe? Is this a texture that you’ve warped using the mesh tool in Ai? I’d love to see you break down some of your rendering process.

    • B
      May 10, 2013

      What’s up Yurri! Thanks for the kind words man. Its a constant balance between GM and my outside endeavors because you are absolutely right GM takes a lot of my creativity but in a different way. Its more strategic. I love to push myself to the limits and see what I can and can’t do. Of course there are times where I can’t do it all but I find a very strict schedule (that I can realistically accomplish) helps a lot. And luckily my wife supports me. I don’t know where I am going to be in the future but I imagine all of this hustle will pay off in a huge, huge way.

      As for the rendering technique, you are spot on. I do all of the line drawing in Illustrator, warp the meshes to be as realistic as possible and then take them over to the rendering in Photoshop. The biggest thing I have learned about meshes and textures is that it isn’t so much about the warping of it as it is about the scale, proportion and color. All of the me play off each other. For instance if you bevel and emboss them in PS to give them depth and you leave a bright white highlight on them it won’t look real. I find myself adjusting little nuances like that more than I do shading it. I’ve been rendering like this in PS since like 2006, so I have learned a lot but I keep trying to learn more.

      Email me if you have more questions, I’ll do my best to answer them!

  2. Van Forsman
    June 11, 2013

    I just got the kobe 8 elite+ and I really like the lockdown from the firmer engineered mesh and flywire. I’m interested in studying sneaker design after a couple years in college. I really like the tall heel cup but I think it would irritate achilles’ tendons, since it cups the top of the heel – but looks potentially very supportive. Proportionally speaking, the heel cup looks too narrow from above, and the tongue could be wider to accomodate wider and narrower feet as well as varying insteps. Also, it looks a lot like the flyknit chukka from the lateral view, and similarly the lateral ankle has no dedicated room or cushioning – and in a basketball shoe cause chafing. I really like the red contrast flywire in the last rendering, but what does it demonstrate? Stretching the flywire? Keep up the alluring design, and this website! It’s very accessible, I really like your balance of style and performance – it’s realistically progressive from what has been considered acceptable.

  3. Seth
    July 31, 2013

    you’ve done it again dude.

    This would be an insane release. props.

  4. Mike Sturge
    August 2, 2013

    Hi Brett,

    First off, this design is sick, I like the thinking behind it almost more than the design itself, but especially in these colors, the design is sleek. I am an aspiring footwear design student attending an ID school. I was curious what kind of pointers you would give as far as rendering goes? Having a pencil design is nice, but switching it up with a good looking render is always a good change of pace.

    Thanks in advance,


  5. Nicholas Singleton
    October 25, 2013

    Wow, you amaze me each time I see one of your designs. Why in the world haven’t you been signed yet? You would be in the conversation as the greatest sneaker designer of all time. From one sneaker designer to another, to are truly appreciated.


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