360 degrees of Flyknit, a never-before-seen Lunarlon & React midsole, and an experience that Nikey wanted to call the next generation of basketball footwear.
Kobe’s line never shied away from innovation and doing things differently, but this 2018 shoe, in particular, got A LOT of attention. Let’s break it all down in my in-depth Kobe AD NXT 360 review.
Unlike most opinions you’d find online, I took a slightly different approach.
Firstly, I’ve only managed to get my hands on this shoe last year (2020) and after a solid 5-6 months, we’ll be able to see how it stacks up against the latest offerings in 2021.
Secondly, this is both an indoor and an outdoor review. I did manage to squeeze in about a month of indoor action when I still had the chance before quarantine hit us all. The rest of the 5+ months is all about outdoor ball.
You might say this isn’t an outdoor model.
Well to that I say, we’re paying $200 at retail for this one, so I’d rather push it to the limits and really put things into perspective. How can we justify this 200-dollar price tag if a shoe breaks down on you like it’s no tomorrow?
Well, let’s find out.
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I. FIT & COMFORT
Let’s kick things off with the need-to-know first.
There’s been a lot of buzz and varied opinions on how the Kobe A.D. NXT 360 fits. Some say they clearly fit long, others say it’s just a tad bit, while some even advise going as much as a FULL size down. And they’re likely all right.
We all have different foot shapes, as well as different preferences on how a shoe should fit you.
This is never going to change and it is also why you should always get your information from multiple sources, just to get an idea of which direction to go to.
I’m a prominent wide footer myself, a.k.a. I’ve got some huge feet. I’ve gone true to size regardless and it’s the closest to an optimal fit I can get to.
Length-wise, they do fit a tad bit long for me personally but that doesn’t mean it will be the same for you. In an ideal world, I do prefer just a little less room at the toebox but I never aim for a complete one-to-one fit as that’s usually not possible for me anyway, due to how wide my feet are.
Width-wise, they’re pretty much perfect, and it didn’t take that much time to break ’em in. Of course, Flyknit is one to thank for this. Not a particularly wide platform but definitely not among the most narrow ones either.
Whatever foot shape you’ve got, I encourage you to try your true size with this one. Or if you can, order a couple of different sizes just to be sure (returning the unneeded one afterward).
It’s a very minimal-feeling shoe and the upper will most definitely mold to your foot, given the needed time.
Is it just as amazing as Nikey marketed the shoe in terms of comfort? Probably not but it’s a tough promise to follow through. I still consider this shoe among the most comfortable modern sneakers today.
All I’m saying is don’t expect some god-like experience you have never felt before with these.
But if you’re just looking for a new pair of hoop shoes and you happened to get the Kobe A.D. NXT 360, I’m pretty sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Let’s just not put things out of proportion.
Firstly, these are so damn light. Not the lightest on paper but surely among the lightest feeling shoes I’ve ever played in.
The super-thin upper, a lightweight drop-in midsole, and a compact low-top design put these in the feather club of ball shoes. You’ll definitely feel it if you’re coming off of a traditional basketball shoe.
Secondly, the build. The outsole has exaggerated curvature and pretty much defies the principles of a stable shoe. This is exactly why it can feel weird at times.
The exterior portion of the outsole is literally almost a circle shape.
Yes, it does help with mobility and the ability to achieve angles you want quicker but it does introduce questionable stability at the rear portion.
Especially for those who aren’t used to this type of Kyrie-like build and have a forceful, explosive playstyle. We’ll talk more about that in the support section.
And lastly, there are the rest of the details that make up a very comfortable, minimal experience on the court. Ventilation is top-notch since portions of the upper are literally see-through and this Flyknit is really thin.
The insides of the shoe are also Flyknit, so it’s all about comfort inside as well. Also, the drop-in midsole has some storytelling elements engraved on it, making it the most grippy midsole I’ve probably ever stepped on.
This feels really cool and helps contain your foot in one place. Who even knew we needed this?
Translucent, sticky rubber has been a common occurrence throughout Kobe’s models and here we are again.
Indoors, the traction was decent. Not the best, not the worst but acceptable to retain full confidence and play the way I play. And I do play aggressively, I drive to the hoop a lot, and play above the rim when possible.
I need strong bite.
It wasn’t always consistent though, as sometimes hard foot plants were deadly, other times, there was a bit of delay but it never reached a point where I was sliding all over the place.
You have to take into account I wasn’t playing on perfect NBA-level hardwood either, so dust was a factor.
But the problem with the Kobe A.D. NXT 360 is how it picks up dust. This rubber is so damn sticky, it helps with traction but it’s a nightmare to get rid of the buildup inside the grooves of the pattern.
It’s literally impossible to fully get rid of it, as you’d have to stop, take off the shoe and scrape the nasty stuff off. That’s how sticky it is.
But the good thing is, despite all the stuff piling up in the pattern, a quick wipe or two always kept things under control.
You’ll have to wipe these outsoles down frequently but as long as you get into the habit and the floor you’re playing in isn’t 1980-level, you should be fine.
However, I do recommend doing occasional deep cleans of the outsoles. Take your time, clean ’em and take care of any leftover dust if you can, as that’ll help you in the long run.
Most of my action happened outdoors on a concrete surface and a synthetic rubber court.
Unfortunately, this rubber and this pattern simply scream “please don’t trash me on concrete” and it’s absolutely true based on my 5+ month run in the park.
Granted, I haven’t played every day for a full season like a pro/college athlete would but only a couple of months were enough to noticeably degrade the performance of the traction.
It never fully recovered after some good runs outside. The rubber is fraying, it’s getting less and less aggressive.
But it was really good while it lasted. The overall traction felt stronger outside but that’s not surprising since I was playing on a more abrasive surface. The trade-off is durability.
DO NOT play in these outside regularly. Occasional is the word you’ll need to fall in love with if you want to keep your pair healthy for a while.
Sure, these were never meant to be in the outdoor club but at least I’ve got confirmation.
Don’t give up hope yet though – I can tell you right now that this portion of the shoe is the most disappointing but it only gets better from here. Much better.
A removable midsole makes a return but it’s packing a React & Lunarlon combo this time. You’ll find the React layer in the midfoot area, while Lunarlon makes up the main carrier and it’s all around that middle portion.
The end result feels great. Don’t expect anything other-worldly but when compared to Kobe’s other shoes, this setup feels the most thought-out, most balanced setup to date.
Sure, it’s still a drop-in midsole and Lunarlon does have a tendency to bottom out rather quickly but personally, I haven’t yet experienced this in my 5-6 month run.
This setup packs what you’d need for an agile guard but it’s more than just that.
For such a low-profile midsole, it’s got great impact protection, it’s super responsive and there’s a bit more step comfort along with a little bit of bounce this time. Something rarely seen on a Kobe.
Court feel is still retained since it’s a relatively thin midsole, you’re low to the ground and always stable. The tall sidewalls of the midsole help with stability along with the outer portion of the sole coming up and wrapping around the forefoot area.
Everything is done with minimalism in mind it seems, and it works. For such a low-profile shoe, it delivers so much performance-wise. It’s probably the most versatile cushion setup a Kobe shoe has seen to date.
It will not blow you away as it’s not overly bouncy but it’s fun enough to keep you playing energetically. The ride feels balanced, calculated, and fast.
My feet and knees never felt overly fatigued after a longer session (which happens more often than not), and I’d often forget I’m testing the shoes for a review in the first place.
It’s simple but very effective. A job well done!
Kobe’s line was always notorious to push the limits of how secure a shoe can be while keeping a minimal footprint, and the Kobe A.D. NXT 360 follows a similar path.
No, it’s not the most supportive basketball shoe and it will certainly not provide a lot of structure but it never meant to.
It’s a fast, responsive shoe that’s optimized for maximum comfort and freedom of movement, but I’m not saying these aren’t safe at all.
It’s got beefy external heel counters for heel & ankle lockdown which extend a bit to the midfoot section. That works well, as there were never any problems with how my heel or ankle sat inside the shoe.
A traditional lacing system is used for foot lockdown, and it functions as intended. The laces never got noticeably looser after initially lacing ’em up (something a few previous Kobe models had).
There is no real midfoot shank but the drop-in midsole has a small built-in TPU piece that acts as a shank to provide a little bit of torsional rigidity. Emphasis on a little bit.
This is still not an ideal choice for someone who’s experiencing plantar fasciitis (flat feet) or had foot issues in the past.
Since I was switching between this and the Kyrie 7 the past couple of months, I haven’t noticed a serious lack of torsional support since both shoes share a similar amount, or lack of, torsional protection.
Even without taking the midsole out, you can still bend the shoe in half with relative ease. It’s really damn flexible but, once again, it was meant to be this way.
Lastly, the upper contained my foot fairly well, something I didn’t expect. I kinda expected almost a complete sock-like Flyknit based on how the shoe was marketed and how it looked online but the reality was a little different.
This version of Flyknit is a bit more structured than I thought it would be, so foot containment wasn’t bad at all.
So the bottom line is, you gotta know what you’re looking for when shopping for this shoe. You’re not going to get maximum support and tons of beefy security features here but these never supposed to have ’em in the first place.
Freedom of movement and an extension of your foot are the primary driving factors when making these, and that’s what it delivers.
Once you get used to the shape of the build, this really does become an extension of your foot. It feels so damn smooth, light, and convenient to move in, for a lack of a better term.
Support does exist in terms of ankle & heel lockdown and overall stability but it’s very subtle.
I don’t recommend this shoe for a heavier frontcourt guy or an athletic high-flyer.
But if you’re someone who never needed all the security features crammed into a shoe or you’re curious to try this type of setup out – give these some time and you should be pleasantly surprised how smooth it feels to play in the A.D. NXT 360.
V. THE BUILD
The biggest selling point of the shoe was 360 degrees of Flyknit goodness all throughout the build.
Yeah, there is a lot of Flyknit here. Inside, outside – it’s everywhere and it feels awesome. However, this particular implementation of it might surprise you, as it’s not the buttery-soft knit some people expected.
The forefoot section uses an extremely thin knit that doesn’t really feel like a knit. It felt a little plasticy and crusty at first but give ’em enough time and you’ll feel the benefits comfort-wise.
The back portion uses a more structured knit that’s a little stronger and thicker but still feels like the same plasticy stuff.
It’ll all depend on your perspective on this one. If you’re looking for something that looks and feels like a luxury material, you might be disappointed. But if comfort and performance are what you’re mainly after, you’re in luck!
While it might look a little deceiving at first, you’ll soon realize how well this material wraps around your foot almost like a compression sock.
It’s really damn nice, and for a while, it was pretty tough to come back to more traditional setups after getting spoiled by the Kobe A.D. NXT 360.
But of course, there are obvious downsides to this type of build. Durability is not this shoe’s strong suit. While the upper does look healthier than the outsoles 6 months in, it’s starting to look weary now.
There’s a bit of fraying along the toebox and sides but that’s pretty normal. Plus I’ve got my wide feet constantly stretching the upper out a bit.
These will not make the top lists of most durable shoes but for a knit, it’s actually quite strong. I’d still give the nod to the LeBron 16, 17, and 18 for making the most durable knit-based builds but the Kobe A.D. NXT 360 comes pretty close.
The Nike Kobe A.D. NXT 360 is not a shoe for absolutely everyone. The price tag alone is partly to blame but certain builds/playstyles probably won’t find these suitable for one reason or another.
The shoe has pretty good traction but it’s unreliable. Don’t take these outdoors too often as I did. The drop-in midsole is awesome and delivers all you need while keeping it fun and comfortable.
It’s the most versatile part of the shoe for sure.
There aren’t any beefy support features here and even though the critical basics are there – guys with explosive, athletic play styles and/or heavier players should think twice before getting these.
Unless you’re used to this type of setup and actually prefer it.
The upper is in fact all Flyknit and despite looking a little weird at first, you’ll love it for how it feels on feet. It’s a true extension of your foot, as it feels like almost nothing once you get used to the shoe.
It’s an expensive shoe, that’s for sure. However, it’s been over two years since it launched, so I bet you can find some good deals under retail.
Is it worth the full 200 bucks? Depends on what’s valuable to you. If it’s comfort and performance – this is definitely at least close to $200-level.
If it’s durability and being able to hoop relentlessly for multiple years – you should probably look away.
Whatever the case may be – I give props to Nikey for constantly trying new stuff out, and really pushing how minimal a basketball shoe can be while still retaining the qualities we need while hooping.
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Thanks a lot for staying with me! I gotta say, I was quite surprised with the Kobe A.D. NXT 360. It brought some stuff I’ve never before in a basketball sneaker. There will be some trade-offs with this one but that’s why it’s key to know what you’re looking for.
I’ve got a complete $200 budget guide for getting basketball shoes if your wallet can handle it. Check it out!
But I’m really excited to hear what you’ve got to say on this one. Do you think the price tag is a bit much for what’s being offered? What’s your favorite shoe at the moment? Do you have a question?
Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can!
Nike Kobe A.D. NXT 360$200
Fit & Comfort9.5/10
Value for the Price7.0/10
- True to size is recommended for most
- Frequent wiping will be needed, the outsoles pick up a lot of dust
- Might take some time to get used to the curved platform
- This Flyknit is surprisingly durable
- Positions 1-3
- Most guards
- Players not requiring a lot of torsional support