Thursday , Dec , 11 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Kobe Bryant’s New Shoe to Be a True Low-Top

But he asked for this. Eighteen months ago, when Bryant met with a Nike design team and began brainstorming ideas for the Kobe IV, his focus wasn’t on following the precedent but rather on setting his own. An avid soccer buff, Bryant marveled at the stress soccer players put on their ankles while wearing a low-cut shoe and figured if they felt could they do that on the pitch, he could bring it on the hardwood. So that day in a Nike boardroom, he gave Eric Avar, Nike’s performance footwear creative director, one specific instruction: Create the lowest, lightest basketball shoe ever.

Avar loved the idea, but at the same time, he knew the ramifications of the words coming out of the mouth of the reigning NBA MVP.

"I pressed him on it," Avar said. "I was like, ‘A real low? Like a soccer shoe?’ And Kobe said, ‘Yes. A true, genuine low top.’