Leave it to Russ Bengtson to get the whole story on a sneaker.
Complex TV sat down with Kobe Bryant to discuss his latest signature shoe with Nike. Reflecting on his challenging year and his comeback ahead, Kobe also shared the initial inspiration for this high top silhouette.
“We wanted to innovate the industry a little bit more. Since we did the low, everybody in the basketball business went low as well. And everyone became comfortable with that because that was a set idea that was generating revenues. But that doesn’t mean we can’t push it to another level. So why can’t we do a high and still maintain the weight like it’s a low and increase the responsiveness of a high as opposed to it just being a barrier between the ankle and the product.”
Stating that this was the highest basketball shoe he’s ever worn, Kobe noted that the inspiration came from observing the similarities in basketball and boxing and noting the responsiveness of Manny Pacquiao’s boot. He also claims that he had no idea that the AJXX8 was going high as well or that FlyKnit existed at the time, but seems glad that it all came together.
Watch the video above for the full interview and hear Kobe breakdown all of the details (those red stripes on the heel included).