It’s surreal to imagine a basketball landscape without Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers star and future Hall of Famer. Bryant has been one of the most polarizing figures the game has ever known, but his pro career will come to an end on April 13, 2016, when the Lakers host the Utah Jazz in their final regular season game. As Bryant continues his farewell tour, Nike is providing one last offering for his feet, which have logged thousands of miles and minutes during his 20-year NBA career.
The Kobe 11 will be Bryant’s final on-court shoe, although like they did with Michael Jordan, Nike will probably extend Bryant’s sneaker line after he retires from the game. The silhouette of the XI is strikingly similar to the IX and X, but the latest iteration of Bryant’s signature sneaker continues to build on Flyknit technology, which debuted on the Kobe IX, its first use in something other than a Nike running shoe.
The Flyknit upper on the Kobe 11 is made of thermoplastic polyurethane yarn, a stronger version of the tech, which is making its debut with the 11. Lunarlon is back for cushioning, and Zoom Air in the heel is back for responsiveness.
The 11’s first colorway, a red and black iteration entitled “Achilles Heel,” will release on Jan. 9, 2016.