A basketball constant: If an offensive player is able to create separation between himself and the defensive player, he can boost his scoring percentage.
Everyone knows that shooting a basketball is easier when the shot is uncontested. Fewer people know exactly how much easier it is with specific amounts of space (five feet versus four feet versus three feet, and so on) between the offense player and the defender. Luckily, math provides some clarity there: A study from MIT revealed that for every foot of space created by an offensive player against a defender, shooting percentage for NBA players rises by 2 percent. While that number might seem small, it's in the minutia that the likes of Kobe Bryant play.
With that 2-percent improvement in mind, the KOBE NXT 360’s design — a three-part structure of wrap-around Flyknit, a drop-in dual-density midsole and an outsole — is predicated on providing the surest possible footing.
Getting the money requires hitting the bank
Sure, that thought has a double meaning (and a kiss off the glass isn’t always the prettiest score) but in the context of the KOBE 360, banking is all about improving traction and connectivity around corners. Wear tests for the KOBE administered by Nike's NXT and Sport Research Lab teams analyzed quickness around the three-point arc, a distance of 50-feet, and showed that pushing off of a banked surface allows for more force and quickness – keys to creating separation from the defender.
Quickness comes in the cut
The average NBA player runs two-and-a-half miles per game but rarely does so in a straight line. They are constantly cutting and making sharp, quick movements. Players make 50-percent more cuts on offense than they do on defense. They make their fastest cuts running around arcing curves, similar to the three-point line.
A great midsole improves margins
While there is no direct correlation between 2 percent of space and a two-part midsole, the design insights around cutting and banking led to a dual-density solution. The drop-in for the KOBE 360 balances Lunarlon foam on the perimeter, which provides a supportive platform on the bank, with plush Nike REACT technology directly underfoot for all-game comfort.
Reducing micro volatility forms a macro upgrade to court feel
Typically, every layer added to a shoe takes the shape further and further from the true form of the foot. This makes stability on the bank difficult and thus the task of creating space even more difficult. The wrap-around Flyknit construction of the KOBE 360 is steamed directly on the last to mimic the anatomical shape of the foot, allowing for a more conformed fit as well as the elimination of harsh corners both on the footbed and then with ground contact. Ultimately, this advance in fit is designed to create a greater connection to the drop-in midsole and the playing surface while simultaneously boosting containment and reducing in-shoe movement.