First Impression: Nike Kobe 9 Low EM

Moving away from the traditional low-cut silhouette, the Nike Kobe 9 Elite revealed an unorthodox high-cut proprioceptive collar with new features such as the flyknit upper and the carbon fiber wings. It really was a hit and miss for some people. Lucky for us, Nike has created another version of the Kobe 9 to cater for people who love the traditional low-top look and I gotta say, these are dope.

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Starting off with the traction, it is exactly the same pattern as the Kobe 9 Elite. The thermal mapping traction pattern with that soft, pliable rubber I know will play just the same as the Elite 9’s. One of the best traction patterns I have played in since the rubber is so aggressive and pliable so these will be reliable for all court conditions. On a side note, if you’ve copped the Easter pair, the traction also has a speckled blue pattern throughout the entire outsole, which is a nice touch.


Just like the Elite 9’s, the cushioning system has the same Lunarlon insole. A little thicker than the Kobe 8 insole with some grooves along the upper for grip on the footbed. Step in comfort was amazing and once it breaks in it should play just like the 9 Elites too. Also since the insert is thicker than the 8’s it won’t bottom out as fast either, so that’s a good look. This model definitely feels more snug compared to the 9 Elites for some reason. Whether Nike slimmed the EM versions down or whether this model sits higher than the high top models in the footbed. Either way just a quick note for those of you who experienced deadspace in the toebox of the Elite 9’s, these are extremely snug fit, go true to size or up half a size.

Lockdown & Fit:


Incredible. To be honest, they fit just like the 8’s. The upper is a seamless, one piece upper made from engineered mesh with hardly any fuse to it really conforms to your foot comfortably. The Flywire when laced up tightly, nicely wraps around the midfoot and the heel lockdown is insane. This model doesn’t have an external heel counter like its predecessor but the internal heelcup and the TPU wings do a phenomenal job in the lockdown compartment. Really excited to try these on court.

Heel-to-Toe Transition:

Upon first try they feel really great in terms of cushioning and they don’t feel clunky whatsoever like some people experienced with the 9 Elites. After a quick break in time with the Lunarlon insole, I think the heel to toe transition will be excellent and even better than the Elites.



Unlike the Elite 9’s, there is no proprioceptive collar to provide a placebo effect of protecting your ankle. The support of the shoe is going to come from the excellent fit and lockdown. Other than the fit itself, there are the TPU wings on the lateral side of the shoe to provide stability and lateral support with an internal heel counter for lockdown. Along the engineered mesh upper, there are minimal Hyperfuse layers to protect the areas exposed to more damaged but not restricting whatsoever. I feel these are going to be great performers.


This I think will be the one down-side to the shoe. When I heard they were releasing an EM version of the Kobe 9 I thought the upper would be exactly the same as the Kobe 8. For some people, the upper of the Kobe 8 wasn’t durable and many people experience ripping problems on the lateral side. I didn’t experience this really enjoyed ithe lightweight, breathable and flexibility of the upper especially with the fuse for reinforcement. I like my shoe to be structured and durable. When first getting the Kobe 9 Low EM, the engineered mesh was ridiculously thin, like paper. Along the lateral and medial side of the shoe there were huge perforation holes, which also worried me since it made the shoe more prone to tearing during game play. Other than the upper and of course the soft rubber outsole, the shoe seems to be pretty good quality. Definitely would not recommend hooping in these outdoors though, the softer you make your materials the easier they are to getting damaged so on concrete they will burn fast!


Ventilation is going to be pretty decent in this shoe. Like I mentioned before, there are huge perforation holes on the lateral and medial side of the upper as well as a mesh tongue so the air flow will be there. These will definitely be more breathable than the Elite’s so we’ll see how these perform. Stay tuned to where I will be doing a performance review on these in the near future! Other than that we can look forward to the new Kobe 9 Elite lows dropping this summer.

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