Nike Unveils ‘Kobe 9’ Sneaker That Was Inspired By Manny Pacquiao

Nike unveiled the Black Mamba’s newest signature sneaker, the “Kobe 9.”

Wait. That’s not a sneaker. That’s boot for hiking Mount Everest. They appear to give the ankle much support so one doesn’t suffer an ankle injury, say such as a torn Achilles. However Kobe insists that the motivation for the high-high-top wasn’t from his injury, but from boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and his boxing shoes. “I was with Pacquiao watching him train, prepare for a fight. I’m looking down; I’m looking at his boxing boot. I’m saying man, what if there’s something there? And the timing just kinda matched up.” Nike reveals that the plans of this sneaker were in place way before Kobe’s injury, “We started this project almost two and a half years ago,” said Nike’s VP of Design Eric Avar. “This notion of going to a high top, more of a dynamic high top, was something we’ve been working on. His Achilles injury is a bummer, unfortunate for anyone. But it could happen to anyone in any shoe.”

The new Kobe 9 features “Flyknit technology,” weaving fabric for snug high-cut ankle support and is scheduled to be released early February next year, retailing for $225.