The new shoe — dubbed the Kobe 9 Elite — features a high-top design that breaks with earlier models. The shoe includes a specially designed sole, based on the player’s own feet, as well as nine red lines meant to outline the sutures resulting from surgery on Bryant’s torn achilles earlier this year, Sports Illustrated notes.
Kobe 9 shoes will cost about $200 a pair when they hit retail shelves on Feb. 8. The shoes will come in yellow, black and orange versions. The unusual design did not immediately impress all observers. After they were unveiled, some Twitter (TWTR) users offered mixed opinions about the height and look of the new shoes, Fox Sports noted. One user summed up his opinion with humor: “The Kobe 9 is the first shoe for clowns, by clowns. To wear. At the circus.”
In a Nike release, Bryant noted that “these shoes will touch a nerve on the court in the same way I do.”
Shares of Nike were modestly higher in Friday morning trading.