Good to you see you! Welcome to my Nike Kobe Mamba Fury review, where we’ll see if Kobe’s cheaper shoes are still worth your time.
Does anyone remember the KB Mentality 2? I do. I think Kobe’s stuff was at its true peak then, where both the main line and the budget line were doing exactly what they’re supposed to.
The main signature line provided a quality, premium shoe with leading tech specs, while the budget line provided a cheap shoe that’s still good enough to hoop comfortably, even outdoors.
Well, we’re in 2020 now and the so-called budget line is still going, though the past few models honestly have been nothing special, and far from how I remember it in the Mentality days. I figured screw it, let’s give the latest one a try, 2020 can’t get worse anyway.
HERE’S HOW I BROKE IT DOWN
None of us have a lot of options in terms of courts to play on due to quarantine but I think this suits the shoe. I’ve played in it for a few months with a few breaks here and there at my local park which luckily isn’t closed or being paid attention to.
So you’ll get a review purely on the outdoor side of things. That’s what Kobe’s secondary line was intended for anyway.
Here’s what I’ll break down:
- The shoe’s fit & comfort aspects
- On-court performance
- Build quality & value for the price
- Versatility & to who it’s best for
Model: Nike Kobe Mamba Fury
Weight: 11.64 oz / 330 g. (size 10 US)
Retail Price: $100
Cushion: forefoot Zoom Air & Phylon midsole
Best Offers On: Amazon Finish Line
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I. COMFORT & FIT
SIZING: VERY NARROW!
If you’ve ever played in a KD model before, such as the 12th or the 13th, think of the Mamba Fury as a poor man’s version of those. By that, I mean super damn narrow, compact, and overly snug, especially in the forefoot area.
Not a great shoe for wide footers – I’m one myself, I went up half a size and I still do not like how they fit at all. There’s already a tad bit of dead space length-wise, so going up a full size would’ve likely ruined the fit.
The lateral areas of the forefoot (where the swoosh starts) are digging into my feet – almost every movement that causes the shoe to flex is uncomfortable and at times even painful. I believe this won’t be an issue for regular/narrow shaped feet though.
My feet are kinda gigantic but regardless, there’s no way a shoe should be designed in such a compact fashion, leaving zero room for error in terms of your foot shape.
Sure, the KD’s are almost all narrow but at least that’s balanced out with a stretchy upper, better overall comfort, and no trickery such as a damn swoosh digging into your foot.
So the bottom line for wide footers – either try ordering a few different sizes in advance (since I really can’t recommend one specific formula for this one) or skip these entirely.
Regular/narrow footers – you can go true to your size but expect a snug, condensed fit. If you’re more of a fan of roomy fits, going up 1/2 is an option too.
As far as comfort itself goes – there’s nothing special here but nothing horrible either. You can tell it’s not a premium shoe and making it wasn’t expensive.
A thing of note – don’t judge a book by its cover and give these a good amount of time to break in.
The upper barely stretches but the shoe started to feel better substantially only in the 3rd week for me. It might take less for you but expect a lengthy adjusting phase.
Once again, something that’s not a dealbreaker but totally could’ve been improved. I’ve seen several leather shoes break in quicker than these!
Besides that – the shoe feels decent. It’s easy to put on, it’s super light, low to the ground, and barely feels like something on your foot. Would’ve been nice if these weren’t overly tight for me.
For what’s supposed to be a durable, aggressive outdoor shoe – the traction was okay at best. I know that a consumer is drawn to something that’s articulated as “deadly” or “aggressive” traction but realistically, all you need is consistent grip to serve you during action.
I feel like this traction was enough for me to focus on playing and not being hesitant. The shoe wouldn’t make it to a list of the best traction hoop shoes but for most players, I believe this should do the trick.
I haven’t experienced any major slips or slide-outs due to the outsole, and I’m talking either concrete or synthetic rubber. You know, those outside courts with bouncy rubber surfaces.
The outsole does pick up dust but it isn’t a huge deal in this case – the pattern is spaced out enough to where the debris can escape rather quickly. A quick wipe or two occasionally was enough for me.
But wait, it’s not all good. This is supposed to be an outdoor budget model, correct? Then why this questionable, flimsy rubber is being used?
It’s nowhere near the reliability of a KB Mentality 2 or any other outdoor-ready shoe and the pattern’s grooves are starting to fray. And I’m only in the third month of the shoe.
Of course, I’m playing solely outdoors. Occasional play outside would mean better longevity but again, this is supposed to be an OUTDOOR shoe.
Either Nikey went all-out saving cash mode or there was a design flaw there. Either way, I’m pretty pissed.
The cushion setup is Nikey’s typical all-out budget formula: a Phylon midsole and a forefoot Zoom unit slapped on to market the shoe having “responsive Zoom”.
The setup feels, or should I say doesn’t feel like a cushion setup.
Listen, I get the whole focus for quick guards who need maximum responsiveness, court feel, and precision. I get that it’s easy to market a cheap shoe a “responsive” shoe.
But this is borderline terrible. Every single type of player needs some form of foundational impact protection and at least a tad bit of energy return upon a movement. Without those two things, you end up feeling like you’re running on a pair of wooden clogs. It’s unpleasant, it’s inefficient and it can even be dangerous for some.
The Zoom unit in the forefoot is caged and doesn’t feel like Zoom, while the Phylon midsole is one of those stiff, cheap versions used.
The end result does make you feel quick, low to the ground, and precise with your movements but a 22-year-old athletic dude in shape shouldn’t have his feet and knees aching after a 2-hour session. That might’ve sounded kinda arrogant but all I’m trying to do is make a point.
So, if you’re expecting a quick & low profile ride – you’ll get that with the Mamba Fury but the issue here is you get nothing along with that. No signs of competent impact protection, energy return, or at least a glimpse of softness underfoot.
As much as I wanted to like the shoe, this is honestly a dealbreaker for me.
The shoe is supportive and secure to play in for the most part. I’ll give ’em that – for such a light, compact shoe, they do a good job providing overall support, containment, and stability.
Most of it comes from the snug and secure fit, which is, as we know, the foundation of a secure shoe. On top of that, we’ve got a small internal outrigger for ankle & heel lockdown, a standard lacing system, the tooling is flat which promotes stability.
There are also pretty aggressive outriggers for lateral protection and the midsole comes up to the midfoot area, cupping the foot nicely and providing a secure feel.
The problem is, I wasn’t able to comfortably grasp what these have to offer as they were just so damn tight for my clown feet.
I reckon for narrow/regular footers, the shoe shouldn’t feel overly restrictive and provide the needed qualities for playing quickly and safely. Something most Kobe’s low tops bring to the table and something the Mamba Fury offers as well.
V. BUILD & MATERIALS
The upper isn’t anything out of the ordinary when it comes to today’s trend of modern materials used.
The Mamba Fury sports a synthetic textile up at the front and mesh at the back area. There are overlays of Fuse in the forefoot and a few other areas for more structure as well. The heel piece where the heel counter resides looks to be a synthetic suede. Lastly, the tongue area where the laces reside is an open mesh for additional ventilation.
The first thing I’ve immediately noticed is how stiff the upper is. You’d need a hammer to stretch it which promotes a lack of flex. So if don’t get that proper one-to-one fit – good luck breaking it in. You’ll likely have a tough time as the fabric upfront simply doesn’t stretch.
My feet did get quite hot in these but I really don’t mind much – if you care about that sorta thing, expect a mediocre level of breathability with these. Don’t know how else to describe it lol.
So, what can we take from this? Listen, for me to say we can’t expect much for a $100 budget shoe in terms of materials would likely be justified by the general sneakerhead or a guy who follows basketball shoes.
But look at the other shoes put out by Nikey. What about the $100 Jordan CP3.12 with a full-on Flyknit upper? What about a $90 LeBron Witness 3 with a fairly nice knit upper? Or even the $130 Kyrie 6 with a premium textile & genuine leather silhouette?
I never understood the lack of consistency among the shoes Nike puts out year by year.
First, you’d think you know what you’re paying for but then a $110 model with fairly premium tech and Flyknit comes out and makes you doubt what the hell it is you paid for when you got yourself a $140 mesh shoe that’s mediocre at best?
The upper and build quality on the Mamba Fury isn’t the worst I’ve seen. It plays fairly well when broken in, it’s light and looks like could hold for a while.
The Nike Kobe Mamba Fury is an out of place shoe, hidden in the shadows in the huge basketball shoe market that it is today.
I feel like the main buyers were (or will be) either Kobe fans, guys who need a cheap pair for one season to wreck, or just guys who like the silhouette and are looking to rock them casually.
Those would be the three recommendations I’ve got for this one. I don’t think it’s good enough even for a hundred bucks. Or even for a light guard, as it’s mainly marketed towards responsiveness and quickness.
Pay attention to the market and the pricing tendencies folks, it’ll save you a lot of cash and trouble in the long run. Now go grab an actual banger from this list if you’re on a budget!
That’s a wrap for the Nike Kobe Mamba Fury review! I truly hope you found it informative!
Let me know what you think about this one? Perhaps you’ve played in it and feel different about it? Or you’ve got a question?
Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as quick as I can!
Nike Kobe Mamba Fury$100
Fit & Comfort7.0/10
Value for the Price6.5/10
- Narrow platform: regular/narrow footers can go true to size for a snug fit
- Wide footers: go up 1/2 a size or skip the shoe entirely
- Forefoot/midfoot flex causes discomfort
- Non-existant cushion
- Players preferring maximum court feel
- Light players
- Casual sessions