My next pair of basketball shoes after the Reebok ATR Elite II as mentioned in the previous post were the Nike Kobe Dream Season III Low from the 2010-11 season. I actually didn’t intend to buy a pair of Kobe. I am never a big fan of Kobe even though I lived in L.A during the three-peat of Shaq-Kobe era. But it just happened I was hanging out with my friends at a department store and I saw these Kobe V on sale. It was actually at one of those bins with very limited sizes left. So I went to check it out. I didn’t know the exact original price of Dream Season III but they were marked off significantly. They were around US$60 and I knew they used to be priced at over US$100. I found out it was their only pair, size 10.5! It’s exactly my size because my feet size is 9.5-11 depends on the shoes. I tried it on and although it was a little tight in the toebox, it fit nicely. The only problem was my pinky felt a bit tight.
My pair was the white top with black at the backheel and yellow bottom. It has flywire on the two sides, leather at the front and blade traction on the bottom. It has zoom air for cushioning.
Enough with the official description and marketing lingo, so how does it feel to actually wear and play in them?
When I first wore them, like most shoes with leather and non-mesh material, they felt hard. But as time went by, after breaking them in, they became softer. They are actually my first pair of low-top basketball shoes. I always had high-top before. The Kobe shoes really made low-top basketball shoes trendy and legit. Before the Kobe shoes, there were hardly any low-top basketball shoes and only high-top are considered real basketball shoes. And it more than compensates the lack of high-top protection with extra cushioning around your ankle. They really snuck your ankles and heels. My feet feel secure in these shoes. Although it’s 10.6 ounce, they feel heavier where you put them on and I don’t feel in any way they are flimsy or super light. They are well made and very solid. I like the material inside the shoes, it’s comfortable and not sticky when wet.
As said before, they were a bit hard to play with at the beginning and I remember after the first trip with them playing basketball for just over an hour, my bottom of my feet were a bit sore. I felt there was less cushioning than my Reebok ATR Elite II and the zoom air didn’t feel as thick as the cushioning of ATR Elite II. Kobe V was a bit hard but it did get a little better but my feet were more used to Nike Airmax and especially Reebok Hexalite cushioning which are really good thick cushioning from the 90s. I actually don’t like Airmax cushioning because I had one of the shoes deflating and leaking air.
Traction is pretty good on Dream Season III , actually, they were one of the best ones I had ever worn traction-wise. The blade traction really works and it’s pretty durable. But that’s probably because I wasn’t playing on them at my high school or university rate. I used to play 6+ hours of ball each week in high school and university and wore basketball shoes as part of my normal daily shoes so they got worn out quite quickly. After working, I only play during the weekends for at most 4 hours per week.
I do like to play in Dream Season III except for the cushioning but it’s not a dealbreaker. It’s more of a slight weakness. Dream Season III is responsive and it doesn’t feel clumsy like in the Reebok ATR Elite II or Air Jordan XII. They were actually my lightest, most agile pair of basketball shoes until I bought a pair of Kobe Venomenon 5 later on. I never felt so free in a pair of basketball shoes before but also secure and protected at the same time.
It does get hot and wet playing in them for me. The flywire is thin but it’s all plastic so there’s no ventilation from the sides, only from the holes punched in from the leather at the front so there isn’t enough ventilation to keep things dry inside.
Otherwise, Dream Season III is a good pair of basketball shoes that you can also wear with jeans.
This is a special section just for Dream Season III . When I bought my Kobe Venomenon 5, the Dream Season III became the backup basketball shoes. And I do play soccer or football if you are from UK. And yes, you guessed it, I played hardcourt football with Dream Season III ! I had hardcourt football shoes but I couldn’t find them and didn’t want to buy a pair of new hardcourt football shoes just for those few times a year I play hard court football so I used my Dream Season III . Why? Because Dream Season III is low to the ground, has good traction, well built and has the leather upper front. It is not designed to be football shoes but it worked well enough in an amateur game of fun. I was surprised at how well they worked for me. Nobody said I was wearing the same shoes and I played as well if not better than some of the other guys in real hardcourt football shoes. I got great protection and freedom of the low top. I really believe this ties into how Kobe’s experience as a kid playing football in Italy translate into this design of the Kobe shoes being low to the ground and really agile for cutting and movements. I also played badminton and tennis in these Dream Season III .
This is really one of the things I like best about Dream Season III , you can wear them for different sports and occasions and they also look like tennis shoes which you can wear with jeans and other clothes.
Since my previous basketball shoes were the Reebok ATR Elite II with all around ventilation from the sole to the top, I do find the Dream Season III to be a little stuffy especially at the toebox even though it does has some holes in the leather for ventilation. I would it’s average. In comparison, the Nike Zoom Kobe Venomenon 5 is much better.
I like how clean look it is and it is also elegant in a simplistic way. I bought the white, yellow and black version. It looks a lot like the Kobe V and could almost pass as Kobe V if you are not looking carefully. It can also substitute as white sneakers people like to wear with jeans or dress pants for smart casual. There were times when I would wear this as my daily kicks since it kind of look like a pair of white tennis shoes. Despite its clean white look, the black at the heel and the yellow cues give it an subtle aggressiveness.
Overall, I really like my pair of Dream Season III . I wish it has more ventilation then I would wear them more. That’s my major complaint, otherwise, they are great. I am sad to part with them as I found the bottom is falling out slowly after not wearing them very sparingly for a year and leaving them at my office (where I thought the dryness from constant air conditioning would be better for them). I don’t think I can play with them anymore, the plastic got a little hard and I can see the glue coming off a little. I will miss them.