Performance Review: Nike Mamba Instinct

Hi guys! I'm here once again to give you a performance review on the Nike Mamba Instinct. For some strange reason, Nike renamed the KB Mentality into the Mamba Mentality maybe because of Kobe's retirement, they wanted to move forward and start fresh somewhat. But whatever the reason is, I hope this line has a bright future post Kobe era. I've already published the video review some days ago but if you want a more in-depth review, then you can read through below. If you still want to watch the video, then I've also included it here just below. So, without further ado, let's go and check out the shoe.

Materials: 4/5

Flyweave upper

TPU strands were used in the forefoot thus some break-in time is needed.

The Nike Mamba Instinct features a Flyweave for the upper with TPU strands integrated in the forefoot. This is not new to Nike and in fact, the use of textile upper is the trend nowadays for performance models as it gives a somewhat natural feel in the materials compared to synthetics. You can see the Flyweave all around the shoe's upper and it has some TPU strands on the forefoot for reinforcement. A minor drawback with this is that it would require some break-in time just for the TPU strands to soften up to prevent that awkward feeling when you flex the forefoot area. Even though the material is woven, it isn't that breathable but it helps in retaining heat inside the shoe to facilitate the quick break-in process which is roughly about 2 hours.

Cushion: 4.5/5

Drop-in Lunarlon midsole. You can swap these in other shoes that has the same similar setup.

There are grooves inside to prevent your foot from sliding inside.

Cushioning is made up of a drop-in Lunarlon midsole just like the previous years. There is no inner lining like most shoes have but there are grooves carved in the drop-in midsole to provide grip inside and preventing your feet from sliding. The foam itself is light but gives a perfect balance between court feel and impact protection. Honestly, this Lunarlon setup should be implemented more often in my opinion instead of the segmented (heel and forefoot zone only) cushion setup because the comfort that Lunarlon provides somewhat cancels out when a lousy phylon carrier will be used. I enjoyed playing in this and if you have other kicks that have this kind of setup, you can easily swap the drop-in insole (assuming the fit the same). For a guard like me, I highly recommend this if you want that impact protection and court feel.

Traction: 4/5

The outsole is made up of solid rubber with some herringbone pattern and scale-looking pattern. While it grips the floor well, there are sections more softer than the other which would get worn out more quickly especially if you plan to play in these outdoors most of the time. Yes, I dig when story-telling gimmicks are used in performance but this is a case where I would prefer if they used last year's outsole tooling as last year. Even though it may look recycled, at least you get a more consistent grip and durability same as last year which I think is one of the selling points in the KB Mentality.

Fit: 3.75/5

This dip in the outsole put me the sidelines for 3 weeks.

Okay, a little bit of story time. The reason the performance review for this took a longer time was because of an injury that I had when I was testing it. What happened was as I was challenging a shot and as I sort of jabbed on the floor, I sprained my ankle which resulted in being sidelined for 3 weeks. What I realized happened is the dip in the outsole (image above), there was not enough rubber to somewhat contain the material. Since the material has some give, it was not able to contain the momentum of my jab step. I really don't know why Nike did this in the first place and my best guess is for better forefoot flexing since I some ballers who ruined the KB Mentality outsoles in the forefoot area (cracking). Also, it may be due to my biomechanics on how I jab step. Maybe that's also the reason why some shoes have extended outrigger above the forefoot area to give a wider base on that area. This could only happen to me or some might even experienced this as well but I just wrote it here anyway just so you know.

Also another thing, try to fit them in stores since it is important to get the right fit because support is very basic. It would largely come from the overall fit of the shoe. The laces have some type of modified eyelets but it is causing too much discomfort for me so I just skipped that area. Wide footers might want to get half a size or even 1 size bigger since the fit is really snug. Support comes from the wide base underneath and while there is no midfoot shank underneath, your foot sits relatively low so you are still fine. While it is a lowtop shoe, the ankle area is well sculpted to give you good range of motion in the ankle area. As I said earlier, there is an outrigger and I wish there was another small one to provide a much wider base.

Price: 4.5/5

Flyweave and full-length drop-in Lunarlon, for a price like this is indeed a good pricepoint. These are still available in most Toby's Sports and in my opinion the utilization of these materials in a mid-level shoe is a good move made by Nike to attract consumers to experience the latest techs without spending too much.


Excluding my 3-week injury, I would say that I really enjoyed playing in the Nike Mamba Mentality. For a mid-tier model priced on the Php 5,xxx range is a steal price because you get to enjoy a textile upper which is Flyweave (more popularly seen in the KD line) and a full-length Lunarlon midsole which is perfect for all-around players. The Mamba Mentality line has a bright future ahead even though Kobe is already retired and I hope Nike continues to refine this shoe as it keeps getting better every year.

Analykix Grade: 4.15/5



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