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When designer Eric Avar set out to create Kobe Bryant‘s eighth signature sneaker, one of the Black Mamba’s wishes trumped all else: for the shoe to act as a direct extension of the foot to keep him as close to the court as possible while mirroring his quickness. The result was an ultra-lightweight and dynamic low-top composed of 90% mesh – the first time Nike’s Engineered Mesh technology had been employed on a basketball sneaker – for an unbeatable combination of breathability, flexibility and strength. Now, through a lens of reflection, the Kobe VIII joins Nike’s commemorative “Prelude” pack with a design that takes inspiration from contemporary art for its aesthetic. While the mirrored finish on both the heel and tongue represent Kobe’s contemplations of the tumultuous 2011-2012 season, the upper dons a bold mixture of neon and chrome as a nod to modernity. Retailing for $200 USD, the Kobe VIII “Prelude” drops this Saturday, January 25 at select Nike retailers and Nike.com.