Today’s the day a lot of people have been waiting for. From the first wear-test pair we saw LeBron in sometime back, the LeBron XI is finally here. The shoe launched today at retailers nationwide and it’s far from anything the King has ever done before.
The LeBron X had full length zoom air, Hyperfuse upper and a high collar. The LeBron XI has completely changed the game with an entirely new design and technologies we haven’t seen in his signature shoe before.
FIRST LOOK: It’s bulky. It’s sleek, but it’s bulky. Those were my initial thoughts when first checking out the shoe a week ago, before even having the chance to feel it. With the addition of posite on the upper, you would think the shoe would be heavier and after experiencing the LeBron X, that’s the last thing we needed; a heavier performance shoe.
UPPER: The Tech to this shoe makes up really one of the most ironic shoes we’ve ever seen. It has a Hyperposite upper, which is a hybrid between posite that we’re accustomed to seeing on foams and hyperfuse, similar to that on the LeBron X. Together, they form a lighter, yet durable material that’s extremely protective. The collar is also different from the X in that it’s lower and offers more range of natural motion due to the cut of it. There’s still dynamic flywire along the shoe running from the laces to the midsole, for an adaptive fit and an excellent lock down. When LeBron went to Nike he told them he needed something that would lock him down so he could fly and protect him from himself, with that, the upper they developed, while firm, yet comfortable, is fantastic.
MIDSOLE: Here’s where it gets interesting. We’ve been so accustomed to seeing full-length max air along the midsole because of LeBron’s power status and need for cushioning that it’s odd to see something else there. Instead, we have full-length zoom air along the bottom of lunar cushioning. Of course, lunar foam is something we’ve also grown use to seeing from Nike as they’ve been adding it to more and more of their shoes since it’s conception. Also embedded in the mid foot is the TPU shank plate to provide extra support and torsional rigidity.
OUTSOLE: The outsole on this LeBron is also somewhat different. It’s still a rubber sole, but it’s very thin and the rubber is strategically placed along the bottom to make the shoe as light as possible. It’s not full-length rubber, but rather, split into two parts in the heel and forefoot. The lateral outrigger of the sole is added for more stability when cutting from side to side.
FEEL: For anyone that wore the LeBron X’s, you know how ridiculous the bounce from the max air unit was. It was almost like having a trampoline in your shoes. The LeBron XI’s are a lot different. You don’t feel anything close to that bounce, instead, it’s still soft, but very responsive. The Hyperposite added to the shoe can be felt in the support from the moment you try it on. It just feels thicker and stronger overall. The shoe itself is two ounces lighter than the LeBron X which is a very nice difference when comparing. Bill Bowerman believed that if you removed an ounce of weight from an athlete’s shoe, you would relieve 55 pounds of torque. Two ounces, 110 pounds. You’re welcome.
The price-point is high for these at a staggering $200 for mens’, but if you’re going to use them to play ball in, it’s a solid investment. They have a great look to them to so if you like them for that, go right ahead. Either way, Nike outdid themselves again on this one.