LeBron James' New Shoes Are Good Enough to Make Bloggers Not Horrible
Will Brinson kicked it in Akron with Nike and LeBron James for the release of LBJ's new shoe and documentary. We're referring it as 'Ballin' With LeBron.'
One thing should be abundantly clear before moving any further along in this review of the LeBron VII's from Nike: I am horrible -- I mean, just flat out horrible -- at basketball. (I blame my JV coach who tried to "fix" my gunslinger, from-the-hip jumper, but that's neither her nor there.)
However, instead of taking this review with a grain of salt, you should probably understand that if I think a basketball shoe is superb, then it is really, really good; I wear low-cut shoes almost exclusively and can't stand any sort of shoe, outside an occasional cowboy boot, that gets near my ankle.
Except, of course, the brand spankin' new LeBron VII's that I got to test last weekend while -- and I mess you not -- while playing basketball with LeBron.
For starters, the shoes are phenomenally light; devotees may recall that I tested some of the newest Nike crosstrainers, which check in at 11.5 ounces and these felt even lighter, although I'm not positive if that's accurate.
But lightweight material is nothing new for the LeBron line, seeing as Nike's designers have always made a concerted effort to keep their number one branding guy equipped with the best material available.
What does define the shoe are two innovations from the Nike team (and Jason Petrie specifically): Flywire, new to Bron's line of shoes, is a non-perforated, "higher tensile strength cable" that beefs up the shoe's structure while providing increased flexibility and reducing the weight of the shoe.
(It should also be noted that LBJ has a "semi-patent" on the "diamond pattern" created from the Flywire's "crisscross lineage.")
And, most importantly, a full airbag. If that sounds like something more appropriate for a car, well, yeah, then your shoe knowledge is on par with mine. But what you have to realize is that the majority of shoes – and specifically the Air Maxes that LeBron and the rest of us 90's teens wore while growing up – have a tiny air bag in the heel, or some individual spot, of the foot.
There's never been a shoe that contained a full airbag. Ever. Which is precisely what makes this shoe not only unique but innovative and especially -- for lack of a better word -- bouncy.
As far as the style goes, well, it rocks, even if it's a little over the top/flashy for my personal tastes (I wear Clark's Wallabees and Brooks' Chariots religiously and those aren't, ahem, very fancy in terms of colors)
But Nike doesn't mess up shoe design often and you can see a lot of LeBron in the basic style. And no, I'm not talking about the fact that every time I looked down I literally saw the words "LeBron" (left) and "James" (right) or the fact that while I was trying not to collapse from running up and down the floor I could see various L's and J's on the heels of my faster competitors -- the shoe has an innovative and original feel to it.
And actually, that was the goal, as cliché as it sounds, of Petrie and Bron when creating the shoe: "A perfect combination of superior performance and luxurious style, embodying LeBron himself."
Lest you actually believe me, there actually is a bunch of LeBron in the shoe: five flex grooves on the outsole represent the notion of "team" while "23 stripes in the midsection represent LeBron's number." Oh yeah, and apparently if you rotate the shoe -- I missed this while staring down and panting -- there's a 3D decoder key which displays "LeBron's credos -- Passion, Fearless, Tradition, Community, Family, Loyalty," etc.
Look, I wouldn't blame you for chalking this rave review up to corporate shilling (Lord knows I did get to play ball with LeBron James), but at the same time, you've got to understand: I haven't hooped it up in several years, and I walked away from that game with three steals, a few points, plenty of boards and one charge taken against King James.
And that, folks, regardless of what real players tell you, is a glowing endorsement.