When LeBron James debuted the Nike LeBron X+ “USA” sneaker in this summer’s Gold Medal game, it’s safe to say people went a little crazy. Ever since then, the hype has been steadily climbing, moving past the initial criticism around the price and into last weekend’s release of the LeBron X+ “Crown Jewels.” Luckily today, I was invited by Nike to come check out the “Crown Jewel,” and get one of the first up-close looks at the infamous “USA” joints that are releasing tomorrow.
The “USA” shoes are releasing as the full Nike LeBron X+ “Sport Pack,” which means they will retail for $270 and include all of the revolutionary technology found with Nike+ Basketball. I’ve written on what this means before – basically, you’ll have the opportunity to monitor and track nearly every conceivable physical stat possible.
LeBron has actually contributed to this portion of the technology, and his opinion went in to much of what is available. While his specific statistics will probably never be made public, it’s interesting to know during performance that the best player in the world went through much of the same training and statistical analysis that you did.
The sneakers include the American flag as well as the diamond feel on the tongue, the large gold Nike swoosh and midsole. This diamond shape and feel will be elaborated on in different ways (For instance, the “Crown Jewel” featured an intricate logo of a, you guessed it, a jewel with a crown.) through the different releases of this sneaker – an ode to LeBron James making it to his 10th signature sneaker (Only one other man has ever done that. You probably know his name.). The non-Nike+ version colorways that’ll eventually release for $180 will not have this. Upon the touch, you’ll be able to explicitly tell the difference. This diamond shaping adds a texture and feature to the Nike+ versions of the sneaker that nothing else has, and it really helps make the shoe pop in person. That portion of the shoe doesn’t feel glossy, the way the non-Nike+ joints are expected to feel.
As for the specific construction of the shoe, there is a Hyperfuse upper, which builds the outer shell. Just underneath that are the cables for the Flywire, which are somewhat visible in the “USA” version below a tiny net along the upper, and even below all of that is an inner booty. That’s three layers of protection and support, something the LeBron line has always been known for considering the pressure a 6-9, 270-pound force of nature puts on his sneakers.
The shoe also features a full-length Zoom Air, which is the first time it’s ever been done in the line.
Upon jumping into the shoes, your feet feel secure immediately, and in that sense, it almost feels like you are strapping them in for combat. At the initial touch, the shoe does seem a little rigid, but the fit is very secure and comfortable.
This particular sneaker is releasing tomorrow, a week after the “Crown Jewel” hit. Nike specifically told me the release on the following weekend will be the “Blue Diamond” shoe, which will also be a Nike+ sneaker (pretty much all of the initial colorways will be coming with this tech, before the line branches out to offer specific colorways for $180 for the people who don’t want to experience the Nike+ Basketball technology). From there, the next major release will come at the end of the October. It’ll be the traditional LeBron “away” colorway, and while Nike says they may release an energy colorway somewhere in-between, nothing else is set in stone yet.
But once the season gets underway, you can expect to see a new colorway every few weeks.
For an exclusive up-close look, check out the following photos…