Sneaker News Top 30 of 2012
5 | NIKE LEBRON X
LeBron James finally did it. The best basketball player in the world finally cleared that ultimate hurdle, leading his Miami Heat to a championship in the 2011-12 NBA season. All the pressure he’d been through was paying off, with the year bringing him not only the title of NBA Champion, but also that of Most Valuable Player and Olympic gold medalist as well. How do you crystallize such a milestone moment in the career of one of our generation’s greatest athletes in sneaker form? You cram in all the premium tech that Nike can offer in a basketball shoe, distill things down to a theme that reflects the struggle and glory of King James over ten years, and then let it make its debut on the world’s biggest sporting stage.
Everything fell perfectly into place for the Nike LeBron X. As alluded to previously, the sneaker was introduced to the world during the USA Men’s Basketball team’s Gold Medal match against Spain at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. From there, its journey to retail began, sparking some early controversy along the way thanks to speculation on the various pricing options. Initial rumors had put the premium version of the Nike LeBron X featuring the Nike+ options and the included sport kit at a price of $315, a number which dropped off a couple times ahead of the first release of the sneaker, and eventually clocked in at $270. Beyond this, Nike+ enabled pairs without the accompanying sport kit were available for $200 and the non-Nike+ versions stood at $180.
The Nike design team made sure that consumers were indeed getting their money’s worth, cramming a good amount of technology into the Nike LeBron X. On top of the Nike+ options available, the sneaker also sported a specifically engineered full-length visible Zoom unit running along of the bottom, Hyperfuse paneling on the upper, and Flywire supports intertwined beneath to keep the fit locked down. From an
aesthetics standpoint, the sneaker pulled inspiration from the constant pressure put on LeBron over the years, spinning a diamond theme throughout the design and colorways that not only told a story of perseverance, but also helped to embody the prestigious landmark moment of reaching his tenth signature shoe.
The first pair to prominently showcase that motif was the Nike LeBron X “Crown Jewel” a Fireberry colored edition that planted a crown and scepter graphic on the back badge, no doubt an allusion to LeBron’s royal nickname and the extra pile of trophies he’s recently acquired. The special treatment on that pair even extended to the box, a premium angular gem-shaped casing that held the shoes in their own lush dustbags within. From there, many more precious stone-inspired designs came forth, including the ‘Blue Diamond’ colorway sporting a chilly blue for the upper, the ‘Cutting Jade’ that served as this year’s China tribute with its Eastern influenced graphics, and the black and red ‘Pressure’ directly referencing the obstacles LeBron faces during any given road game.
Various basketball ready models followed and we even saw a preview of the Nike LeBron X at the forefront of a new, Nike Sportswear-led project that seeks to better place the sneakers in a lifestyle light. Yes, folks having been wearing basketball shoes off the court for as long as such a thing existed, but never before has there been an effort in making that transition such a deliberate one. Everything from the daring design to the demanding price tag on the Nike LeBron X showed that Nike was absolutely willing to continue taking risks on what has become the premier signature sneaker line of the last decade. Once again, the final result has become a shining success – all that pressure resulting in one of the year’s most coveted and critically acclaimed sneakers.