A day before King James and the Miami Heat took home a hard-fought Game 1 playoff win, Sneaker News had the privilege of heading down to Miami for a special media wear-test session at American Airlines Arena. Upon entering the building, we were led through a long hallway celebrating the team’s 2006 championship and eventually into the locker room, which for the day was converted into Nike LeBron 8 PS central, complete with shoes and wear-test gear ready to go. But before it was time to take the shoe for a test drive, head LeBron designer, Jason Petrie, was brought in to take the group through a thorough breakdown of the three stages of the Nike LeBron 8 and finishing off with a comprehensive focus on the third version of the shoe, engineered specifically for the post season marathon set to begin the following day.
Jason set up the three-phase concept of “Ignite, Attack, Finish” with a comparison to sports car design and how it often serves as inspiration when creating footwear for the world’s top athletes. With the Lamborghini Gallardo in mind, Petrie explained the notion of three versions of a peak performance automobile, each one top of the line in its own way, but each tailored with a targeted purpose – one luxurious and fully equipped (V1), one stripped down and slicker in aesthetics (V2) and finally, one built straight for speed and raceday performance (PS). Building off that foundation, the barely street legal LeBron 8 PS was carved, shaved, punctured and ventilated to the limit in the name of developing a lightweight shoe that can stand up to the rigorous demands required to protect Nike’s two most valuable feet come playoff time.
Nowadays, if you can hang around until the end, the NBA playoffs can go on for nearly two months and a quarter season-plus of games. With the 8 series, the idea is to lighten the load for LeBron each step of the way, eventually ending with a bare bones ride intended to add a little extra spring in LeBron’s step after a long season when he’ll need it most. With a full Hyperfuse upper utilizing bonded layers of mesh and thin synthetic materials and a combination of an Air Max 180 heel and Zoom forefoot, the LeBron 8 PS has successfully addressed support both under and around the foot while still managing to shed a full 1.5 ounces of weight. With the full lowdown on the shoe succinctly laid out for us, it was time to hit the floor and see for ourselves, however, in order to get the full effect, the group was suited up in the V2 first for the warm-up and drills session run by none other than former NBA star Kenny Anderson.
After getting a little sweat going and some touches on the ball, it was time to hit the bench to switch over to the PS and get back on the court for scrimmaging. While you might not think that even a substantial difference of an ounce and a half would be that noticeable on foot, the disparity was felt immediately after the shoe change with the super-airy breathability standing out as the major source of lightweight feel from one to the other. Acknowledging that a quick afternoon session of b-ball can’t duplicate the feel of a full 82 game season, there’s no question that the PS can provide some relief for your feet if you’re in search of an ultra-lightweight shoe that will stand up to some punishment on the hardwood. While initial reactions to LeBron 8 PS preview images have been mixed, seeing the shoe in person and trying it on will definitely sway some opinions. Continue on after the jump for a full recap of the LeBron 8 PS media wear-test, and if you’re sold already, get a pair now from Nike retailers or on eBay.