September 20, 2011 BY Aaron Hope
“LeBron brings a rare combination of speed, agility and force to the game and my goal is to outfit him in a shoe that lets him do what he does best while maximizing our superior innovations.”
We got some insight just this morning, into how Nike Basketball designer Jason Petrie went about creating the Nike LeBron 9 to match King James’ on and off-court needs. Following on their informal ‘interview’ comes the official unveiling of this team’s third attempt to capture the crown, the Nike LeBron 9. Right out of the gate, you can just see there’s something special about this shoe, from its use of a significant portion of carbon fiber on the side panels in addition to added strength in the shank plate. The LeBron 9 is the first shoe to combine the benefits of the lightweight and super-strong Flywire 3.0 technology with Hyperfuse ventilation for a nearly seamless one-piece upper that, along with Nike Pro Combat-inspired padding on the interior, makes for a strong contender for the title of most comfortable and visually impressive performance basketball sneaker yet. And you can be assured of a supremely smooth ride thanks to a large Max Air cushion in the heel that’s coupled with Zoom Air in the forefoot for maximum responsiveness. Expect the Nike LeBron 9 at retailers starting Saturday, October 1st in Greater China, followed by its US debut two weeks later on the 15th when the ‘China’ LeBron 9 in Cannon hits along with select college colorways to be followed by the inline bred colorup on October 25th. Check out some crisp new images along with a few preliminary sketches after the jump and let us know which colorways you’re most excited to grab.
Nike defines basketball performance innovation with the introduction of LeBron James’ ninth signature shoe. A reflection of LeBron’s versatile style of play, the LEBRON 9 integrates Flywire technology and Hyperfuse construction – a Nike Basketball first – in the upper for superior support, along with a combination of Max Air 180 and a Nike Zoom unit for comfortable and responsive cushioning.
“From the very beginning of the design process for the LEBRON 9 we wanted to break the mold with a shoe that maximized the strengths of a triple threat player like LeBron,” said Jason Petrie, Nike Basketball Designer. “LeBron brings a rare combination of speed, agility and force to the game and my goal is to outfit him in a shoe that lets him do what he does best while maximizing our superior innovations.”
Designed with specific insights from LeBron James himself, the shoe is the first to combine Flywire technology and Hyperfuse construction. Built for breathability and durability, the Hyperfuse construction is a composite of three different layers of material that are fused together to create a nearly seamless, one piece upper that sheds considerable weight without sacrificing protection. A midfoot harness that wraps around the foot incorporates Flywire 3.0 technology for added strength and lock down support. This lightweight upper mimics the speed and strength symbolic of LeBron’s game.
The finely-tuned midsole provides a unique hybrid cushioning system. By combining Max Air 180 in the heel for absorption on impact with a Nike Zoom unit in the forefoot for a springy response, a player is protected on impact where they need it most. A composite shank plate provides torsional rigidity and support while reducing midsole weight.
Additional elements such as engineered textile wings, Nike Pro Combat inspired padding in the inner collar, asymmetrical lacing, heel pull tab, outrigger for lateral stability, and flex grooves in the outsole bring LeBron’s ninth signature shoe to unrivaled levels of performance. Signature style including LeBron’s new logo, his signature on the ventilated tongue, and a special outsole pattern are special nods to LeBron.
Available beginning October 1, the LEBRON 9 can be purchased at select retailers in Greater China. The shoe debuts October 15 in the United States in a limited edition “Cannon” colorway, with select college colorways launched beginning October 14, and the primary black/red/white colorway launching October 25.
For the first time ever, LeBron’s signature shoe will be available on NIKEiD.com. Beginning October 11, the LEBRON 9 can be previewed on NIKEiD.com with full design options available. The shoe is available for purchase on NIKEiD.com beginning October 25 in China, Europe, Japan and the United States. The LEBRON 9 will also be available in three limited time packs on NIKEiD.
As one last special integration, Nike has partnered with the videogame NBA 2K12, from 2K Sports, to integrate the LEBRON 9. Beginning October 25 within the NBA 2K12 videogame, the LEBRON 9 will release in unison with key retailers. Additional LEBRON 9 colorways will launch at key moments throughout the year.
About NIKE, Inc.
NIKE, Inc. based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned Nike subsidiaries include Cole Haan, which designs, markets and distributes luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats; Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories; and Umbro Ltd., a leading United Kingdom-based global football (soccer) brand. For more information, visit www.nikebiz.com.
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