August 21, 2012 BY John Kim
The soaring heights of LeBron James’ popularity have never flown at a higher altitude – and the man’s earned his miles. After completing one of the most successful years in basketball sports history by winning a League MVP, his first NBA Championship, an NBA Finals MVP, and an Olympic Gold Medal, LeBron James has the serious hardware to back up the claims of being perhaps the best player to play the game. While Jordan’s loyalists and the Kobe constituency won’t let that statement pass without debate, there’s no questioning LeBron’s status as one of the best best to tie up leather and laces. Speaking of which, the excitement around the next LeBron signature shoe (the Nike LeBron X) has been, as expected, growing furiously, but discussions have been sprouting in outer economist and retail buff circles in regards to Nike potentially releasing a basketball sneaker with an asking price of $315. Is the world ready for a $300+ basketball shoe? Although Nike prices its top-tier football boots in the $400 range out in Europe, the U.S. isn’t event close to sniffing that price…yet.
Let’s lay some groundwork: the Nike LeBron signature shoe was already the highest-priced Nike Basketball signature shoe at $170, and there have been reports that the Nike LeBron X (without Nike+) will retail for $180-185. The $315 price-tag you’re fearfully pondering is for the Nike LeBron X+ which features complete Nike+ integration – a technology that we at Sneaker News detailed and tested out several times before. Nike+ does nothing for the actual aesthetic of the shoe, and considering the Nike Lunar Hyperdunk and its Sport Pack offspring is separated by $110, you’ll basically be dropping a Benjamin and a few Hamiltons for a visually unnoticeable add-on. With that said, Nike+ technology is still one of the neatest things to happen to basketball shoes as a whole, a certain game-changer that does just that – changes the game of whomever straps on the shoes. To summarize the pricing, only the Nike LeBron X+ will run you $315 – the regular Nike LeBron X won’t stray that much higher than the current retail price of $170.
So is the world ready for a $300 basketball shoe? Even in today’s still-sluggish economy, consumers have shelled out close to $200 for LeBron’s sneakers without as much of an internal blink of the conscience, and that’s not even counting the extra dollars spent on mark-ups on special edition releases. Darren Rovell of ESPN reports that only about 50,000 pairs of Nike+ enabled LeBron Xs will be produced, which is just a fraction of the number of regular Nike LeBron X shoes expected to hit the market, so don’t expect an all-out war for the cheaper alternative – just your run of the mill Twitter RSVPs/raffles/wristbands and whatnot. The bottom line is that the target audience of LeBrons has thrown down the cash if the shoe is irresistible (the ‘Miami Vice’ edition of the Nike LeBron 9 Elite serves as the perfect example of how sneakerheads are ready to absorb a hefty price increase), but Nike+ is in fact marketed toward serious athletes who want nothing more than to improve their game. The overlap between both groups is certainly there, but the issue at hand is the price – not the shoes. In any case, the Nike LeBron X has yet to be officially launched, but you know Sneaker News will keep you on top of all those developments, so let us know what your thoughts are on a $315 LeBron X and let us know if you’d drop that amount on an upcoming release.
Tags: Nike LeBron X