November 11, 2013 BY Brendan Dunne
Over the past 11 days Sneaker News has treated you to 11 Days of Nike LeBron, a sneaker career retrospective of sorts culminating on this, the eleventh day. 11/11 of course brings us to the Nike LeBron XI, that sneaker that so recently arrived at retail. As the current generation of LeBron shoes is a story that’s still being told, so there isn’t nearly as much retrospective and reminiscence to be had. The shoe’s overall shape was one confirmed by semi-official sources a bit earlier than normal thanks to the advent of social media: one of the first good looks at the shoe came from the Instagram of Mav Carter, a close associate and manager of sorts to LeBron. It was then that we first ogled the Hyperposite built frame that seemed more armored up than any previous LeBron delivery (Keep in mind that the week prior had given us a speculative look at a black-out pair on feet for Bron during a practice session).
Read: 11 Days of Nike LeBron
From that point the anticipation built for several months leading up to the eventual October, 2013 debut of the shoes. As has been the custom in recent years, the sneakers actually became available on NIKEiD just a few days before their proper retail debut in order to open the floodgates for customized colorways. The first on the menu colorway following was the “King’s Pride”, which referenced LeBron’s undisputed spot at the top of the league. The same day saw the debut of the LeBron 11 NSW Lifestyle, suggesting that those sorts of companion models would be rolled out simultaneously in the future. Will there also be an EXT range in the future to complement the off-court category? We’d certainly assume so given the success of the likes of last year’s “Cork” and “Denim” pairs. Will the Nike LeBron line be switching to Elite mode again in the post-season? The chances of the Heat not making the playoffs seem ridiculously low at this point, so LeBron will definitely need a post-season shoe. Then again, previous Elite releases seemed to be a mainstay at Nike outlets, so perhaps the sales numbers won’t justify another go-round (We’ve seen that Nike’s not afraid to pull the plug on certain ideas give that Nike+ Basketball seems non-existent at this point). And will there be another championship shoe in the event that King James and the Heat can clinch it again with a rare three-peat performance? We’ll have to wait and see on that one. Take a look at some past and present LeBron 11 releases below and tell us where you anticipate this sneaker ending up in terms of LeBron’s lengthy lineage with the Swoosh.