December 19, 2013 BY Sneaker News / 9
It would take a phenomenal force to dethrone the king of Nike Basketball, and based on the unstoppable rhythm of enticing releases we saw over the last twelve months, any attempt would have been rendered futile. The Nike LeBron silo was truly a juggernaut in 2013 thanks to the LeBron X signature, which boasted the first-class trio of All-Star, MVP, and Championship, and the newly unveiled LeBron 11 which drastically switched gears and presented an all-new design concept distinct from previous models. In between the two came some interesting lifestyle offerings to further expand King James’ reach across to the off-court market.
Both the LeBron X and LeBron 11 maintained their stronghold as the marquee product line in the sneaker game, and with the superstar playing at a prime level, there was no question who this year belonged to. Nike came correct with just about every LeBron shoe that hit store shelves, blending cutting edge innovation with a futuristic aesthetic and making use of prime materials, well-composed colorways, and enticing plot-lines to give each release a memorable identity. We’ve compiled the best to bear the crown logo in 2013, so read on below for a quick recap of the past year in LeBron sneakers.
As a celebratory nod to LeBron’s championship triumph back in June of 2012, Nike Sportswear jumped in the mix and created a special non-performance version of the X featuring genuine cork material on the upper with brown leather trim. The ravenously sought-after edition broke new ground in the Nike Bball realm and opened the door for other lifestyle renditions of their performance-driven signature models.
LeBron James headlined a star-studded affair in Houston, with Nike hooking him up with the annual “All-star” version of his shoe. This year’s story positioned LeBron and his fellow Nike signature stars as interstellar constellations, with the LeBron X taking form with an exotic printed purple/orange colorway that was impossible to miss when ‘Bron took the floor for the East.
The yearly low-top installment of the LeBron X debuted in stores in March, with the annual “Easter” colorway rolling out the red carpet for an ongoing collection of Summer-ready compositions like the “Reptile”, “Watermelon”, and others.
Come playoff time, LeBron needs an upgraded shoe that will give him every on-court advantage possible after the long and grueling grind of the regular season. The LeBron X Elite, boasting a lighter package and carbon fiber appliques, allowed him to do just that en route to a second straight NBA Championship.
Every now and then a general release catches fire and rises to become one of the year’s best. The eye-popping “Pure Platinum” LeBron X certainly fit that bill, with the holographic upper providing one of the most unique looks ever seen on a Nike Basketball shoe.
LeBron made NBA history by becoming the youngest four-time MVP in the league’s storied history. Nike honored their star by mixing in every conceivable graphic from the model in “What The” format for one of 2013’s most prized acquisitions.
An entirely off-the-court build bearing the LeBron X style was created with a Blazer-like silhouette that featured elements from the anatomy of the performance model. While not quite the retail beast of it’s on-court counterpart, the LeBron X NSW Lifestyle opened the doors for all kinds of inter-category crossovers in the future.
It’s rare to see suedes and denim materials on basketball shoes these days because they’re not as light and breathable as the synthetic stuff that Nike has engineered, not to mention too expensive to justify. But thanks to the EXT line, these materials were allowed to shine, with the blue denim version standing out as one of the strongest efforts.
Celebrating LeBron’s second straight NBA Title was the Nike LeBron X Championship Pack. This two-pair set, featuring the LeBron X Elite and the LeBron X Low, was exclusive to choice retailers in Miami. As a consolation to those who came up short on the shoes, for the first few days after the win, Nike opened up a voicemail account for fans to leave personal messages for the re-crowned king.
The eleventh LeBron signature shoe was officially unveiled in late August, surprising fans with an entirely new design focus and a refreshed arsenal of performance technology. Hyperposite, Dynamic Flywire, and encased Zoom Air comprised the LeBron 11’s weaponry, with the Parachute Gold Hyperposite upper and graphic lining serving as the perfect appetizer for the barrage of juicy releases that would follow.
This year’s “China” edition of the LeBron 11 traveled back to the time of the Terracotta Warrior, dressing up the shoe with some interesting patterns and textures to give this version a unique look unlike any of the others that we’ve seen since..
The long and arduous process of forging iron was used to symbolize King James’ focused work ethic – and so this blazing orange colorway of the LeBron 11 was formed. The kinetic “Forging Iron” fade graphic also became available on NIKEiD, allowing for several different fan-made versions of the release.
Nike Basketball touched on LeBron’s past and present when creating this eye-catching colorway. While many likened it to 2011’s “Cannon” release, the Miami vs. Akron was actually a joint nod to his Ohio hometown and the Florida hotspot where he currently resides.
The year-end LeBron release finished strong with the shoe being wrapped in a metallic minty green and lush red colorway with holiday graphics dotting the upper for a next-level take on the traditional Christmas motif.