Some may consider it a bit too early, but it’s easy to declare the Nike Zoom LeBron Ambassador 9 a top shoe for Q1 of 2017.
Traction – Here, a diamond grid traction pattern with strategically placed herringbone waves is used. These patterns are similar to what was found on the old Ambassador 8, HyperRev 2016, along with the Nike Air Infuriate. The traction works well. Who am I kidding? The traction works Fan-freakin-tastic. I never had to wipe the bottom of my shoe once.
With the XDR rubber outsole and its traction pattern, the shoe works great whether you choose to play indoors or outdoors. I played in the Ambassador 9 indoors (clean and super dirty courts), and again, not once did I have to wipe. No matter what type of movement I made, I was able to make a stop on a dime without hesitation. The outrigger is not outlandish but responsive with direct contact. The wrap-around along the lateral traction helps with hard cuts without losing any transitional movement either.
This traction setup, paired with outsole compound, is easily the most consistent and downright awesome setup in a long time. Now, why can’t we have this on all other Nike models?
Cushion – Hey, look at that? Forefoot and heel Zoom. This type of cushion setup should be the standard, regardless of any model. There was absolutely no break-in time needed, especially because the cushion is responsive right out of the box.
My only gripe is that I wished the Ambassador 9 used the heel Zoom Air unit the Ambassador 8 had — the 9 uses a smaller rectangular Zoom Air bag. The forefoot Zoom Air bag is slightly bigger along the forefoot, so those that plant heavily on the ball of their feet will definitely will feel the cushion. It isn’t to say the shoe didn’t respond well on impact, I’m just confused. If the cushion already worked well from the last model, why change it if it won’t improve what already works?
Materials – Mesh is used on the forefoot with TPU reinforcement at high wear areas, particularly at the toebox and rubber heel counter. The midfoot to heel area is mesh backed by a softer foam. There is a plastic shank for torsional support and the XDR rubber compound will give the shoe more durability. The Ambassador 9 is well done and simple — and for its price point you’re getting above average quality compared to the other models out today.
Fit – Amazing. It’s been a while (particularly for a person with wide foot) since I put my foot in a shoe and had it wrap my foot elegantly without any hindrance. The lacing system begins with lacing ribbons that transition into a Flywire lacing setup; it ends with a traditional lace hole at the top for a simple and extremely effective system. There wasn’t an instance where I had to re-lace the shoe with the back-to-back games I played, nor were there any issues of pinching. The lacing ribbons and Flywire are anatomically placed which suits the contour of the feet well.
For those with a more narrow foot, staying true to size is definitely the way to go because there isn’t any deadspace — the Ambassador 9 fit like a glove without any restriction. Just superb. Each model of Ambassadors we test get better and better so why can’t we see this setup in other Swoosh models?
Support – The support comes directly from the fit and the cushioning setup. The fit was great with its awesome lacing setup, while the cushioning was more than adequate. At no point did I have to second guess any of my movements because the shoe just felt like an extension of my feet (it’s also very lightweight). The XDR rubber traction really stuck to the ground without restricting me from stop and go movement. The Ambassador 9 has set the bar high, especially once you stamp LeBron’s name on it.
Overall – The Ambassador 9 is simply a fantastic shoe. While it differs from the Ambassador 8, it features many similarities that continue to provide consistent performance. Everything you need in a Nike basketball shoe, this shoe has — cushion, materials, traction, support, fit. How has Swoosh not figured out a way to use the Ambassador line as the standard for what all shoes should aspire to? Better yet, this shoe could easily be the core LeBron signature model. Suffice to say, it seems like the overseas models find a way to the top of our lists because performance.
A great way to start 2017 was being able to weartest a shoe that is a performance beast. King James would be proud.
Nike LeBron Ambassador 9
White/White | Black/White | Maroon/Cavs Gold
A indoor/outdoor shoes with cushioning for only 125! Looks like Nike hits this one out the park. Good performance review by NYJumpman23.
Man…You have no idea…I enjoy playing in this show a HECK OF a lot. Just as I did with the Ambassador8. I think this might have replaced the 8 already now. I just wish they had a larger Heel Zoom bag, however, it does its job.
Great review. Wish there was a legit online dealer except ebay sellers.
Thanks for reading!!
Actually, iD4shoes via eBay has been very respectable, otherwise, we wouldn’t be posting it up. That’s for sure. They are good people. Tell them WearTesters/NYJumpman23 sent ya.
Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll definitely consider.
When will it release in stores
They are an overseas model and can only be ordered via links above unfortunately.
Beats the trash that is the soldier 10’s (couldve been real nice with softer foam…those thick zoom units…)
Oh…CCH2423…The Soldier 10 would not be in the conversation once you put these on.
Broooo! I’ve been waiting for these! Might cop for my birthday 😀
G…you won’t be disappointed
Well, I know where some of the next check is going. LOL! I was waiting for this review and it did not disappoint. Thanks NY. This model sounds like what we wish was released more in the states.
Trezz, you don’t know how much I wish that heel zoom was used from the 8!!!!!!!
If they added that…or a full length zoom…might have got top notch…but we’ll never know…It’s good man. real good. Thanks for the support!
How much does the shoe weight? How is the cushion’s responsiveness
Well for a size 13, reasonably aroudn 13-14 oz if I had to guess.
Responsiveness is more than adequate, particularly for the forefoot zoom. The heel zoom is good, however, wish it was the 8’s Heel zoom.
Why do I have the feeling that it resembles one of the CP3s?
Dude that video was super in depth. Thanks for the effort!
Thanks BIgHoss68! Appreciate the support!
Hey man, great review! Seems like Traction and Fit are beastly (which are the first things I look for in my bball shoes… after that is responsiveness)
Do you think these would be good for a quick guard with smaller stature that relies on constant change of speed + direction (who cannot stand the brick cushion on the Kyries LOL)?
Also, seems like responsiveness/court feel wasn’t covered in the video, do they give you a low-to-the-ground and responsive feel on court? How do they compare to Harden 1s in terms of court feel? Thanks a lot!
The shoe fits any position played. The shoe is actually cut lower to the ground where you have responsive cushioning along with court-feel. I rarely do comparisons. However, the harden, including it’s traction is how he plays on court with is body gyrations and movements on court, so if you move a specific way, along with that outsole pattern on the ball of your foot, your good, however, if you don’t move the same way or play the same way he does, you might not that the same feedback, along with that firm boost cushion setup. The Ambassadors caters to any and every position possible. Court-feel and responsiveness are adequate however not super flexing in the forefoot due to its constructive nature. The poly foam is low to ground along with forefoot zoom to you enough haptic feedback to put you right back up with a quip of a step off friction. The Ambassador line is, by far, one of the best no -frills, straight to the point, ready to go basketball shoes I’ve played in since the Brandblack Rare Metal, and the Ambassador 8. However, this one didn’t need any break-in time what-so-ever and I always find myself switching back to this shoe when other shoes aren’t doing their job.
Appreciate you taking the time to write such a detailed response to my questions, NYJUMPMAN23! I was on the fence on copping a pair since I have bought quite a few pairs of bball shoes recently (Harden 1s, Rare Metals, Kobe XI EM, and Soldier VI (from ebay)). Now I’m sold on these and would likely wait for them to hit clearance to pick up a pair!
I only asked how they play vs. the hardens because I have the latter and quite enjoy their court feel and responsiveness (that’s why I sort if wanna know how the Ambassadors feel like compare to the hardens).
I just saw that you have reviewed the Rare Metals and I wonder if the Ambassadors give you that low to the ground feeling like the rare metal does?
Again, really appreciate your help and input!
They both have the court feel, however, the Ambassador takes the win due to traction and fit alone. Again, easily one of the best performing shoes of the first quarter of 2017.
I feel that the shoe does give a responsive low to the ground feeling due to the compression of the zoom air and the how close the outsole is segmented onto the shoe. Honestly, for a person who plays all positions and more of a point forward, Ambassadors will take the W, over the Harden 1 and the RM’s. That’s my opinion. I’ve put many hours into the shoes, I wouldn’t second guess myself on this one.(and I’ve tested both the Ambassador 7 and 8…I didn’t think anything would top the 8, and I was wrong)
Sounds like a must cop to me! Thanks again for the detailed feedback!
J, glad I could help. I’m most definitely sure you’re going to Enjoy this pair, Now go BALL OUT!!!!!
Thanks for reading!
Is the zoom bottom loaded or top loaded?
May i just ask a random question? What is your height?
Appreciate the review man! Only been playing in these a few days, but gotta say so far review is spot on. That traction is CRUNCHY! I have more of a narrow foot and true to size still works well, may have been able to go down half a size but not necessary. Materials could be better but they do the job. It’s early, but I already love these. Keep up the good work
If only I could find in a size 14
Damn looks tempting…I would definitely pick them up during fall after I bang up my Jordan Rising High 2s (the forefoot feels great, but damn do I miss heel zoom!) Will they still be around say October at prices around 100 bucks? Also how does the support compare to the lebron soldier 9? I’m a guard but somehow I really need ankle support, whenever I have a shoe that’s meh on it I twist my ankles regularly and I need to throw it away or use it for casual purposes, which is a huge waste of money. Please help out because I really like this shoe and I’m tempted to try it out later on the year.
Thanks for the review NYJumpman23! Looking to cop these once the kay yow/breast cancer awareness colorways drop
Just got them yesterday morning, ordered them thru a friend in Macau. I took them out that night for a late night game (indoor). From a try on and little walking I was blown by how the cushioning feels, damn they were so good! Even better than last years. And when I was doing some warm ups, man those squeaking sounds was great, semi dusty court was nothing. Didn’t even wiped once during the 2hr game. They bite the floor really good, overly satisfied with the traction. Cushion was amazing, I enjoyed the whole session with it. Fit was great, no pinching or anything, spot on. They are that so great that I ordered another one! Again, thanks for your inputs on the Ambassador series, I won’t even touched on the Lebron 14s or PG 1s. You are spot on, this should be the top LeBron sig line. Thanks man!
Homie, what size are you. I wear an 11.5 with Nike and the only sizes I saw were 11 and 12. I feel if I get 12, they might be too big. I don’t mind half an inch of wiggle room.
Where can I buy this?
I’m still wondering if I should cop these or the PG 1 Ferocity(others call it Bait but meh) or the Dame 3, but base on your review, I might get this one. Great review man! Thanks a lot!
I have a question about the fit. If I wear an 11 with Adidas shoes and 11.5 with Nike shoes, what would the ideal fit be on these shoes? The only sizes I see from the links provided are an 11 and 12. I don’t want to order a pair, just for it to be returned and spend an additional money just for shipping. Thanks!
Is the gum sole XDR as well?
Thanks for the review by the way! I can’t wait to cop these! I needed a new shoes, since I couldn’t bare my kd 8s. Hopefully these’ll last.
I wonder why these aren’t a top performance pick on this website. Thanks for the review tho. I’m juggling between kd 9s and these. Your input would be great. Thanks!
Is the forefoot bouncier than the Jordan ultra fly 2s?