Seventeen models in for LeBron James and Nike Basketball. Is the Nike LeBron 17 the best one yet? Our thoughts within our performance review.
The traction doesn’t look bad or feel bad, speaking on its rubber compound, but I could never get any reliable coverage when playing in the shoe.
Some plays would be fine while others would have me slipping. Didn’t matter which court I was playing on either. Whether it was the nicest floor, or my local 24 Hour Fitness, I just wasn’t comfortable making any move in the shoe. Something I find to be unfortunate as the traction I feel is the foundation of a shoe. The rest of the entire build could be awesome, and in this case it is, but without a solid foundation under-foot then the rest really doesn’t matter.
What could be going wrong? I’m not 100% sure. Part of me thinks someone that is a bit heavier may get a bit more bite out of the traction. That is just pure speculation, but it’s one of my initial thoughts. However, I’m also leaning heavily on the premise that it might be the forefoot cushion implementation. There is a split between the two forefoot Zoom Air units and the foam midsole is very soft. While maneuvering on-court it sometimes feels as if the two pods end up splitting to the point where I end up missing coverage by the time my foot fully plants.
Again, I don’t know what the issue truly is. Those are just my thoughts as to why I may be having issues. However, without consistent traction I’m not itching to get the LeBron 17 back on-court anytime soon.
If maximum cushion is what you’re after then the LeBron 17 should make you very happy.
You literally feel as if you’re running around on Air. Impact protection might be some of the best it’s ever been as well. You don’t even feel the impact of your foot touching down on the ground. The forefoot Zoom Air, rear Air Max and soft Phylon midsole all absorb everything before it even has a chance to reach your knees.
On the flip side… court feel is non-existent. You feel like you’re on a platform. Almost as if you’re hovering above hardwood. Some may really love this sensation, I didn’t hate it, but it’s also not my preferred setup.
There are outriggers on the forefoot lateral Zoom Air unit and the rear Air Max unit for those wondering. They’re not huge, but they get the job done in terms of helping keep you stable while you float on Air.
Again, not my preferred setup, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say they’re super comfortable. I just prefer sitting a bit closer to the ground, and if I’m not, I like shoes that feel like you are. The Air Jordan 34 is one of the better setups for that. A max cushion system that doesn’t make you feel like you’re running around on a hovercraft.
Nike has been marketing the materials as Knitposite, but I feel they should have just called it Battleknit 3.0. I realize the names are just semantics, but its better to not confuse your consumer by using the term Posite — which is synonymous with Nike’s Foamposite material.
The “posite” sections of the knit are just TPU or glue infused yarns. We’ve seen this on basketball shoes from nearly every brand at this point. Renaming it to make it sound fresh and new, while smart, is deceiving. However, it works as advertised which is the most important thing.
The pure knit sections feel and play like a shoe you’ve had for years. It has that broken-in feeling fresh out the box and feels better each time you lace them up. It’s “posite” sections are great as well. The firmer sections of the knit offer great containment and support throughout the upper. From the heel all the way to the forefoot — there is strategic support pieces throughout which has played great.
While the cushion might be one of the standout features of the Nike LeBron 17, I personally feel the best feature of the shoe is the Knitposite material.
The Nike LeBron 17 fits true to size and is very reminiscent of one of my favorite LeBron models to-date — the Nike LeBron 8.
They shoe does run a little short, something I don’t mind nor did I have an issue with as the knit build is soft in the forefoot, so I’d still recommend trying the shoe on in-store just to make sure they fit the way you prefer prior to buying a pair online.
Lockdown is something I enjoyed quite a bit. Whether I laced them all the way up to the top, or left the top eyelet alone for some additional range of motion — lockdown was nearly perfect. I say nearly since I don’t thing there is a true way to measure what “perfect” really is. Perfect for me may suck for you, but for me, the fit and lockdown were fantastic.
From the outriggers on up to the build, support was not what I was expecting. In a good way.
After the LeBron 15 I’ve been hesitant to play in some of these higher sitting shoes. However, the LeBron 16 and now the LeBron 17 have shown that brands can do maximum cushion setups while still offering a bit of stability and support. Obviously, you’re not getting the same level of stability in the LeBron 17 as you would in something like the Curry 6 or D.O.N. Issue 1, but it’s just enough.
The upper is nice and supportive in all the right areas so when you combined everything you get a fairly well-rounded shoe that excels in the cushion department.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Nike LeBron 17 from the cushion up. Traction has kept me from wanting to play in them any longer than I feel I have to. I hope that isn’t the case for everyone, and I hope there are people out there that get great traction from the shoe if they happen to purchase them. All I know is that I played in two different pairs in two different colorways and had the same results in both. I liked everything, loved some things, but disliked the traction.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Nike LeBron 17 from a performance perspective in our WearTesters Discord community. Thanks for watching, reading and continuously supporting WearTesters!