The LeBron 9 Elite P.S. has been a great shoe to play in. Is it worth the $250 retail price… that’s really up to you and how much you feel performance is worth.
Traction – The LeBron 9 had good traction overall but the rubber here is more flexible and works even better than the original. No matter how quickly I moved or how sudden of a stop I made, the LeBron 9 Elite was able to keep up with every step.
I only had one issue where I slipped; I noted this is the Performance Teaser. Basically I had to modify my way of moving around a bit in order for the outrigger’s traction-less surface to not affect my movements. This wasn’t a huge issue as it only happened once so overall the traction here is very solid.
Cushion – I personally like to have consistency within cushion setups. The Jordan Melo M8 & the LeBron 9 Elite are very similar in the fact that the combo cushion was enhanced by the foam used in the midsole which made everything feel very consistent and offered a smooth ride from heel to toe. Having Cushlon in place added for much great flexibility as well so a Guard can comfortable perform at their highest level while larger players will benefit from the increased cushion source.
Some have said that the LeBron 9 offered Cushlon along the midsole when in fact it’s a lightweight injected Phylon. The difference between the two is very noticeable and I prefer the Cushlon over the Phylon.
Material – The materials are roughly the same as before but have been reduced to the point where flexibility has increased while maintaining a secure fit. I loved the weight reduction after some of the layers were removed and the flexibility offered is far greater in my opinion. Having the Carbon Fiber in place also was a good choice as it brings the wearer a much greater sense of security while in motion allowing you to move freely with complete confidence the materials can keep up with the pressure.
Fit – These fit true to size unlike the LeBron 9. I also noted a few issues I had experienced with certain areas of the shoe in a previous Performance Teaser. These issues only occurred when certain socks were used. I recommend a thin sock to avoid hotspots, especially with the Carbon Fiber sidewall.
Ventilation – This was a complete upgrade from the original LeBron 9. Layers have been removed and perforated sections are now in place which offers a good amount of air flow. The use of the Pro-Combat inner sleeve was a nice touch as well as it surprisingly didn’t retain moisture.
Support – The support featured in the LeBron 9 was great and these are even better. Carbon Fiber has been strategically placed along the lateral side panel which keeps the foot in place perfectly and adds some additional lockdown at the midfoot section of the shoe. Those nifty lockdown wings are still in place and these keep the foot drawn into the heel of the shoe giving you above average lockdown, this is also complimented by the inner sleeve which is nicely sculpted at the heel.
Overall – These were fantastic to play in and make the LeBron 9 look and feel like a stripped down version of what should have been. I recommend these to nearly any position on the floor as they offer enough support & cushion for larger players along with enough flexibility & range of motion for smaller players. $250 is very high… but again, I am now forced to judge these based solely on performance leaving the “is it worth it?” up for you to decide.