Traction – The traction is pretty much the same as what I had experienced with the original LeBron 9. Storytelling surfaces are typically frowned upon, however, designer Jason Petrie was able to come up with a design that not only told a story but was also functional. From a front to back standpoint you are covered but try not to apply too much weight on the outrigger in order to avoid slipping. If you can learn to distribute your weight evenly –depending on the traction pattern used – you will rarely have an issue.
Cushion – Consistent from heel to toe… that’s the best way for me to describe the 360 Air Max unit’s return to the LeBron with the low top version. There could be some additional – and welcomed – compression in the heel if they would have implemented the open Phylon section as they did in the LeBron 9 & LeBron 9 Elite but overall I enjoyed the cushion quite a bit.
If you are wondering why the LeBron 9 Elite offered just as much consistency, it’s due to the Cushlon midsole that had been added in place of the Phylon used in the first LeBron 9. Cushlon is extremely comfortable so if you haven’t yet tried it, I highly recommend it.
Material – All three versions featured Fuse uppers but each was done in a unique way. The LeBron 9 was thick and rigid whereas the Low & Elite versions are more minimal and offer a very pliable upper where you need it and some supportive rigidness where you’d need it. All three are very durable but it’s the ‘less is more’ approach I enjoyed most in the Low & Elite models.
Fit – They fit true to size. Midfoot lock down was nice while the heel and forefoot could have been better. With a slight adjustment in collar height & the heel would have been perfect while the forefoot is just a tad bit wider than I’d like so I really had to choke the laces in order to receive a nice fit in that section. Luckily the lock-down wings are featured on every single model which is the LeBron 9’s best feature, in my opinion.
Ventilation – The LeBron 9 Low offers the greatest amount of ventilation out of the three versions so if that is high on your attribute list then you may want to consider taking a look at these. In all honesty… this is one of the best implementations of Fuse along and upper without restricting too much of the air flow while still providing strong sections of material on the heel, midfoot and forefoot.
Support – While the LeBron 9 & LeBron 9 Elite have superior support, the Low falls a bit short. The only real support you receive is from the overall fit which could have been a bit better than it was. It’s good enough for slower or larger players but if you rely on speed, you will want to look somewhere else.
Overall – Cushion, materials & ventilation are the LeBron 9 Low’s strong points. Perfect for larger/ slower players that require maximum cushion & enjoy free range of motion at the ankle. If you are quick and play low to the ground there are better options available for you. I did enjoy them and loved the 360 Air Max but if I were to pick one of the three it would have to be the Elite as they truly are the best performer within the LeBron 9 lineup.