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Nike LeBron 9 Low Performance Review


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.

  1. hi, i have a question with the 360 bags. are all 360 bags consistent with all other models with a 360 bag? i would like to have the best fit and heel lockdown in a shoe with a 360 bag. i’m still thinking of big ups, hyperdunk 2011 air max, lebron 8 v/2, these, etc. if you have a suggestion please do share. the v/2 lows are impossible to find here and the bb360 is out of stock already. any similar shoes to suggest? these are still too expensive for me.

    1. and another question. why does the q flight and 8.0 get a 10 for cushioning and the these get a 9.5? what are the other shoes you rated 10 for cushioning?

      1. The phylon is softer in the other models giving you a bit more cushion. The lows have a slightly more dense phylon so you still have support given that youre a bit higher off the ground w the air bag.

  2. What low top shoe would u recommend for a bigger guy – hyperdunk low – CP3 V – Lebron 9 low??

    1. I have cp3 and lbj lows and I would choose lbj lows because of cushioning. Very smooth soft comfortable ride.

  3. Hey man just wondering, most of the low top shoes now are lower to the ground which I guess “helps psychologicaly” that you will not get ankle rolls. Like kobe he wants it lower to the ground. Doesn’t this have a weird feeling being higher to the ground because of the 360 max bag? How are they compired to the Kobe line in terms of court feel?

    1. Its helps physically more than psychologically. Being in a low and raised off the ground can be unstable esp when you are on an air max unit but they add more air and denser foam to try and work around that issue. It all comes down to personal preference and i personally prefer to be lower to the ground.

  4. Hey nightwing nice vid. Just wondering nikestore just had major price drops on some shoes. Which ones should I get in your opinion if I play 3? Kobe 7 system. Lebron 9 or kd4????? Thanks

  5. Another great review! Nice new intro/outro & the introductions on “traction”, etc.

    I wasn’t a fan of the lebron line ever since, but those lock down wings won me over when I tried the lebron 9’s. I was hoping that this would score much better though since the 8 low’s ranked well last year.

    You mentioned that this is good for big guys, so i’m guessing this would be good for my aging legs & knees(even if i’m not a big guy). lol

    Keep up the good work!

      1. I always wanted to try a full length max cushion to see if they would help avoid pain on my legs & feet when I play really hard. These felt good at first try on compared to the past 2 Jordan Brand releases that had a full length max cushion, I think those were the Big Ups this year & I Take Flight from last year. Both of the air bags on those felt stiffer compared to the Lebron 9 lows.

        1. The Big Ups may have had a higher PSI in the unit and the Take Flights have a TPU cage to prevent rollovers so it sort of canceled out the cushion a bit.

  6. Are these better than the KD IV’s? I am considering purchasing these or some KD 4s and at the moment my favorite performance shoe is a Kobe 6. Which one would feel and perform close to or better than the Kobes; Lebron’s or KD’s???

      1. So would you say the Kobe 7’s with just the play fast insole are better than the KD 4s and Lebron 9s??

    1. To further add to that, it also depends the functionality and Air cushioning you are looking for. LeBron is more for impact( going to Heel & forefoot Zoom Air to Air Max 360 to Heel Air Max 180/ Forefoot Zoom Air ), KD is more on your toes( Zoom Air only in forefoot), and Kobe is more for reaction, responsiveness or versatility (Heel and forefoot Zoom Air).
      That is my take on it.
      With signature shoes ,they are design with athlete in mind first since they are playing in them then its appeal with consumers.
      I got that information from youtube clip Todd Luecke(CP3.V designer) interview

      1. All signatures are made to the specifications of the athlete. Designers only listen to the athlete in this case but team models like the HD and Fuse will have consumers thoughts brought to life when designing the next model.

  7. Hi
    I’m wondering, do you need a high top shoe for ankle support? Or just a shoe with great lock down?

    1. Great lock down is all that is needed to support the foot. Ankle support is a myth and does not exist. You can get great lock down support from a low, mid or high.

  8. Hey Nightwing,

    Do these air bag bottom out? I’ve experienced this with zoom bag and wondering if this happens as well with max bag. This is one major reason why I avoid buying shoes with 360 max on them. What re your thoughts regarding this?

  9. Great review man love the new intro also… that “other site” will definitely miss your quality reviews

  10. Last thing two things I was wondering with this review.

    Going by the shoe ratings, you have the Lebron 9 low higher than the Fly Wade 2 EV’s. I know the Fly Wade 2’s are one of your top performance shoes. Is that a misprint on the ratings or do you really consider the Lebron 9 lows a better overall shoe than the Fly Wade EV’s???

    And I’m a 1/2; my play style is slashing. I WANT a Lebron 9 and what I look for is a super comfortable shoe, with good traction, and ventilation in that order. I’ve tried on both the low and regular version of the Lebron 9 and I have to say the regular high cut Lebron 9 with the pro-combat inside of the shoe feels the most comfortable. Just feels like there’s so much more cushion and padding with the pro-combat. Which one of the two you think would offer the most comfort on my toes/toenails and the bottom of my feet after 2 hours of hooping every weekday? The Lebron 9 low with no pro-combat but the 360 air or the regular 9 with the pro-combat and 180 air unit??

    I’m kinda learning towards the regular Lebron 9 right now. But I look forward to hopefully knowing what you think. And maybe on your future reviews you could add comfort to your ratings… Unless you classify that under cushion too…


    1. Rating totals will vary based on their attributes. If cushion is better in one shoe vs another and slightly less good in all other areas then the overall total could vary well be higher even though one i feel may be a better product.

  11. I remember you ranked the Sprites as one of your top 5 kicks last year. I saw that the Lebron 8 V2 Lows (Lights Out) are still available on Eastbay/Footlocker for $79. Would you recommend the those over this year’s Lebron lows?

  12. Hey,

    Nice review Nightwing. Has been following you for a while decided to post now.
    For a big post up player. I mainly need the support and the cushioning.
    Would you suggest the Howard 2 or Lebron 9 Regular or Lows or the Lebron 8 v2/low?


  13. Hey, Good review Nightwing. I just trying to figure out if this would be a good shoe for a SF and can you recommend any good sites to order shoes from that keep the sizes in stock. Also how big is the heel on the shoe compared to regular 9 and 8v/2

  14. Nightwing2303, would just like to ask. I’m considering two shoes. They are the LBJ 9 low and the KD 4. Which should I get and why?

  15. Great review! Btw, would just like to ask..
    KD 4 or LBJ 9 low? And why?
    Would really appreciate your answer

  16. hey nightwing. i wanted a new pair of ball sneakers, but i couldn’t decide between these pairs… lebron 9 , 9 low, nike zoom soldier 6, or the nike airmax hyperaggressor??? can you help me? by the way i’m 5′ 2″ and 110 lbs.

  17. Hi, I was just wondering if the nike lebron 10 lows fit tight? Would you recommend wide footers go a size up? Thank you

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