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Performance Teaser: Nike LeBron XI Pt. 2

To infinity… and beyond!


Cushion, cushion and more glorious cushion. This is a great aspect of the LeBron XI. Not something I personally want or need – there is such a thing as too much of a good thing – but its not anything really negative… just a personal preference.


First, you have Zoom Air. Not just Zoom Air but full length Zoom Air. You can’t see it but I’m smiling. What good does it do at the bottom? It takes the brunt of the impact. As soon as your foot makes contact with the ground, the Zoom begins to work. No, you won’t feel it spring or propel you in any way but its there and its doing its job. Then whatever impact is left over… the Lunarlon takes care of.


The Lunarlon is REALLY thick. It’s the thickest I’ve ever worn and it starts off more mushy than bouncy when in motion. This is where I found the LeBron XI to have too much cushion… for me at least. I know a larger player will abuse the hell out of this midsole and they’ll do it rather quickly so in that aspect – its perfect. For a short white dude… I’d like it if it were broken in a bit more before I used it. That isn’t an option so what are us short Guards to do?

Midsole swap of course…


Yeah, the Kobe 8’s midsole fits perfectly. You sit lower to the ground so if you have an issue with their snug fit then this will take care of that. If you like their secure fit – which I do – then you’ll have to tie your laces up a little tighter. The benefits from doing this is that you get what a Guard wants while also gaining a ton of support not found on most Guard shoes. I hear all the time that certain Guards like everything on Guard oriented shoes other than their collar height or support… this kills two birds with one stone as it gives you then best of both worlds.

Performance Teaser Nike LeBron XI Pt. 2 5

Keep in mind… I’m not complaining. I love the cushion and find that it’ll work beautifully for large players – which is what it was designed to do. However, as a short player that wants to wear LeBron’s without feeling like you are wearing LeBron’s… the midsole swap does the trick nicely. I said it before and I’ll say it again… this shoe might be the first in the LeBron line that is ahead of it’s time from a performance perspective.

  1. It took everything in my power to resist these this past weekend. I kept saying:


    1. Same bruh. Same. I tried em on in the store and just kept telling myself to wait. Picked up the Bred Cp3 7 instead this weekend. Definitely getting the Bred when they come out.

  2. Great idea on swapping the midsoles. I was really curious about how the cushioning set-up would work for small guards, and I think this might be good for people trying to get back into game shape. Looking forward to the full review on these! Nice teaser on the Lebron XI’s as always.

  3. Question about the midsole swap. I noticed that you mentioned tying the laces tighter with the Kobe 8 midsole in place. Would you also recommend going down half a size if you have those intentions from jump?

    I don’t think any of my Kobe 8s have bottomed out and it would seem like the Lebron XI midsole would last years with a smaller player. That outsole is mad thin when the insert is out.

    One last question. How do you compare this full length zoom with the Jordan XIIs full length zoom? Does the Lunarlon carrier effect the mushiness that much?

    1. If you go down a sz then the midsoles wont fit. Mine are both sz 9 and fit perfect.

      The AJ 12 is different, just like other shoes with bottom loaded Zoom. You can feel the Zoom when under foot but when its bottom loaded its a totally different ball game.

      1. Hey Nightwing,

        Looking at this Lebron model (and trying it on), I keep thinking back to one of my favorite Jordan performers of all time–the AJ 2010. The bottom-loaded zoom on those was really groundbreaking for the time, and it was amazing. I wore through one pair and am now on my second. Having tried on the Lebrons, I’m wondering if bottom-loaded zoom isn’t a little more fit to be utilized in conjunction with a firmer foam like that used in the AJ2010. Maybe it’s just *too* much (gasp) cushion with the ‘Bron?

  4. I just played in them today and I must say the zoom/lunarlon combo may be just a bit too much until it is broken in. I’m gonna stick to the midsole until I break it in and have a more comfortable fit, but if nothing changes I’ll swap out to the Kobe8 midsole.

    The fit is extremely snug so yea I think this shoe will need a lot of run in them before they actually start feeling good.

    1. When you say it’s to much cushion….what do you mean by that….like is there so much it hurts your foot…I’m a little confused

      1. I’ve been balling since the release, if I understand what NW and other are saying is that there is Yoo cushion to “feel the movements” on the ground or at least That’s what I felt at first. Now after a few day of practice they are feeling much “low profile” than day1. Responsiveness is starting to take over and the feeling is much better.

      1. i tried them and i actually the lebron XI midsole worked great for me. it was a great snug fit. i’m 6’3 and weigh 230 so the lebrons midsoles work perfectly for me

  5. How does the cushioning compare to the Lebron 10. I bought many pairs of the lebron 10 for cross training because the cushioning was unmatched. The Nike Hyperflight max looks to be a smarter buy for me at the moment.

    1. Everyone thinks its a diff setup in the sole max zoom is used in both hyperflight and lebron 10 i know so many people that say”oh it 360 max air it’s 360 max air bla bla bla.”

        1. Its exactly the same zoom setup, and the prices are dropping on the hyperflight max’s making them a very smart option.

    2. stick with the lebron 10’s the hyperflight max was not responsive at all. i thought it was because i had to break them in because they were so stiff feels like they put less air in there. but they are not as springy as the lebron 10. You have to understand the hyper flight max is a Nike lifestyle shoe so its not the best performance max zoom shoe out there. they cut corners on performance and more attention on design…so yea stick with the lebrons

      1. Bummer, had my heart set on the blue hero hyperflight max but will cop the bred Lebron 11s. Thanks for the headsup. The extra 80 is going to hurt my pocket, but not my knees/ankles.

  6. I’m really excited to get my pair from NDC. I love a really well cushioned shoe (old knees and back) and hope these can fit into my rotation next to the XX8s and XX3s. Can’t wait to see your full review on these.

  7. i dunno if you have read my post on part 1 of the review for lebron 11 but i’m reposting it here just in case.

    hi nw, fan from the philippines here. first off i would like to say thanks to the effort and dedication you put in to the reviews. this helps us people to have an opinion from others about what to get when it comes to performance kicks. now on to my question, i saw the 11′s in person and got quite amazed on how it rides really low unlike the 10′s(btw i got the 10′s because of you lol). i dunno if this would fit me and also support my knees(partial tear of the acl and mcl). the 10′s does a very good job on absorbing impact when i land from a jump. maybe this would be answered once your full review comes out but it would be appreciated if you reply to this. thanks and more power to you! mabuhay ka nightwing!

    1. The lunar/ zoom combo i feel is more cushion and protection than the 360 zoom used in the Xs but with your injury itd be best to ask a Doctor. I can only tell you how things work, i cant tell you how your body will react to it.

      1. now i’m thinking twice of getting the 11’s. maybe it’s better to experience it myself huh? thanks again nw! and more power!!

  8. Really nice shoes, but quite honestly I just can’t justify dropping $200 on these for basketball ( although I am in love with the Gamma blue colorway for casual wear). I understand that the tech is pricy and groundbreaking, even still….
    I kind of feel that the market is over saturated with basketball shoes right now ( good and bad thing) to the point where there is no reason at all to purchase any of the newer models until they start getting hit with discounts or hit outlets. And this is coming from a baller that also loves sneakers, I have 5 pairs of Kobe 8s lol. But why buy the KD 6 when the 5 is just as good and still sitting on shelves? And I say the same goes for the CP VII, Hyperdunk 2013 and nike’s various team models, etc.

    1. If you don’t want to pay $200 then wait till they are on discount but I promise you once you get them you will love them. They feel great because of the lunar zoom combo… Plus the option to drop in the Kobe insoles gives a brand new lockdown experience…

    2. This is equivalent to asking Nike or any shoe company to not move forward. LeBrons are Nike’s technical flagship pony just like Jordans were before his line branched out as his own brand. The mark up and is naturally going to be higher with every new generation.

      The KD V was so successful that it gave Nike the confidence to up the ante $15 for the KD VI. I can honestly see Nike pushing the Kobe 9 up as well with the huge success and over saturation of the Kobe 8.

      You seem to be well off with plenty of kicks in rotation like myself. I’m not sure how you feel about outlets, but is seems ideal in your case. Granted that you are willing to take the risk of missing out on certain releases and colorways. Say that you were waiting on the LeBron X to drop. Well I just checked online and the only LeBron X is that fugly ass highlighter Volt colorway at $135. Outlets have gems, but they are bottom of the barrel for the most part in my opinion.

      I thought I was finished, but imagine falling in love with a pair of kicks later on and having to deal with retailers. No offense in those who support them, but I’m not paying double for an already expensive pair of kicks….NEXT!

        1. I get stingy with anything over $150; I have to really want those kicks.

          What is “em”? I have yet to see anything other than the flynit teaser and the all black spy sample on the net.

          1. according to chinese websites the kobe 9 will be coming out in both a high-top and a low-top version, the samples have ’em’ on the tag, nobody knows what it means, though…

      1. I ‘m not asking them to not move forward but seriously, the price increase are getting a little rediculous. The KD line was supposed to be the affordable sig line, now they are $130 a pair, remember when they were $65 a pop? Not that long ago….

        1. All I’m saying is that i don’t think that $250- $300 price tags for base nike signature models are far off on the horizon…..

        2. What Nike has done is actually strategically placed price points and increases onto the lines as they ‘grow’ with the consumer. Its a smart way to do things – even if we dont like it. The KD line started at $80 or so for the people that were maybe 16/17 years of age. Then the next year they increased slightly right when the consumer would likely have a job. Now the same consumer is even older being that the line is roughly 6 years old so they figure that the consumer is earning an even larger income thus charging $130 since that is what they can now afford. Like I said, its a really smart way to do things as the line and consumer grow up with each other essentially. I know it isnt cool but thats thier strategy and its been proven to work with the Jordan, Kobe and LeBron line.

          1. I never thought of it that way being organic with the consumer themselves. Very interesting insight NW. It makes perfect sense.

          2. Under Armour has been starting w/ kids even before high school. A great way to seed their brand w/ consumers early.

            I feel like Nike missed with Curry leaving to UA, but then again they’re Nike, and I also like the fact that other brands are keeping things competitive. UA has come a long way since the mid 90’s, and their shoe line has grown exponentially in sales the past 3 years or so.

          3. Fair enough nightwing, but I’ve always felt that companies shouldn’t forget their target markets while trying to expand those previous markets.

            If Nike truly is following that business strategy that you stated, then that would mean they need a new signature athlete for a new line of footwear/apparel. Kyrie Irving? Steph would’ve been an awesome choice….. I agree that Nike may have made a mistake letting him go…..

            1. They do follow that strategy, thats why I brought it up. I agree about the new athlete. I think thats why they’ve focused on releasing PE’s every so often. It boosts sale, moves inventory on team models and they dont have to pay signature athlete salary.

  9. Nike has messed up with this lunar zoom combo and spoiled us. right now it’s a bit springy but once it breaks down the plushness of lunar and the bottom loaded zoom will feel like heaven… I’ll be a snob and won’t buy another setup unless they can top this one or if they let swap midsoles then I would get it lol

  10. These are awesome because once you burn through the lunarlon, the full length zoom is still there so you still have cushion. That’s my only gripe with Lunarlon, it doesn’t last very long for a big man like me. I sit incredibly low in my kobe 8s after 3-4 months of play.

  11. Question for Nightwing2303: I understand the midsole is similar to the Kobe 8. If you use orthotics to play, how does that work? Will there be a zoom Orthodic insert similar to the Kobe 8?

  12. Good day nightwing2303! I just want to know if what you meant by too much cushion is it’s too mushy that your feet sink on the midsole on certain movements? Cause that’s what my problem was when balling in the lebron x. I’m also a small PG whose always quick on my feet but due to my bad knees & a calcaneal spur on the left i have to ball in shoes with good cushioning & on certain movements specially on lateral cuts like euro steps and all, the lebron x is too mushy that i feel my feet sink laterally therefore causing some instability in the movement just like what you described in the lebron x performance review. Sorry if i can’t wait for the final performance review to come out. I’m just really curious coz i’m highly considering getting these. By the way, i just want to thank you nightwing2303 coz since i’ve followed you via all sorts of social media, i have saved a lot of money by just buying the kicks that i think suits me best based on your performance review. For the past 2 years, before i buy my balling kicks, i always check your site first. And congratulations for all the recognition that you’re getting right now. You totally deserve it!

  13. I’m kinda disappointed in the insole on these, they aren’t true full length zoom its closer to 3/4s in length. I believe the Jordan 12s, 18s, 19s and 2010s have “true” full length zoom that reach your toes (nothing beats that kind of cushion, believe me I have the Jordan 2010s). So once the lunarlon bottoms out near the toes there is no zoom in that area so you feel less cushioning on your toes. I’m sure they will still be comfortable in the short term and most people wont notice while the lunarlon lasts. However there is still enough zoom to take care of most of the impact on landings and movements. This its where I think the Lebron Xs have the XIs beat, even if the cushioning system is different (Max Zoom vs Zoom Air,) since the Max Zoom covers your entire foot up to your toes.

    There are people that will say that true full length zoom is unstable but its not, its damn comfortable! Its only unstable if you are very heavy and can compress zoom very easily or if you prefer firmer cushioning. So since Lebron is heavier I would say the Lebron XI cushioning will suit his game better. I find zoom air to be firm enough for my size, being a guard. And look at Jordan when he played in the AJ 12s and the AJ 18s he seemed to have no problem playing in true full length zoom air.

    1. Hi EpicBallerEd–the AJ2010s, AJ12’s, and the AJ18s have the exact same zoom bag that the Lebrons do. I recently deconstructed my 18’s and 12’s after the upper fell apart, and lined up the bags exactly with the bag on my 2010’s (you can see the bag through the translucent sole in certain models). So, they’re all “3/4” length zoom. However, I am absolutely blown away by the bottom-loaded zoom on the 2010s. No unstable feeling in them. Regarding the 18’s…not exactly the best balling shoes ever. The 12’s are good, but a bit of instability in them.

      1. Hey VS27, the Jordan 2010 is an awesome shoe I love the stability of the Zoom that comes for the phylon midsole and the wide base of the shoe. I get what you saying that you lined up all the Zoom units from the other Jordans. If you put them on directly on your foot they will seem more like 3/4s length because Zoom units are placed differently on a shoe, they are moved little further up from the heel and since the Zoom is not the same length as the shoe itself. Trust me when I put on my Jordan 2010s the Zoom is very close if not “true” full length. As for the Zoom on the Lebron XI, it kinda looks like the Zoom length is a little shorter and the shape it different (its a little wider at the top which is probably why I think its smaller lengthwise) than the Jordan 2010s which have a Zoom unit that looks longer and goes close to the edge of the outsole and very near to the edge of your big toe. I have seen pictures of the Jordan 12 and the Zoom is the same way. If you look at the Lebron insole it looks like there is more of the Lunarlon foam near front of the insole which is why I think the Zoom is shorter. The difference I am talking probably won’t be noticeable, I am just stating my assumptions on the actual sizes lengthwise and how much Zoom coverage I think there will be, based on the pictures I’ve seen. I may be wrong, but we won’t know until someone puts the insole next to the translucent Jordan 2010s or another Zoom shoe. Does anyone have any information on this?

  14. Hey NW, what’s the break in time on these? I’ve played in mine for about 2 hours and they’re killing my feet; the outer sides (near the pinky toe) are pretty painful; I’ve never had a problem like this in any other Lebron. Thoughts?

  15. anyone who has worn these …can you compare them to the jordanXII….my fave in the line…compare contrast as far as cushion goes?

  16. As a 5’8 Guard with Wide-feet & Flat-feet, I choose the Lebron XI over the XX8 SEs. It was disappointing to put the XX8 SEs down so soon but the fit on the Lebron XIs (Snug, yet comfortable for my wide foot) just won me over. I’ll prob need to brake in the Lebron XIs some more but already it’s fantastic. Although, I’ll say the traction on the XX8 SEs were better than the Lebrons. Can’t win it all I guess.

  17. I wanted to share my opinion of the Lebron 11 with you because your the expert. I would love to hear your feedback. I have played 2 games and a 3 hour session in the 11s so far and I really like them. I did have to get a .5 size up because of availability. But to me I felt that they aren’t quite at the tier with the Kobe 8s XX8s and Super.Fly 2s. The reason why is the construction. I felt like they did not even try on the design they placed Foamposite wherever it looked best in my opinion. The set up is nowhere near anatomically correct. Also on the medial side wher the fuse meets the foams posite on the collar there is way too much dead space. I felt like this shoe was made for off court and in an effort of laziness they gave us the best and most expensive tech Nike has to offer as compensation. That’s just me I still like them, but I felt they could have done way better with what they did already. I would love to hear your feed back.

    1. I agree w you for some of it just based on my experience. The toe at the medial side flexes awkwardly bc of the Foam panel placement. They should have split it the way they did the lateral panel. The heel fits me perfectly on my right foot, left foot still has slight heel slip… no idea why.

      1. I think that made it like that so that the shoe does overflex since Lebron prefers a sturdier shoe. I’m sure the armorposite will break in more.

  18. I heard that LeBron XI’s cushion was a combination of Lunarlon and Zoom Air. That felt me excited about it. But then, when I saw the pic above, I was like Holy Crap, it’s FULL LENGTH ZOOM AIR! I was mindblown, I kept telling this to myself, the shoe is really gonna be one hell of a monster. It’s recommended for players who want lots of cushion in their game!

  19. maybe some of your can help me… I really have no idea why a lot of on court basketball sneakers (kobe`s, lebron`s, jordan`s) have the cushion not in the outsole anymore?? I got the Lebron XI and I like the shoe but in my opinion the outsole is very thin… I don`t know how long that will last… The second thing I struggle with… I need to wear orthopaedic insoles… that sucks big big time… Why is it like that??

    1. Using a removable insole/midsole as it were, allows the shoes to be lighter and give a closer to the ground feel. Also, as you can imagine, they are designed primarily for indoor court use. This design makes the rubber thinner and softer which would not work very well outdoors for any extended periods of time. As far as using orthopedics, the Kobe 8 did offer an option on Nike ID that was slightly thinner and with a zoom cushion pad in the heel to accommodate. The Lebron XI does not offer that option yet on NikeID at this time.

      From the sounds of what your looking for, a shoe like the Jordan Aero Flight 2 has a great outsole tread for outdoor. The Jordan CP3 VII and KD VI both have cushioning on the outsole and would work with your orthopedics as well.

      As great as any single shoe can be, that can also accommodate the most people, there are simply more individuals with specific needs. That single fact allows there to be so many different options and variances on the market between different manufactures and different shoes. Wish you the best

  20. To possibly clarify, too much cushion simply means there is a lack of court feel or immediate response. The amount or type of cushioning that is just right really has to do with the style of play and size of the player in question. Nightwing is obviously not a 250lb player who flies above the rim. There are different cushions for different players. I feel most Adidas shoes feel incredibly firm with almost no cushion but Nightwing loved the DRose 3’s. I’m also 250lb and use to play football so the cushion that works for me is different and so goes for each players specific needs.

    Nightwing does a great job reviewing shoes and giving great feedback as to how the shoe works for the majority of players. To much cushion is almost never a negative but if you play how Nightwing plays, and you have his preferences, and are his size and build, then it would directly apply. I think its awesome the Kobe’s work with the XI and it opens up this shoe to entire different demographic as well. I’m thinking of putting in the Superhero cushioning with heel and forefoot zoom that gives a great court feel.

  21. Hey NW, Great write up. Just wondering if the lebron 4 insole fits in the xi’s? I like the cushion and arch support the iv insoles had. Thanks

  22. Honestly Nightwing, I think all of us just wants the blog review of this shoe right now. If this shoe has more than superb cushion, then you know it’s gonna be great.

  23. I’m not down with the removable insoles in all the new shoes. IMO, no matter how well they fit–they will NEVER fit as well as an integrated cushioning system. Just saying.

  24. bought them wore them hate them,,,I’vee worn them for 47 hours and they wont break, there so frikkin stiff..I hate them sooo much…

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