Having already launched in a ‘Future Air’ colorway that took cues from the iconic Air Max shoe box, and a second release in a more traditional black/white version, the Nike LeBron 17 now arrives Thursday in a Los Angeles Lakers model.
The black upper includes touches of purple and gold around the heel and outer sides of the shoe. James’ logo at the base of the tongue is embroidered in purple, while the lion eyes offer a contrast in gold.
The Nike LeBron 17 “Lakers” is priced at $200 and will be available on Nike.com and at select Nike retailers starting Thursday, Oct. 10.
James’ latest signature shoe offers a return to a hightop model. The bulk of his Nike shoes have been such, but there was a shift to a 3/4 cut with the LeBron 16.
“We had ‘the blueprint’ in mind for the 17, and we started from the ground up on everything, whether that was the construction of the knit or the way we could protect him underfoot with Air bags,” explained Jason Petrie, who designed the LeBron XVII.
“The silhouette was a way to reset the mark for LeBron, and futuristically explore how we could help his game with the best that Nike offers.”
Nike outfitted the LeBron 17 with the highest-volume Max Air ever present on any of James’ shoes. One unit is placed below the heel in order to absorb the shock that comes with his explosive style of play. A soft foam pod directly under the Max Air units adds cushioning.
“If you look at the evolution of LeBron’s line, you’ll see how he loves Max Air, and we felt like the volume of Air in the 17 was the next solution in providing the stabilization and support he needs,” Petrie said.
Air Zoom (located in the forefoot) is combined with Max Air for a hybrid cushioning setup. “The lateral and medial pods under the forefoot give him that response and comfort in conjunction with the Max Air bag,” Petrie said.
“The way LeBron sees it, he wants to feel confident from the ground up. He doesn’t need help jumping. He wants to feel secure on the way down.”
As for the upper, Knitposite is a byproduct of combining the tooling used on James’ past two signature shoes. “We wanted to blend the knit on the 15 and the strength of the Battleknit on the 16. The result is amazing,” Petrie said.
“Once the heat is applied to the knitting process, you get this jewel-like armored exoskeleton that’s stuffed with these yarns. It’s both structural and soft in the areas it needs to be.”
As for James’ two signature logos — the lion crest and silhouette of his slam dunk — they have been moved to the tongue and combined with various phrases and symbols such as, “I’m King,” “LJ” and “23.”
“LeBron wanted a more overt tongue for the shoe, which opens up the opportunity for personal storytelling,” Petrie said.
“There are other micro details, too. Making the topline jagged was our way of stepping into the crown of the king. Also, there’s a woven label on the medial side that has the inspiration for the colorway. It’s almost like a key to the shoe.”