The start of a new season came with the unveiling of a new signature shoe for LeBron James, and though a ripped tongue led to switching out of the Nike LeBron 17 and into the LeBron 16 during the second half of a loss to the L.A. Clippers, he got through Friday night without issue.
When the Los Angeles Lakers took the court at Staples Center for their home opener of the 2019-20 NBA season, James did so in an all red version of the latest model from his signature line. Meanwhile, tipoff against the Utah Jazz was accompanied by a SNKRS stash release of the Nike Air Max LeBron 7 retro red carpet.
Fittingly, the ‘red carpet’ theme has also been applied to the LeBron 17, and James put on a show to the tune of 32 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists. His shoe draws from red carpets being a staple in Hollywood and the Lakers having a blockbuster opening.
The LeBron 17 is constructed in a red upper and accents, features an insole that is modeled after messaging seen with Motion Picture Association of America ratings for movies, and of course pays homage to the LeBron 7 red carpet that is slated for a wider release on Tuesday, Oct. 29, and is what James wore to the arena.
The LeBron 17 red carpet is scheduled to release Friday, Nov. 15, at Nike.com and select retailers. It’s currently available in multiple colorways, including one that incorporates hints of purple and yellow for a Lakers feel.
James’ latest signature shoe notably signaled a return to a hightop model. The bulk of his Nike shoes have been designed as 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 additionally crafted 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.
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.”