With the LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference for the first time since 2010, Nike unveiled details and initial colorways of the LeBron 18 that are due to release throughout the fall.
They began with an “Empire Jade” colorway that was exclusively made available in the greater China area, and a “Reflections” pair that released in limited quantities via the SNKRS app.
The set up of James’ latest signature shoe draws from being well into a contract with Nike, as the cushioning system is comprised of both Air Max in the heel and a full-length Zoom Air Bag.
“At this point, LeBron has spent half his life with Nike,” designer Jason Petrie recently said. “We wanted to make him a shoe that played with this idea of two halves. How could we keep improvising on the Max Air value that LeBron loves, but use the forefoot half to sharpen the low-to-the-ground, micro-shifts that LeBron needs to cut and transition down the floor?
“We’ve gotten near-surgically detailed on these features so that the sum of the shoe’s parts come together for LeBron, and for every kind of player.”
The upper of the LeBron 18 draws from three previous signature models to create a new knit that is lightweight and durable.
“You’ll also see in the upper how we integrated a cable-inspired rib cage,” Petrie said. “They reach all the way down into the footbed, allowing this macro support-system to work with the knit.”
Nike implemented a generative design for traction, which is a method used in the brand’s Sport Research Lab. The forefoot is divided into quadrants with thin ridges that get more pronounced toward the heel of the shoe for a stricter grip.
James has the LeBron 18 during practices in Orlando, then for his limited time on the court for the Lakers’ final seeding game, and again to the arena for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
LeBron 18 release details
Although the LeBron 18 has already seen a pair of releases, an additional two colorways are due to come out within the next several weeks.
The first is a black multicolor pair, which will be made available on Friday, Oct. 9. That will be followed by a “Los Angeles By Day” release on Friday, Nov. 6. That model features an upper that is reminiscent of sandy beaches and an L.A.-themed design on the heel.
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