A review of the Nike LeBron XI King’s Pride

December was a hectic month, and it culminated in Christmas and New Year. Who doesn’t love getting and giving out presents? 2013 was the year I first landed employment status, meaning that I started getting hard-earned money. It was good that I was able to give gifts to my family from out of my own pocket! The karma might have been good, as I also landed a free pair of kicks!

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The Athlete’s Foot had a promotion entitled ‘Holiday Clicks for Kicks’ wherein you’d take a selfie with the shoe that you wanted for Christmas, and you’d upload it on their Facebook page. The top 5 entries with the most votes would get their respective shoes that they took a selfie with.

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I was glad to be able to be part of that top 5, in fact, I got into first place. I actually joined the contest during the last 3 days of votation, and had to work double time to get the extra votes! It was really fun, but also a bit of hard work, as I had to ask my family and friends to click and hit that vote button. I also manually messaged my friends on Facebook, anyone who was online really, and a lot of people ‘seen-zoned’ me but it’s all good, not everyone will want to help out. On the flip side, I’m glad that I did get a lot of support too though!

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After waiting for the go signal from the person in Manila in charge of the said promotion, I claimed my prize from TAF Ayala Center Cebu a day after Christmas. Talk about excited! I was so stoked trying them on in-store. Still couldn’t believe that I won these awesome pair of kicks. I really had wanted a new pair of basketball shoes to hoop in. The staff were very courteous and were genuinely happy for me. You guys should definitely check out The Athlete’s Foot in Ayala Center Cebu, as they have some great stuff for athletics and apparel over there. I chose the Lebron XI in the King’s Pride Colorway. There was also the option of getting the Black and Red colorway, but this just screamed ‘FIRE’ to me. Let’s get on to the review!

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These are the Nike LeBron XI in the King’s Pride colorway. These sneakers are just sick! I love the colors, the materials used and the over-all design of the shoe. Truly a great concept deserving for a player of LeBron’s caliber. Nike did a really good job on these, hats off to Jason Petrie who designed these.

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Of course, it came in the TAF paper bag. Again, big ups to them for sponsoring this Holiday Clicks for Kicks contest!

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They went for a whole duality theme on this shoe. The box is huge, and it features black and red. You can see the Lebron lettering in red, which is cool, because if you invert this, it turns into James. Try tilting your head, you’ll be amazed. There’s also an LJ Crown logo that features more of that duality.

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Got it in a US SZ 10. Official colorway is Parachute Gold/Artic Green-Dark Loden-Blue. Here is the tag. Made in China.

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Here they are fresh from the box. The smell is that of plastic and glue, as these aren’t made with leather, but that new shoe smell is still glorious! But I will have to say that nothing beats a new pair of kicks that has nice leather on it.

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Let’s start off with the traction and outsole of the shoe. It’s a honeycomb type of pattern, and is fully laid out in that Arctic Green. It looks super clean. You can also see the cracks in the forefoot and heel of the shoe, which are actually transparent windows that showcase the Full Length Lunarlon and Zoom Air midsole which is the red portion. We’ll get into that later.

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You can clearly see the traction pattern as well as the transparent window that houses the Lunarlon foam carrier. For basketball purposes, the traction on the shoe is good, but not the best. I still think standard herringbone is the best pattern for traction and grip. The rubber is fairly pliable, so I wouldn’t recommend you playing outdoors with these. If you play with these on an outdoor court like hard concrete, you’ll grind down the rubber pretty quickly. These are good for indoor courts.

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In between, we’ve got a black TPU/Carbon Fiber shank plate, which provides stability and support for your foot, so it doesn’t over-extend or over-flex in the arch area. It’s laid out in black and has a slight pattern to it, and has that cracked effect with the Lebron James signature in red. Pretty dope.

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You can’t really see the midsole like in usual shoes, as the midsole is placed internally. From the outsole, it goes straight to the upper, giving you that low to the ground feel, which they took the Lebron Signature models to a new direction. In the past iteration, the LeBron X, they went with a full 360 Max Zoom Unit. That offered a whole lot of cushion, but it was really off the ground, you lost court feel. With this, it’s a perfect balance of plush cushioning and that low to the ground court feel.

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On the medial side of the toebox, we’ve got that Foamposite material. This is like a durable plastic which is Nike’s technology, which, when played in and broken in, molds with your foot and gives you a 1-to-1 fit. Look at the Parachute Gold and how it gleams. The whole shoe is composed of this Foamposite, and it shines and gleams like no other. The Foamposite makes the shoe look like a tank and something Iron Man would wear! It’s really underrated as a colorway since it’s a General Release, but these look simply beautiful. We’ve also got a black Nike Swoosh there on the toebox.

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On the outside or lateral side, we’ve got a lateral outrigger, which is kind of a protrusion that provides stability because of a wider base. You can see it in that Arctic Green, right below the James text. Again, inverting the James will have it read as LeBron. Aside from the foamposite material, there is also a mixture of Hyperfuse, which is a mixture of mesh and plastic that is durable and is great to use performance wise. That is the black and brown material that mixes with the Foamposite to form overlays. It’s not as comfortable as straight up leather, but it’ll hold up better and keep its shape in the long run.

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Going up the tongue, we’ve got a mixture of that Pro Combat and Mesh padded tongue. It’s really, really, well padded. No chafing or hotspots anywhere when you put on the shoe. It’s an all black tongue, and we’ve got thick black performance laces. These shoelaces are really heavy-duty and you can feel it when you lace them up tight. They are not going anywhere. Also peek the Dynamic Flywire, which are those cables in red that replace eyelets or the laceholes. These cables and wires hold down your foot when pressure is applied from the laces and keeps your foot secure. Definitely a nice touch with the hints of red.

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Up the tongue, we’ve got the LJ Crown logo in black and arctic green, and that red patch shows the XI for the Lebron XI. This tongue, I cannot stress enough, is super padded. It’s one of the most padded basketball shoes out there, and funny enough, if you lace the shoelaces tighter, it seems to get even more comfy!

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The ends of the shoelaces have red lacetips with the arctic green LJ crown logo again. I love the little details they put into shoes, and this is no exception.

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On the medial or the inside side of the shoe, we’ve also got this black Nike Swoosh with that pattern, outlined in Arctic green. I think this looks really solid as well, and it lends itself to the design of the shoe pretty nicely.

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Going to the back side of the shoe, you can see that carbon fiber plate in black, and the arctic green outsole. More overlays of the Foamposite and Hyperfuse material. There’s red text there which denotes the Flywire. I think this looks a bit out of place, but Nike has been doing this for a while now. Personally, I think it’d be better if they remove this in future releases.

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That Foamposite material wraps around from the toebox, to the sides and all the way to the heel and back portion of the shoe. They are placed where there are high-wear areas, and give better support and fit to your foot. There are also cut-out triangular sections to shed weight, and if you notice closely, you can see the red Dynamic Flywire peeking out from those triangles. It looks really amazing, and you can really see the Flywire holding your foot into place.

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Looking at the sockliner, we’ve got this crazy “Birds of Paradise” or “LeBronold Palmer” graphic, which looks insane! These shades and patterns are reminiscent of the Palm Trees in Miami, as I think this is the source of inspiration. It’s also super padded along the heel and the sides. Really, just top-notch support and step-in comfort is amazing. The shoe has an inner bootie which connects the tongue to the other sections.

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The tag with the production information is on the left side. Again, the graphics along the sockliner is just straight up beautiful and really adds pop to the shoe. Again, it’s the little details that really won it for me.

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This is the removable midsole that I was talking about earlier. It’s a really thick Lunarlon foam, which is a responsive foam cushion engineered by Nike, which is supposed to be responsive and super plush and comfortable. It’s in that bright red, and again, you can peek the Lebron or James invertible text that is silkscreened on there. Nice details.

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You can just see how thick that midsole is. Having a removable insert as both the insole and midsole is relatively new, started by the Kobe 8, and the LeBron XI does a good job of implementing this as well. I kid you not, the Lunarlon foam is super plush, and it feels like pillows on your feet. Really, really comfortable.

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Flipping over the insert, we’ve got the Full Length Zoom Air unit in there, which is the white section that covers the whole shoe. This is also Nike technology that provides low-profile impact protection which provides you that bounce back and return. It feels really good! I can really feel the springiness and that little extra bounce on my step. It won’t make you jump higher, but you can just feel the energy return from the force exerted. Really one of their best foam cushion set-ups to date!

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I’ve played in these a couple of times already, and they do require a bit of break-in time for the cushion, shank plate and Foamposite material. But keep at it, and these will feel better each time you play in them! They fit true to size, although they are a bit snug on the toebox area, which is because of that Foamposite. So I advise you guys get your regular size, but if you have wide feet, you can try a half size up and see which fits you better.

Now, to comment on their performance on the court, here are my personal thoughts and opinions with regards to several key aspects. I’ve taken these attributes from Nightwing2303’s KicksOnCourt performance reviews. He is just amazing at what he does. He tests and makes a performance review on all the latest basketball shoes, and provides his solid opinion. Please do check him out at the KicksOnCourt site here.

Traction – It’s really good as the rubber is pliable, which makes it great on indoor courts. There is that grip and you can make those jab steps, cuts and stops without fear of slippage. It’s not advisable for outdoor courts, because you will grind down the rubber really quick if you play it on concrete. Over-all, a solid traction pattern and solid rubber material makes this more than adequate to give you that grip and traction that you need on the floor. Bonkers.

Cushion – Again, if I have not stressed it enough, these have that removable insert midsole. The combination of Full length Lunarlon and that Full length Zoom Air unit is just beastly! It’s plush and will absorb all the impact. You are literally covered here with regards to impact protection because of that Full Length Lunarlon foam, yet it remains responsive and springy because of that Zoom Air Unit. Heaven sent.

Materials – A combination of Foamposite and Hyperfuse, these are the best performance materials you can use in basketball shoes right now. It will require some break-in time, as this isn’t your regular leather which hardly has any break-in time, but if you stick with it, you will find that the Foamposite and Hyperfuse will break-in and mold accordingly to your foot shape. Superb.

Fit – Because of the Foamposite material, this really hugs your foot and gives you that feeling of security, yet it doesn’t feel bulky at all. It’s actually much lighter than it looks. This is the lightest LeBron signature shoe to date. My whole foot was secure, and once I laced them up, my feet were secure inside the shoe. True to size lengthwise, but a bit snug widthwise along the toebox and forefoot. Do try on in store if you have some doubts if you have wider feet than regular. I had a little slippage in my left heel at first but again, I reiterate, the fit is phenomenal once the Foamposite and cushion breaks in. Also, a little tip, you should tie your shoelaces twice. The aglets or the lace tips are a bit heavy, and will clank around the upper if you don’t. No problems after break-in whatsoever. Outstanding.

Support – The Foamposite material is placed in strategic sections such as the heel and toebox and other high-wear areas, which keep your foot supported and will stop slippage. The fit of the shoe itself is what lends support mostly. The TPU/Carbon Fiber shank plate in place also provides torsional support, and makes sure that your arch doesn’t over-extend when you’re sprinting up and down the court.  Top-notch.

Ventilation – There are some cut-out portions of the Hyperfuse which provide some ventilation, but it isn’t the best. However, ventilation shouldn’t be too much of an issue if the fit is outstanding. Adequate.

Over-all, I am really satisfied with how this shoe performs on-court. It looks great, it’s supportive and sturdy without being bulky and still provides you with that range of motion and court feel. The cushion is superb and provides impact protection and responsiveness. After that break in period, it plays like a beauty. I definitely recommend that you check this shoe out. For the price tag it has, PHP 9,495.00 is not cheap, but you’re getting what (arguably) the best player in the game is getting, and all of Nike’s latest and greatest technological advances are placed into the shoe. Amazing!

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On another note, did I already mention how beautiful the color blocking and over-all design on the shoe is? That gleaming Foamposite material and the Arctic Green and red hits which give it that pop is really a pleasure to look at. These are also amazing to rock off-court, with some jeans or shorts. In fact, I’ve been wearing it to the office and other gatherings because it looks great, catches attention and is just so damn comfortable!

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That’s my take on the Nike LeBron XI King’s Pride. A great design, versatile both on and off court, and an absolute beast of a performance shoe. Once again, thanks to The Athlete’s Foot for the Holiday Clicks for Kicks promo. Definitely check them out along with their other branches and stores like Sports Warehouse and Planet Sports, they are a big deal here in the Philippines.

If you have any comments, questions, opinions or clarifications on the shoe, please feel free to PM me or drop a comment down below. I really appreciate all the views the blog has been getting, it’s really amazing!

Until next time,

Cheers!

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