Report Card Grades for New LeBron 11 Sneakers

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2013

There is no stopping LeBron James from scoring or releasing new shoes.

Nike is getting set to release the 11th edition of The King's signature kicks in celebration of his decade-plus long reign of dominance at the NBA level.

Per the company's website, the sneakers will be the lightest version yet and were constructed with protecting LeBron's "unique style of play" and encompassing the "duality of powerful precision" in mind:

The duality of the number 11 is the main graphic design inspiration for the LEBRON 11 – it looks identical upside down as it does right side up. The graphic design on the LEBRON 11 also plays into the duality of the shoe and features ambigrams throughout including:

  • The graphic on the inner tongue of the shoe spells out the number six while further highlighting the Roman numeral XI.
  • The sock liner graphic reads “LeBron” but when flipped upside down reads “James".
  • A closer look at the Swoosh on the shoe reveals a pattern inspired by modern chain mail in which the initials “LJ” make up the links and repeat at graduating weights. 

Confused? That's kind of the point. Duality is all about deception. Things aren't supposed to be what they seem, hence the employment of complex/hidden designs.

Does Nike and LeBron's attempt at fashionable and functional duplicity pay off?

Come follow me as we see if the 11th time's a charm for King James.

*All photos via Nike, inc.



Grade: B+

Dark shades abound in the colorways we see here, though there are bursts of more vibrant tints. 

Think pigmented flashes in the pan. You see bright colors, then suddenly poof, they're gone.

Like all things LeBron, however, the different color schemes just seem to work.



Grade: A

Logos can be repetitive. Nike and LeBron's attempt at putting a unique spin on normally mundane aspects of shoes should be appreciated.

You have the raised LeBron logo near the tongue, the texture of which is great for those who prefer to discover with their hands and not their eyes. The black-on-black conceals it, though. Accentuating it with more of the zippy-colored outline would have done its appearance more justice.

Then you have the Swoosh, an icon by itself that's been done many times before—just not like this.

The modern chain-mail inspired pattern gives this a "Where's Waldo?" type feel as you struggle to locate the hidden "LJ."

Nothing like looking at a pair of kicks and seeing traces of interactive children's books in them, right?



Grade: B+


That's what I thought of when I looked at the various shapes and designs covering the LeBron 11's.

Points were taken off for haphazard fitting of said shapes, but I dig the video-game feel radiating off these bad boys. This should really hit home with the kids who like to look dapper without ever leaving their mom's basement.

Better than everything else ever, though, is the sock-lining awesomeness.

Nike's blend of color here is a cross between an affronted rainbow and an acid trip's worth of squigglies. And I love it.

The inside of your shoes never looked so good.



Grade: B-

Good luck finding an outfit to go with this.

At points, these shoes can be loud and proud in their design and color, but short of adorning yourself in multi-colored robes or anything Miley Cyrus would wear, they're not the most fashionable pieces of footwear.

Might want to keep these locked away for strictly on-court use. And vintage video-game sessions of course.


Overall Grade: B+

Well done, LeBron. 

These really are some flashy kicks, the kind that should fly off shelves and empty the wallets of sneakerheads nation wide.

Those Terracotta Warrior colorways would look especially good on Stephen Curry or anyone in Oakland.

Suffice it to say, LeBron his a home run with No. 11. Or rather, drilled a trey. That seems more appropriate here.



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