Best LeBron Shoes & Sneakers for Basketball Reviewed

LeBron James, a name synonymous with basketball. LeBron has won a multitude of awards, including NBA Rookie of the Year, two Olympic gold medals, three NBA Finals MVP Awards, and four NBA MVP Awards. He’s also won three NBA championships and an NBA scoring title. With all of these accomplishments, it’s no wonder that Nike signed a lifetime deal with LeBron.

Nike, as you may well know, produces sneakers. Sneakers are shoes meant for sports and other physical activities. People do, however, wear them as everyday shoes. Sneakers generally have a flexible sole which consists of rubber or other synthetic material and an upper leather part which also can be synthetic. There are a number of types of sneakers, such as high-tops, which cover the ankle and low-tops which do not. Mid-cut sneakers settle in between low and high-tops.

Featured Recommendations

Nike Air Max LeBron XI
  • Nike Air Max LeBron XI
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Hyperfuse
  • Price: See Here
 
Nike LeBron X
  • Nike LeBron X
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Flexible
  • Price: See Here
 
Nike LeBron XII
  • Nike LeBron XII
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Durable Upper
  • Price: See Here

There are also plenty of other sneaker shoes that are specially designed for different uses, such as cleats, skate shoes, track shoes, and more. Here, we’ll explore the best LeBron sneakers for basketball.

 

 

10 Best LeBron Shoes

 

 

1. Nike Air Max LeBron XI

The Air Max LeBron XI will take you to new heights. Constructed of leather with a thin rubber outsole, these sneakers also come with a hyperfuse upper construction. There’s also a full inner sleeve and a mesh tongue. All of these are meant for a light sneaker that’s easy to play in and durable. Other features make for a great playing shoe as well.
Expand to see more
Lateral Outrigger
The lateral outrigger stabilizes your feet, so you can make quick cuts and lateral movements. This is important during the game of basketball as you cut across your opponents, headed for the shot.

Low Collar
The low collar allows flexibility at the ankle for better mobility. When making your way across the court, you need to be able to turn at a moment’s notice. This will allow for that.

Cost and Value
The Air Max LeBron XI are going for a mid-range price. But when you consider the price of a good Nike sneaker, they’re really not that expensive. Durability is key here and they seem to have it.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Allow for flexibility in the ankles
Cons
  • May come small

2. Nike LeBron X

The LeBron X are next after the IX of the LeBron line. The Xs are synthetic with a rubber sole. They have a mesh tongue for breathability and a full inner sleeve for an easy fit. These sneakers are lightweight and sport a hyperfuse upper. Like many in the LeBron line, they come in different styles and colors for variety.
Expand to see more
Rubber Outsole
The solid rubber outsole is meant for not only durability, but for traction on a variety of surfaces. Whether you’re playing on the court or outside, these shoes won’t let you down.

Hyperfuse Upper
The hyperfuse upper helps the sneaker breathe. It also makes it durable and stable. These are all important elements in a basketball sneaker, which will be used plenty during the season.

Cost and Value
The LeBron X is an expensive shoe, so buying it on sale is probably your best bet. The X is, however, durable and stable, which helps when considering the price.
Pros
  • True to size
  • Solid soles
  • Breathable
Cons
  • Expensive

3. Nike LeBron XII

Another from the LeBron line makes the list. Coming in at number 3 are the Nike LeBron XIIs. They are synthetic with a synthetic mesh for breathability. They also come with hyperposite wings and neoprene inner sleeve. In addition, a full-length Phylon mid-sole and translucent rubber outsole complement these sneakers, making them durable, stable, and lightweight, not to mention comfortable.
Expand to see more
Hyperposite Wings
The hyperposite wings contain your foot inside the shoe and help to stabilize it. This is particularly useful on the court so your foot doesn’t go sliding all over the place.

Translucent Rubber Outsole
Whether you’re playing on the court or a pick-up game outside, these translucent rubber outsoles are meant for traction on any surface. They’re also durable and look cool on your feet.

Cost and Value
The LeBron XIIs go from mid-range to very expensive. With their durability, stability, and the LeBron label, it’s no surprise that the higher end of the price range is included in there.
Pros
  • Non-slip soles
  • Good arch support
  • Little to no break in period
Cons
  • May run small
  • Tongue of the shoe does not move

4. Nike LeBron XIII

4. Nike LeBron XIII
The Nike LeBron XIIIs have the flywire cables and Zoom L.E.A.P. system. They also have a rubber sole and mesh. In addition, like many of the other shoes, the XIIIs have the Zoom Air units as well. Four of them are situated on the underfoot and two under the heel and first met head. All of this technology is aimed to make the sneakers durable, flexible, and responsive.
Expand to see more
Zoom Air Units
Four Zoom Air Units are located on the underfoot and two under the first met head and heel. This is for flexible, responsive, and low-profile cushioning. The sneakers are meant to be comfortable and respond to your every move.

Zoom L.E.A.P.
Just like some of the others, the XIIIs have the Zoom L.E.A.P. system, which propels you upward. This is great for those dunks and for jumping to get the ball from your opponent.

Cost and Value
The LeBron XIIIs range in price from fairly cheap to fairly expensive, though they aren’t the most expensive shoe on this list. They have several features which make for a good sport sneaker.
Pros
  • Good traction
  • Great ankle support
  • Short break in period
Cons
  • May run small
  • May run narrow

5. Nike LeBron Soldier IX

5. Nike LeBron Soldier IX
From LeBron’s Soldier line, come the Soldier IXs. They are synthetic with a rubber sole. The Soldier IXs come with lightweight, full inner sleeves, wedged carrier foam, and lunarlon cushioning. They also have the next generation of Lunarswift technology, the Lunarswift+ 3. These sneakers are built for comfort and durability. Everything about them screams it, from the soles to the tongue.
Expand to see more
Lunarswift+ 3
Upgraded from the Lunarswift+ 2, the Lunarswift+ 3 is a lighter design and has a modified upper. This locks the foot in place. It also has a seamless design and plush cushioning so that you can go the distance.

Wedged Carrier Foam
The wedged carrier foam helps to control pronation. If you have flat feet, this is definitely the sneaker for you. Pronation can be a big problem for a lot of people and this sneaker helps to control it.

Cost and Value
The Soldier IX ranges in price from very low to fairly pricey. As always, the Nike/LeBron labels can up the price, but the extra features can make it quite worth the price, especially the wedged carried foam if you have pronation issues.
Pros
  • Good ankle support
  • Straps provide extra support
  • Good coushioning
Cons
  • May run small

6. Nike Air Max LeBron XII EXT

6. Nike Air Max LeBron XII EXT
Catch some air with the Air Max LeBron XII EXTs. These sneakers are synthetic with a hyperposite upper. They also have a full-length Phylon midsole. In addition, they have non-marking rubber outsoles. Their multi-directional traction patterns are meant to increase grip and traction so that you are always sure-footed on and off the court. These shoes are definitely for the serious player.
Expand to see more
Hyperposite Upper
The hyperposite upper is meant for a secure and durable feel. It helps to keep your foot securely in place and keeps you from sliding around in your sneaker.

Phylon Midsole
The Phylon midsole is meant for lightweight cushioning and stability. Feeling cushioned in your basketball shoe is important because you need to be comfortable when playing.

Cost and Value
The Air Max LeBron XII EXTs are a mid-range sneaker. Due to their signature name and their extra features, the price makes sense for them. They’re not the most expensive on the list.
Pros
  • Secure feel
  • Lightweight
  • Durable feel
Cons
  • May run small

7. Nike LeBron XI

7. Nike LeBron XI
Another sneaker from the LeBron signature line, the LeBron XI makes the cut. Much like others of its line, it has the Hyperposite construction, Lunarlon, Zoom Air cushioning, and Flywire support. It is a sneaker that’s ready to hit the courts or the blacktop. The LeBron XI, like its predecessors, is a sneaker that’s meant to be durable and stable.
Expand to see more
Flywire Support
Flywire support wraps around the heel of your foot from midfoot. It locks down your foot to keep it in place. Your foot gets to stay in place so that it doesn’t move around when you do. This is particularly useful when you’re jumping and running.

Hyperposite Construction
The hyperposite construction helps keep your foot inside the shoe and to stabilize it. This is particularly important when running and jumping, especially if you step on an opponent’s foot.

Cost and Value
The LeBron XI is a mid-range sneaker, falling in between several of the other shoes on the list. Its price is pretty reasonable for a good, durable, Nike sneaker.
Pros
  • Great heel support
  • Reasonable price
  • Fits as expected
Cons
  • May be stiff in the front

8. Nike LeBron Soldier X

8. Nike LeBron Soldier X
Another sneaker from the Soldier line, the Soldier X is a fabric shoe. The materials are reinforced in areas that are high wear in order to keep them stronger longer. It has three straps which are constructed with premium materials. It has a 3-layer upper as well as forefoot Zoom Air units. The outsole is solid rubber and has a multi-directional pattern for traction and durability.
Expand to see more
3-Layer Upper
The 3-layer upper has perforated foam, stretch lining, and textile dimensions for a breathable shoe that’s also supportive and extremely light. It makes for a great basketball shoe on and off the court.

Zoom Air Units
The Zoom Air Units on the heel and forefoot keep you on your feet with plush cushioning. This is awesome for landings as well, which you don’t want to be hard on your feet.

Cost and Value
The Soldier X falls into the mid-range price. It, like every shoe on this list, has the Nike/LeBron label, so it’s not surprising that it has a good price tag attached to it. However, for a quality sneaker, it’s not a bad price.
Pros
  • Good ankle support
  • Great grip and traction
  • Light
Cons
  • May not have enough support on the interior of foot

9. Nike LeBron Zoom Witness

9. Nike LeBron Zoom Witness
The LeBron Zoom Witness is synthetic and fabric. The Zoom Witness has a Breathe Tech system and strategic cut outs near the midfoot. These are meant for the best breathability possible with enhanced airflow. Internal half length mesh booties attach to the tongue for a sock-like fit in your shoe. Like many of its counterparts, it has Zoom Air technology to help minimize stress on the joints.
Expand to see more
Achilles Pad
The Achilles pad and an ultralight foam wing are built in to hug the back of your heel to provide extra comfort in that area. This is particularly important when making those sudden turns.

Breathe Tech
The Breathe Tech construction utilizes a composite fabric upper for a lightweight performance. In addition, there are strategic cu outs near the midfoot. All of these are meant for good breathability.

Cost and Value
The Zoom Witness is a low to mid-range sneaker in price. When going for durability and quality, the price isn’t so bad for a good, Nike sneaker.
Pros
  • Not as expensive as some of the others
  • Good breathability
  • Good heel support
Cons
  • May need a different size for proper fit

10. Nike Zoom LeBron Soldier VIII

10. Nike Zoom LeBron Soldier VIII
Another pair in the Soldier line, the Soldier VIIIs come with a collar strap and a zipper for quick, easy on and off. Like many shoes on this list, the Soldier VIIIs come with Phylon midsoles and Flywire cables. They also have a mesh upper. In addition, the rubber outsole has flex grooves and a power flex pattern. These are meant for a multidirectional traction and a natural range of motion.
Expand to see more
Flywire Technology
Much like other sneakers on this list, the Soldier VIII has Flywire technology, which wraps around the heel of the foot from the midfoot. It is meant to lock down your foot to keep it in place.

Phylon Midsole
The Phylon midsole, like on other sneakers on this list, is meant for lightweight cushioning and stability. The comfort is important for playing and every day running and walking.

Cost and Value
The Soldier VIIIs fall into a mid-range category with price. This is due to their Nike/LeBron labels and their extra features, which make it worth the extra dollars.
Pros
  • Easy on/off
  • Good support in the toes
  • Great support in the heels
Cons
  • Hard to wash
  • May run small

Now that you know which LeBron sneakers are the best to play basketball in, take one or two pairs out for a spin on the court or blacktop. The game of basketball requires durable, comfortable, and stable sneakers, all qualities of which these LeBron sneakers have.

They all have different extra features that make them unique for playing basketball, such as Flywire Technology, Phylon midsole, and Zoom Air Units, among others. Because the LeBron name is connected to them, they have to be well suited to basketball. Pay attention to which sneakers have the best tread for games played on multiple surfaces.

Also take note that a lot of these run small, so order a half a size to a size up. The best thing to do is to try them out in a store if you can find them and see what size fits you best. Some of these sneakers are more expensive than others, but the Nike/LeBron label does up the price. However, the price of a good Nike sneaker will always be a little more expensive, so take that into consideration when pricing them. You want your sneakers to last, especially if they’re your game shoes.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best LeBron Shoes

Fit

Sneakers today are shaped to be narrow. This is totally fine for the narrow and normal footed individual, but not so great for people with a wider foot. If you pick a shoe that’s constructed using synthetic materials, it will likely run narrow. You can go up a half size, but this will likely throw off things like support. If you have a wide foot, pick a shoe that’s made with raw materials, such as leather or suede. These materials will stretch over time, giving you a better fit for your foot. The Nike Air Max LeBron XI is made of leather, which makes it more suitable for a wide foot. This sneaker is more likely to stretch for the wearer and provide a more comfortable fit than some of the others on the list.

Cushion

Cushioning is important in your basketball sneaker. You want your sneaker to be comfortable enough to play in. Your two best choices are air cushioning and foam cushioning. The difference between the two is how responsive they are. Responsiveness is the energy a sneaker puts back into what you put out. Air cushions are generally more responsive than foam cushions. Foam is becoming more responsive, but it won’t stay that way long term. Air cushions will last you longer, so if you change your sneakers out once a year, those are the ones you should go with. However, if you change your shoes out every few months, then the foam cushions are good enough. The Air Zoom Units in several of the sneakers, such as the Nike LeBron XIII and the Nike LeBron Soldier X are meant to cushion the foot. The air cushioning, as mentioned, will hold up longer than foam, so these shoes will last longer than those with foam cushioning.

Outsole

The outsole of a sneaker will provide its traction. You want to make sure you get a shoe that grips the floor of whatever surface you’re going to be playing on, whether it’s the court or a blacktop. Check out the sole’s pattern, softness, and thickness when considering which shoe to pick. They will tell you which option is best for the kind of surface you’re playing on. The Nike LeBron XII have translucent rubber soles that are meant for playing on any type of surface. They’re durable and provide good traction no matter what surface you’re playing on.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q. How do I find the best shoe?
A. The best shoe is always going to be the one that fits you the best and feels the best on your feet. If you have to try on everything in your size to find that shoe, go ahead. Even if it’s the most expensive shoe in the store, at least you’ll know what you’re looking for.

Q. Should I be using insoles?
A. If insoles feel good, then use them. The goal is to find a shoe that you don’t need them with, however.

Q. How do I know my shoe size?
A. You can go to your local sporting shoe store and get sized. If you haven’t checked your foot size in two years, have it checked. Your feet change like everything else on your body.

Q. Are the more expensive shoes really better?
A. Not all of the cheaper shoes are terrible, but the more expensive ones will have better materials and quality. You don’t have to drop hundreds of dollars on your basketball sneakers, but you shouldn’t necessarily go the cheapest way either.

Q. How long have LeBron shoes been around for?
A. The first Nike LeBron shoe came out in 2003. It was the Air Zoom Generation.

Q. How can I tell if a LeBron shoe is authentic?
A. There are many fakes out there. Spotting one isn’t always easy, but Nike has your back. They have a list of fake guides on their page to help you determine if the shoes you are about to purchase (or have purchased) are real or not.

Q. What are some features that have been added to the LeBron line?
A. The first LeBron sneaker had features such as molded mesh in the heel and midfoot. In the midfoot it also had large air ducts for ventilation and to make it lighter. In addition, there was a composite plate and an external heel counter. Since then, Nike has added features to the sneakers such as double stacked Zoom for cushioning, lunarlon cushioning, carbon fiber, and flywire. There are also zoom air pods in many of the shoes.

Sources

  1. Nightwing2303, 10 Things To Consider Before Purchasing Your Next Pair of Basketball Sneakers, article, Mar 21, 2013
  2. PM_ME_UR_MAZDA, Basketball Shoe FAQ, reddit, Nov 18, 2017

Adrenaline GTS 18
Next Giveaway draw
Your email is safe with us. Pinky swear
Share:
Enter the giveaway