Nike has three of the most elite professional basketball players on the planet signed onto their roster and each of them receives a signature sneaker for the season. Toward the end of the season their signatures get beefed up into ‘Elite’ models and then released to the public with a hefty price tag attached. This may confuse consumers as it makes it look as if their regular season shoe isn’t up to par with the Elite from a performance standpoint.
This is actually nothing new when it comes to
LeBron X: 360 Degree Full Length Zoom Air
LeBron X Elite: 360 Degree Full Length Zoom Air
Zoom Air is an amazing cushion. Max Air is also an amazing cushion. Put the two together and you have pure awesomeness.
Nothing has really changed between the regular LeBron X and the Elite version and honestly, that works well just based on the fact that the cushion system worked really well. One thing that felt different between the two is that the Elite model felt as if it has more air within the Zoom unit thus making it feel much more stable. Not sure if this is true but it’s something that should be noted.
Any real major difference though? No… not at all.
LeBron X: Hyperfuse
LeBron X Elite: Hyperfuse
Much like the cushion, the upper materials aren’t entirely different between each version.
Fuse is great because it’s durable and resilient but is supportive at the same time. The LeBron X’s Hyperfuse upper mimics leather in certain ways but without the stretching after they’ve been broken in. The key difference between the two is that the overall thickness or layers used to create the upper is trimmed down slightly on the Elite so in that sense it’s not 100% the same but when comparing their performance overall… nothing too drastic between the two to consider them any different.
LeBron X: TPU Midfoot Plate
LeBron X Elite: Carbon Fiber Heel & Forefoot Plate
This is where things begin to change.
Support in the LeBron X was adequate. No, it wasn’t perfect but it’s definitely adequate and gets the job done just fine. Support in the LeBron X Elite is near perfect and quite frankly, straight beastly. Is there such thing as too much support? Of course, but that usually coincides with restrictiveness and that actually wasn’t the case here.
Even smaller players will enjoy the support features in the Elite and this is the one key area that out performs the original.
LeBron X: $180 for the non-Nike+ version
LeBron X Elite: $260 for the non-Nike+ version
Let’s be honest, an $80 price increase hurts the wallet.
The KD V Elite received a $65 price increase while the Kobe 8 Elite received a $60 price increase. Sure, not much was changed but the same can be said with the LeBron X. This price increase is the most confusing aspect of the LeBron X Elite and the biggest change. It’s a known fact that Kevlar is used within the Flywire and that Carbon Fiber is more abundant on this Elite model than the other two signatures which will increase the manufacturing costs but still… $80 is huge when you are a teenager trying to convince your parents to buy you your favorite athletes new sneaker – the one labeled Elite at least.
So, what’s the verdict?
The price increase does not justify the changes made when directly comparing the two LeBron signatures based on one simple fact: the level of performance is nearly identical. Yes, you will receive more support in the LeBron X Elite, but since when is adequate support not good enough?
The main thing I find confusing is that in the '90s, signature sneakers were the Elite models. By releasing an expensive basic version and then following that up with an actual ‘Elite’ model tells your consumers one thing— that you sold them a pricey prototype and they can have the real shoe come June.