SLAM Sneaker Review: Nike LeBron 14

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Welcome back to SLAM Sneaker Review, where we take a look at the latest basketball performance footwear out there. Up for discussion this time is the latest from King James, the Nike LeBron 14.

Yes they are finally here. After more than a year of anticipation, the Nike LeBron 14 finally makes it to Manila.

Fourteen. I still can’t believe the fact that LeBron James now has 14 signature silhouettes from the swoosh. While the 13 was a good hoop shoe, it struggled to win some fans over who preferred playing in Kobe 11’s, KD 9’s or Kyrie 2’s due to it’s low to the ground, lightweight performance. Some even transitioned to his Zoom Soldier X’s, which was used in the Cavs’ championship run with a sleek lace-less look. With the delay in public release, the clamor was never this high for when the 14’s would release or what they would look like. Would they be a breath of fresh air in the LeBron line? When the first official photos were released online, the LeBron 14 did not disappoint.

Nike PH has been putting select media on this 4-week training experience with some of the best coaches in the land. FEU’s Trainer Jonathan De Guzman and Assistant Coach Ryan Betia led the way as they put us thru shooting drills, endurance tests as well as strength and conditioning exercises to pattern the King’s movements.

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Fit

At first, I was iffy with the fit. Similar to the Zoom KD 9 and the Soldier X, these uppers do not form or mold to your foot instantly. What you see is what you get. So sliding into them, just like into those DM’s, may be a challenge on the first couple of tries. But when you get your whole foot inside the shoe? Glorious, precise fit. Secure.

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These are true to size. The first couple sessions might give you a new, out of the box fit. Stick with it.

A minor concern I had was that the shoe laces easily loosen. That’s where the strap comes in to play. Adjust the laces to be placed under the strap and you’ll be fine.

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Weight

Weighing in at a respectable 14oz, for a shoe that’s not a low top, this is fairly light. For the 14’s there are three main layers that protect your foot: the stretchable lining, a perforated foam material and engineered mesh. These specialized Nike tech provide a good, lightweight ride.

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Traction

Introduced back in the LeBron 12, the hex pods on the outsole have been a great traction addition. For the 14’s, there are bigger and better hex pods.

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It feels like the pods are placed in the right place, perfectly complementing the areas of your foot that need support the most. Crisp shoe to floor connections. Let’s not forget that heel zoom unit that does wonders for jump gathers.

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Detail

The 14’s may have less storytelling on the colorways but the intrinsic and personal details about LeBron’s life make up for it.

B.B.Z. – First letters of LeBron’s three kids, Bronnie Jr. (who has currently been killing it and is starting to look a lot like his dad on the court), Bryce and Zhuri.

330 – Akron, Ohio’s area code, which is where LeBron grew up.

3xWC – Three-time World Champion

SFG – Strive For Greatness, LeBron’s tagline.

Plyr No. XXIII Est. 1984 – LeBron’s jersey number, 23, and the year he was born.

Mdl No. XIV Est. 2016 – Shoe model number 14 and the year it was launched (at least in the States).

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Stability/Support

I love straps.

I’ve tried these at Kerry Sports (Premium wooden floor), Gold’s Gym Sheridan (Where the court was dusty), Outdoor cemented village court and school indoor courts. These are stable enough for wear and tear on all floors.

With the new mid strap, it keeps your foot in place and as mentioned helps with the lacing situation. The strap works wonders and has you locked down like Michael Scofield yet again (Welcome back Prison Break!).

Flywire tech is present for those sturdy cables that keep the upper tight.

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Look and Feel

I don’t understand why a lot of ballers here locally have the stereotype that LBJ’s kicks are heavy. I’m here to set the record straight. These 14’s are super light.

Light and Might may be the theme. That booty upper, once you’re used to it, will keep up with your switch-ups in speed.

The full inner sleeve guarantees a snug, sock-like fit, while the heel pad absorbs your landing even if you are a big man.

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Style

Price point. Game changer. Interesting to note that a top tier signature shoe’s retail price goes down the following year. No one’s complaining and just like Bron’s game, his signature kicks will remain a threat every single year for best in the business.

These could go well with jeans because they are pretty simple but I wanted crazier designs and better stories for the colorways. Still litty though.

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Overall

10/10

LBJ 14

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Nike LeBron 14 is your Summer Seventeen shoe.

I have played in every LBJ shoe from the Air Zoom Generation to this 14, and it is safe to say that the 14 is the best performance sneaker Nike has released for the King. It improves on aspects from its predecessors and creates a modern, technical weapon that you can deploy on court. The Nike LeBron 14 is nothing less than a swiss army knife, attacking you from all angles, out of nowhere.

The Nike LeBron 14 retails for PHP8,895 and is out now at Titan and Nike stores.

On a side note, pick up our 5th local cover with LeBron in his 14’s, out now at a bookstore near you!

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