When you think there’s no way they can make them better…
WEIGHT: 450 g. / 15.8 oz
TECH: ZOOM AIR, MAX AIR
FIT: TRUE TO SIZE
RETAIL PRICE: $160
BD RATING: 9/10
The LeBron 16 Low has changed its skin from arguably the best knit implementation in the game (I know for me this stuff is #1) – Battle knit 2.0 – to not as exciting mesh/synthetic one. Yeah, I know, there’s nothing wow or premium about this combination, at least, on paper. Actually, it’s only on paper… No way LeBron is having budget-friendly stuff on his flagship line. The King is not about that type of life. So that being said, although this is mainly mesh – it’s a great one.
The main body construction has that BattleKnit-ish type of pattern printed all over the mesh upper, which from distance does make you think that it is an updated version of Battleknit or you just simply need some brand new contact lenses. But then you take a closer look, take them in-hand for touch inspection and then you be like, “Nah… It’s freaking mesh”. But then you take a step further and actually try them on and be like, “You sure it’s not BattleKnit?”. That’s the trip the 16 low will take you on.
Now being more specific about their actual performance. The upper barely requires break-in time. Once broken-in it form-fits your foot in almost the same fashion as the knit version does – one-to-one that is. Yet, it makes the shoe feel lighter on foot as well as on scales due to the nature of mesh; and has a slight edge over the BattleKnit 2.0 in terms of foot containment to successfully transition them into a low-top class.
Unlike the LeBron 15 low receiving a different cushion tooling (full-length Zoom Air as a replacement for Zoom Air & Max Air combination) mainly due to cost saving and the stability issue found in the original pair, there was no need to change anything in the LeBron 16 low.
Both the original and low version of the 16 do share the same updated Zoom Air & Max Air blend for easily the craziest ride across the board. And if you’re looking for premium court feel, stop it here, and go read the Nike Kobe AD 360 performance review instead. While everyone else out there will definitely find something to love about this set-up. Whether you’re a guard who needs striking responsiveness for a quick first step blow or an explosive/heavy guy that hunts for a bouncy & impact protection heavy ride – it’s all there.
No changes down here as the bottoms are still rocking how I call it – the “TANK” herringbone traction pattern. It offers already proved all-directional coverage that comes within a deeply grooved, widely spaced, hard rubber form factor to make sure you’re getting the best possible bite on any type of indoor surfaces along with the ability to withstand the beating playing outdoors.
Dust problems? There’s simply no such a thing while playing in these unless you’re playing in some type of abandoned 24-hour fitness center, in that case, regular wiping is required.
Again, nothing new to discuss, except for one insignificant upgrade that happens to make a significant difference in a certain area. Not sure if anyone of you did notice, but the 16 low is featuring the new lacing system. The reason being is that the original pair was having some weight distribution issues that made the shoe feel heel-heavy. So to overcome the issue, instead of them having the traditional lacing system, the laces on the 16 low are connected to the tongue with Flywire-ish lace loops for increased foot’s lockdown onto the footbed. Whereas the very top row of the lace holes remains utilizing that traditional crisscross lace pattern to push the foot back into the heel cup and leave no space for heel slippage.
Other than that, even with the mesh/synthetic combo in charge for the upper, they still do offer that lovely one-to-one fit while the lateral lockdown and ankle transition are actually improved. As for the sizing, true to size for everyone.
The main support equipment remains untouched. You do have an internal heel counter, compact outriggers for each articulated Air pillow together with sturdy midsole caging for a stable ride & trustworthy lateral coverage. As I said in the original performance review – “They are TANKS”. There’s no way you’re busting your ass out of the footbed or experiencing other support issues.
By the way, Zion should consider playing in LeBron’s signature line next season.
I was about to say that other brands should take notes on how to produce one hell of a low-top version of the sneaker. However, the Nike brand itself usually does not pay that much attention to creating it. It’s pretty much all about trimming down the ankle area and making as much revenue as possible. On the other hand, the LeBron signature line seems to be the one that looks at the creation of a low-top version a bit differently. Yeah, the main intention still remains to make as much money as possible, though the second one is to improve upon the original version. They have been doing this for two consecutive years now. The LeBron 15 low came out with added outriggers, toned down cushion tooling & more rigid midsole caging to eliminate the stability issue the original pair had. And this time around, the LeBron 16 low got rid of the heel slippage issue by adding the new lacing system.
Having said that, if you want to have everything you love about the LeBron 16 and then some – the LeBron 16 Low should be a no-brainer.
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