Year seventeen for LeBron James himself as well as for his main signature line. Will the King be rising his third NBA Championship trophy this year? We definitely don’t know… But what we do know is how the latest performer from LeBron’s signature line handled its business on-court.
That being said, let’s dive into the LeBron 17 performance review.
WEIGHT: 409.3 g. / 14.44 oz
TECH: ZOOM AIT, MAX AIR, KNITPOSITE
FIT: TRUE TO SIZE
RETAIL PRICE: $200
BD RATING: 9.1/10
Is this the BattleKnit 3.0? Well, it plays like one. It feels like one. It looks like one with some minor improvements from the past version. But it actually isn’t the next version of BattleKnit, instead, we’re looking at the brand new KnitPosite – a combination of Flyknit construction and pre-twisted, heat-molded yarns that form swirled patterns.
Not really sure why they ended up with the new name for this knit iteration since it does serve the same purpose, and even has pretty much the same construction as the last BattleKnit 2.0. As in the LeBron 16, you do have a free-flowing knit in the toe box for better flexibility & breathability. While as you move towards the back of the shoe, the knit smoothly transforms into more rigid, support packed version of it combined with heat-molded yarns on the side panels for extra lateral support.
All in all, if you’re going for an update from the 16’s, you shouldn’t notice any major differences. For those who don’t know how the BattleKnit or KnitPosite work, well, it does offer one-to-one fit straight out of the box, at the same time giving support where you need it the most.
Oh, the tongue, it’s going to be different on every single colorway. On this one, it’s primarily synthetic leather with a holographic plastic layer on top.
The cushion tooling on the LeBron 17 took a pretty massive makeover in the forefoot but stayed pretty much identical in the heel section compared to the last iteration.
So what you receive is a massive Max Air unit in the heel together with two decoupled Zoom Air units in the forefoot, and some foam to fill-up the very tip of the toe as well as to bring all of that Air madness into one well-working piece.
Listen, is that simple, if the best in the game impact protection, plushness & responsiveness is what you’re looking at first in the ball shoe, there’s no need to look any forward than these bad boys. Personally, it has been three consecutive years of me smiling every time I touch the court with the latest one from the LeBron line. That Air madness gets me all the time.
The amount of cushion hasn’t changed that much if any in the updated forefoot area compared to the 16’s. But those articulation zones did open up for better flexibility and full Zoom Air experience while going for a crossover or quick direction change. The best just became better.
Probably the only issue that some you might find in these is the court feel, you sit pretty hight of the ground. But hey, this ain’t no guard shoe, it’s big boys business.
The Lebron 17 features a muscle cell-like traction pattern that has some of the cues taken from the greatest in the game – classic herringbone pattern, and that definitely does reflect on its performance. That being said, the traction was pretty solid, I had a very consistent bite for the most part if talking in general. Now to be more specific, on clean courts you guys are going to have no problems what so ever. But taking them on rougher surfaces, and by that, I mean courts that are heavy on dust or other debris, you will notice that the traction does pick up a little bit of dust, so periodical wiping is required. Though the setup does not require any extra care, your typical wiping routine is what you need to keep that nice bite. And even if you do forget to wipe, this isn’t a shoe that would make you do a split or crossover yourself. Even with the layer of dust on, the traction stays playable with some unexpected slips here and there.
To top things off, this particular colorway features translucent rubber, so I’m only going to assume that the solid one has even better performance not only indoors but outdoors as well, which I would not recommend doing full-time.
They do run true to size but it’s definitely more on the snug side. That being the case, if you are one of those wide footers, I would recommend going half a size up. I’m a slightly wide footer myself, but going true to size was perfectly fine for me. So as with any new pair, trying them in-store would be the safest scenario.
They start off a little bit snug at first but once you break in the materials, you’re going to be experiencing custom fit. The only imperfection I did experience was a tad bit of extra volume above the toe box. Obviously, that didn’t somehow harm the performance, it’s just a small nitpick of mine that might not appear on your pair.
Other than that, everything was freaking awesome, exactly how it should be in a $200 ball shoe.
That plushy cushioning with form-fitting knit did not prevent the 17 to be like a tank in the support section. In the back, you have a king crown inspired heel counter which allows you to play like a king of the court and be protected like one. Whereas in the midfoot area we get to see a duo of a plastic cup & beefier knit yarns to isolate your foot from unwanted lateral movements.
Last but not least, it’s the lower portion of the shoe which has not one, not two, but freaking three outriggers just in case they won’t need to add more later on like it was with the 15’s.
Heel lockdown – check. Lateral coverage – check. Wide platform for increased stability – check.
It has been my go-to basketball performance line since the LeBron 15, and the 17 keeps it that way. maintaining that main performance base from the last model, the new generation builds upon that by improving some of the stuff to make it play better than its predecessor. It feels premium in every way possible. It has an all-around performance, minus court feel. And no doubt about, the best in the game cushion set-up which is something out of this world. A true Air madness right under your that will keep you -$200 in your bank account. Is it worth pulling the trigger? Well, if you do have spear money to spend because Santa was generous this year, then yes. Go grab it, you won’t regret. Now for the ones who have a tighter budget to spend or thinking about updating from the 16’s, I would recommend holding off for a bit, wait for that price drop, or just stay with the old ones. Last but not least, if that cushion is a tad bit too much to your liking, but that Air is still life, look no further than the KD 12.