This is the first time in three years of my performance review writing career when I have finally decided to make a proper review on LeBron’s entry-level signature line – the Lebron Witness. That combination of the LeBron 17 alike Zoom Air units and a $100 price tag was too crazy to pass on.
That being said, here’s my performance review on the Nike LeBron Witness 4. Let’s see what $100 worth of performance is all about.
WEIGHT: 371 g. / 13.1 oz
TECH: ZOOM AIR
FIT: TRUE TO SIZE
RETAIL PRICE: $100
BD RATING: 6.8/10
Starting off with the upper, you won’t find anything spectacular or premium about it. It’s your regular mesh setup that gets the job done in every aspect. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing else. And that’s exactly how a budget performer works, it minimizes all of the exclusive, premium stuff out of the design, focusing only on the performance side of things. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. The Nike LeBron Witness 4 is something that works, well, as far as materials go.
So as usual, you do have a more free-flowing mesh in the toe section to offer close to your foot, comfy fit, and add on to better ventilation. Whereas going from the midfoot all the way to the back, there you do have some woven mesh panels doing their thing by improving lockdown, as well as adding durability. Again, nothing too exciting but at the same time nothing plastic-like either. We definitely saw some better iterations of mesh used on a budget performer, yet it is something you can play in without having any problems.
Let’s talk about the reason why I finally pulled the trigger on LeBron’s entry-level signature line. Yep, that forefoot cushion tooling looks like a complete takeaway from the LeBron 17. I just couldn’t resist the chance to see if a budget performer could have a killer cushion setup. So does it? Drum rolls, please… Unfortunately, that forefoot of the Witness 4 wasn’t a groundbreaker or a cheat code. And that mainly has to do with the “Resilient foam” that Nike used which is just another version of that classic cheap foam that makes you feel like stepping on rocks barefoot. Obviously, those Zoom Air units do fix the situation, the forefoot does play alright, but it’s far from performing at the same level as you would guess just from looking at it.
I feel like we already saw a similar traction pattern somewhere before… Oh, that’s right, it was the big bro – LeBron 17 to be the first to feature the shockwave traction pattern, and the Nike Soldier Witness 4 adopts that with a few design changes.
In general, it’s more of a linear version of the pattern which, in my experience, wasn’t a great idea for Nike to go that way. They should have stayed with the same structure they did on the LB17 since it really did work out for me on whichever court I played.
Now with the Witness 4, the section going from the toe to midfoot area was all good whether I was playing on clean or dusty courts with a regular wiping routine. However, the heel portion was acting like a BMW on the snow, the back was kicking out to the side whenever I would do a more shifty lateral move. That definitely throws you off mentally and physically as this is something you don’t want to experience on the court. Of course, dust is one of the provocateurs of the issue, but I tend to mainly blame it on the pattern itself. Let me know your experience with the Witness 4, may different colorways feature different rubber compounds, thus offering better performance?
Oh, about the outdoor performance and capability. Yes, the outsole is durable enough to last you quite a bit, and this was the only place where that slippage issue wasn’t going on my nerves.
You can clearly feel that LeBron had no business even trying them on since they do fit pretty damn snug. Wide footers watch out, all the odds are against you on this one. Narrow but at the same time lengthy build – check. Half-bootie construction – check. That being said, If you’re a true wide footer, these might be not for you. For regular footers, I would recommend going half a size up, exactly how I did. By doing that, you probably will end up having some free room in the box, but that should annoy you since the rest of the fit should be secured nicely.
Other than that, after a short break-in time, the Witness 4 does feel pretty nice on foot – light & flexible at the same time supportive where it’s needed.
This might be the only category in which I couldn’t find any negative stuff to report due to the fact that the Witness 4 packs pretty much every traditional support feature in its arsenal.
In the back, you do find a massive plastic external outrigger that cups your heel and locks it down in place with some help from a traditional lacing system. Continuing that way, there’re two lateral outriggers combined with a pretty wide platform and more rigid mesh panels on the sides for strong lateral containment. Everything worked well, again, no complaints here.
So the Nike LeBron Witness 4 retails for $100, which for the most part is an expectable price point for what it is – a budget performer. But that’s not the point. The main point is that they did underperform in one of the most crucial aspects of a ball shoe: traction & cushion. And for that reason alone, I just can’t see any category of players that I would recommend these for. I can only see a 40+ dude standing in his local Nike outlet store, searching for the cheapest ball shoe to buy. But even then, they probably would be too narrow for him.
BALLER FROM EUROPE? WE GOT YOU.