Performance review: Nike LeBron 8 PS.
Respect the Process
This is not only true for LeBron James, but also for Nike Senior Footwear Designer, Jason Petrie.
The season doesn’t stop as soon as the first LeBron signature is released. This year in particular saw 3 signature LeBron 8 releases. The luxuriously padded, combination leather and Flywire Nike LeBron 8 V/1 was the shoe for the first half of LeBron’s season. The lighter weight midseason V/2 changed up the upper to a composite Flywire base that shaved almost an ounce off the V/1 while keeping the same familiar Air Max 360 cushioning platform and was perfect for LeBron’s drive to the playoffs. But for the actual post season, Jason Petrie and Nike gave LeBron a new weapon in his quest to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy. Hyperfuse.
Hyperfuse technology was first used in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse basketball shoe and was introduced as a revolutionary footwear construction process due to the fact that the upper is essentially built stitch free. The material is a composite of 3 layers – a synthetic base layer, a mesh and a protective skin layer over top. The base layer can be engineered to provide support in key areas and be open and breathable in other areas. I found that by opening up some of these areas allowed the shoe to not only breathe better, but also provided some much needed flexibility, especially in the toe box area. The mesh layer provides much breathability and essentially holds all the pieces together. While the top “skin” layer provides added support and abrasion resistance. The skin layer of the LeBron 8 P.S. is much more textured (almost feels like a seatbelt nylon or a bullet-proof vest) than that of the original Hyperfuse and gives the upper a unique touch and adds depth to the finish. The Flywire panels of the V/1 and V/2 are replaced by beefed up Hyperfuse sections that are noticably more rigid and thicker than the rest of the LeBron 8 P.S. upper.
These Hyperfuse panels did a great job on-court by providing lateral support and locking the foot into the shoe while staying somewhat flexible and out of the way. I found the fit of the LeBron 8 P.S. upper to be as good, if not better than than the LeBron 8 V/2. Depending on how you like your shoes to fit of course, I felt the LeBron 8 P.S. was more flexible and felt a bit free-er while the LeBron 8 V/2 felt more rigid and firm, but both did a great job of locking the foot down.
The interior of the LeBron 8 P.S. is amazingly comfortable with a full-length inner bootie, a generously padded tongue that features the now familiar LeBron Lion logo, and an amply padded ankle collar. The front portion of the inner bootie is made of mesh and and aids in dissapating heat and drawing air in and out of the shoe through the Hyperfuse upper, while the rear of the inner is lined with a smooth, comfortable textile. One piece of the Nike LeBron 8 P.S. that is shared with the LeBron 8 V/2 is the perforated open-cell foam insole. While the insole provides a great step-in feel and gives good comfort, I feel it took away from the directness of the new Zoom Air / Air Max 180 cushioning setup. By replacing the insole with a standard EVA one, I felt closer and more connected to the court and it felt like the shoe almost woke-up and was more responsive on drives, spins and cuts.
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