words // Brandon Richard
via Press Release
Nike and LeBron James have officially introduced his ninth signature shoe, the Nike LeBron 9. A reflection of LeBron's unprecedented combination of speed and strength, the LeBron 9 combines Flywire technology and Hyperfuse construction in the shoe's upper for superior support. Aiding the ride below is 180 Max Air in the heel and Zoom Air in the forefoot for responsive cushioning.
“From the very beginning of the design process for the LEBRON 9 we wanted to break the mold with a shoe that maximized the strengths of a triple threat player like LeBron,” said Jason Petrie, Nike Basketball Designer. “LeBron brings a rare combination of speed, agility and force to the game and my goal is to outfit him in a shoe that lets him do what he does best while maximizing our superior innovations.”
For the first time, a Nike Basketball shoe will pair Flywire technology with Hyperfuse construction. The Hyperfuse base is a three-layer composite fused together to create a nearly seamless, one-piece upper that reduces weight without compromising protection. There's a midfoot harness that wraps around the foot to incorporate Flywire 3.0 technology for additional strength and support. The lightweight upper is symbolic of LeBron's unique blend of speed and strength.
A hybrid cushioning system has been integrated into the midsole. Max Air 180 in the heel for impact absorption and Zoom Air un the forefoot for responsiveness protect players in critical areas. Torsional rigidity and support are provided by a carbon glass shank plate.
The LeBron 9 also feature tech elements such as engineered textile wings, Nike Pro Combat inspired padding in the collar, an asymmetrical lacing system, heel pull-tab, outrigger for lateral stability and flex grooves in the outsole. Style cues include LeBron's brand new logo, his signature on the ventilated tongue and a special outsole pattern that pays tribute to the signature athlete.
Sneaker enthusiasts in China will be able to purchase the LeBron 9 on October 1st, with the shoe making its stateside debut in a "Cannon" colorway on October 15th. Select college colorways will be released on October 14th and the official launch Black/White-Sport Red colorway pictured here will drop on October 25th.
Additionally, the LeBron 9 will be the first shoe in the line to be made available on NIKEiD. On October 11th, designers will be able to preview their work on NIKEiD.com, with actual availability taking place on October 25th in China, Europe, Japan and the United States. The LeBron 9 will also be available in three limited time packs on NIKEiD.
Lastly, Nike has partnered with 2KSports to integrate the LeBron 9 into the NBA2K12 video game. On October 4 during the 2K12 launch, the LeBron 9 will be released in special video game colorways at select retailers throughout the year.
Read on for a closer look at the LeBron 9, the official tech sheet and early sketch work by designer Jason Petrie.