words // Brandon Richard
via Press Release
Designed to provide a protective suit for LeBron James' unique style of play, the Nike LeBron 11 is officially introduced today. It's James' lightest signature shoe to date, while offering the protective feel, responsiveness and containment his game requires.
The number 11 is symbolic of new beginnings and is a step beyond a celebrated tenure. LeBron enters his 11th year in the league with two gold medals, two championship rings and four MVP trophies.
With LeBron consistently highlighting the need for a lock down fit, designers aimed to build on the strengths of his game and provide protection for his force without hindering his on-court precision. Built from the inside out, the LeBron 11 is the lightest and lowest LeBron signature model ever, tipping the scales at 14.5 ounces in a men's size 9.
The upper features revolutionary Nike Hyperposite technology for lightweight lockdown, while taking protection, containment and responsiveness to a new level. Hyperfuse construction and Dynamic Flywire bring natural motion to James' game.
The LeBron 11 is deconstructed to get James' foot much lower to the ground so he can feel the court, while enhancing cushioning via full-length Lunarlon and Nike Zoom, a combination featured for the first time in a LeBron signature shoe.
The duality of the number 11 is the main graphic design inspiration for the LeBron 11 – it looks identical upside down as it does right side up. The graphic design on the LeBron 11 also plays into the duality of the shoe and features ambigrams throughout including:
- The graphic on the inner tongue of the shoe spells out the number six while further highlighting the Roman numeral XI.
- The sock liner graphic reads “LeBron” but when flipped upside down reads “James".
- A closer look at the Swoosh on the shoe reveals a pattern inspired by modern chain mail in which the initials “LJ” make up the links and repeat at graduating weights.
THE STORY OF DUALITY:
Nike Basketball designers successfully channel the duality of James’s play and persona to tell the story via various LeBron 11 colorways.
LEBRON 11 KING’S PRIDE:
James plays with fearlessness, determination and the heart of a lion. The King’s Pride colorway draws inspiration from the lion - its dark loden upper color and the floral print on the collar lining reflect the pride of the wildlife.
James was impressed by the Terracotta Warrior Exhibition, which he visited when he was in Xi’An, China, in 2011. The exhibit, plus James’s playing style - which reflects a warrior's spirit of grit, confidence, hard work and determination - inspired the Terracotta Warrior colorway.
The design of the shoe is inspired by the Terracotta Warriors as we see them today -- in neutral stone colors along with pop colors of purple/teal/red to represent how they were originally painted. The graphic texture on the upper articulates the linked, plated armor that the warriors wore. The special lining shank design graphic is drawn from the style of Bronze Age art, the era in which the Terracotta Warriors were made.
The LeBron 11King’s Pride will be available on October 12 globally. The LeBron 11 Terracotta Warrior will be available on October 1 in Greater China, and on November 27 in North America and the rest of the world.