Sneaker Debate: Is The Nike LeBron 9 Better Than The LeBron 8?
The NBA season might not be starting anytime soon—thanks a lot, NBA lockout!—but that doesn’t mean that the big sneaker companies aren’t still planning to roll out their new kicks this fall. Up first is the LeBron 9 from Nike, the ninth signature sneaker that LeBron James has endorsed. And, at first glance, it looks a whole lot like last year’s LeBron 8, which was arguably the best sneaker that Nike and LeBron have ever produced.
However, there are some pretty significant changes to LeBron 9. And while I’m not entirely sold on the fact that the LeBron 9 is a big improvement over the LeBron 8, I am excited about a few of the new features. Here are the five reasons I can’t wait to slip a pair of these on my feet this fall.
1. The “engineered textile wings” provide added ankle support.
I sprained my ankle the first time I wore my LeBron 8s to play ball. For such a bulky sneaker, I will say that the 8s didn’t provide a ton of support for my ankles. Nike’s tried to alleviate that problem with their “engineered textile wings,” which will cover your ankles and offer better support than the LeBron 8s. It hurts the sneaker aesthetically just a bit, but we’re willing to bet it makes for a more comfortable fit.
2. Nike has managed to trim material from the back of the sneaker.
Another thing I noticed about the LeBron 8 sneakers was that aside from being relatively bulky, they were also relatively heavy. Not so heavy that I didn’t want to wear them, but heavy enough to notice. So Nike has tried to trim as much material as possible off the sneaker. One place they did this was in the back of the sneaker, which is very, very low. That should help keep the sneaker light and also make you feel like you’ve got a better range of motion when you’re running.
3. The lacing on the LeBron 9 goes much higher than the LeBron 8.
Again, this doesn’t exactly make the sneaker look better but it should help it perform better. I’m excited to see how the LeBron 9 performs as a basketball sneaker. All signs point to it being a very comfortable shoe that keeps your foot protected and makes it easy to cut to the basket and move around a lot. The lacing is a small touch but it should help improve the stability provided by the LeBron 9.
4. The heel pulltab is a simple addition that makes the LeBron 9 look a little more luxurious and it’s functional as well.
I have a pair of the LeBron 8s and my one complaint about them has always been that they were relatively difficult to get on when I first got them. The pulltab on the heel of the LeBron 9 should fix that problem. It also adds a touch of class to the LeBron 9s that was missing on the LeBron 8s. Basically, it’s a small change but one that makes a big difference both in the form and function of the sneaker.
5. The LeBron 9 will be available on NikeID.
Whaaaaaaat? That’s right. This will be the first LeBron James sneaker available through the NikeID store. So you don’t have to wait for a cool colorway to drop and spend a fortune trying to get something different anymore. You can design your own custom LeBron 9s instead. And for that reason alone, I’m sold on this sneaker being a step up from the LeBron 8. Nice job, Nike.