As if the wait itself for the LeBron 14 to be officially unveiled wasn’t long enough, it took even much longer for LeBron’s fourteenth signature shoe to be released locally in the Philippines. King James usually debuts his latest sneakers in the beginning of the season but after two months into the 2016-2017 NBA season, the LeBron 14 was still nowhere to be found until the Cavs’ Christmas Day game against the Warriors. From there, it took another three months until the LeBron 14’s finally reached our shores.
Scheduled on the same day as the local launch date of the LeBron 14 ‘Chase Down’, Nike Philippines opened the doors of The Arena at Kerry Sports to 65 athletes they invited for the #ComeOutOfNowhere Experience. The participants were given a chance to be the first ones in the country to test-run LeBron’s latest signature shoes in a training session with the FEU Tamaraws, lead by the team’s head coach, Olsen Racela.
The #ComeOutOfNowhere Experience was kicked off by EKIN, Nike Product Expert, Soy Soriano who went into detail in explaining the inspiration and innovation behind the shoe. One reason why it took so long until the shoe was unveiled is because of LeBron’s desire in making it the best basketball sneaker out there that anyone of any size can wear – most especially himself. The previous models have always looked bulky to provide the support a player like LeBron needs but this time, he wanted something that looks sleeker without having to compromise other factors that make a basketball sneaker great.
Previous models use Foamposite as the base layer but the LeBron 14 now features a one-piece upper composed of three lightweight layers – a stretchy lining, perforated foam and thin mesh, similar to the materials used in the LeBron Soldier 10. The latest Soldier model was used as one of the inspirations they used for the 14’s after the success it has had on he court during the previous season. These materials make the shoe not only lightweight, but also highly durable and breathable, which was felt by the athletes right when we laced in their pairs.
“It’s much lighter than the previous LeBron signature models. Also more comfortable,” Hubert Cani of the FEU Tamaraws explained when asked about the shoe.
Straps have made it back to the signature shoe for the first time since the LeBron 5, again taking inspiration from the Soldier 10. Along with the Flywire, these features allow one to customize the fit of the shoe depending on the preference. The one-piece upper and dynamic support features with the strap and Flywire make a perfect combination to provide superb flexibility.
The shoe’s collar has a wide and open profile, which is necessary for ease of entry. That creates a proprioception of not fitting snug because the ankle area feels loose but this is where the strap and the construction of the heel area come to play in providing that needed protection. Despite the way it looks, the LeBron 14 basically feels like a low top in terms of ankle support needed for the hard cutting movements done on the court.
After being introduced on the LeBron 12, the pod-based Zoom Air units are back for the third time. The Soldier 10 may have used the most Zoom Air of any model in LeBron’s line, but the hexagonal units allow for a much better heel-to-toe transition and also maximize explosiveness. These units are strategically placed beneath the ball and middle of your foot to deliver responsive cushioning while the larger Zoom Air unit in the heel helps soften hard landings.
The midsole of the shoe uses less foam as compared to the 13’s and this was felt right away with how well the foot was interacting with the Zoom units. In the #ComeOutOfNowhere Experience, Ron Dennison helped everyone put the Zoom Air technology and the benefits of the shoe’s cushioning in full effect through footwork and agility drills.
LeBron James gets very particular with the shoes he wears during the season – there was even a signature shoe he had that he barely wore, simply because he wasn’t comfortable in them. It’s close to just a month left until the start of the Playoffs and he has stuck to his latest signature shoes as his weapon of choice.
After a long wait, the LeBron 14 is finally here. The ‘Chase Down’ colorway in black and white is out now in-store, TITAN22.COM and select Nike stores nationwide.
Stay tuned and follow @titan_22 on instagram and Titan 22 Basketball on Facebook for news and updates on the LeBron 14 and its upcoming colorways.