I remember seeing the Lebron III for the first time in a Slam Kicks magazine and thought “wow those are Jordan XI esque and I need them today”. I loved the Lebron II and the set up looked similar so I had my hopes up. I bought them off a seller on eBay for under retail before release day and I couldn’t wait to get them on the court.

Weight

Holy fat boy that’s 20 ounces.

  
Traction

First few runs at my local 24 in the LBJ III had me impressed. They stuck to the floor better then the II. However over time they didn’t work so well do I must have gotten lucky that day at 24 with an extra clean court. Not the worst ever but definitely not the best. I don’t bother taking these out to play unless the floor is pristine though.

  
No major storytelling just a simple traction pattern but too shallow on the white parts and not multidirectional on the maroon.
CUSHIONING 

Same look and set up as the II but thinned out to play lower to the ground. The II was perfect to me but the III is pretty damn good too. Since playing in Lunarlon and underwhelming Zoom set ups lately, the Lebron III set up is awesome. You can feel the Zoom in the heel and forefoot (it is not full length although it looks like it). It’s firm when it needs to be and plush and responsive thanks to a mix of Pebax and Zoom. No stability issues with the III.

  
 The insole really adds to step in comfort. It feels moist after all these years :/ 
Fit

I went with my normal sz 11 and these fit fine length and width wise but not so well height wise. There was lots of deadspace in the toe box on top and the sides. I added a thin insole to the original insole to kill that deadspace and it worked well for me. However the fit is problematic with the LBJ III because the lacing set up  is plain horrible.  It is almost impossible to probably lace these up because the lace loops are made of metal which a) provides no friction b) frays the laces c) frayed laces =broken laces. 

   
 
Furthermore, the upper doesn’t want to stay in place during lacing as it always tries to return back to original its form.

I think the idea is similar to flightweb but external. Unfortunately the materials are so resilient that it doesn’t want to stay tight.  
After getting a decent lace up and adding an extra insole, overall fit is good with no heel slip or movement side to side ( with extra insole) but it doesn’t stay that way because of the upper and lacing system.
Support and stability 

Pretty much every Lebron shoe has excellent support and stability except the X (too high and soft in heel). I don’t see a 6’8″ 250 lbs freight train wearing Hyperrevs anytime soon. 

Stiff, thick, and squeaky upper materials, along with a very flat outsole provide very good support and stability. 

The heel counter is actually pretty soft but works fine. 

  

Wow a carbon fiber shank. A rarity nowadays 

Containment 

Containment is very good on the LbJ iii thanks to the thick upper and extended midsole around the forefoot.

It doesn’t flex very much anywhere (see fit). If an updated version of these are ever made, I suspect they will use more flexible conforming materials where needed. 

   
 

Ventilation

Sucks

Non breatheable thick synthetic with no place for air to escape. Even the tongue is synthetic. 

 
  

 I don’t think air molecules can get through those tiny holes  
Nike tried to use Sphere technology to alleviate heat problem but it doesn’t work. 

 See the little “spheres”? 
Conclusion 

Maybe I was just let down due to my excitement for these or the LBj II was that perfect but the III has pretty much been placed in the retirement home (aka the closet).  Sloppy overall fit, poor lacing system and average traction doesn’t justify taking them out really. The LBj II just did everything better and was nearly bulletproof to boot. Beautiful shoe to look at but that’s about it. 



7 Comment on “Retro Review: Nike Lebron III 3 Performance Review

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